Students

Changes to your studies

Changing your studies can have an impact on your immigration status and future in the UK. It's important to get advice from the Student Immigration Service if you're considering changing your studies.

The following information is for Tier 4 visa holders, unless otherwise stated.

Telling UKVI if you change your study plans or don't attend your course

If you used a Confirmation of Acceptance for Study (CAS) to apply for your current Tier 4 visa, the University is legally obliged to inform UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) in certain circumstances. For example, if you:

  • accept a place on a course but don't arrive
  • fail to attend, or you leave your course
  • suspend from your course
  • withdraw from your course

Please let the Student Immigration Service know if you're thinking about changing your plans. We will be able to confidentially advise you of your options.

Changing your education provider

Read this section if you'd like to change your education provider and you have time left on your visa to complete the course.

If you have a Tier 4 visa that was granted between 31 March 2009 and 4 October 2009 inclusive, you must get permission from UKVI to change your education provider. You will need to complete and send the Permission to Switch (PTS) application form.

If you have a Tier 4 visa that was granted on or after 5 October 2009, you must apply for a new visa for your new education provider.

If you're in the UK, you should use our Check and Send Service. You'll be allowed to start the course once you have sent your visa/PTS application (you do not need to have received the new visa/permission), but of course there is a risk to both yourself and the institution if you're not granted your visa/permission to switch. If you do not use the Check and Send Service, we will need to see the confirmation of receipt letter from UKVI to prove that your application has been sent.

Doing a different course at the University of Bath

If your new course is shorter than the course you got your visa for, you must inform UKVI by completing a Change of Circumstance paper form. The University is also required to tell UKVI that you have changed course. UKVI will then shorten your visa.

If your new course is shorter than the course you got your visa for and is at a lower level, you may need to make a new visa application overseas.

If the course is the same length as the course you got your visa for and is within the same department, you don't need to do anything. The University of Bath will tell UKVI that you have changed course.

If your new course is the same length as the course you got your visa for but is within a different department or a lower level than your current course, you may need to make a new visa application overseas.

If your new course is longer, you may need to extend your visa overseas. Please note that if you're currently studying in a different immigration category (not Tier 4), and you only need to extend for the placement part of your course, we may not be able to sponsor you under Tier 4. Please discuss this with an adviser.

If your new course requires Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance, you will need to apply for an ATAS certificate before you can make your visa application. Check if your new course will require ATAS clearance.

If your course ends early

If your course ends earlier than expected this will be reported to UKVI and your permission to stay will be shortened to your new end date, plus the additional time granted for your original visa (4 months for degree courses). You are not entitled to work in the UK if your course ends early.

Having a break from your studies

As a Tier 4 visa holder, you are required to attend your course full-time and engage with your studies (for example by submitting coursework or sitting exams). The University is required by law to monitor your attendance on your course. If you need to have a break from your studies, it is very important to contact the Student Immigration Service as soon as possible to understand how it may impact your Tier 4 visa requirements.

What to do if you need to be absent from the University

The University has an authorised absence policy. If you are studying on campus and need to be absent for more than 14 days and less than 60 days (for a family emergency, for example), a period of 'authorised absence' may be authorised at the discretion of your Department. You can apply using SAMIS online.

Suspending from your studies

If you used a Confirmation of Acceptance for Study (CAS) to apply for your current visa and you suspend from your course, the University is legally obliged to inform UKVI.

  • You will need to leave the UK as soon as possible after entering suspense.
  • It may be possible to apply for a tuition fee refund.
  • Your course end date is likely to change.
  • Your visa is likely to be curtailed.
  • You will need to apply for a new visa before returning to the UK.

If you're a Tier 4 student visa holder, you must meet the conditions of your visa, which includes studying on a full-time course. You're also required to leave the UK if you suspend from your studies.

Time spent while your studies are suspended may still be counted towards your time limit for degree level study in the UK - please ensure you talk to an Student Immigration Adviser before you suspend your studies.

Withdrawing from your course

If you used a Confirmation of Acceptance for Study (CAS) to apply for your current visa and you withdraw from your course, the University is legally obliged to inform UKVI. You will need to leave the UK as soon as possible and within 60 days. Please inform the Student Immigration Service of the date you plan to leave the UK.

If you're a Tier 4 student visa holder, you must meet the conditions of your visa, which includes studying on a full-time course. You're also required to leave the UK if you suspend from your studies.

Changes in personal contact details

You must inform UKVI if your personal details change using a Change in Circumstances form.

If you have a Biometric Residence Permit (card), do not use the above form if any personal details that appear on the card change (eg name, nationality). Instead, you must apply for a new card within 3 months.

The University must also have your up-to-date contact details at all times – it's your responsibility to keep your contact details updated using Registration On-Line.

Academic progression

If you plan to continue studying at the University of Bath after you complete your current course, the University must confirm on your CAS that the new course represents academic progression. You may be asked by our Admissions team or the International Student Advice team to justify how your new course represents academic progression before they can issue your CAS. You will also need to have successfully completed your previous course – this means that your degree result will need to have been confirmed at a Board of Studies.

If you need more time to complete your course

If you need more time to complete your course (you may wish to add a placement year, need to repeat a year or need extra time for writing up), then you will need to extend your visa before it expires. In certain specific circumstances students may be able to extend their Tier 4 visa in the UK.

You also need to consider time limits for degree level study and whether you will be able to complete your course within UKVI time limits (see below).

Time limits for degree level study

UKVI have set time limits for study at degree level for students with Tier 4 and pre-Tier 4 student visas. You could be affected by these if, for example, you have repeated a year, you had to retake exams or if you have stopped studying a course and started a new course. Please see an adviser if you would like to check that you're within your time limit.

Please note, time spent while your studies are suspended may also be counted towards the time limit - please see a Student Immigration Adviser if you have suspended your studies or about to suspend your studies.

Time limits do not apply to PhD students unless the student has already completed a postgraduate research qualification, in which case time is limited to 8 years.

More about time limits