Time limits on study and academic progression
A Student visa comes with certain conditions, including how long you can study at undergraduate level, and what kind of programme you can progress to.
Time limits on study
If you currently have a Student/Tier 4 visa (or if you have had one in the past), you must make sure that you can complete the programme you intend to study within the specified time limits.
You can use a Student visa to study below degree level (for example, the International Foundation Programme) for up to 2 years.
You can use a Student visa to study at undergraduate level for up to 5 years, unless you are on an exempt programme. Examples of exempt programmes include architecture, medicine and dentistry.
There are other, very limited exceptions to the 5-year limit at undergraduate level. For more information, please contact us directly.
There is no time limit on how many years you can study once you reach postgraduate level.
When you request your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for your Student visa application, we will assess whether you meet the academic progression requirements.
Academic progression means:
you have successfully achieved an award for your most recent programme of study in the UK (for which you were given a Student/Tier 4 visa)
your new programme is at a higher level than your previous programme (for example, you are progressing from a masters degree to a PhD)
your new programme is ‘complementary study’ at the same level
Complementary study means you will be studying a specialisation of your previous studies, or studying on a new programme which, combined with previous studies, will allow you to achieve your career goals.
You should provide:
official transcripts or a certificate showing that you have been awarded a qualification for your most recent programme
a letter from your institution stating that you have successfully completed (or that you are highly likely to successfully complete) your programme
You do not need to show academic progression if:
- you are making a Student visa application outside the UK
- you need more time to complete your PhD
- you are applying to resit an exam or repeat a course
- you previously resat an exam or repeated a course, and you need extra time to complete your programme
- you want to study abroad or do a work placement
- you have studied abroad or done a work placement, and you need extra time to complete your programme
- you are applying to be a Sabbatical Officer
If you are moving to a higher level on a certain type of integrated programme, you do not need to have successfully completed your most recent programme to show academic progression.