The Home Office has a time limit of five years for degree level study. Any new Student visa (previously Tier 4) application must lead to you spending no more than five years on courses at degree level. All previous visas under the Student route (or as a pre-Student route) count towards the five years and this includes the short extra time you are given before the course (maximum one month) and after a course (maximum four months).
The five year limit does not apply if:
- if you are applying to study a course at a higher education institution (HEI) and the five year cap would prevent you from completing a fifth academic year at degree level or above, then the limit is extended to five years and 11 months.
- if you have successfully completed a UK degree course which was at least four years long, and you are making a Student visa application to study a Master's degree at a higher education institution (recognised body or institution in receipt of public funding), the limit is six years and 11 months
- if your Student visa application is to study a PhD or one of the postgraduate research qualifications listed in Annex 4 of the Home Office Student visa policy guidance
- if you have already completed a PhD or one of the postgraduate research qualifications listed in Annex 4 of the Home Office Student visa policy guidance. In the UK, any new Student visa application is subject to an eight year limit (including courses below degree level, but not including Student leave granted under the Doctorate Extension Scheme).
- if you are applying to study on or continue a course in:
- veterinary medicine and science
- music at a conservatoire
this period of study will be exempt from the limit.
- if you have completed a UK degree, and your current Student visa application is to study certain legal qualifications, the legal qualification is exempt from the limit. In England and Wales the relevant qualifications are a law conversion course, a Legal Practice Course and the Bar Professional Training Course. In Northern Ireland the relevant qualifications are a Masters in Legal Science (MLegSc), the Solicitors Course and the Bar Course. In Scotland the relevant qualifications are an accelerated graduate LLB and a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice.
Please read the Home Office Student and Child Student Guidance before applying for a Student visa.