Change of circumstances during your student visa

Updated on 9 March 2023

If your circumstances change during your studies there could be implications for your student visa.

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For some changes you must inform the Home Office - for instance, a change of address.

Other changes must be reported to the Home Office by the University as your visa sponsor and may affect your Student visa. The Immigration Compliance Team are responsible for submitting reports to the Home Office on behalf of the University.

The Immigration Compliance Team will notify you by e-mail of any reports to the Home Office that may affect your immigration status.

Changing your course

If you applied for your current Student visa on or after 6 April 2016 your visa only permits you to change course if you fulfil all of the following requirements:

  • The new course is at the same or a higher level as the course for which your visa was granted
  • The new course can be completed within the existing validity of your current visa, unless you are progressing from a bachelor's to a master's as part of an integrated programme

If the University approves a change of course, and the new course meets the conditions outlined above, this will be reported to the Home Office. If you have been issued a visa for a bachelor's only and are progressing to an integrated master's, you will be required to apply for a new Student visa.

If your new course is at a lower level or your visa will expire prior to the new course completion date, you will need to apply for a new visa for your new course from outside the UK. You will not be able to start your new course until you have returned on the new visa. There is an exception if you are applying to extend your visa to progress from a bachelor's to a master's as part of an integrated programme as you can apply for the new visa from inside the UK.

Changes to your research 

If you are studying for a PhD-level research degree, master's course, or four year undergraduate degree in certain science and technology subjects, you will require an ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) clearance certificate.

Deferring your studies

If you have been granted a break in studies and your break is for more than 60 days, the University must notify the Home Office and can no longer sponsor you. The Home Office will then curtail your visa to 60 days. We will be able to sponsor you again and issue a new CAS to support a new visa application at the end of the break.

For a break of up to 60 days, the University can only continue visa sponsorship if you can complete your course within the leave period of your existing visa. If you do not return to studies after the agreed break, we can no longer sponsor you.

We cannot continue to sponsor your visa if you take a break for either an internship or to study a different course, regardless of the duration.

Discontinuing your studies

If you:

  • withdraws from their studies
  • are withdrawn by the University
  • ​are research postgraduate student who does not submit their thesis for examination by the deadline 
  • ​are a research postgraduate student who exits with a lower level award

Then we must notify the Home Office, who will curtail your visa to 60 days from the date action is taken. During this time you must leave the UK or or apply for a new visa.

Additional time

The University expects you to complete your course according to the date provided in your CAS. If you are approved to have more time to complete your studies, you should be aware of the following implications for your visa:

PhD students

If you have been approved to have more time to complete your studies and your current visa does not cover this additional period, you can apply to extend your visa within the UK, you need to ensure you submit your application prior to your current visa’s expiration date. You can contact the International Advice Service for support in making your new application.

Undergraduate and taught postgraduate students

If there are more than 60 days (excluding recognized vacations) before your next period of study, the University is required to cease visa sponsorship and report the change of circumstances to the Home Office. The Home Office will subsequently curtail your visa to 60 days within which time you will be required to leave the UK or apply for a new visa. As you will have stopped your studies prior to completion of your course, you will no longer be entitled to work on your current Student visa.

A student studying an undergraduate or Postgraduate Taught course would not meet Student visa academic progression requirements to be able to extend their visa in the UK. If your current visa does not cover the additional time required to complete your studies, you will either need to apply for a new Student visa from overseas to resume studies or, if you will be returning to re-take part of your course or re-sit examinations following an examination allowance and the period is less than 6 months, come under the Short-term study route.

Change of immigration status

If your visa, passport, address or immigration status change then there are steps that must be followed to ensure that the University and Home Office are kept informed. The process for each change is outlined below.

  • If you obtain a new passport, visa or BRP during your studies, you must present these documents to the Immigration Compliance Team for scanning straight away so we can update your student record.
  • If you switch from a Student visa to another visa category (e.g. settlement, Tier 2), or have another status that means you no longer require a Student visa, you must notify us within seven working days of the change and present us with documentary evidence (normally your new passport or visa). The University is required to report this change to the Home Office.
  • If you move you should update the Home Office of a change in address by using the online form at GOV.UK. You should also ensure that you update your semester study address on e-vision so the University has the most up to date contact details for you. It is expected that during your time as a student with us that you live in Dundee or the surrounding area to ensure that you can attend any on campus activity.

How to report changes

There are some instances in which a change of details will mean you need to apply for a new BRP card, they are listed below:

  • change of name, for example if you have got married
  • change of nationality
  • change of gender
  • change of appearance

If you only have a visa vignette in your passport, you will need to update the Home Office on these changes using the change of circumstances form at GOV.UK.

If any of the below changes occur, you need to report them to the Home Office using the change of circumstances form at GOV.UK. regardless of the visa type you have:

  • criminal convictions
  • passport number
  • dependent s' details, for example if the relationship breaks down

Early completion

If you complete your course earlier than originally stated on your CAS, the University is required to report this to the Home Office. Subsequently your Student visa may be curtailed to the standard post-study period you are entitled to following the end of your course. If you leave the UK after your visa has been curtailed or are already outside the UK at the time of curtailment, you should not re­ enter the UK on your current Student visa.

Changing your mode of study

As an institution we only issue a CAS for visa applications for full-time study. If a postgraduate research student wishes to change from full-time to part-time study, or vice-versa, you need to contact the Immigration Compliance Team to discuss any impact on your visa.

Studying abroad or off-campus

If you are undertaking a period of study abroad as an approved part of your course or are approved to 'study off-campus' (such as for fieldwork or 'writing up') it is possible to retain your Student visa so long as your Academic Supervisor agrees to continue to register your engagement.

Work placements or internships

If your course includes a work placement in the UK, the University must notify the Home Office of your change in location. For more information about work placements and internships while studying at Dundee see working on a student visa.


Immigration Compliance

+44 (0)1382 386750