Remote Study and Your Student Visa

Find out more information on remote learning and the Student/Tier 4 Visa and frequently asked questions about international students with a Student/Tier 4 Visa completing a Masters dissertation.

Remote Learning and the Student / Tier 4 Visa

Student Visa Conditions 

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) do not allow Student Visa holders to undertake their studies remotely. As the Student Visa is granted for the purpose of studying in the UK, it is a UK immigration requirement that you undertake classes, lectures and supervision meetings at the University campus. 

Concessions that allowed remote study during the Covid-19 pandemic have now been withdrawn by UKVI. Student Visa holders cannot study their course from overseas without breaching the conditions of the visa, unless you have been given permission for a ‘change of study location’ (see below). 

Absences from Study 

If you need to leave the UK during your studies (with the exception of holiday periods) you must request a period of authorised absence from your academic school. This usually cannot exceed 4 weeks of term time. If the absence is authorised, there will be no ramifications on your Student Visa. 

Find out more about how to request an absence.

Change of Study Location 

If your academic school permits a change of study location, it could be possible to complete your dissertation (or other independent study) remotely.

If you do wish to study away from Leeds, please ask your academic school for authorisation to be away from campus. You will be expected to complete your studies from outside the UK as the sponsorship of your Student Visa will be withdrawn.

It is important to note that you will not be able to apply for a Graduate Visa once you have completed your studies. If you are undertaking fieldwork or research overseas as part of your dissertation, you can request permission from your academic school and retain the sponsorship of your Student Visa / eligibility for a Graduate Visa. 

Temporary Leave 

If you are granted temporary leave from your course, the University is required to withdraw sponsorship of your Student Visa. This will lead to UKVI cancelling your visa and you are expected to leave the UK.

Once you are ready to return to studies, you can request a CAS and submit a new Student Visa application from overseas. Please note that you cannot use your previous CAS to apply for a new Student Visa

Masters Dissertation FAQs for International Students with a Student/Tier 4 Visa

Can I leave the UK to write up my dissertation? 

Your visa requires you to study in the UK and the University is responsible for monitoring your engagement on your course throughout its duration.   This includes the period after teaching stops when you are working on your dissertation project.  The University policy is that you should have in-person contact with your supervisor at least every 3 weeks during this period of your course. 

Can I go home or elsewhere to gather data/material for my dissertation? 

You should submit a risk assessment / change of study location request to your School and obtain their permission for this. 

Can I go on holiday and return to the UK? 

Yes, you can take a holiday as long as you keep to your supervision meetings. 

What will happen if I leave without permission from my School? 

You are reminded of your responsibility to remain in the UK while you are still on your course.  Remote study is not currently permitted for those holding student/Tier 4 visas.  You might face difficulties if you leave the UK for an extended period and then return later eg to attend a Graduation ceremony or to apply for a post-study work visa (see next question)  

I want to apply for a Graduate Visa after I’ve been awarded my Masters; will leaving the UK affect my eligibility for this? 

It could.  One of the eligibility requirements for a Graduate Visa, as well as being awarded your degree, is that you study in the UK throughout your course (apart from short holidays.) When you apply for a Graduate Visa, you will be required to give details of your movements into and out of the UK and this could lead to your visa application being refused. 

Why is the University telling me this? 

The University is required to follow rules and guidance set out by the UK Government, UK Visas & Immigration.