International students Coronavirus FAQs
Please see our coronavirus FAQs below for further details on how coronavirus may affect your studies.
Current international or study abroad students
If you arrive in England after 4.00am on Friday 18 March you will not need to:
- take any COVID-19 tests – before you travel or after you arrive
- fill in a UK passenger locator form before you travel
This will apply whether you are vaccinated or not.
You also will not need to quarantine when you arrive, in line with current rules.
Please note that rules are subject to change, sometimes at short notice, so you can find out more on the UK Government website.
Yes, if you are in the UK you must attend all face to face sessions for your course unless you need to self-isolate due to Covid, you should attend only once the period of self-isolation has ended.
You must ensure that you attend all face to face sessions and make sure that you contact your faculty if you are unable to attend due to ill health.
Anyone aged 18 or over in the UK is eligible for the Covid-19 vaccination for free, regardless of their nationality or visa status (this means students and adult dependants are eligible).
We recommend that you register with a GP (doctor) and get an NHS number if you have not done so already. An NHS number can be found on any letter the NHS has sent you, on a prescription, or by logging in to your GP practice online service. You can also find your NHS number using this link.
It is possible to request to book a vaccination appointment as an unregistered patient by contacting a local GP practice.
If you have not registered with a GP you will not be contacted for the vaccination so it is important that you register with your local GP.
You can book your vaccination appointments through the National Booking Service with your NHS number if you have previously received NHS treatment.
If you have come to the UK and are considered fully vaccinated that you should consult with a GP prior to attempting to get additional Covid-19 vaccinations. This is to ensure that any additional vaccinations are medically safe for you to receive.
If you have come to the UK and are considered fully vaccinated then you should consult with a GP prior to attempting to get additional Covid-19 vaccinations. This is to ensure that any additional vaccinations are medically safe for you to receive.
All vaccines used in the UK must be approved by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Its role is to ensure medicines, devices and vaccines work effectively and are safe for use.
We have some of the highest safety standards in the world and the MHRA is globally recognised for requiring high standards for quality, safety and medicines regulation.
There are extensive checks and balances required by law at every stage of the development of a vaccine. The data looked at includes all the results from laboratory studies, clinical trials, manufacturing and quality controls and testing of the product. The public should be very confident that all tests were completed to the very highest standards.
Each COVID-19 vaccine candidate is assessed by teams of scientists and clinicians on a case by case basis and is only authorised once it has met robust standards of effectiveness, safety and quality set by the medicines regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
The MHRA makes sure the vaccines meet strict international standards for safety, quality and effectiveness. Once a vaccine is approved, it's closely monitored to continue to make sure it is safe and effective.
MHRA approved Covid 19 vaccines have been tested on thousands of people in the UK and around the world, including:
- people from different ethnic backgrounds
- people aged between 18 and 84
- children and young people aged between 12 and 17
- people with different health conditions
If you received your first dose of Covid-19 vaccine overseas that is also available in the UK, you should receive the same vaccine for your second dose.
If the vaccine you received for your first dose is not available in the UK, the most similar alternative should be offered according to the advice here (see sections on vaccine interchangeability guidance). You should contact your GP to ensure you receive an appropriate vaccine for your second dose.
You should contact the health service in the country where you are resident at the time the second dose is due.
You can find further information about demonstrating your vaccination status on gov.uk
You can easily access services for vaccination against Covid-19 provided by the NHS. This includes international students - anybody aged 18 or over in the UK is eligible for the Covid-19 vaccination for free, regardless of their nationality or immigration status.
There are walk-in clinics available for the public, including at Lalys in Guildhall walk.
Many more appointments are available elsewhere in the city at the St James' Hospital site in Milton, as well as local pharmacies. Find an appointment on the NHS website.
Further information about vaccinations and registering with a GP can be found on MyPort.
All authorised vaccines are available free of charge across the UK, regardless of nationality, residency or immigration status and are available from thousands of vaccine centres, GP practices and pharmacies.
If you received a vaccination which is not recognised by the UK authorities you should contact your GP or a clinician at a vaccination centre to discuss whether further vaccination is appropriate.
If the vaccine you received for your first dose is not available in the UK, the most similar alternative should be offered.
If you received a vaccination outside the UK, you should contact a GP or a clinician at a vaccination centre to discuss whether further vaccination is appropriate. Clinicians will only advise additional vaccination where this is safe.
Current guidance advises that individuals should not seek to receive a further course of vaccination on top of their vaccines unless specifically advised to.
For travel certification purposes, the NHS Covid Pass will only show 2 vaccine doses - the first and last vaccine dose an individual has received. Mixed doses, including of MHRA vaccines, currently do not qualify for relaxed health measures at the UK Border
Only people who are fully vaccinated under the UK government vaccination programme can be certified using the NHS Covid Pass. The NHS COVID Pass is available to those who are resident in England with an NHS number. GP registration is required to access the Covid Pass via the NHS App.
An individual is fully vaccinated 14 days after completing a full course of an MHRA authorised vaccine, whether that requires two doses or one dose (according to the MHRA authorised schedule). The day you have your final dose does not count as one of the 14 days.
Voluntary certification is currently in operation in England to help limit the risk of transmission in their venues and events. You may be required to demonstrate proof of your Covid-19 status upon arrival at some venues. It is up to venues/events which forms of proof they accept.
The Government has not introduced mandatory vaccine-only but it may do if the data suggests action is required to prevent unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
Please visit the NHS Covid Vaccination pages for more information about the Covid 19 vaccine.
Anyone who catches COVID-19 can become seriously ill and may also suffer long-term effects of the disease (long COVID). The COVID-19 vaccines are the best way
to protect yourself and others.
Research has shown the vaccines help:
- reduce your risk of getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19
- reduce your risk of catching or spreading COVID-19
- protect against COVID-19 variants
There is a chance you might still get or spread COVID-19 even if you have a vaccine, so it's important to follow advice about how to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19.
97.9% of the population in the United Kingdom are now showing antibodies to COVID-19, from both infection and/or vaccination, compared to 18.9% that have antibodies from infection alone.
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.
If you are working in a Care Home the condition of working 20 hours per week still applies to you.
You can work more than the hours stated on your Tier 4 or Student Route visas in the following periods:
- Easter Break: Monday 4 April 2022 to Sunday 17 April 2022
- Summer Vacation: Monday 20 2022 to Sunday 25 September 2022
Postgraduate Taught (Master's)
The summer vacation period does not apply to students on taught Masters as you will be working on your dissertation/final project so you can only work 20 hours per week until the end of your course.
For students starting their Master’s programme in January please check if you are required to study during the summer vacation period. You can find further information about working during your studies on MyPort.
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.
If you are in the UK you must attend all face to face sessions unless you are required to isolate due to a positive Covid test.
If you are currently studying remotely and need to 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 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'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/Student Route 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.
The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) 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.
Please make sure that you register with a doctor (GP) so that you have access to treatment at any time, don’t wait until you are unwell.
If you are planning to leave the UK
If you intend to leave the UK to return to a country or territory but have not been able to do so and you have a visa, leave or ‘exceptional assurance’ (EA) that expires before 31 May 2022 you may request additional time to stay, known as ‘exceptional assurance’.
Exceptional cases include where you might be unable to return to a country or territory that you are resident in, as that nation has closed their borders or where quarantine facilities are temporarily over-subscribed.
You need to contact the Coronavirus Immigration team (CIT) and send them the following information:
- full name
- date of birth
- Home Office, GWF or any other reference number
- type of visa
- expiry date of visa
- reason for request
- evidence of flight or evidence showing reason you can’t leave
The subject header of your email should read “Request for an assurance”.
In your email you should attach evidence to show why you cannot leave the UK. For example, evidence of your inability to book quarantine accommodation in your home country.
During the time in which your request for ‘exceptional assurance’ (EA) is pending you will continue on the conditions as per your current or most recently expired visa.
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 EA 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’ve already been given EA but your circumstances have changed or you are unable to leave the UK by the EA date previously given, you must reapply using the process above. You will need to clearly state that you’re making a subsequent application. You will be asked to provide new supporting evidence.
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 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 email@example.com.
We are delighted you have chosen to study with us here at ICP. Everyone at ICP takes huge pride in our students doing well and we are all excited for you that you have taken this huge step and will now be starting or continuing your chosen degree course. Whichever course you have chosen, our aim is to provide a supportive learning environment to enable each of you to fulfil your potential.
The key thing for you to know is where to find our College Services Team. Based at St Andrews Court, we have a dedicated group of staff, with years of experience between them, who are here to guide and support you through your studies. The team are trained to support you with all aspects of your studies in terms of academia, welfare, enrichment, wellbeing and minimise any of the challenges you may experience as a student. We are always available to support you, no matter what the circumstance. All you need to do is remember, our door is always open.
We are available on multiple platforms: email (firstname.lastname@example.org), telephone ((+44) 2392 848540), Zoom and in person (on the second floor at St Andrew's Court, St Michael's Road, Portsmouth, Hampshire PO1 2PR) so please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.
Once ICP confirm your successful progression to the University of Portsmouth, you will receive an email from ICP with the relevant information and a Transfer Flyer. The email will contain a link to enable you to register on to your course.
You must register online with the University before you start your course and complete your registration on campus when you start.
When completing the online pre-registration, you must fill in the form with your most current and up-to-date information, deleting any incorrect or out-of-date information. This is very important as the University must hold correct information for all our students as a requirement of the Home Office.
If you have a Police Registration Certificate and you have left the UK, please email email@example.com to inform them. Please include your Police Registration Certificate Number in your email.
The Nationalities Office for Police Registration has limited appointments available, so please do not worry if you are not able to make an appointment for a new Police Registration Certificate straight away. You can find further information about Police Registration on MyPort.
If you have been granted a visa but you do not travel and then choose to suspend your studies the University will need to report this to UKVI. UKVI will then cancel 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
You will need to wait for about a week to hear from UKVI about whether you will need to book an appointment or whether it will reuse fingerprints you gave in another immigration application. If they can reuse your fingerprints, they will send you a link to an app that you will use to provide a facial photograph and your documents.
If this is not possible, you will have the option of making an appointment to attend a centre. You will receive an email explaining what you need to do.
Please contact the International Student Advice team with your student number and visa application reference number if you do not hear from UKVI after 10 working days so that they can contact UKVI on your behalf.
In order to meet the requirements of the Graduate Immigration Route (GIR) you must make sure that you read the following information carefully about when you need to be in the UK as you can only apply for GIR in the UK.
You will need to hold a valid Student Route visa and study for the full period of your course in the UK if you have studied on a course of 12 months or less.
If you are on a course of 12 months or more you would need to spend a minimum of 12 months in the UK studying on a valid Student Route visa.
If you are applying now and you do not meet this requirement because you have been distance learning outside the UK due to Coronavirus, you may still be eligible to apply. Your deadline for entering or returning to the UK after blended learning depends on when your course started and how long it was.
If you began a course of 12 months or less in 2020 or Spring 2021 via blended learning and connected study, and you have not previously entered the UK to study that course your deadline for coming to the UK under the Student Route has now passed. It was either 27 September 2021 or the end date of your visa if your visa ended before 27 September 2021.
If you start a course of 12 months or less in Autumn 2021 or Spring 2022 via blended learning from overseas you must enter the UK no later than 30 June 2022 and complete that course of study in the UK with a Student Route visa to be eligible for the Graduate Immigration Route. Students should travel once they are able to do so.
If you began a course of 12 months or less in Spring 2021 and have already travelled to the UK on your current student visa you will be able to make a GIR application as long as you are in the UK before the end date of your visa.
If you are on a top-up course this will be considered as being on a course of 12 months or less.
If you are studying a course lasting longer than 12 months you will not be prevented from being eligible for the Graduate Immigration Route as a result of any blended learning that took place either in the UK or overseas between the period of 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021 or any blended learning which took place overseas between 27 September 2021 and 30 June 2022. If your current visa expires before 30 June 2022 you must enter the UK before the expiry of your Student permission rather than 30 June 2022.
You will need to have valid leave on a Tier 4 or Student Route visa to apply for The Graduate Immigration Route. You can currently apply if you have valid Exceptional Assurance.
If you have switched into the Tier 4 or Student Route from another visa route and have not held a Tier 4 or Student Route visa for the required period you will not be able apply for this route.
Further information about the Graduate Immigration Route (GIR) is on available on the UKCISA website.
Please note that as with all visa routes, advice and information about GIR may be subject to change.
If you have any questions or queries please contact the International Student Advice team.
You will be able to confirm your location as part of your registration.
You need to contact your course leader and faculty hub 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.
If you are planning to travel should adhere to Public Health England advice while in England to ensure they are travelling safely. You should not travel if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or are part of a household group which is self-isolating.
If you do travel overseas, you should consider the restrictions on entry to the country in question, such as whether you would need to undertake a period of self-isolation in that country, and whether you would need to self-isolate when you return.
You will need to ensure that you return to the UK before 30 June 2022 if you are continuing on your current course and have travelled to your home country.
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 are not able to travel before your visa vignette expires you will need to apply for a new temporary entry visa, which costs £154. You will need to complete the online form and give your biometrics again. you will need to apply for a temporary entry visa, which costs £189.
We recommend that you only apply for a replacement when you are sure that you can travel as the new entry visa will only be valid for 90 days.
You will need to apply for a new temporary entry visa, which costs £154. You will need to complete the online form and give your biometrics again.
We recommend that you only apply for a replacement when you are sure that you can travel as the new entry visa will only be valid for 90 days.
You will need to apply for a new BRP card when you return to the UK, further information can be found on the UKCISA website.
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.
You can collect your BRP card from the MyPort Hub in the Nuffield Centre.
Prospective international students
We strongly encourage you to join us in Portsmouth as soon as possible, however we will provide blended teaching to support international students who cannot come onto the campus on time due to travel restrictions. Once the situation becomes clearer and travel restrictions ease international students will be expected to come onto campus to join us when they can.
We will provide blended teaching to support international students who cannot come onto the campus on time due to travel restrictions.
However, you will still need to register online for your programme before the late registration deadline which is Monday 21 February for most courses - please note for MSc Project Management the late registration deadline is Monday 31 January.
- MSc Biotechnology
- MSc Medical Biotechnology
UKVI Concessions require students to travel to the UK before 30 June 2022, this also means you will meet the study in the UK requirement to apply for the Graduate Immigration Route. they will also be eligible to apply for the Graduate Immigration Route.
If you have any questions you can email email@example.com
Students arriving in the UK are subject to the latest UK Government regulations which may include testing and self isolation. Please refer to the UK Government website for up to date information for arrivals from your country.
If you have to self isolate, we can provide you with free food parcels for the 10 day period. Each food parcel will last for up to 5 days. The University will arrange for these food parcels to be delivered to halls of residence and private sector accommodation in Portsmouth.
We strongly encourage all students in the city to take a test and to follow self isolating guidelines where necessary in order to manage the transmission of the virus and help keep everyone in our University and city safe.
If you have any questions please contact the International Student Advice team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the courses below it is not possible to join online so you will need to arrive at the University by Monday 7 February 2022:
- MSc Biotechnology
- MSc Medical Biotechnology
UKVI Concessions require students to travel to the UK before 30 June 2022, this means they will also be eligible to apply for the Graduate Immigration Route.
If you cannot travel to join us and are studying one of these courses please let us know. You will need to defer your study to the next entry point for the course so that you can attend the course in person.
If you have any questions you can email email@example.com
If you are a new student travelling from a UK Government red list country, to join the University for the first time, and are required to pay the cost of quarantine, the University will provide you with a tuition fee discount for up to £1,750. More information and terms and conditions can be found here.
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.
As Covid restrictions are starting to ease in England we are now able to start face-to-face teaching for some of our PSE courses from Monday 8 March. We also offer our pre-sessional English courses online. Please find further information on our pre-sessional English web page.
You will 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 Student Route 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. You should register online while you wait for your visa to be granted.
To defer your application, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 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 email@example.com 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.