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Extending a Student Visa: The Academic Progression Requirement Explained

If you have previously been granted permission as a Student or a Tier 4 (General) Student and you are applying from within the UK to study a further course in the UK, you may need to satisfy the academic progression requirement.  The academic progression requirement is in place to ensure that students who wish to undertake further studies are progressing academically.

What is the Academic Progression Requirement?

If you have previously been granted permission as a Student or a Tier 4 (General) Student and you are applying from within the UK to extend your stay for the purpose of undertaking further studies then, unless an exception applies (see below), you will need to demonstrate that:

  • You have successfully completed your previous course of study; and
  • The course for which your new CAS has been issued is at a higher level than your previous course

Demonstrating academic progression

Completion of previous course of study

You can use your formal award of a qualification to demonstrate that you have successfully completed your previous course of study.

If you are applying in the UK under the differentiation arrangements, or applying with a HEP with a track record of compliance, then provided your sponsor specifies in your CAS that you have completed your previous course you will not need to submit further evidence that you have completed your previous course.

If the formal award has not yet been issued, and you are studying a course at degree level or above at a sponsor who is a higher education provider (HEP) with a track record of compliance, then your sponsor can provide formal written confirmation that you are highly likely to complete your course.

Higher level course 

You will show academic progression if you are applying for any of the following:

  • to progress from a bachelor’s to master’s level course which is part of an integrated master’s course, where you have been offered a place on a higher-level course by your student sponsor after an assessment of your academic ability; or
  • to progress from a master’s to a PhD which is part of an integrated master’s and PhD programme, where you have been offered a place on a higher-level course by your student sponsor after an assessment of your academic ability; or
  • a course which is above the level of the previous course of study for which you were last granted permission;
  • a course at degree level or above which is at the same level as your previous course of study but where your student sponsor is a higher education provider with a track record of compliance and they confirm that either the new course of study is related to your previous course of study (meaning that it is either connected to the previous course, part of the same subject group, or involves deeper specialisation) or the combination of the previous course of study and the new course of study support your genuine career aspirations.

Exemptions from the Academic Progression Requirement

Applicants making a Student application from overseas are not required to show academic progression. 

If you are making a Student application from within the UK, you will not need to demonstrate academic progression if:

  • you are applying to re-sit examinations or repeat a module of a course and you have not previously re-sat the same examination or repeated the same module, more than once, (unless the sponsor is a student sponsor);
  • you have previously re-sat examinations or repeated modules as above and are applying to complete the course for which those examinations were re-sat or modules repeated; or
  • you are applying to continue studying with your current student sponsor for the purpose of completing a PhD or other doctoral qualification for which study was undertaken during your last period of permission as a Student; or
  • you are making an application to move to a new student sponsor to complete a course of study begun at a student sponsor that has subsequently had its licence revoked; or
  • you are applying to undertake a role as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer; or
  • after undertaking a period as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer you are applying to complete the qualification for which your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies was assigned before that period; or
  • you are applying for permission to stay under the Doctorate Extension Scheme or as a postgraduate doctor or dentist on a recognised Foundation Programme; or
  • you are applying to undertake an intercalated bachelor’s or master’s degree course or PhD where you are studying medicine, veterinary medicine and science, or dentistry as your principal course of study, or to complete your principal course, having completed a period of intercalation; or
  • you are applying to undertake a study abroad programme or work placement which is both integral to and assessed as part of the course, or to complete your course, having completed a study abroad programme or work placement.

If you are exempt from demonstrating academic progression, your licensed student sponsor must confirm this, and set out why, in your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS).

New Course at the Same Level

As set out above, study on a new course at the same level will only be permitted if: 

  • your student sponsor is a higher education provider with a track record of compliance; 
  • your course of study is at degree level or above;
  • your sponsor confirms that the new course is connected to the previous course, part of the same subject group or involves deeper specialisation and study on that course will support your genuine career applications.

To establish whether you can rely on this exemption, the Home Office will consider all relevant factors, including:

  • the level of the course
  • the subject matter of the new and previous courses
  • your education history
  • the credibility of your rationale for wishing to study the new course
  • whether your HEP sponsor sufficiently explains why you are applying to study a course at the same level, instead of moving up an academic level.

If the Home Office is not satisfied by your sponsor’s justification, you can expect to be called for a credibility interview.

Contact our Immigration Barristers

For expert advice and assistance with an application for a Student Visa or a Graduate Visa, contact our immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.

SEE HOW OUR IMMIGRATION BARRISTERS CAN HELP YOU

To arrange an initial consultation meeting, call our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or fill out the form below.

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