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Correct lengths of visa

It is important for you to check that your visa has been issued for the correct length of time. When considering your application for entry clearance (a visa) the British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate in your country should comply with the following guidance: 


Type/length of course Length of stay allowed
12 months or moreThe full length of the course + 4 months after the end of your course
6 months or more but less than 12 monthsThe full length of the course + 2 months after the end of your course
Pre-sessional course of less than 6 monthsThe full length of the course + 1 month after the end of your course
Course of less than 6 months that is not a pre-sessional courseThe full length of the course + 7 days after the end of your course
Postgraduate doctor or dentistThe full length of the course + 1 month after the end of your course


Dependants of students should be granted the same period as the student. Please note that you will not be able to bring family to the UK with you unless you are taking a postgraduate course which is over 12 months long, or you are a government-sponsored student and your course is longer than 6 months;

If you have financial sponsorship, and your financial sponsor limits the time you may study in the UK, your visa will be issued for the same length of time (which is stated on the sponsor letter) plus the usual post-course period allowed.

It is important that you make sure that you have the right entry clearance (visa) before leaving home to travel to the UK. If you are issued with entry clearance (a visa) that does not comply with this guidance, you should ask the Entry Clearance Officer or Entry Clearance Manager to change it before travelling to the UK.

For example: A student studying a MSc program starting 18/09/2014 and finishing 29/09/2015 should expect the entry clearance (visa) to be valid until 29/01/2016. The full length of the course plus 4 additional months. 

What to do if you think your visa has not been issued for the correct length of time after arrival in the UK

The Home Office’s Referred Casework Unit now operates an entry clearance amendment process.  If you think you have not been granted the correct length of leave you should contact us as soon as possible, and we will assist you.  NB corrections can only be made where an error has occurred.  If you have been granted leave for a different course or institution, a fresh application for leave must be made.


Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information herein, Cardiff University can accept no responsibility for errors or omissions. Cardiff University is not responsible for the content or reliability of the linked websites and does not necessarily endorse the views expressed within. The government makes changes to the immigration rules and procedures on a regular basis, so it is important that you check the current guidance and rules when applying for a visa. For further information visit UKCISA and the Home Office websites.