If you need to extend your student visa to complete your studies, it's important to be aware of the best time to prepare and submit your application.

When to make a student visa extension in the UK

Extending your student visa should be straightforward if you prepare well in advance.

  • If you will be making a student visa extension application in the UK, you need to be ready to make the application before your current visa expires. If your visa application is valid and is made in time before your existing visa expires, you will continue to remain in the UK legally whilst the new application is being processed by UKVI.
  • The immigration rules say that an application for permission to stay must be made no more than 3 months before the start date given in the  new CAS document.  When you are extending your student visa the start date in the CAS  is usually:
  1. The start date of  your new programme of study if you are starting a new programme
  2. The day after your visa expiry date, if you are extending your visa to carry on on the same programme
  3. The date your work placement starts if you are adding a work placement to your programme and you are extending your visa before the placement starts (see below for more advice on this)

Applying outside the UK

If you will be making your visa application outside the UK the start date on your CAS may differ to the above. Your application will not be an 'extension' of leave technically, but rather a new grant of leave.

Contact the International Student Advice Service if you have doubts or queries you need to discuss, regarding your application.

When to start preparing

The process of gathering necessary  documents and evidence for your visa application sometimes takes longer than you expect. We advise that you start preparing for your student visa visa extension a few months before you need to make the application.

If you want to discuss your individual circumstances and get advice on preparing your student visa application, you can contact the International Student Advice Service.

Getting documents in time

You will need to make sure that you will have all of the documents and evidence ready in time to apply. Some documents take longer than others to get. Your situation and circumstances will determine which documents you need for your application. See our guidance on the documents needed for your student visa application.

When to Request a CAS

You can request for the university to issue you with a new CAS when you know that you will need to extend your student visa. See our information and guidance about CAS for extending your visa for links and instructions on how to request the CAS.

You should note that the university visa compliance team may only be able to process your CAS request in line with the timelines given at the top of this page.

Adding a work placement

If you are applying for a visa extension because you are adding an official work placement to your programme of study, you should note that there are specific rules which will decide when you should make your visa application. Currently UKVI policy dictates that you can make a visa application either before the work placement starts, or after it finishes, but not whilst the placement is taking place.

See also, our guidance on changing your programme of study.

Students coming back to study after a period of interruption

If you interrupted your studies and returned to your home country and now need new student visa to return to study, you will need to make your new student visa application from your home country or country of ordinary residence. During your interruption period, you will receive communication from the university, asking you if you intend to return to complete your programme. If you indicate yes, you will be sent instructions about how to get your new CAS statement. If you are an interrupted student and you want to discuss your individual circumstances and get advice, Contact the International Student Advice Service to discuss.

If after reading the guidance above, you need further clarification, you can contact the International Student Advice Service. However you should only do this once you have carefully read through all the information above. If your query is answered in the above information, you may be re-directed back to the content above.