International students Coronavirus FAQs

Female student looking away

Advice for international students

See answers to our frequently asked questions from current and prospective students

If you arrive in the UK on or after 8 June 2020, you'll be subject to the UK government's self-isolation rules. Please see our coronavirus FAQs below for further details on how coronavirus may affect your studies.

Current international or study abroad students

When you arrive in the UK, you may be subject to the UK government's self-isolation rules. Under these rules you must:

  • provide details of your journey and your contact details when you travel to the UK
  • not leave the place you're staying for your first 14 days in the UK (except in very limited situations)

You may be fined if you fail to provide details of where you plan to stay and/or if you do not self-isolate.

You must think about the extra days when planning your travel to the UK. During this time you won't be able to attend the University, see other people or leave your accommodation except for very limited reasons.

Even if you take a test and receive negative results you still must self-isolate for 14 days.

We don't know how long these measures will be in place and they may be subject to change at short notice. You can find further details in the government's guide to entering the UK.

If you have any questions please contact the International Student Advice team at international.student.adviser@port.ac.uk.

We understand that it may not be possible for you to rejoin us on campus at the beginning of term because of existing health conditions or because you are not comfortable travelling yet, so you will be able to continue your degree online and join us on campus when you are ready. 

Continuing to work in the UK

There are no changes to your work (employment) permissions. You'll continue to be restricted during term time, as you will be expected to be working on your studies. Term times remain the same at this time.

You can work more than the hours stated on your Tier 4 visas in the following periods:

Undergraduates
  • Winter Vacation: Monday 14 December 2020 – Friday 1 January 2021
  • Easter Break: Monday 5 April 2021 – Friday 16 April 2021
  • Summer Vacation: Monday 22 June – Sunday 4 October
Postgraduate Taught (Master's)
  • Winter Vacation: Monday 14 December 2020 – Friday 1 January 2021
  • Easter Break: Monday 5 April 2021 – Friday 16 April 2021
Postgraduate Research

University engagement monitoring as required under Tier 4 and the Student Route

We’ll measure your engagement levels to match the blend of face-to-face and online learning you’ll experience this academic year. 

This can easily be done by: 

  • swiping your Student Card at card readers placed outside, or in, teaching rooms for face-to-face sessions
  • logging in and accessing modules and learning materials on Moodle for virtual learning

Attendance and engagement is a condition of a Tier 4 or Student Route visa.

Suspending or withdrawing from course

If you're not continuing with your current course the normal processes apply. Contact your MyPort Hub and complete the appropriate paperwork.

The University is then required to inform the Home Office and withdraw sponsorship for your Tier 4 visa. The University will send you a confirmation email when this has been done and advise you on how long you have to leave the UK.

Accessing health care

The Immigration Health Surcharge paid as part of a Tier 4 or Student Route visa application gives you access to the UK health care system in the same way as a British Citizen. If you have a visa for less than 6 months, you won't have paid the Immigration Health Surcharge and will need to ensure you have medical insurance to cover any non-emergency care.

If you need hospital treatment in the UK, the NHS have published useful information about what to expect.  

Visa expiration

If you are planning to leave the UK

If you intend to leave the UK but are not able to do so and your visa expires before 30 November October 2020, you must request additional time to stay, also known as ‘exceptional assurance’. Please avoid using this scheme if you want to stay in the UK beyond the earliest date on which you could leave. UKVI have not confirmed whether the scheme will be extended beyond the end of November.

You need to contact the Coronavirus Immigration team (CIT) and complete this Exceptional Assurance Request Form

If UKVI accept your request for ‘exceptional assurance’ they will send you the expiry date and confirmation that you will remain in the UK on the same terms and conditions as your previous visa, although it has not been extended, and that "you will not be regarded as an overstayer or suffer any detriment in any future applications". They will also tell you that you are expected to make plans to leave the UK before your ‘exceptional assurance’ expires, although you can apply again under the scheme if you are still unable to leave the UK.

Exceptional assurance is not a visa but the guidance says that it offers, "Short-term protection against any adverse action or consequences after your leave has expired", which suggests that you will not be regarded as an overstayer. Unless UKVI states that it will not treat you as an overstayer, you should declare this period in any future visa applications as a period of overstay and explain why. 

If you do require longer and/or are unable to leave the UK by the assurance date given, you must reapply nearer this date by resubmitting the online form with supporting information.

You will need to return to your home country as soon as it is safe and possible to do so.

If you intend to stay in the UK to continue your studies

If your visa expired after 31 August, and you need to remain in the UK for an 'urgent reason' you should apply before your current immigration permission expires. Please note that UKVI have not confirmed what an urgent reason is and wanting to stay in the UK to study may not be deemed an ‘urgent reason’.

The Tier 4 requirement to have a gap of no more than 28 days between the end of your visa and the course start date on your CAS does not apply to you if your course start date is before 31 December 2020.

If you want to start a new course before you finish your previous course, for example, if you want to start a course before you have completed your current course or transfer into the University from another institution you would need to return home to make a visa application.

This information may be updated at short notice, further useful information can be found on the Coronavirus section of the UKCISA website.

If your visa expires as normal and you need to extend your visa to cover your current course you must apply before your current visa expires. If you have any further questions about your visa please contact the International Student Advice Team at international.student.adviser@port.ac.uk

Students at International College Portsmouth (ICP)

International College Portsmouth will provide guidance, which will be emailed to you. The University will continue to sponsor you on your Tier 4 leave as long as you're fully engaging on your course remotely. 

Police Registration

If you have a Police Registration Certificate and you have left the UK, please email nationalities@hampshire.pnn.police.uk to inform them. Please include your Police Registration Certificate Number in your email.

If you need to change your address, passport or visa details please create an account or log in to Hampshire Constabulary and input your details. When Police stations re-open for this purpose you will then be able to book an appointment to have your Police Registration Certificate updated. Please check their website for updates.

Where you are unable to join us on campus due to the pandemic it is possible for you to study remotely for the academic year 2020-2021. We would encourage you to join us on campus to benefit from the face to face delivery as soon as you can. However, if you are refused a UKVI Student Route visa for academic year 2021-2022 you will gain university credits for the 2020-2021 period of remote study, if applicable. 

If you would like to have the opportunity to apply for the Graduate Immigration Route in the UK you will need to be studying at the University in person by 6 April 2021 and successfully achieve a degree, masters or PhD award from the summer of 2021.

Please note that some courses have a requirement for face to face teaching due to the nature of the subject. If you are not sure if this applies to you please contact your faculty MyPort hub.

 

We would encourage our students to consider carefully if they wish to do so as our current plans are to continue blended and connected learning for the rest of the academic year. It provides lectures online and face to face delivery for between 4-6 hours each week per course. We have made the campus covid safe with asymptomatic testing, temperature monitoring stations, sanitising stations and social distancing measures so that students can benefit from studying on campus. We have made provision for those students who are unable to join us because of border closures, visa issues or flight availability, to continue to study online. We do however encourage you to join us on campus as soon as you possibly can as there are benefits of the University experience which are not necessarily easy to replicate through online-only learning.  

 

We would encourage our students to consider carefully if they wish to do so as our current plans are to continue blended and connected learning for the rest of the academic year. It provides lectures online and face to face delivery for between 4-6 hours per week per course. We have made the campus covid safe with asymptomatic testing, temperature monitoring stations, sanitising stations and social distancing measures so that students can benefit from studying on campus. We have made provision for those students who are unable to join us because of border closures, visa issues or flight availability, to continue to study online. We do however encourage you to continue to study on campus as there are benefits of the University experience which are not necessarily easy to replicate through online-only learning.  

 

If you have been granted a visa but you do not travel and then choose to interrupt your studies the University will need to report this to UKVI. UKVI will then curtail (stop) your visa, you will not be able to use this visa and you would need to apply for a new visa to resume your studies.

You will need to contact the International Student Advice team for further advice from 6 months before you are due to resume your studies.

 

You will be able to complete the 2020-2021 year of study remotely with the University of Portsmouth and if you successfully pass the year you will gain academic credits on an Undergraduate course. If the course you are currently on is not offered on a distance learning or online-only basis for future years then you will need to transfer to another course either with us or with another institution to complete your studies online.   If you joined a Taught Postgraduate course in October you will be able to continue to the dissertation/project stage of your course online.

If you are currently studying remotely and wish to return or travel to the UK to join us on campus and your CAS has expired then you will need to request a further CAS to continue your study in person. You can do so by emailing ukvi-student-compliance@port.ac.uk.  

For further advice on the requirements for the UKVI Student Route (replacement for Tier 4) please contact the International Student Advice team: international.student.adviser@port.ac.uk.

 

You will only be able to complete the 2020-21 year of study remotely with the University of Portsmouth and if you successfully pass the year you will gain academic credits. You can either transfer to a course that is offered by distance learning or online with us (if available) or with another university. 

If you would like the course start date changed on your CAS this would may decrease the cost of the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) but it would mean that your visa might be issued for a shorter period.

Courses of more than 12 months  have a 4 month period given at the end, courses of 6 to 12 months have a period of 2 months given at the end and courses of less than 6 months have 1 week given at the end.

This wrap up period might be important to you is you wish to look for a job or apply for the new Graduate Immigration Route (GIR) visa from Summer 2021.
You also need to ensure that all your supporting documents including those for English Language are up to date when you apply.

If it has been more than eight weeks since you submitted your visa extension application in the UK and you have not had a response yet, please email international.student.adviser@port.ac.uk.

Please contact the International Student Advice team with your student number and visa application reference number so that they can contact UKVI on your behalf.

You will need to arrive in the UK before 6 April 2020 if you wish to apply for GIR when you have successfully completed your course. The GIR visa will start from Summer 2021.

Yes, please complete the ‘Student Arrival Details’ form in your Student View.

The UK borders are open for international students wishing to study in the UK in person.

All international arrivals will be required to complete a passenger locator form on arrival, and passengers travelling from a country not on the exemption (travel corridor) list will need to self-isolate in their accommodation for fourteen days.

Students required to self-isolate upon arrival should only use public transport if they have no other option, and should follow safer travel guidance for passengers.

In England, those self-isolating can only leave their accommodation in limited circumstances, and should follow Government self-isolation guidance.

Please refer to the UK Government guidance on travelling to the UK during the lockdown. 

The University can provide you with support whilst you are self-isolating when you arrive. Please follow the information given on this page so that we know you have arrived and can support you during this time. You will have access to food parcels, Wellbeing support and laundry services during this time.

You need to contact your course leader to ensure that you are able to continue studying online from abroad and it is important that you remain engaged with your studies with the University. 

Please note the following guidance from the Department of Education regarding travel: 

  • Students planning to travel should adhere to Public Health England advice while in England to ensure they are travelling safely. Students should not travel if they have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or are part of a household group which is self-isolating.
  • If students do travel overseas, they should consider the restrictions on entry to the country in question, such as whether they would need to undertake a period of self-isolation in that country, and whether they would need to self-isolate when they return.
 

Post offices hold entry clearance BRPs for a period of at least 90 days. If you will not be able to return to the UK during the validity of your visa vignette in order to collect your BRP, you need to report this to the Home Office, along with information about when you intend to return to the UK, if you know: gov.uk/biometric-residence-permits/collect

If you leave the UK before you collect your BRP and your entry clearance (vignette) expires before you return, you can apply for a replacement vignette free of charge until 31 December 2020. 

After the 31 December 2020 you will need to apply for a temporary entry visa, which costs £189.

 

If you leave the UK before you collect your BRP and your entry clearance expires before you return, you can apply for a replacement vignette free of charge until 31 December 2020. This vignette will last 90 days. You will need to contact the Coronavirus Immigration Helpline

After the 31 December 2020 you will need to apply for a temporary entry visa, which costs £189.

Post offices hold entry clearance BRPs for a period of at least 90 days. If you will not be able to return to the UK during the validity of your visa in order to collect your BRP, you need to report this to the Home Office, along with information about when you intend to return to the UK, if you know: gov.uk/biometric-residence-permits/collect

When you return to the UK, you must send the university a copy of your entry stamp. The university will then report this to the Home Office and your BRP card will be sent to your UK Term Time Address. You must ensure that this address is correct in your Student View portal.

This would be deemed as essential travel, and you should collect your BRP card from the Post Office, if you are not self-isolating. If you are self-isolating, you should wait until your self-isolation has ended before collecting your BRP card.

Prospective international students

When you arrive in the UK, you may be subject to the UK government's self-isolation rules. Please refer to the UK Government website for more information. Under these rules you must:

  • provide details of your journey and your contact details when you travel to the UK
  • not leave the place you're staying for your first 14 days in the UK (except in very limited situations)

You may be fined if you fail to provide details of where you plan to stay and/or if you do not self-isolate.

You must think about the extra days when planning your travel to the UK. During this time you won't be able to attend the University, see other people or leave your accommodation except for very limited reasons.

We don't know how long these measures will be in place and they may be subject to change at short notice. You can find further details in the government's guide to entering the UK.

If you have any questions please contact the International Student Advice team at tier4-visa@port.ac.uk.

For you to make the most out of your experience and settle into university life, you should aim to be on campus as early as possible. The blended approach to teaching means that as well as the online learning, there will still be elements of face-to-face teaching which we know is important to you and crucial for many courses.

However, we understand that it may not be possible for you to join us on campus at the beginning of term because of existing health conditions or because you are not comfortable travelling yet, so you will be able to start your degree online and join us on campus when you are ready.

We accept other equivalent tests or evidence of English Language proficiency if IELTS have been cancelled in your country. Our English language requirements page has a full list of acceptable qualifications.

We offer our pre-sessional English courses online as well as blended Autumn courses leading into our January intake. Please find further information on our pre-sessional English web page.

At present, you'll still need to provide a deposit or suitable sponsor letter to receive an unconditional offer. However, we've updated our deposit policy so if you're unable to start your course due to coronavirus, you'll receive a full refund of your deposit.

You can find further information on our Tier 4 visa page.

Delayed visa applications

At present, the latest date for registration is 3 weeks from the start date of the programme. Please note, some courses do not allow for late registration

If you wish to defer joining the University. We have postgraduate courses and top-up undergraduate programmes you can begin in February 2021 or alternatively you can join us in September 2021. Take a look at courses starting in January 2021.

To defer your application, please email global-assist@port.ac.uk. If you defer your start date, you're still guaranteed a place as long as you meet all your conditions subject to course capacity and any course and entry requirements changes.

We are aware that different examination boards and countries are taking different approaches to exams. We'll look at this on a country by country basis. In some countries, such as the UK, the A level and IB Boards are assessing the students on the basis of achievement so far, and will provide an appropriate grade for them. In such a case we would accept the official results from the relevant examination board or examination authority in your country. We're also working to better understand the impact not being able to attend school or college may have on your grades.

We can accept final certificates, final transcripts or an official school/institution letter. Results must be confirmed and not provisional in order for us to accept you.

If you're unable to meet your conditions in time due to the coronavirus, please email us at global-assist@port.ac.uk and we'll work with you to explore the options available to you.

You'll be offered a guaranteed room in halls if you apply for accommodation as a new full-time undergraduate student who is starting in September 2021 and make us your firm, first choice before 30 June.

If you've applied for a postgraduate course that requires an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate, please ensure you have a valid certificate when it comes to your visa application. You should apply for your ATAS certificate as soon as possible as the process can take at least 30 working days. You will need to send us your ATAS certificate as soon as you receive it as it is part of the conditions of your offer. Further information about ATAS can be found here.

Please email the Global Office at global@port.ac.uk if you have any further questions.

You can also speak to our specialist staff in key locations including China, Malaysia, Nigeria, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

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