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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) starting your course 
• You need to suspend (take time out from) your course 
• You change the course that you are studying
• You change the institution (transfer) where you are studying

If you are thinking about making a change to your studies, please contact the University VISAS Team before you request the change. You can speak to a Visa Advisor directly at one of our ​Visa Drop-in Sessions.

Passport and immigration permission 

The University is required to keep a copy of your current passport or travel document and your current immigration permission. 

If you have a Tier 4 or Student visa for a programme longer than 6 months, your immigration permission will usually be in the form of a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). 

If you obtain a new passport or immigration permission during your studies, you must provide these to the University so we can update your student record.

Send a scan/photo of your new passport and both sides of your new BRP card to visa@soton.ac.uk or to the same email address via Safesend.  We will contact you again if you need to visit the Student Support Hub in-person with your original document(s).

I have a visa check hold which is preventing me from completing my online enrolment. What should I do? 

You should attend a 'right to study check'. If you are starting a new course or returning to your studies in September or January, the right to study check will be at an International Registration appointment.  If you are starting your course outside of these times, then please contact us through the link below.

If you have already attended a registration appointment and you are still not showing as enrolled on your student record, then please contact us

Contact details 

You must ensure that your current term-time address and personal contact details (e.g. email address, telephone number) are up to date on your student record. 

You will be asked to provide these when you enrol for your programme, but you can update your contact details at any time during your studies by logging into Sussed.

Keeping the Home Office up to date 

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) have comprehensive guidance about reporting other changes of circumstances on their webpage  Protecting your Student Status

To report the following changes use the Migrant Change of Circumstances (MCC) form:

  • New passport details
  • Changes to relationships with family members who have permission to be in the UK as your dependant

To report the following changes use the relevant online form, which you can find on the UK Visas and Immigration webpage: Report a change of circumstances if you have a visa or BRP

  • Change of name
  • Change of nationality
  • Change of date of birth
  • Change of gender

If police registration is a condition of your current visa 

You will need to update the police when you receive a new passport or visa, when you change your term-time address and any important changes to your personal details.

Visit our Police Registration webpage and see the section ' Update an existing police registration' for instructions on when and how to update your police registration certificate. 

Changing your programme 

If you have been granted your visa and you are considering changing your programme, you must contact the VISAS Team before your programme can be 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 part-time or distance learning  
•    Adding or removing a placement 

Repeating your studies 

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 (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.  If you repeat in attendance, you will normally be able to keep your Student visa. 
  • Repeat non-attending (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 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 if you meet the requirements to do so.

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 (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 meet the requirements to do so.

If you need to return to the UK during your time as a repeat non-attending student to sit exams, you can enter the UK on a Visitor visa.  To do this, you will need to request a letter of invitation from your Faculty. 

If you return to the UK on a Visitor visa in order to sit your exams, you must send a copy of your Visitor visa (or Visitor stamp) to the VISAS Team so that we can update your student record. We may ask you to show this to us in person.

When you are ready to return to your studies full-time, you will need to apply for a new Student visa from your country of permanent residence. It is not possible to switch from a Visitor visa to a Student visa inside the UK. To apply for a Student visa 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 study cap imposed on the total length of time that you are allowed to study in the UK at undergraduate degree level; we recommend that you discuss this with one of our Visa Advisors if you think you may exceed this 5-year cap. 

When you need to extend your visa, you should seek advice at one of our Visa Drop-in Sessions. Ideally, you should contact us at least 3 months before your current visa expires. 

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 Student 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 (for example a Bachelors instead of continuing with an integrated Master's), we must report this to UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI).  Once we have removed sponsorship, UKVI will curtail (cut short) 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 and return to your country of permanent residence to make a new 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 further information please see our Working after your studies webpage. Once you have left the UK, you will need to apply for the appropriate type of visa if you want to return to the UK.  

Graduation  

If you need to return to the United Kingdom to attend your Graduation, you will have to enter the UK as a  Standard Visitor. There is further information about this on our webpage. You will be able to request a letter to support your visa application/entry to the UK, when you apply online for your Graduation ceremony. Please see the University's  Graduation webpages for further information.  

Deferring your studies 

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 immediately notify the Admissions Team in your Faculty that you wish to defer your place. The University will then withdraw (cancel) your CAS.  You will need a new CAS to apply for a Student visa before starting your course.
  
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 apply for your visa but are unable to come to the UK to start your course here, you must tell us as soon as possible. It is likely that you will need  a new CAS in order to make a new visa application. 

Suspending or withdrawing 

I need to suspend my studies. What happens to my visa?  

If you suspend your studies, we are required to withdraw sponsorship of ( cancel) your visa.  You will then be given 60 days to either leave the UK or apply for a new visa under a different category of the Immigration Rules, if you meet the requirements to do so.  

You can only apply for a new Student visa from your country of permanent residence and you will need to make a new application before returning to your studies here. However, this will depend on the main purpose for your visit and how long you will need to be here. You should seek advice from the Visas Team at least 3 months before you are due to return here.
  
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 another immigration status that permits study).  If you are returning to study with a different type of immigration permission (not a Student visa), please contact us to arrange a 'right to study check'.

If you need to return here to complete your studies on a Student visa, then you will first require a new CAS. Please complete a Continuing Student CAS Request Form and send this to your Faculty for action.  

If you are only returning here to take exams or attend your viva, then you will need to enter the UK as a Standard Visitor.  There is further information about this on our webpage. Please contact your Faculty to request a letter of invitation to support your visa application or entry to the UK.  

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

If you withdraw from your studies, we are required to withdraw sponsorship of (cancel) your visa. You will then be given 60 days to either leave the UK or apply for a new visa under a different category of the Immigration Rules, if you meet the requirements to do so. 

 

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. Once you have stopped attending the University of Southampton and withdrawn from your course here, we will remove our sponsorship of your visa.

In order to apply for a new Student visa for your transfer, you must leave the UK within 60 days and make the application from your country of permanent residence, you cannot apply inside the UK as you will not have completed the course for which your CAS was issued. 

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 the University of Southampton. If you have a Student/Tier 4 visa and have successfully completed a previous course of study in the UK recently and will be starting a new course at Southampton, you will need to have a new visa for Southampton or provide evidence that you have applied for a new visa.

If you are transferring to Southampton from another Higher Education Institution but did not complete your course, you will have to return to your country of permanent residence to apply for a new visa. We recommend you discuss this with your Faculty to ensure you have enough time to return home, apply for your visa and then return here before the course starts. Your Faculty may not accept you if you are late for your course and you will then not be able to start. Please also contact us for advice about this.

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. This will depend on your individual circumstances and the start date of your course.

I have changed my immigration status. What do I need to do?  

If you previously held a Tier 4 or Student visa and now have a new immigration permission in a different category or if you have changed your nationality and have a new passport, you must contact the VISAS team. We must update your student record to comply with UK Visas & Immigration requirements. 

Please send a scan/photo of the following documents (as applicable) to visa@soton.ac.uk or to the same email address via Safesend:

  • Your passport photo page
  • Both sides of your new BRP card
  • Proof of your visa application

We will contact you again if you are required to visit the Student Support Hub in-person with your original document(s). 

If you previously held a Tier 4 or Student visa, we will need to remove sponsorship of (cancel) your visa. This means it will no longer be valid and you will need to abide by the restrictions relating to your new immigration status.  
 

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