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Authorised Absence (AA)

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What is authorised absence and how does it work?

Please click on the relevant section below to expand the guidance.
  • All enrolled students who do not hold a UK/EU/EEA/Swiss Passport, at any level may be required to take a period of Authorised Absence (AA) if they find themselves without a valid visa either because:

      • Their visa has expired
      • They have received a visa refusal/rejection
      • Their visa has been curtailed/cancelled

    International Students can also request a period of AA for the following additional reasons:

    Undergraduate students:

    AA is only available to undergraduate students during the final three weeks of the summer term for the purpose of undertaking an internship.

    This process is managed by the Student Immigration and Compliance Team based in Student Opportunity.

    For more information, please click here.

    Postgraduate students:

    Postgraduate Taught students (e.g., taught Master's students) may request AA for any of the reasons listed below, but NOT for the purpose of a vacation, to work more than 20 hours a week or to undertake an internship.

    Postgraduate Research students may request AA for any of the reasons listed below, but NOT to undertake an internship.

    Acceptable reasons for requesting a period of AA might include:


    Medical treatment or surgery


    To undertake work in excess of 20 hours a week (PhD students only)

  • Postgraduate students must seek the approval of their academic department when requesting a period of AA.

    Time taken as AA cannot be 'claimed back' as with temporary withdrawal.

      • You must not repeat any element of your course or extend your course end date because of the AA.

    Your department will need to assess whether you can satisfactorily complete your course within the original time frame and this may affect the decision to approve your request or may limit the amount of time your department is able to grant.

    Postgraduate taught students are permitted a maximum of 42 calendar days as AA per 12 month period.

      • The 12 month period starting from the course start date.

    Postgraduate research students are permitted a maximum of 42 calendar days as AA per 12 month period (exceptions apply - if you require longer than 42 days please make an appointment with an International Student Adviser to discuss your specific circumstances - click 'connect with us' link at the foot of this webpage).

      • The 12 month period starting from the course start date.
      • Please note, it is not possible to carry over unused AA days into the next 12 month period.

    For Postgraduate Research students in Limbo (have submitted thesis and waiting VIVA): You can request Authorised absence to work full time during the time you have submitted your thesis upto a day before the VIVA date.

      • If you pass your VIVA with corrections or resubmission then you will again be bound by 20 hours per week restrictions again till you have submitted your work.
      • If you pass your VIVA straight away (without corrections) then you can work more than 20 hours per week. See details below

    For Postgraduate Research students who have had their VIVA and have passed straight away OR have submitted their corrections, please see information on WORKING RIGHTS Link opens in a new window

    Any break in study longer than 42 calendar days, or below 42 calendar days but not approved as an AA, would usually need to be referred for temporary withdrawal according to university regulations, as will failure to resume studies at the end of the agreed period of AA.

  • No, a period of AA will not be reported to the Home Office.

  • No, your immigration status will not be affected and you are not required to leave the UK.

    However, If you fail to return to your studies on the agreed date of return, you will be temporarily withdrawn from your course and a report will be made to the UKVI informing them of this.

  • **Process from 18 March 2020 due to COVID-19**

    You must complete the following from before the next working day after your period of AA has ended.

    SO: Immigration & Compliance | Confirmation of re-engagement with studies

    This is very important so that we know you have resumed your studies and can conclude your AA record.

      • If you do not resume studies by the expected date the University can take action to temporarily withdraw you.

    It is therefore very important that you notify your academic department and Student Immigration & Compliance if:

      • You cannot resume your studies after an agreed period of AA