Syrian nationals: temporary concessions

18 October 2012

Update - 9 June 2014: This news item remains here for archive purposes but is now out-of-date. For up-to-date information about temporary concessions for Syrian nationals, please visit Making a Tier 4 application in the UK / Can I apply in the UK?


The UKBA has extended the temporary concessions for Syrians who are in the UK. Concessions have applied from 15 October 2012 and will be extended to 28 February 2014.

The concessions apply to Syrian nationals who are normally resident in Syria, but who are currently in the UK.

From 28 February 2013, the requirement to have limited leave in the UK on 15 October 2012 no longer applies. In order to apply under these concessions you must currently have limited leave (immigration permission) to be in the UK, or you must apply within 28 days of your current visa expiring. Under these concessions the following time limits on study (or 'caps') which currently appear in the Immigration Rules do not apply:

  • the 3-year cap that applies to Tier 4 students studying below degree level
  • the 5-year cap cap that applies to Tier 4 students studying at or above degree level
  • the 3-year limit that applies to Tier 4 applicants who have previously been granted leave as a Postgraduate Doctor or Dentist, or as a Tier 4 (General) student to undertake a course as a postgraduate doctor or dentist
  • the 6-month limit that applies to general visitors and child visitors
  • the 12-month limit that applies to someone who is accompanying an academic visitor as a general visitor or as a child visitor

The concessions also allow applicants to 'switch' into a different immigration category while in the UK, rather than having to leave the UK in order to change immigration categories. In particular, applicants applying for further leave to remain as a general visitor or as a child visitor do not have to already have leave in these categories.

Likewise, Tier 4 applicants do not have to have, or have last been granted, leave in one of the categories specified in the Immigration Rules. However, applicants must meet the requirements for the category that they want to switch into and they must pay the associated application fee.

There are still some restrictions upon switching between categories, for example switching into settlement routes is not allowed.

Dependants of PBS migrants can switch in line with the main applicant who they are dependent upon, (as long as the category the main applicant is switching into permits them to have dependants – see Your family's immigration for information about Tier 4 dependants). Dependants can also switch to become a main applicant in their own right, as long as they meet the other requirements for the category that they want to switch into.

It is important to note that applicants who want to apply to remain in the UK under Tier 4 need to meet the other Tier 4 requirements, meaning that they need to have a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (a 'CAS') from an institution that has offered them a place on a course of study. See Applying for a Tier 4 (General) visa for more information about the Tier 4 requirements.

However, if you are unable to provide any of the expected documents with your application (for example your previous qualifications, or evidence of your finances) as a result of the conflict in Syria then your application should include a covering letter explaining this.

If your application for further leave is successful you will be granted the length of time normally allowed under that category. For Tier 4 applicants (and their dependants) this depends upon the length and type of course, as explained in our information for students.


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