Student immigration update: distance learning concessions

05 July 2022


On 30 June 2022, the Home Office and Department for Education (DfE) published a joint ministerial letter confirming the end of the option to study by distance learning outside of the UK while holding Student permission.

Due to recent delays in visa processing times, which have now been resolved, the ministers have provided limited concessions for students who started their course online, made a student immigration application before 30 June 2022 and are still awaiting a decision due to the delays.

New distance learning concessions

If you want to study in the UK with Student permission, distance learning outside the UK is no longer possible and you must not start a course through distance learning on or after 30 June 2022. However, you will not be penalised if:

  • you started a course by distance learning before 30 June 2022
  • you applied for Student permission before 30 June 2022
  • visa-processing delays mean you are not granted your permission until after 30 June 2022

In such cases, you may continue studying on a distance learning basis until your permission is granted and you travel to the UK.

Vacation periods

If you are in a vacation period (including after the end of an academic year) and you have Student permission, you were not required to travel to the UK by 30 June 2022 but you are required to be in the UK by the start of the next academic period. If you are on vacation and have not yet applied for Student permission, you are encouraged to do so as soon as possible to avoid delays.

Graduate route

If you are affected by these delays which result in a short period of study online before you depart for the UK, this will not prevent you from applying under the Graduate route, if you meet all other requirements.

When will the priority and super priority services return?

We have no guaranteed date for the return of priority and super priority services, so students are advised to submit visa applications as soon as possible. If your permission is granted by 30 June 2022 but you have travel delays, let your sponsor know so that they can advise you further.

For more details, you can read the letter from the Minister for Safe and Legal Migration and the Minister of State for Higher and Further Education.