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  Absence from your Programme of Study

All the information you need for taking leave / absence from your programme.

Taking leave/absence from your programme

Home Office policy requires the University to confirm you are ‘maintaining contact’ with the institution during your studies. This is done using a combination of monitoring engagement and a number of face-to-face checks with the Points Based Immigration Team at the University during the academic year.
 
In line with this policy, you need to get formal approval from the University for any period of absence outside University holiday periods. This includes taking leave due to pregnancy. Failure to do this may have direct implications on your visa and could result in your Tier 4 sponsorship being withdrawn.

As a student wishing to take a period of absence from your programme of study during term time you must request a period of ‘authorised absence’.

 

When is ‘authorised absence’ required?

A request for authorised absence is required for any period of 5 days or more when:
  • You are undertaking research/field work outside the UK
  • You are going on an exchange programme outside the UK
  • You are requiring a period of absence and remaining in the UK
  • You are requiring a period of absence outside the UK
  • You are not in the UK because you are attending a work placement or internship which is an assessed part of your programme
  • Maternity leave

How to apply

Any request for absence should be made directly to your school office. You will be required to give details of your absence to state your expected return date. Your request will be sent to the Points Based Immigration Team who will consider the amount of time you need away and your visa end date. This is done to determine whether UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will need to be informed of your time away or not.
 

Managing your absence

All students returning from a period of authorise absence will be contacted by the Points Based Immigration Team prior to the anticipated date of return. You will be advised of anything you need to do in order to be able to re-engage with your studies.

If your return date has changed you must inform the Points Based Immigration Team and your School Office.  The Points Based Immigration Team will record the revised return date on your record and determine whether any further actions are required in terms of UKVI regulations.

Absence length between 5 and 28 days – this is a period of ‘Authorised Leave’.

The University will record your absence on your student record and will not inform UKVI of your absence.  You can use existing Tier 4 visa to re-enter the UK and return to studies.
 

Please be in regular contact with your School Office in order to manage your return date.

Approximately 5 days prior to your expected return date you will be contacted by the Points Based Immigration Team to discuss/confirm your return date.  You will be required to attend a face-to-face check with the Tier 4 team.  The purpose of this check will be to confirm, by looking at the exit and entry stamps in your passport that you have in fact been out of the UK during your period of authorised absence. 

If your authorised leave was for medical reasons (including maternity leave), which required you to remain in the UK, you will still be asked to attend a check, but will not be require to show stamps in your passport.

 

Absence length between 28 days and 60 days – this is a period of ‘Authorised Leave’.

The University will record your absence on your student record and will inform UKVI of your absence. This will be a ‘change of circumstances notification’ to UK Visas and Immigration and will not result in your Tier 4 sponsorship being withdrawn. You will still be sponsored by the University for the duration of your absence and you can use existing Tier 4 visa to re-enter the UK and return to studies. 

Please be in regular contact with your School Office in order to manage your return date. 

Approximately 5 days prior to your expected return date you will be contacted by the Points Based Immigration Team to discuss/confirm your return date. You will be required to attend a face to face check with the Tier 4 team. The purpose of this check will be to confirm, by looking at the exit and entry stamps in your passport that you have in fact been out of the UK during your period of authorised absence. 

If your authorised leave was for medical reasons (including maternity leave), which required you to remain in the UK, you will still be asked to attend a check, but will not be require to show stamps in your passport. 

Absence length more than 60 days - this is a period of ‘Suspended Study’

The University will record your absence on your student record and will inform UK Visas and Immigration that you are not attending the University. Your Tier 4 sponsorship will be withdrawn.
 
You will be required to leave the UK during the period for which you are not sponsored. UKVI will write to you and advise you of the date by which you will need to leave the UK. You are advised to leave within 60 days of notification.
 
You will not be able to use the same visa to re-enter the UK and must apply for a new visa before you return to Edinburgh Napier.  Our International Support Team can help you during this process – you can contact them by emailing internationalsupport@napier.ac.uk or calling +44 131 455 2272.
 
Please be in regular contact with your School Office in order to manage your return date. If you have taken leave of more than 60 days you will need a new CAS letter and will need to apply for a new visa to return to Edinburgh Napier. You can contact the International Support Team for advice on how to apply for your new visa by emailing internationalsupport@napier.ac.uk or calling +44 131 455 2272.
 
You will be required to attend a face to face check with the Tier 4 team. The purpose of this check will be to confirm, by looking at the exit and entry stamps in your passport that you have in fact been out of the UK during your period of authorised absence.
 
If your authorised leave was for medical reasons (including maternity leave), which required you to remain in the UK, you will still be asked to attend a check, but will not be require to show stamps in your passport.
 

Returning to University to complete reassessment only

If you intend to return to the UK only to complete your reassessment and submit your work, you can apply for a Student Visitor visa, which allows you a maximum of 6 months in the UK. However there are some restrictions which you should carefully consider before you choose this option. You can contact the International Support Team for advice on the best option by emailing internationalsupport@napier.ac.uk or calling +44 131 455 2272.  You will still be required to attend a face to face check with the Tier 4 team upon your return.
 

Deciding not to returning to the University

If following a period of authorised absence you decide you will not return to your studies, the relevant reporting to UK Visas and Immigration will be completed and your Tier 4 sponsorship will be withdrawn.
 

Your studies will subsequently be considered and awarded at the next appropriate Programme Board and the decision communicated to you directly.  Your School Office can guide you during this process.

 

Maternity leave

If you wish to suspend your studies for maternity reasons the University will only continue to sponsor their Tier 4 (General) Student Visa for a maternity suspension of up to 60 days. You may be required to provide medical evidence confirming that you are pregnant to their school office.
 
Your absence will be reported to UKVI as a ‘Change of Circumstances’ as stated above, and the University will continue to sponsor your Tier 4 (General) visa during this 60 day period. After the end of the 60 day period you are expected to return to your full-time studies and continue as normal.
 
You will be required to maintain regular contact with their School during suspension as required under Tier 4 attendance monitoring arrangements.
 

Maternity suspension of more than 60 days

This affects students who wish to suspend for more than 60 days or extend their initial 60 day maternity period.
 
Suspensions of more than 60 days mean that you will not be engaged in your studies for a significant period of time. Therefore, the University will report to UKVI that it is no longer sponsoring your Tier 4 (General) Student Visa. A report made to UKVI will prompt the issuance of a Curtailment Letter limiting your Tier 4 (General) Student Visa to 60 days.
 

Further information

For further information about authorised absence please contact the Points Based Immigration Team by emailing tier4@napier.ac.uk or calling 0131 455 2272.
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