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The University of Southampton
Student ServicesVisa and immigration

Renewing your visa from the UK

Our service

The Visa and Immigration Student Advice Service (VISAS Team) can provide immigration advice and assist students when they need to renew their Tier 4 (General) Student Visas in the UK. 

Pre-sessional students

Pre-sessional students

If you are a student on one of our Pre-sessional English language courses then please refer to our Pre-sessional visa renewal webpage for guidance.

Doctor Extension Scheme (DES)

Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES)

If you are planning on renewing or extending your visa through the DES then please visit our DES webpage for further information.

Useful Internal Links

Visa drop-in and appointments

Visa drop-in and appointments

You can talk to one of our visa advisors by coming to a visa drop-in session or you can book an appointment for an in depth discussion either in person or over the phone.

Enquiry form

Enquiry form

You can contact us through our online Enquiry Form. We strongly encourage people to contact us through the online Enquiry Form rather than to directly email us.



This page has a collection of podcasts including tutorials on applying for your visa and checking your documents.

External links

Please note: The University cannot accept responsibility for external websites.

How long can I study in the UK with a Tier 4 Visa?

There are different limits for the length of time you can study in the UK with a Tier 4 visa, depending on whether your course is at pre-degree level, or if it is at degree level or above. The University of Southampton (your Tier 4 Sponsor) will need to check that you will not exceed these limits before we can issue a CAS.


Pre-degree level courses

If you are 18 or over, then you will be limited to two years study on pre-degree courses with a Tier 4 visa. This could be made up of lots of short courses or one single course. Courses that you took when you were under 18 will not count towards the two year limit. You can read more about the pre-degree level limits on study and the circumstances where there may be a cap extension applied on the UKCISA website.

Degree level study

Any new Tier 4 application that you make, either in or outside the UK, must not lead to you spending more than five years in the UK on degree level courses. Any time that you have already spent in the UK studying at degree level will normally count towards this cap, but there are some exceptions. You can read more about the exceptions, and how the limits are calculated, on the UKCISA website.

It is important to remember that the rules for calculating time limits are complicated. Please seek advice if you are unsure whether or not you are likely to exceed the acceptable limits for Tier 4 (General).

After you submit your online Tier 4 application

If you submit your Tier 4 visa application through the VISAS Team and select the standard visa service:

  1. After you have submitted your online visa application, the University will post your supporting documents to the UK Visa & Immigration (UKVI).  You will receive an email confirming that your documents have been posted.
  2. When the UKVI have received your supporting documents, they will send you a letter to request that you submit your biometrics (biometric letter). The VISAS Team will notify you (via email) when your biometric letter is ready for collection.
  3. You will need to submit your biometrics as soon as possible. The letter you receive from UKVI will contain all the details of how to do this.
  4. After you have provided your biometric information, the UKVI will consider your application.
  5. The UKVI will send a decision letter to the University; you will be notified as soon as this is received.

Standard visa applications take around 8 weeks but can take longer at busy times of the year.  A delay in providing your biometrics will add a delay to the UKVI making a decision on your application. 

If your application is successful, the UKVI will send us:

  1. Your passport and all your documents.
  2. Your new BRP (Biometric Residence Permit) visa card, which contains all your visa information and electronic biometric data.

We will email you to collect all your documents from the Student Services Centre in Building 37.

When you collect your documents and your new visa, please check:

  1. The visa end date in case an error has been made. This should be four months after the end date of your course if your course is over one year in duration.
  2. That the work restrictions stated on your visa are correct.  Students on degree level courses and above are usually permitted to work 20 hours per week during term-time.  For further information please refer to our webpage on working in the UK.
  3. The decision letter from the Home Office will confirm if you are required to register with the police.  Police registration only applies to students from certain countries.
Visa drop-in and appointments

Visa drop-in and appointments

You can talk to one of our visa advisors by either coming along to one of our visa drop-in sessions or you can book an appointment for an in depth discussion.

Enquiry form

Enquiry form

Please use our online enquiry form rather than emailing us directly.

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