Academic Progression 

The Home Office UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) has made changes to the academic progression rule for Tier 4 students with effect from 6 April 2016.  This webpage contains important information for Tier 4 (General) visa holders who may be affected the changes.

It is particularly important for students who are:

  • On a placement or considering going on placement in future; or
  • Considering transferring or required to transfer to another programme; or
  • Postgraduate students who have recently applied for, or intend to apply for an extension to the submission date for final dissertation; or
  • Students who have or are due to sit or retake a module.

The academic progression rule is in place to ensure that you are progressing academically if you wish to study a further course in the UK, and are not merely seeking to extend your stay in the UK. The Home Office require Tier 4 sponsors to include a statement in a student's Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) confirming that the student will be making academic progress on the course they have applied for, from any study previously undertaken in the UK.

To demonstrate academic progression, your new course must normally be above the level of the previous course for which you were given Tier 4 leave. For example, if your previous course was at Bachelor Degree level or equivalent your next course should be at least Masters or above.  In order to demonstrate academic progression you must have successfully completed (meaning you have achieved the qualification for which you were studying) the previous course for which you were last granted Tier 4 leave.

Failure to evidence the academic progression requirement would result in a visa refusal.


You do not need to show academic progression if:

  • you are a Tier 4 (Child) Student;
  • you are making a Tier 4 (General) application from overseas;
  • you are making a first application to complete an existing course commenced at a Tier 4 sponsor that had its licence revoked;
  • you are applying to resit an examination or repeat a course module;
  • you are applying to complete the PhD or other doctoral qualification for which you were last given Tier 4 or Student leave (including where you are completing the qualification at a new sponsor); or
  • you are applying to complete the qualification for which you were last given Tier 4 or Student leave after a period as a student union sabbatical officer.

Further guidance

As a result of the changes, some students who need additional time on their visa may not be able to extend their visa in the UK and may need to leave the UK in order to make their Tier 4 (General) visa application. 

Please click on the appropriate section for further guidance on your options for academic progression: 

Authorised absence

In instances where you need to take a short break from your studies, the University may approve a period of authorised absence. 

Tier 4 Policy Guidance

More information about the specific rules imposed by the Home Office that relate to this communication can be found in the Tier 4 Policy Guidance (page 21- 25 ) (71- 76).

CAS request

You should aim to make your Tier 4 visa application as early as possible, once you have gathered your supporting documents. The application process from outside the UK normally takes around 3 weeks. This UKVI website calculates visa processing times.

Some countries offer a priority application service which takes around 3-5 working days. Visit the government's website to find a visa application centre.

If you do require further leave please be aware that there is a time limit on how long a person can spend studying in the UK whilst holding a Tier 4 (General) or Student visa. 


UKVI can change immigration rules or Tier 4 policy guidance at short notice.  We understand changes to the rules can be confusing however the International Students Advisory Service (ISAS) is here to support you.  The ISAS will be delivering a workshop for any students that may be affected by these changes due to Academic Progression