As most Tier 4 sponsors are aware, if an individual who wishes to start a course of study, is already in the UK, the course cannot start more than 28 days after the student’s current leave to remain expires. This is usually a simple calculation. We were however asked to obtain confirmation on how the 28 days were being calculated when a student submits a variation of leave application.

The Home Office's policy team has confirmed to us that, when a student submits a variation of leave application, the 28 days will be calculated from the date on which the variation of leave is granted. While this may be seen as welcome news, it also means that the date is impossible to calculate as this date will never be known in advance.

Therefore, while a rough calculation can be made as to the length of time the Home Office may take to process a variation of leave application, the only failsafe calculation is to ensure that the course starts within 28 days of submission of the variation of leave application.