I am currently studying in the UK. I will graduate this July. I am Korean, studying with Tier 4 via and about to apply tier 5 visa.

  1. I have Tier 4 visa which is valid until 1st NOV 2016.

  2. I am about to apply Tier 5 visa because the Government Certificate for Tier 5 is valid until 2nd June. ( I visited my home country during Easter Holiday to apply for the Tier 5 Visa.)

  3. I could ask to set my starting date of the Tier 5 (3 months late from when I make application ).

However, I have the Tier 4 already, so I would like to set my starting date as late as possible. If I set my starting (Validation) date of Tier 5 from 25th June, is it possible to come back London after Easter holiday (3rd April) to finish my course with Tier 4 visa as it is valid until 1st Nov?

(On 3rd April When I enter to the UK, I will have Tier 4 Visa on Passport (valid until 1st NOV) and I will have Tier 5 visa on Passport (which is not valid but will be valid from 25th JUNE).

Of course I will leave the UK before my tier 5 starts and will come back after when it starts.

Is it possible? I already asked several places (including uni, visa center etc..) but they didn't give me a clear answer.

  • 1
    When does your course actually finish?
    – ouflak
    Mar 23, 2016 at 11:44
  • It sounds like you will only have one valid visa upon entering in April - hence you will have no other choice, but to enter on that visa anyway. If you are unsure - just ask the immigration department issuing your new visa - obviously they should know.
    – Chris
    Mar 24, 2016 at 4:26

2 Answers 2


I'm going to give an answer based not on information available online (because this is not explicitly stated anywhere) but based instead on my experience as a tier 4 student who was detained and wasn't allowed in, and what I was told by the border agents.

Once you graduate, and you leave the UK, your visa is no longer valid (not even the three months grace). I left 4 days after graduating for a conference (after having a student visa for 5 years), and I was detained on the border when attempting to return to my home to prepare my departure from the UK. I was allowed in again, but only on a visa-on-arrival (US citizen) after a very long time, and only because I produced my work contract for a job I just accepted. I was told at the border that the expectation for tier 4 students, once they graduate, is that they leave the country and go back to their home country as soon as possible. Once you leave, post graduation, you are considered as having waived the remaining time in your visa.

If you have not graduated or completed your course, you can re-enter.

If you graduate and you do NOT leave the country, you can stay until the visa expires. So you're fine to remain in the country and even change to another visa type, but if you leave, you will need to apply for a visitor visa. And you won't be able to swap from the visitor visa to the other one (meaning: I'm pretty sure you can't apply for another type of visa whilst in the country on a visitor visa).

This happened to me in July 2015 at Cardiff airport. You MAY be allowed through, but I was told this policy very specifically by the border agent. If I was you, I wouldn't risk it. Just get another visitor visa.

Furthermore, this type of treatment by border agents is both legal and commonplace, as I was later told by the international office at my former university. I would definitely expect this at any airport. It's a new(er) practice and is not stated anywhere in the rules (it's all a bit nebulous). However, it happens.


As long as you are entering the country genuinely within the spirit of the visas you've been given, then this will be fine.

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