If you're a student on Tier 4 visa, it's important to be aware of certain information before travelling abroad as there may be limitations or additional visas that you need to obtain.
Travelling during your course
You may need a Schengen visa to visit other countries in Europe. Read more about Schengen visas.
Please take very great care of your passport and Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) while you are travelling. Each year many students are pick-pocketed or lose their BRP when travelling. You will not be able to travel back to the UK until you have a replacement passport and then apply for a ‘replacement BRP’ visa to allow you to re-enter the UK. The new visa takes time and costs £154. Meanwhile you will be stuck outside the UK. Once you get back to the UK you will need to apply for a new BRP within 1 month of your return and have to pay a fee for this application. This also takes time.
If you have applied for a Tier 4 Visa in the UK and are waiting for a decision you can not travel outside the UK or your Tier 4 visa will be cancelled.
Travelling after the end of your course
If you will be travelling out of the UK after your course has ended you will be travelling in the period at the end of your visa now known as your post-study period (previously called a wrap-up period).
Most students on a degree course that lasts longer than 12 months will have a Tier 4 visa which expires 4 months after their course end date.
Your official course end date will have been given in your Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) when you applied for your Tier 4 Visa.
The Tier 4 Policy Guidance explains that once your sponsor has confirmed your studies are complete you enter the post-study period and can ‘enter and leave the UK’ during this time.
However, you must be aware that if you do travel during your post- study period, on your return to the UK Border Force Officials may ask you questions about what you will be doing in the UK and how long you will remain in the UK.
If you are questioned, you must be clear that you have returned to the UK to complete one of the following activities as detailed in the policy guidance.
- Work full-time in the UK, if your conditions of leave permit you to work and your course has ended
- Study in the UK
- Study related activities including graduation
- Visit areas in the UK
- Apply to remain in the UK under an appropriate alternative route (e.g. Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 4)
You should be prepared to show with evidence that you will be completing one of the above activities and that you intend to leave the UK before your Tier 4 Visa expires or apply for another relevant type of visa in the UK. If you will be applying for another visa you may be asked to provide appropriate documentation which demonstrates that you are able to apply for this visa.
You should also carry evidence that you will be leaving the UK before your Tier 4 Visa expires eg a plane ticket, if you have it.
The Tier 4 Policy Guidance was updated in June 2019 with a section called ‘After you have finished your studies’. As the policy is relatively new we would recommend that you carry a copy of this web page with you and refer to the Tier 4 Policy Guidance if asked about why you are returning to the UK after your course has finished.
The Border Force officer should allow you to return to the UK whilst you have a valid Tier 4 Visa but can refuse entry if they feel you are not returning for a reason listed above.