Authorised absences should only be used in exceptional circumstances, such as bereavement, serious illness or pregnancy. Routine trips to visit family and taking holidays should be taken during the normal vacation periods of Easter, Christmas and summer for UGT students, Easter and Christmas for PGT students, and as part of their 8 weeks annual leave entitlement for PGR students.
An absence request is required for a student wishing to take more than one week off from their course. If an absence is not requested then this will be classed as an 'unauthorised absence'. Any unauthorised absence could result in action being taken against the student, such as a report being sent to the Home Office (HO).
When can an authorised absence be requested?
An authorised absence can be requested for an International student for a short period of time, up to a maximum of 60 days. The student must be able to pick up their studies when they return and be able to complete their studies within their current cohort/visa duration. This decision should be made by the course tutor or equivalent and authorised by the Associate Dean.
If an absence requires a student to defer their studies or require an extension to the expected end date of their course, then this should be classified as a suspension. The Visa Support Team will then send a report to the HO to cease sponsorship under Tier 4 and advise the student of this.
What action should the Faculty/student undertake to request an authorised absence?
Students should not make any travel arrangements and wait for the outcome of their absence request application.
Reporting to the Home Office
If the absence is classified as an 'authorised absence' no report is required to be made to the HO.
If the absence does not meet the requirements outlined above and is not authorised, the absence will be classified as a suspension. This would require a report to be sent to the HO.
When is a request for absence authorisation required?
Authorisation is required for any absences requested during term time and examination periods. This includes Tier 4 students on periods of overseas fieldwork. For Tier 4 compliance purposes, they do not need to be requested during institutional vacation periods, except in the following circumstances:
- Postgraduate Taught students – requesting an absence during the summer vacation period whilst writing up their dissertations.
- Postgraduate Research students – requesting an absence at any time, other than when the University is closed (i.e. Christmas/Easter) and in addition to their 8 weeks annual leave entitlement.
An absence includes time away from the University for medical reasons, personal reasons, illness etc. Please note that overseas fieldwork requests fall under a separate process.