I have a Tier 4 visa and need to take leave of absence. Can I stay in the UK during my leave of absence?
If you are an international student who requires a Tier 4 student visa to study in the UK then you should be aware that your immigration status will be affected as a leave of absence means that you will not be a registered student at the University.
As a Home Office Tier 4 Sponsor, the University of Birmingham will no longer continue to sponsor you as a Tier 4 visa student and we are required to report withdrawal of immigration sponsorship to the Home Office within 10 days of the change to your student status. The Home Office will curtail (shorten) your visa and you will be required to leave the UK.
If, after the University has withdrawn immigration sponsorship, you decide to remain in the UK, you are responsible for meeting a specialist immigration solicitor to switch your visa category from Tier 4 (General) Student to another visa category.
You are strongly advised to contact the International Student Team (IST) for immigration advice as soon as possible.
To avoid accidentally over-staying in the UK illegally, we strongly recommend that you leave the UK as soon as possible, otherwise you may become an overstayer.
Overstaying means staying in the UK after the expiry date of your visa - this includes overstaying curtailment changes. There is no "grace period" within which you can lawfully overstay your visa. If you overstay your visa expiry date by more than 30 days we expect that you will be barred from coming back to the UK for at least 12 months. This is because overstaying in the UK is a criminal offence.
It is essential that you always take the necessary steps to protect your immigration status and not overstay in the UK.
If you overstay, this will be held on UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) record. Overstaying will have serious consequences for any future immigration applications that you make you make to the UK, including applications for countries other than the UK when you are expected to tell them about any visa overstays. Failure to disclose an overstay can result in you being barred from entering the UK for ten years.
If your leave of absence if less than 2 months and the decision is made that the University is not going to withdraw your sponsorship, the University will confirm this to you by email and advise you further on what is expected from you at the point of return from Leave of Absence.