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Continuing Students and Recent Graduates Re-Entering the UK

Section 1: Purpose and Contents of this page:

This page has been made to provide guidance to Continuing Students and Recent Graduates Re-Entering the UK.

Please ensure you have carefully read the guidance provided for your situation BEFORE you contact Student Immigration.


Section 3: I am leaving the UK for a short period, are there any travel safety tips and what should I carry when I return to the UK?

Always travel with a copy of your passport and visa/BRP or digital copies you can access easily. If your hotel has a safe, store the original documents there and carry duplicates when out and about.

If your visa is a separate BRP card, remember that you will need both this and your passport to re-enter the UK when travelling overseas.

Be mindful of your surroundings, never leave bags open or unattended and avoid carrying on your person high-cost items like digital cameras or tablets.

If travelling overseas, take out comprehensive travel insurance which will cover both your personal belongings and health care.

If the worst happens and you lose your passport and/or visa, follow our lost passports and visas pageLink opens in a new window for full advice on how to re-enter the UK.

When returning to the UK, you are advised to carry the following documents in your hand luggage:

  • Your passport
  • Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) (if you have one)
  • Status letter confirming your registration at Warwick.
  • Police Registration Certificate (if this is required).
  • Any evidence that you have been given consent to be absent from studies, for example, print-out of an email (if the travel will take place outside recognised University vacation periods because you have no class scheduled, or if you have been given permission by your academic department or the University).
    • This should only be presented at the UK border upon request.
  • Financial evidence to support a new student visa application (if your current visa is about to expire and you intend to make a new student visa application when you return to the UK)

Section 4: I am planning to travel after my dissertation submission date/last exam date but before the official course end date, am I allowed to re-enter the UK using my student visa if it is still valid?

If you will return to the UK before your 'course end date' as detailed in your CAS, then you should be permitted entry because you are still a registered student and meet the requirement of your student visa.

The fact that you have fulfilled the academic requirement of the course does not change your immigration status as a student.

However, if you have had a course change (from a longer to a shorter course), or, are completing your research course earlier, and the university has reported your 'early completion', then you should not attempt to return to the UK using your current student visa after the date of the report - you will receive an email notification within 24 hours of the report being made.

  • This is because the report will trigger curtailment of your visa and you do not always receive notification from the UKVI successfully.

If you are returning to the UK very close to your course end date then you may expect the immigration officer at border control to question your reason for returning to the UK.

We would therefore recommend that you bring:

  • Evidence that you are a current student, for example: A Student Status LetterLink opens in a new window
  • Evidence of return ticket for leaving the UK, if available
  • Evidence of your purpose for returning to the UK, for example: A copy of a new CAS/offer if you will pursue further studies, a copy of an email confirming you will attend a Graduation Ceremony, or a print-out of a CoS if you have secured sponsorship for a work visa etc.

You should present these only if you are asked to do so and these should mitigate the risk of you being refused entry.

You should avoid mention of work, if at all possible without being dishonest, as this often raises doubts in a border force officer's mind about your real reasons for re-entering the UK.

Section 5: I am planning to leave the UK after I have finished my course but before I have attended my graduation ceremony. Am I allowed to re-enter the UK using my student visa, if it is still valid, to attend my graduation ceremony?

Since March 2018, we have been assured by the Home Office UKVI Policy Team that the Border Force officers have been briefed that attending the Graduation Ceremony is a permitted activity for students who have completed their course successfully, but NOT as a result of early completion, hold a valid student visa and wish to return to the UK for the purpose of attending their Graduation Ceremony.

If you fall into this category, you no longer need to apply for a Visitor visa, although you can if you wish to if you have plans on staying as a visitor in the UK longer than the student visa expiry date.

Please note however, that the Border Force officials retain the right to establish that you are genuinely coming back to the UK to do what you said you would, and so it is important that you have sufficient evidence in your hand luggage in case you are asked, for example, the email sent from the Awards & Ceremonies Team confirming your registration, the email from professional services or your academic department confirming you have passed your degree or the return ticket to your home country after the Graduation CeremonyLink opens in a new window, etc.

If you have any questions about inviting family/friends to attend your Graduation Ceremony, please refer to the Graduation Portal for further information, including information on visitor visas.

Section 6: I am planning to travel in Europe/return to my home country after I have finished my course. However, I want to return to the UK before my student visa expiry date. Am I allowed to re-enter the UK using my student visa if there are good reasons, for example, if I have secured an internship or if I need to re-sit/ re-submit?

Since March 2018, we have been assured by the Home Office UKVI Policy Team that if your complete your course successfully, (and NOT as a result of early completionLink opens in a new window), the Border Force officers have been briefed that returning to the UK after the 'course end date' on your CAS to pursue further studies (including undertaking re-sits), undertake internship or look for internship or switch to a work visa etc., should not be considered as a 'change of circumstance'.

Therefore, if you have completed your course successfully, hold a valid student visa and wish to return to the UK for one of the reasons as stated above, you should be permitted to re-enter the UK.

However, please note that the Border Force officials retain the right to establish that you are genuinely coming back to the UK to do what you said you would, and so it is important that you have sufficient evidence in your hand luggage in case you are asked, for example, a letter confirming your internship, evidence that you are looking for internship, an exam board decision email that you are required to re-sit, a print-out of sponsorship for work visa, an email from professional services or your academic department confirming you have passed your degree, a return ticket to your home country before your Tier 4 visa expiry date etc.

As with any changes, some of the UK Border Force officials may not remember this and so the safest option is always not to leave the UK during this period, especially if the stakes are high, for example, if you already have a visa sponsorship for a work visa and failure to re-enter the UK may mean that you lose the opportunity for the sponsored work visa.

Section 7: I have plans to apply for the Graduate Route (PSW) visa and I have completed my course however I want to travel overseas. Can I re-enter the UK without facing any issues?

  • You will need to be in the UK on a student visa to be able to apply for the graduate route. The UKVI does not accept appliation for this visa from overseas
  • You can re-enter the UK as long as your current student visa is valid
  • You do not need to carry any additional letters from the University
  • Please be aware that one of the Graduate route application requirements is that you should not be absent from the UK for more than 3 months within a 12 month period hence plan your overseas trip accordingly
  • You can apply for the graduate route visa any time before the current student visa expires even up to a day before the current visa expiry date. You will be legally allowed to stay in the UK and work while the Graduate route visa application is being processed however you cannot travel outside the UK till the graduate route visa is granted.
  • if incase you lose your BRP overseas, you will need to get a replace travel visa to enter the UK. Refer to our LOST BRP pageLink opens in a new window

Section 8: I am a Student with dependants or a baby born in the UK

Students with dependants including babies born in the UKLink opens in a new window, for whom leave has not been applied for and obtained should seek advice from the student Immigration Service before travelling out of the UK with their baby.

This is because the immigration rules have changed and there is now a restriction on applying for leave for a baby born within the UK. P;ease also see advice provided by UKCISALink opens in a new window.

This could mean student parents needing to obtain entry clearance from outside the UK before being able to re-enter with their baby.

If you have specific queries that have not been covered here, please contact the student Immigration ServiceLink opens in a new window.