Students Staff

Your studies and Tier 4

Intermitting or Leave of Absence

Before taking a break in your studies you should seek immigration advice from the International Services Team as this could have serious consequences for your future plans.

There is a maximum number of years you can spend in the UK studying so any changes to your studies that will result in you spending longer than planned obtaining your qualification must be considered very carefully.

During intermission

During a period of intermission or leave of absence you won't be meeting all the requirements and conditions of your immigration permission and must leave the UK. You should only return shortly before you are due to resume your studies and will usually need to apply for a new Tier 4 visa before you return to the UK.

As a Tier 4 sponsor, our University is required to report changes in your studies to the Home Office. We are only able to sponsor you under Tier 4 (General) for the periods that you are required to be in attendance.

Taking a very short break

If you need a very short break, for instance a couple of weeks, then you can request to be absent from your department. If agreed, this would be an authorised absence and would be allowed within the Tier 4 rules and requirements.


If you are pregnant you may be able to take a longer authorised absence of up to six weeks. This will be up to your department and can’t be guaranteeed. If you need more time off than what your department agree to as authorised absence, you will need to intermit and must leave the UK during that period. We recommend you seek immigration advice from the International Services Team in the first instance by completing our online enquiry form. We may need to refer you to an immigration lawyer.

Further information and advice