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Academic Progression

The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) guidance states an applicant who has studied in the UK previously should generally be progressing academically. For example, this means that a student who has studied at Postgraduate Level in the UK will not be able to get a visa to study at Undergraduate level.

Exceptionally, we can issue a CAS to an applicant who has studied at the same level if the following conditions are satisfied:

  • The new course is related to the previous course for which the student was given Tier 4 leave (meaning that it is either connected to the previous course, part of the same subject group or involves deeper specialisation); or
  • The student’s previous and new course combined, support the student’s genuine career aspirations.

When assessing academic progression, the UKVI will take into account the following factors:

• The level of the course,
• The subject matter of the new and previous courses,
• The applicant’s education history,
• The credibility of the applicant’s rationale for wishing to study the new course,
• Whether the HEI sponsor sufficiently explains why the student is applying to study a course at the same level.

In these circumstances, we would expect a progression statement from an academic, outlining how the new programme meets the conditions. We would also request to see some explanation from the applicant explaining why they wish to study the new course and how they feel it supports their career aspirations.

Additionally, the  most recent UKVI guidance specifies that an applicant who has failed to complete a programme for which they were given Tier 4 (General) visa, (meaning they have not achieved the qualification for which they were studying), and now wish to make a new Tier 4 application for a new course in the UK will not be able to make that application from within the UK. They will be required to make the new application from overseas.

PhD students who are transferring from / to another institution are exempt from this requirement.

A student does not need to show academic progression if;

they are applying to complete the PhD or other doctoral qualification for which they were last given Tier 4 or Student leave, in the UK or overseas (including where they are completing the qualification at a new sponsor).

It is important to note that if an applicant has failed to complete a programme at the same level and is required to leave the UK to make a visa application, we would still be required to justify academic progression on the CAS. Additionally, failure to complete a programme at the same level will be considered as a part of the visa application process and is likely to form part of the credibility assessment made by the Entry Clearance Officer.

For further information please contact the Visa Support Team or telephone 01274 23 6900