Course transfers

Please note that as a Tier 4 visa holder, there are some things that the University must consider before permitting you to transfer (change) to another course.

Academic progression

Before allowing you to transfer to any other course or level of study, other than that stated on your CAS, the University is required to justify to UKVI that this represents academic progression.

Generally, any transfer that means you drop down a stage or an academic level would not be permitted as it does not represent academic progression. For example if you were currently studying in stage 3 and wanted to transfer to another course and start at stage 1.

Another example would be if you were studying at master’s degree level and then wanted to transfer to an undergraduate degree instead.

UKVI want to see that you are making progress on your degree by progressing through the stages, and that each course you undertake is higher up on the RQF (Regulated Qualifications Framework) scale than your previous study in the UK.

For example; you have completed a foundation programme that was mapped at RQF 3, and now you are on a degree programme that is mapped at RQF 6. This is clear progression.

You may be able to transfer to another course at the same level; for example, you are studying Year 2 of an undergraduate degree and wish to transfer to another programme and start that course at Year 2; however, this still must be justified by the University to UKVI.

In order to justify if a course transfer meets UKVI academic progression requirements, we would look at two main things; are you continuing your studies in the same subject area, or does the course transfer support your genuine career aspirations. Therefore, it is important to provide evidence to support why you wish to transfer, and we may ask you to write a detailed personal statement for this reason.

When evidencing your academic progression UKVI and the University will consider any studies you have done in the UK. Therefore, it is important to tell us about all of your study history in the UK, when applying initially or if you need a further CAS once studying here.

You should be able to find the academic level (NQF level or RQF level) of your previous course(s) studied in the UK on the CAS statement issued by the institution that you studied with.  

In some cases, we may not be able to support your request to change course, if we as your Tier 4 sponsor feel that it does not represent academic progression. You should be aware of these requirements and ensure that when making your initial application you have carefully researched your chosen course.

More information about RQF levels https://www.gov.uk/find-a-regulated-qualification.

Making a further visa application after a course transfer 

Please note that if you have previously been permitted to transfer course and that course was not completed, if you need to extend your visa in the future you will not be able to do this in the UK. This is due to the academic progression rules set out by UKVI.

The International Student Advice service will assist you in making further Tier 4 visa applications, but you should be aware that you would likely have to apply outside the UK.

Transferring course and course duration

Please note that if you transfer to a course that is longer than the original course we issued your CAS for, you will need to obtain new leave (a new visa) to cover the duration of the new course. This new visa must be obtained before you will be permitted to enrol on the new programme, so you should consider this if requesting a transfer to a longer programme.

It is likely that you would have to apply for your new visa outside the UK, but International Student Advice would be able to advise you on this at the time.

If you transfer to a course that is shorter than the original course we issued your CAS for, we will report to UKVI when you have completed your studies and your visa will be curtailed at that point. This means that your visa will be cancelled and you will be expected to leave the UK at that point.

ATAS

If you transfer onto a course that requires ATAS, or change your thesis title (postgraduate research students) then you will need to apply for an ATAS certificate or a new ATAS certificate if you already hold one.

The International Student Advice service will be able to guide you in this.

Full time

Any course that you wish to transfer onto must be full time and meet UKVI requirements on courses that are suitable for Tier 4 students. If the course does not meet UKVI requirements you will not be permitted to transfer onto it.

If you have any queries about course transfers and Tier 4, please make an appointment with an advisor in International Student Advice (ISA).

You can contact ISA by email: international.advice@plymouth.ac.uk, phone: +44 (0) 1752 587740 or in person: International Student Advice, Ground Floor, Roland Levinsky Building.

You can also email any questions about course transfers to the UKVI Compliance Team at ukvi-reporting@plymouth.ac.uk.