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The University of Southampton
Student ServicesVisa and immigration

Deferring, changing or suspending your course

When you are granted a Student visa, you agree to comply with the conditions (responsibilities) of your visa during your time in the UK. The conditions depend on the date that your visa was granted.
Your Tier 4/Student visa may be affected if:
• You decide to defer (delay) your studies.
• You need to suspend (take time out from) your course.
• You change the course that you are studying.
• You change the institution where are studying.

If you are thinking about making a change to your studies, please contact the University VISAS Team before you make the change. You can speak to a Visa Advisor at our regular drop-in service or use our online enquiry form.

I want to defer my studies until next year. You have issued me a CAS number but I have not yet applied for my visa. What do I need to do? 
If your CAS number has been issued but you have not yet applied for your visa you should notify the Admissions Team in your Faculty as soon as possible that you wish to defer your place. The University will then withdraw (cancel) the CAS. 
 
I have used my CAS number and obtained my Student visa, but I am unable to come to the UK at present and wish to defer my place. What will happen to my visa? 
If you have already used your CAS to get your visa but are unable to come to the UK to take up your place you must tell us as soon as possible. It is likely that you will need  a new CAS and make a new visa application 

You should speak to your faculty in the first instance to find out what type of repeat is most suitable in your situation. 
There are two types of repeat available: 

  • Repeat in attendance (also known as internal repeat):  this means repeating the whole year in full, including attending all lectures and usually re-submitting all assessed work.  It also usually requires you to pay full tuition fees to the University. 
  • Repeat non-attending (also known as external repeat):  this means that you only repeat the assessments for the year, but are not required to physically attend on campus, and you are usually not required to pay tuition fees. 

If you repeat in attendance, you will normally be able to keep your Student visa.  If you repeat the year non-attending, your Student visa will be cancelled and you will be expected to either leave the UK or switch into a different visa category. 

 

I am repeating a year non-attending. What happens to my visa? 

If you repeat a year of study non-attending, then we will remove sponsorship from (i.e. cancel) your Student visa.  You will be given 60 days from the date you are notified by UKVI to either leave the UK or switch into a different visa category. 


If you need to return to the UK during your time as a repeat non-attending student to sit exams, you should apply for a Short-term study visa.  To do this, you will need to request a letter of invitation from your faculty. 


If you return to the UK on a Short-term study visa in order to sit your exams, you must bring your Short-term study visa (or stamp) to the VISAS Team so that we can add a copy to your record.  Details of how to find us can be found here. 


When you are ready to return to your studies full-time, you will need to apply for a new Student visa.  To do this you will need a new CAS. Please contact your faculty to request a continuing student CAS request form. 

I am repeating a year attending. What happens to my visa?

If you are on a Student visa and you repeat a year of study in attendance, then you will need to extend your visa to complete your programme of study.  The earliest you can do this is 3 months before the expiry date of your current visa. 

Please be aware that there is a 5-year cap imposed on the total length of time that you are allowed to study in the UK at undergraduate degree level; please discuss this with one of our advisors if you think you may exceed this 5-year cap. 

When you need to extend your visa, the best thing to do is to start by attending one of our visa drop-in sessions.  Ideally, you should do this at least 3 months before your current visa expires. 

I need to suspend my studies. What happens to my visa? 
If you suspend your studies, we are required to withdraw sponsorship from (ie cancel) your visa.  You will then be given 60 days to either leave the UK or apply for a new visa. 
You will then need to apply for a completely new visa when you need to return to your studies.  The type of visa for which you should apply will depend on the length and main purpose of your visit 
 
 
I am returning to the University following a period of suspension. What shall I do? 
You will need to apply for a new Student visa (unless you already have an immigration status that permits study). 
If you need to return to complete your studies, then you will need to apply for a new visa. To do this you will need a new CAS. Please complete a Continuing Student CAS Request Form and forward to your Faculty for action. 
If you are only returning to take exams (or viva), then you should apply for a Short-term study visa.  Please contact your faculty to request a letter of invitation. 

I am withdrawing from my studies. What happens to my visa?

If you withdraw from your studies, we are required to withdraw sponsorship from (ie cancel) your visa. You will then be given 60 days to either leave the UK or apply for a new visa.

If you have been granted your visa and you are considering changing your programme, you must contact the VISAS Team before your programme is changed. The study conditions of your current visa may not allow you to change your programme without applying for a new visa, even if the change will not require you to extend your time in the UK.  

A change of programme includes: 
•    Change of subject, e.g. MA Fashion Management to MA Fine Art 
•    Change of level, e.g. BEng Mechanical Engineering to MEng Mechanical Engineering 
•    Change to mode of study, e.g. full-time to distance learning 
•    Adding or removing a placement 

 

Below degree level, Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught students 
For those studying below degree level and those on an Undergraduate or a Postgraduate Taught (Master's) programme, you are expected to be awarded on or after the programme end date on your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS), therefore you are unlikely to complete your programme early. If you want to know your programme end date, please check your CAS statement, or contact your Faculty Office. 

However, if you submit your dissertation or final project significantly before the programme end date on your CAS and you decide to leave the UK then we must report this to UK Visas & Immigration. This means we must remove sponsorship of your Student visa. 

Please be aware that once you have left the United Kingdom after completing your course, UK Border Control may not permit you to re-enter with your current Student visa even if it is still valid. 


If you choose to exit your course with a lower academic award (eg bachelors instead of continuing with integrated masters), we must report this to UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI).  Once we have removed sponsorship, the UKVI will curtail your visa depending on the length of your course.  During the curtailment period you will have no right to work and you cannot apply for a new Student visa from the UK to undertake another course of study.  If you wish to apply for further study in the UK, you will have to leave the UK to make an out of country visa application.   

Postgraduate Research students 

If you are a Postgraduate Research student (MPhil/PhD) and you are awarded before the programme end date on your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS), we will inform UK Visas & Immigration that you have successfully completed your programme earlier than expected. This means that we will remove sponsorship of your Student visa and you will have 120 days to remain in the UK. During this 120 day period you may work full-time, for more information please read our FAQ: Working Restrictions. Once you have left the UK, you will need to apply for a new visa if you want to return to the UK. 

Graduation 
If you need to return to the United Kingdom to attend graduation after you have left the country, you will have to apply for a Standard Visitor visa (tourist visa). You will be able to request a letter when you apply online for your Graduation ceremony to support your visa application. Please see the Graduation page for further information. 

I currently have a visa issued for a course of study at the University of Southampton but I want to transfer to another higher education institution within the United Kingdom. Can I just use the visa that I currently have?

No. You must have a Student visa for the programme of study at the University that you want to transfer to or have proof that you have applied for a new visa. Once you have stopped attending the University of Southampton then your sponsorship will be removed by us. You may have to leave the United Kingdom within 30 days of your sponsorship being removed and reapply for a new Student visa from your home country.

It is important that you contact the University of Southampton's VISAS Team as soon as possible if you need to transfer to another higher education institution

I currently have a visa issued for a course of study at another institution. Can I enrol at the University of Southampton with that visa? 
No. You must have a visa for your programme of study at this University or have proof that you have applied for a new visa. 

I am currently a student elsewhere in the UK but have a place to study at the University of Southampton in the next academic year. Can the University help me to apply for a new visa for my new programme of study?

Yes. Please be aware that you may need to return to your home country to make this application

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