International students studying in the UK are given a student study visa which require each student to be involved in a minimum of 30 hours of study activity (including lecture/seminar work) per week. In addition, the University acts as your sponsor for your visa in line with the requirements of being a UKVI Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS). As such, to return home, students must request permission to leave the country during designated University Term-Time.
How to apply
Students requesting permission to return home must make an appointment to see Steve Stephens, Deputy Director of the International Office in charge of International Student Experience. These appointments take place Monday-Friday between 3pm-4pm. All appointments must be accompanied by a completed request form, and all students must attach required evidence to substantiate the claim.
What will be considered a genuine reason?
Any other reason for requesting leave will not be considered and no appointment will be booked to see the Deputy Director. This includes engagements, personal holidays, job interviews and any other reason.
What are suitable forms of evidence?
Evidence will vary however it must be independent and reliable. For family illness, and student illness we need to see doctors notes explaining the condition, and requirement for treatment, plus a specified appointment for whatever treatment is to take place, for example an operation date. In the case of family bereavement we will need to see a death certificate. Sibling weddings require an invitation card to be produced to validate the claim. Visa Issues must be accompanied by the student's passport and all visa documentation relating to the visa issue.
How long can I get permission for?
The maximum permissible leave is for 7 days including travel time, however for certain issues this may be less.
When will I find out about the outcome of my claim?
During your interview with Steve Stephens, he will inform you as to whether your application for permission to leave the country is successful. If successful, then the length of time and the dates involved will be agreed upon. The issue will then be agreed with the relevant person in your faculty and the permission letter will be issued and collected from the faculty.
What happens if I travel without permission or stay after the agreed length of time?
If you travel to another country without permission from the International Office, the University will report your absence under the terms of your student visa to UK Visas and Immigration who will restrict you from returning to the UK. Upon arrival in the UK, UKVI could turn you around and deport you. In these cases you will not be able to complete study at the University and you will not eligible for any refund of fees. The same principle applies to students who stay in their country longer than the time span agreed. Students will be withdrawn from their course and reported to UKVI.
I am an international student and I want to leave the UK to return home during term time. Is this permissible? If so, what process do I need to go through to get permission?