Visa and Immigration
Travel outside of the UK on a student visa
Many students like to travel during holiday periods. Here you can find more information about how to do this and whether or not it affects your existing UK visa.
Travel outside of the UK
If you're a student in the UK on a student visa or a Tier 4 visa, it's important to be aware of certain information before travelling abroad as there may be limitations or additional visas that you need to obtain. Please note that on 5 October 2020, the UK government changed the immigration route for students. What used to be the ‘Tier 4’ route has become the ‘Student’ route.
Please check the latest travel advice from the UK Government to see what restrictions and procedures may be in place for entering the UK- Foreign travel advice - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Travelling during your course
As the UK government has now relaxed the regulations around international travel, we are writing to let you know that Authorised Absence letters can be issued again. The uncertainties around the Covid pandemic have obviously not gone away, so students do still undertake any travel at their own risk. They should therefore still be referred to the latest Covid travel guidance https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-abroad-from-england-during-coronavirus-covid-19.
The main reasons for requesting an Authorised Absence letter could include:
- a family emergency/bereavement;
- applying for a visa extension overseas;
The time a student can be absent can only be for a period of up to two weeks at any one time. Four-six weeks in total may be requested during any one academic year, subject to faculty approval. If the time you are away becomes longer than agreed period, you must let both your Academic Leader and the Visa Compliance Team know so that the case can be reassessed. You should have the Authorised Absence letter with them when travelling back to the UK. Otherwise, you may be detained for questioning whilst the Border Force contact the Univeristy for clarification.
Postgraduate taught students are not expected to be absent from teaching sessions during term-time for the purpose of holiday/tourist travel, cultural or religious events that can be observed in the UK. They do not need to apply for authorised absence during vacation time if their programme follows the standard University vacation calendar. PG students on work placement will need to gain written confirmation from their employer that the Authorised Absence letter has been agreed and then inform the placements team.
If the students are on a twelve month full-time Masters programme and will be working on their dissertation over the summer, they must apply for authorised absence if they require an absence during this time, even if it is during the University summer vacation period.
You must request the Authorised Absence Letter from the Visa Compliance Team, and you need to return the form to email@example.com, including your YSJU ID number and your Campus. Once your Academic Leader made a decision on your absence request, you will be notified by the Visa Compliance Team.
Travelling to Europe (Schengen Zone)
The Schengen Visa (Schengen Area - Visa Information for Schengen Countries (schengenvisainfo.com)) can provide you with the opportunity to travel around countries in the EU as a visitor and enjoy different cultures.
To get No Objection Certificate from the University, you need to contact the Visa Compliance Team at least 3 weeks before your intended date of your travel to the Schengen Zone. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Please be advised that a NOC letter will not be generated for you for a term-time trip unless you have already sought and been given approval by your Academic Leader.
PLEASE NOTE: Issuing a No Objection Letter normally takes 5 working days.
Travelling to the UK
Travelling to the UK From 1 October 2021, you will not be able to use an ID card to enter the UK. You will need to provide a valid passport. You can continue to use your national ID card to enter the UK until at least 31 December 2025 if you:
- have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
- applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021 but have not received a decision yet
- have an EU Settlement Scheme family permit
- have a Frontier Worker permit
- are an S2 Healthcare Visitor
- are a Swiss national Swiss Service Provider.
When crossing the UK border, information will be checked digitally on arrival, and those with a UKVI account will not routinely need to prove their status. To prevent unnecessary delays at the border, it is important to ensure the document you travel on is registered to your account, which you can do by updating your details if you intend to travel on a different document (for example a new passport). Further information on viewing and proving your immigration status is available on GOV.UK
When making your journey to the UK, you will need to travel with the same document you made your student visa application with.