Finishing your studies as a student visa holder

Updated on 9 March 2023

This guide covers some questions that you may have once you have completed your studies with us.

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When must you leave the UK?

The Home Office expects you to leave the UK on or before your visa expiry date, unless you have applied to extend your stay or to switch into another immigration category.

The length of your student visa depends on the length of your course.  This is stated in the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) which was issued to you by our Admissions team. The Home Office varies this leave if you are government sponsored and then limits your stay in the UK to meet your sponsor's requirements.

Course length Additional months granted at end of course
12 months or longer 4 months after course end date
6 - 12 months 2 months after course end date
Masters courses covered by the Tier 4 Pilot (if you applied for your student visa prior to 5 October 2020) 6 months after course end date
Pre-sessional course 1 month after course end date
Courses less than 6 months, for example medical elective 7 days after course end date

The course end date:

  • is when the University expects you to have completed all required elements of the course
  • is the same for all students on that course
  • does not include graduation

Curtailing your student visa

In certain circumstances your student visa may be curtailed.

If you complete your course early 

If you finish your course earlier than the end date in your CAS, do not assume you can remain in the UK until the date of expiry of your visa.

The Home Office requires the University to inform them if a student completes their course earlier than expected. The Home Office normally limits your permission to the standard post-study period of leave. This means that if you have completed your course more than 12 months after the course start date entered on your original CAS, you will receive a curtailment period of 4 months.

Leaving the UK after early completion

If you leave the UK after early completion of studies, or are already outside the UK, your leave to enter or remain will lapse under Article 13(3) of the Immigration (Leave to Enter and Remain) Order 2000. You may then require a new visa to enter the UK. Please contact the Immigration Compliance Team if you have any queries about this.

    Visa expiry and ‘overstaying’

    Overstaying by even one day is a criminal offence

    You must leave the UK by the expiry date of your visa unless you have submitted a visa application to extend your permission in the UK. There is no ‘grace period’ following the expiry date of your visa. 

    Even if you are able to enter the UK as a visitor without a visa you cannot switch from a student to visitor status from within the UK but need to leave the UK and enter as a visitor. Entry to the UK is at the discretion of Border Force officials.

    The University will not allow you to continue your studies as an ‘overstayer’. You would also need to declare this on any future visa application to the UK and many other countries.

    Working after your course ends

    The options for working in the UK after study depend on your immigration status

    Visas for graduation

    If your graduation takes place after your existing student visa expires, you will need to apply to return to the UK under the Standard Visitor (tourist) immigration route.  You must apply for this visa from outside the UK. 

    Non-visa nationals do not need to apply for this visa in advance but must leave the UK in order to re-enter as a visitor.

    Continuing to a further degree at Dundee

    If you are continuing to a further course at Dundee, you must apply for a new student visa within six weeks of your new course start date or before your leave expires, whichever is earlier.

    If you are in the UK on a student visa, you can only apply to extend your visa from inside the UK if:

    • you have obtained the qualification for which your current immigration permission was granted. If you have not obtained the qualification, you will need to apply for your new visa from outside the UK
    • your new course start date is less than 28 days after your current visa expiry date. For instance, if your visa for your Master’s course ends on 30 August, and you are starting a PhD which begins on 1 October, this gap exceeds 28 days and you will need to submit your new student visa application outside the UK, in your country of nationality or residence

    Immigration Compliance

    +44 (0)1382 386750