I'm a second-year PhD student studying in a foreign country on a student visa, and I've been admitted to another PhD program in another foreign country (so I'm planning to leave the current program unfinished and started the new one). My official offer has this clause and I have to accept it in order to get the confirmation letter that allows me to apply for a student visa for the new country: "I confirm that I am not bound to enrolment at another education institution that would require a release." Does this mean that I will have to withdraw from my studies at where I am now, in order to start the visa application? This would be very impractical, though: taking a student visa in the new country takes at least 5 months or so, but upon withdrawing from my studies at the present institution, my current student visa will be canceled (not to mention that I'll lose the funds that I'd need to live on in the next few months that I'll be waiting for the visa) and I will have to leave the present county (presumably to home) long before my new student visa is ready. (Also, my passport isn't strong enough to keep me around on its own.)

Please tell me that I've misunderstood the clause! If not, do you know any way out of this?

PS 1: My initial thought is that this clause can't mean what I've taken it to mean, as it's very customary to apply for grad schools, get admitted, and start applying for visas while you're in your last year/semester. It's just that for me the starting date is before fall, and my present studies won't end before my new studies start.

PS 2: I can provide you with country specifics, etc., if needed.

PS 3: I've asked this question here as well, but I thought this forum is more relevant.

  • Without knowing which countries it's hard to give you a firm answer. As long as your current studies are in your application packet you should probably be fine. This is a clause that's most likely intended to keep people from accepting 5 offers and then quitting 4 of them right before the semester starts. – user133933 Feb 15 at 14:57
  • @Libor Thanks. The current country of my studies is Canada, and the new country is Australia. – qu71 Feb 15 at 15:10

"I confirm that I am not bound to enrolment at another education institution that would require a release."

To me the phrases here "bound to enrollment" and "require a release" seem important; the first phrase suggests some sort of contract, the second suggests that you require permission from those who have you bound to leave this contract. Joining these phrases with "that" suggests that both situations must be true: contract that requires permission from someone else for you to withdraw from it.

My non-lawyer reading is that if, like most educational programs, you can simply choose to leave at the end of a semester without particular penalty, then you are not bound to enrollment and do not require a release. You might be bound if you have an agreement to do some work for funding, and especially if you have tuition remission that becomes void if you leave in the middle of a semester.

However, since the potential fallout from violating this policy could include losing your offer, I think it's worth verifying that you are in the clear. Assuming you can leave your program in Canada at any time, I would still confirm with the program in Australia that your current attendance is not an issue. It shouldn't be too much of a surprise to them because I'm sure you explained your situation in your application. Explain to them any terms of your current enrollment, and your plans for how and when you will leave the current program, and any restrictions or lack of restrictions on doing so.

You also definitely do not want to lie or mislead on any visa application. My understanding that doing so can permanently (or at least for many years) disqualify you for a visa, even if you did not intend to mislead.

You could also have a lawyer interpret the phrasing and give you legal advice, but you can't get personal legal advice from Stack Exchange.


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