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 between 1 September and 31 October 2020, you must request additional time to stay, also known as ‘exceptional assurance’.

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.

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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