The time limit for studying below degree level (below RQF level 6) from the age of 18 on a Tier 4 (General)/Student visa is 2 years.
Courses below RQF level 6 include GCSEs, A-Levels, BTECs, the International Foundation Programme, and Pre-Sessional English.
A concession extends the limit to 2 years 11 months if you have never studied in the UK as a Tier 4 (General)/Student before and you are applying for permission to study a two-year course.
Courses at undergraduate level (RQF level 6)
You cannot usually spend more than 5 years studying at RQF level 6 from the age of 18 under the Tier 4/Student route.
In some cases, a concession increases the limit to 5 years 11 months where students have studied for 5 academic years but would be prevented by the limit from completing a fifth academic year of study at undergraduate level. They must be able to complete the current or new course within 11 months of the 5-year limit being reached.
There are no time limits for study on postgraduate courses.
How to calculate study time limits
Time studying on a Tier 4 (Child), Child Student, or on a Tier 4 (General)/Student route visa before the 18th birthday of the student is not counted.
Any month involved is rounded up or down and if a date is exactly in the middle of the month it is rounded down.
The following periods of leave are added together in working out the total time for study limit purposes:
•the period being applied for in the Student route application; and
•the student’s current and/or previous Student or Tier 4 (General) student permission granted for study at RQF level 6 or below as appropriate. This includes periods granted before the course start date and after the course end date and any time spent whilst waiting for the Home Office to curtail a student visa; and
•and any periods spent studying while holding permission under section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971.
Need more help?
If clarification is needed on any aspect of the Rules or you have questions about your application, please email the International Student Advisory Team at email@example.com where we will respond to you as soon as possible, alternatively telephone +44(0)118 378 8038.