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Study abroad

If you are planning to go to Europe for a period of study abroad as an agreed part of your programme, you may need a different type of visa depending on the purpose of your visit and the length of your stay. You may also need to extend your current Tier 4 visa (if applicable).

Visit the Embassy of the country you are travelling to to find out which visa to apply for and how to apply.

Documents required for visa

You can produce your own Student Status Letter confirming that you are a registered student at Durham University to support your visa application. Go to Banner Self Service in DUO and click on Self-service Student Letters.

If this letter is not sufficient for the embassy, Student Registry can provide you with a Student Status Letter which may be acceptable.

The embassy of the country you are travelling to will give you information about other documents that are required.

When can you travel?

Many European embassies or consulates expect students to have a minimum of 2-6 months' leave (permission to stay in the UK) beyond the term of your proposed trip. Check with the embassy before arranging your travel.

Updating your study and accommodation addresses

You must inform the University of the address of the University / Institution you will be studying at during your year abroad, as soon as you know it, so that UK Visas & Immigration can be notified.

Also, update your accommodation address in DUO before you start your study abroad.

Extending your Tier 4 Student visa

If you are adding a year of study abroad to your programme and you will not have enough time on your current visa to complete your programme, you must apply to extend your visa before your study abroad starts. You can apply for a new Tier 4 visa from within the UK.

When you should apply for a new visa depends on when you applied for your current visa:

Current visa issued on or after 6th April 2016:


  • Apply for a new visa in your home country immediately after you receive your new CAS
    • Once you have applied you will have to return to the UK within 30 days to collect your new Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).

Current visa issued before 6th April 2016:

Please note: If you leave the UK at any time, you must apply for the correct visa for your programme before you return to the UK. You should not attempt to re-enter the UK with your original visa if your programme has changed.

Collecting your BRP

If you apply for a new visa to change programmes, you will be issued with a 30 day entry clearance visa and will be expected to travel to the UK within that period and collect your new Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) within 10 days of arrival in the UK.

If you do not travel to the UK within the period of the 30 day entry clearance visa, you will need to request a replacement.

You must collect your BRP and present it to the Student Immigration Office before starting your study abroad.

Further information about collecting your BRP and continuing your study

Further information

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) gives detailed advice about travelling in Europe and how to apply for visas.

Unfortunately, the Student Immigration Office is unable to assist you with making an application to visit another country or for a Schengen Visa.

The University of Durham makes every effort to ensure that the information published on this page is accurate. However, the University cannot guarantee the information may not be altered owing to circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) change in Government policy, or change of law. Any changes will be incorporated into the University’s website as early as possible.