Can I stay in the UK after my Student Visa expires?

If you are already on a Tier 4 student visa in the UK and would like to continue your studies here, you can, as from October 5th 2020, when the new immigration rules on student visas came into force under HC 813, apply for an extension from within the country under the previous Tier 4 rules, very similar to the new rules, or if you want to study for the first time then under the new UK Student or child student Route Visa ( replacing the Tier 4 visa), on the condition that you have a genuine intention to enhance your studies to further levels and have evidence to support this from a UK based academic institution. You will need to score a minimum of 70 points as under the Tier 4 visa.

However, students who were previously on the Tier 4 student visa who want to stay in the UK but not necessarily continue studying may ask can I stay in the UK after my student visa expires?

The answer is “yes”, and there are a number of ways of doing this by switching to other UK visa options explained below.


Related Topics

⇒ Apply for a UK Student Visa
⇒ The Global Talent Visa
⇒ The Skilled Worker Visa UK
⇒ Tier 1 Innovator Visa (March 2019)
⇒ Tier 1 Investor Visa Requirements
⇒ Tier 1 Start-Up Visa (March 2019)
⇒ UK Spouse Visa – The 5 Year Route

Switching from a Student Visa to Skilled Worker Visa

Since Brexit and the start of the new points-based system in the UK, employers are now doing their best to recruit highly-skilled talent across most areas of the economy. If you can find a job with a UK based company that has a skilled worker sponsor license, you can switch from a previous Tier 4 Student Visa to the new skilled worker visa (formerly the Tier 2 General Visa) provided that you meet the minimum requirement of 70 points. Learn more here. 

Applying through this route will allow you to work in the UK for a maximum of 5 years (depending on your contract). It will also give you the opportunity to qualify for indefinite leave to remain (permanent residence) a year after which status you can then apply for British Citizenship.

Switching to the Global Talent Visa

The Global Talent Visa is the reformed version of the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa, and it allows highly talented individuals a year, the right to come to the UK with their dependent family members to work. To be a successful applicant, you need to be endorsed as a leader in your field of expertise. A successful applicant will be able to remain in the UK for a period of five years and four months if you apply from outside and five years if you apply from inside the UK. Furthermore, after a period of three years in the UK under this visa route, you can apply for indefinite leave to remain. The global talent visa requires an endorser approved by the Home Office to endorse the business plan.

Switching to the Tier 1 Start-Up Visa

The Start-up Visa was made for new entrepreneurs who are starting a business in the UK for the first time. If you switch from a Tier 4 student visa to this route, you will not need to have any funds to invest your business but must meet certain requirements that are as follows: 

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • Meet the English language requirement.
  • Must prove that you have enough personal savings to support yourself while you’re in the UK (£945 in your bank account for 90 consecutive days before you apply).

If your application is successful, you will be granted leave to remain in the UK for two years and can also bring your family members (spouses/partners and children under 18) with you. This piece also requires an endorser approved by the Home Office to endorse the business plan.

Switching to the Tier 1 Innovator Visa

The Tier 1 innovator visa replaced the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa. It allows applicants to start a business in the UK with a minimum investment of £50,000 as long as the idea has been endorsed by and official board of UK based endorsing bodies. If you chose to switch from your student visa to a Tier 1 Innovator visa, you must:

  • Meet the English language requirement
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Prove that you have enough personal savings to support yourself while you’re in the UK
  • Work entirely on developing your business idea and cannot work for other employers once your visa is granted.

If your visa application is successful, you can live and work in the UK and also bring your family to live here as well. This also requires an endorser approved by the Home Office to endorse the business plan.

Other requirements for the Tier 1 Innovator Visa are also necessary for more info; please click here.

Switching to the Tier 1 Investor visa

If you want to study in the UK, you can also do this under a Tier 1 investor visa. If you apply for this visa before your studies and if you chose to do this, you could enter the UK to live and study without applying for a student visa.

Moreover, you can also switch from a Tier 4 student visa to a Tier 1 investor visa to start after your studies as long as you meet one of the levels of investment. The benefit of the Tier 1 investor visa is that you can apply for indefinite leave to remain after a period of time which depends on how much money you invested, explained below.

-Invest £2 million and apply for ILR after five years

-Invest £5 million and apply for ILR after three years

-Invest £10 million and apply for ILR after two years

* Please note that this route is no longer in action 

Getting a long-term relationship visa

You can also stay in the UK after your studies if you apply for and are granted a long-term relationship visa such as a civil partnership visa or a spouse visa. During the course of your studies, you may have developed a relationship with a British citizen or a settled person and maybe even had children. If this is the case, switching to a long-term visa may be the right thing to do as long as you can prove that your relationship is genuine. It is also possible to obtain an unmarried partners visa so long as you can show that you have been living together with your UK partner for at least 2 years in a relationship akin to marriage or civil partnership.

Please note that the immigration rules surrounding these are very strict, and much evidence must be provided to prove that your relationship is genuine before a successful switch to such a visa can take place.

Circumstances whereby a student visa may ‘expire’ or be ‘terminated.’

(1) The course may have come to an end, and the student may not want to return to their home country.

(2) The student may not have the financial means to continue with their studies, and their visa may be curtailed by the Home Office.

(3) The student may have dropped out of the system and not be interested studying; again, the Home office may curtail their visa once the school/ college/ university (the educational establishment) inform the Home Office of the student’s non-attendance.

(4) The Educational establishment may have closed down because its sponsor licence may have been revoked by the Home Office, or it may have been a bogus establishment. In either event, the student will, in all probability, be unable to recoup their fees and have insufficient funds to pay for the journey home.

(5) The student may simply want a better life in the UK, using the student visa as a way of gaining entry to the country with the real intention to stay and work. The educational establishment may report the student’s absence to the Home Office, who will then curtail the visa.

(6) The student may have been involved in some fraudulent activity and used a proxy to take their English language test to extend their visa, which could then have been refused.

(7) The student may have forgotten to renew their visa before expiry.

(8) There may have been an unreasonable and wrongful refusal by the Home Office of an application for a visa extension.

(9) The student may have been working more than the permitted number of hours during term time, and their visa may be curtailed or any extension application refused.

So how can a student stay on in the UK if their student visa has been terminated?

With the appropriate circumstances, a student may be able to apply for an immigration administrative review of the refusal to extend or to curtail their visa, or there may be medical or other family reasons to stay on. 

There may therefore be a host of circumstances whereby the former student can make an application to the Home Office to stay in the UK on family or private life grounds based on Article 8 of the ECHR, even though their student visa may due to so many scenarios have come to an end. There may also be good reasons for the former student to claim asylum or humanitarian protection in the UK based upon fear for life if forced to return.

Explore your options of how you can switch from your UK student visa to another immigration route by consulting with our UK immigration team in London

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