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The University of Southampton
Student ServicesVisa and immigration

Authorised absence

Compassionate leave may be requested for personal reasons, such as a family emergency, a wedding of a close family member or a serious health condition which requires a short absence from studies. Requests for compassionate leave are assessed on a case-by-case basis. If you are not sure if your request will qualify for compassionate leave please contact us for clarity.

In all requests for compassionate leave, your tutor or supervisor must confirm that they do not consider that this absence will have a detrimental effect on the students’ academic studies. This means that you must still be able to successfully complete your current programme of study before your current Student visa expires and your absence must not directly result in you having to extending your stay to complete your studies. 

You may be asked to provide evidence to support your request for authorised absence.

If your absence is for a medical leave, you must provide a letter from your doctor at the hospital or medical centre on official headed paper which includes all of the following:

  • the name, address and phone number of the hospital or medical centre
  • details of your medical condition
  • the signature of your doctor
  • the official stamp of the hospital
  • the date the letter was printed

If your evidence is not in English, you must provide a certified translation which contains all of the following:

  • confirmation from the translator/translation company that it is an “accurate translation of the original document”
  • the date of the translation
  • the translator’s full name
  • the translator’s signature
  • the translator or translation company’s credentials (qualification or registration as a translator)
  • the translator or translation company’s contact details

Where possible we request you to submit your absence request form at least two weeks before you plan to leave. Please do not assume that your absence request will be approved. Wait for your Faculty to respond to your absence request before you leave the UK.

An approved absence should be in place before you travel. However, if an emergency situation arises, we recognise that you may need to leave the UK immediately without being able to seek prior approval for your absence (eg critical illness/death of close family relative).

If you have to leave the UK before applying for an authorised absence then please contact your Faculty office as soon as you are able to seek an authorised absence from your study. If the length and/or timing of your absence affects your ability to complete your programme of study within your current visa your absence will not be approved, in which case we would ask you to contact us directly for advice

Please note that you may be questioned by Border Control as to why you are travelling during term-time.

To apply for compassionate leave please follow these instructions:

  1. Print the compassionate leave form linked below.
  2. Complete sections 1 and 2. Please write the full dates you will be outside of the UK or absent from your studies.
  3. Discuss the absence with your tutor/supervisor. If they agree to your absence, they will need to sign section 3.
  4. Send the signed form to your Faculty Office.
  5. You will receive an email from the VISAS Team if we need any further information or evidence for your absence.
  6. You will receive an email from your Faculty to confirm if your absence has been approved or refused.

 

Please note: The information contained in this website is believed to be correct at the time of publication. The University of Southampton cannot accept responsibility for the content of external websites.

This type of authorised absence is available for postgraduate students only. Remote study may include: data collection, field work, attending a conference or other research which is necessary to your current programme of study. Leaving the UK to write up your dissertation/thesis is not considered remote study. If you are not sure whether your request would qualify for remote study please contact us.

To be able to approve your absence, your supervisor must confirm:

  • This period of remote study is essential to the student’s course.
  • The work the student is doing must necessarily be done outside of the UK, and could not be completed on-site at the University of Southampton.
  • The amount of the time the student has requested is proportionate to the work they are undertaking.
  • This student will remain in regular contact with the university (i.e. supervisor or other appropriate member of staff) throughout this period of remote study.

If your supervisor cannot confirm all of the above, they will not be able to approve your absence and you will need to discuss alternative options with them, which may include completing your study activity in the UK or suspending your studies.

If you are considering writing up your dissertation or thesis outside of the UK, you must discuss this with your Faculty Office and supervisor before you leave the UK. If your Faculty and supervisor are able to approve your decision to leave the UK, you must contact us. When you inform VISAS that you will complete your dissertation or thesis outside of the UK, the University will remove sponsorship of your Student visa on the date you plan to leave the UK. 

If your absence is for an event or activity that was planned in advance, we expect you to submit your absence request form at least two weeks before you plan to leave. Please do not assume that your absence request will be approved. Wait for your Faculty to respond to your absence request before you leave the UK. If the length and/or timing of your absence affects your ability to complete your programme of study within your current visa your absence will not be approved. If you

Please note that you may be questioned by Border Control as to why you are travelling during term-time.

To apply for remote study please follow these instructions:

  1. Print the appropriate remote study request form linked below.
  2. Complete sections 1 and 2. Please write the full dates you will be outside of the UK or absent from your studies.
  3. Discuss the absence with your tutor/supervisor. If they agree to your absence, they will need to sign section 3.
  4. Send the signed form to your Faculty Office.
  5. You will receive an email from the VISAS Team if we need any further information or evidence for your absence.
  6. You will receive an email from your Faculty to confirm if your absence has been approved or refused.

Please note: The information contained in this website is believed to be correct at the time of publication. The University of Southampton cannot accept responsibility for the content of external websites.

The vacation dates for postgraduate research students are University closure days and bank holidays, as stated on the University key dates webpage. When you are writing up your thesis or when your status is nominal you must continue to show attendance full-time in the UK.

In addition to University closure days and Bank Holidays, postgraduate research students are permitted to take 26 working days of annual leave each academic year (01 August – 31 July). Any annual leave you do not take within the current academic year cannot be used in the next academic year. If you start part-way through an academic year, after 01 August, you will only get a pro-rata (reduced) annual leave entitlement for the first year. For example:

  • If you start on 01 February (six months into the academic year) you will only get 13 days of annual leave up until the 31 July in the same year. You will then receive 26 days of annual leave from 01 August to take within the next academic year. 

To apply for annual leave, you must complete an absence request form which must be authorised by your Faculty Graduate School in advance of the dates you wish to be absent.

If your absence is for annual leave or an event or activity that was planned in advance, we expect you to submit your absence request form at least two weeks before you plan to leave. Please do not assume that your absence request has been approved. Wait for your Faculty to respond to your absence request before you leave the UK. 

Please note that you may be questioned by Border Control as to why you are travelling during term-time.

To apply for annual leave please follow these instructions:

  1. Print the appropriate annual leave request form linked below.
  2. Complete sections 1 and 2. Please write the full dates you will be outside of the UK or absent from your studies.
  3. Discuss the absence with your tutor/supervisor. If they agree to your absence, they will need to sign section 3.
  4. Send the signed form to your Faculty Office.
  5. You will receive an email from the VISAS Team if we need any further information or evidence for your absence.
  6. You will receive an email from your Faculty to confirm if your absence has been approved or refused.

Please note: The information contained in this website is believed to be correct at the time of publication. The University of Southampton cannot accept responsibility for the content of external websites.

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