Time Limits

It may be nice to be a student forever, but UKVI has placed time limits on the amount of time you can spend in the UK on a student visa. You need to think about these limits as you plan your studies, and if you are thinking about restarting a year or moving to a new course.

You will also need to think about academic progression when you are thinking about what course to do next.

UEA Admissions may ask you about previous courses you have done in the UK to make sure you have enough time to complete your chosen course within these time limits.

Under 18

There are no limits to study time.

Over 18

Level of Study Time Limit
Below degree level Two years *
At degree level Five years unless you are on a course in an exempt subject area (see below) then it is six years
Masters courses If you were on a degree course that was four or five years your total limit is now six years.

PhD study, postgraduate research qualification or Research Masters Degree

The limit is lifted if this is your first PhD or research qualification. ^
Doctoral Extension Scheme This time is not part of your study limit

*These are extended if you are studying on a course that is regulated by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and you must spend at least 12 months at sea.

^ If you have already completed a course which led to the award of a PhD, postgraduate research qualification or Research Masters Degree in the UK, the grant of leave you are seeking must not lead to you spending more than 8 years in total in the UK as a Tier 4 (General) Migrant, or as a Student. Students who have completed a postgraduate research qualification or a Research Masters Degree at NQF 7 (SCQF 11) in the UK lasting 13 months or less are not subject to the 8-year study limit.

Exempt Subject Areas

  • Architecture
  • Medicine
  • Dentistry
  • Veterinary Medicine & Science
  • Music at a music college that is a member of Conservatoires UK(CUK)
  • Law, where you have completed a course at degree level in the UK and are progressing to one of the following:
    • A law conversion course validated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Bar Standards Board in England and Wales, a Masters in Law (MLaw) in Northern Ireland, or an accelerated graduate LLB in Scotland
    • The Legal Practice Course in England and Wales, the Solicitors Course in Northern Ireland, or a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice in Scotland
    • The Bar Professional Training Course in England and Wales, or the Bar Course in Northern Ireland.


Further Information

GOV.UK Tier 4 guidance - see from page 65.