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Length of visa granted and Study Limits

When will my visa be valid from?

For a Tier 4 visa application made outside of the UK: if you are pursing a course that is six months or longer, or for a pre-sessional course that is less than six months, leave will be granted up to one month before the start date of your course, or, 7 days before your 'intended travel date' (this is the date you put on the visa application form), whichever is later.

Tier 4 students coming to the UK for more than 6 months will be issued a 1 month temporary travel visa which should be used to enter the UK. The UKVI decision letter will confirm the full duration of the visa and give instructions for when and where to collect a BRP card. If you have been issued a Tier 4 visa inside your passport which is longer than 6 months you must contact the visa application centre to have this corrected.

If you are pursuing a course that is less than six months long and is not a pre-sessional course, your visa will be valid from up to seven days before the start date of the course.

For a Tier 4 visa application made within the UK: it will be valid from the date a decision is made on your visa application.

Length of visa granted

The table below explains how much time a Tier 4 (General) student can come to the UK for:

Type of course Length of course Length of stay allowed *
Main course of Study (including Sabbatical Officers) 12 months or more The full length of the course Plus 4 months after the end of the course
  6 months or more, but less than 12 months The full length of the course Plus 2 months after the end of the course
  Less than 6 months The full length of the course Plus 7 days after the end of the course
Pre-sessional courses 12 months or more The full length of the course Plus 4 months after the end of the course
  6 months or more, but less than 12 months The full length of the course Plus 2 months after the end of the course
  Less than 6 months The full length of the course Plus 1 month after the end of the course
Postgraduate doctors and dentists on a recognised Foundation programme   The full length of the course (up to a maximum of 3 years) Plus 1 month after the end of the course

* Please note that if you are going to study a postgraduate Master's degree which is 13 months or less in length f (including if you are attending a Pre-sessional course immediately before that), and your CAS states that it is assigned under the 'Tier 4 Pilot' Scheme, your visa length will be the full length of your course plus 6 months after the end of the course.

If your course is 6 months or longer, you will receive a temporary travel visa (a sticker in your passport) which is valid for 30 days and a decision letter confirming how to collect your BRP (Biometric Residence Permit) card once you arrive in the UK. Your study conditions (work permission, police registration, length of visa etc.) are endorsed in your temporary travel visa and/or decision letter and so you should check all the details carefully and keep them safe.

What if I am applying to resume studies after taking a break (temporary withdrawal/resit without residence)?

You should still be entitled the same additional months after the end of the course as outlined above, even if the period of study after resumption is shorter. For example, if you are on a 3-year course and took a temporary withdrawal after 2.5 years of study, and are returning to the UK to complete the last 3 months of your studies using a Tier 4 visa, you should still be entitled to 4 additional months of leave after the official 'course end date' as stated in your CAS.

What if there is an error on my entry clearance visa?

If you believe there is an error on your entry clearance visa (this is the visa sticker in your passport), for example, if the decision letter indicates that you have not been granted the correct amount of leave as outlined above, there is a chance a mistake may have been made. If it is not possible to correct the error before you travel, once you arrive in the UK you should look into correcting the error.