What is an interruption?
An interruption is a temporary break from your studies. Please read our article How can I take a break from my course? for more information.
I'm interrupting for more than 60 days
If you’re taking an interruption longer than 60 days, the university will report your interruption to UKVI and your visa will be cancelled.
UKVI will contact you by letter or email to confirm the date that your visa has been shortened to, and to confirm that you have 60 days from that date to leave the UK.
We can’t confirm how long it will take UKVI to cancel your visa. Therefore, we advise you to make plans to leave the UK within 60 days of being reported by the university. You’ll receive an email from the Visa Compliance team confirming that you’ve been reported to UKVI.
Remaining in the UK for a long period after you’ve finished studying could have a negative impact on your immigration history, even if your visa hasn’t been shortened yet.
We support students to re-apply for a new Student visa when they’re ready to return to the UK. Have a look at our Student Visa Interactive Guide for more information.
About 3-4 months before you’re due to return to your studies, we recommend that you:
- Request a new CAS after reading our article How do I change information in my CAS?
- Contact our International Student Advice team if you’d like support with your next Student visa application.
Important to know:
There's a limit to the amount of time you can study certain programmes on a Student visa. This is calculated using the length of time a Student visa is valid, rather than the amount of time studying.
This means that if it takes some time for your Student visa to be cancelled during your interruption, there's a risk that the time limit will be reached - this means that you can't apply for a new Student visa to return to the UK after your interruption.
Please see the UK Council for International Student Affairs' website for more information, and contact our International Student Advice team if you're worried that this might affect you.
I'm interrupting for less than 60 days
If you’re taking an interruption of less than 60 days and you can still complete your programme within the validity of your current visa, the immigration rules will usually allow us to continue to sponsor your Student visa during this time.
If you’ve recently taken an interruption, this might not be the case. This is subject to your department approving an interruption of less than 60 days.
What if I'm a PhD student?
If you received the automatic 3-month extension in 2020 due to COVID-19 or you've previously taken a 59-day interruption during this academic year, it's likely that an interruption could impact your end date and therefore your Student/Tier 4 visa sponsorship may be withdrawn.
If you need a short period of time away from your studies (for example, a holiday) and you don't believe it'll impact your end date, you could think about taking annual leave.
Important to know:
- Your annual leave entitlement of 8 weeks includes UK public holidays and university closure days.
- Your annual leave would need to be agreed with your supervisor.
- Annual leave would not change your submission date.
Graduate Route eligibility
Immigration rules do change. Therefore, we advise you to check the Graduate Route rules up to 3 months before you’re due to apply for this visa to make sure you remain eligible for it.
A break from your studies doesn’t directly impact your eligibility for the Graduate Route, as long as you get a new student visa when you return to your studies. The current Graduate Route Caseworker guidance states:
"For the purposes of assessing the Study in the UK requirement, the caseworker must consider all periods of Student permission which were granted to study the eligible qualification that the applicant subsequently successfully completed. This means that an applicant who was unable to complete their studies in one period of Student permission, for reasons such as maternity leave or sickness, and who consequently deferred their studies and completed the course of studies at a later date with Student permission, will have all those periods counted."
This means you’ll need to return to the UK to complete your course on a Student visa and meet all other requirements for the Graduate Route.