Coronavirus (Covid-19): Visa Implications
Various changes have been introduced by UKVI to accommodate the impact of Covid-19 as summarised below. For a detailed guide refer to the UKCISA website, which is frequently updated as the situation develops:
The main UKVI resources on their special arrangements are online.
This includes specific guidance for Students and study sponsors such as the University
You should also refer to the University’s Covid-19 information, FAQs and latest updates. Please continue to check your University email for Covid-19 related updates.
All of the above are subject to frequent change.
Entering the UK
The UK has introduced various measures for border entry over time. Depending on where you travel from (and possibly your vaccination status) you may have to comply; declaring your journey and contact details before travel, provide a negative Covid-19 test, self isolation (in a government managed quarantine hotel facility where required) and complete post arrival Covid-19 tests (booked in advance of travel). As the requirements are subject to review and change, you should check the up to date position on-line.
Covid-19 related study options
Depending on your studies you may have options to study remotely
As long as you are engaging with your studies as required, regardless of your current location inside or outside the UK, the University can maintain sponsorship of your Student visa. Maintaining sponsorship ensures your visa stays valid for remaining in and / or returning to the UK.
If remote study is not available but you do not wish to continue for the time being you may have to consider taking leave of absence. This could lead to the cancellation of the remainder of any Student visa, you would later need to request a new CAS from Student Enquiries to secure a new visa before returning to the UK to resume studies after the period of any leave. Much can depend on the individual circumstances and programme requirements. Relevant information is provided online by Admissions and in the Student Handbook. It is advisable to seek advice from Admissions/your School and/or ourselves as relevant before making a decision that could affect your studies and visa status.
If your programme and circumstances allow you to start studies remotely Admissions can defer the issue of a CAS until it is required to enable you to travel to attend in person.
Extending your visa in the UK
Exceptionally, UKVI has allowed the following among other provisions:
- A gap of more than 28 days between visa expiry and the new course start date (for courses commencing prior to 27 September 2021).
- Visa extensions if you need more time to finish your course due to Covid-19
- Some students to exceed the normal time limit, e.g. the 5-year cap on degree level study (on a case by case basis)
UKVCAS biometric enrolment centres have mostly resumed normal service. If UKVI can reuse your biometric information (fingerprints and photograph) collected in a previous application you may not need to attend a biometric enrolment appointment and instead be invited to use the new IDV app to submit a facial image and your evidence to UKVI directly via the app.
Whilst social distancing measures are in place, we can still provide advice about extending your visa, including checking your documents and draft application but we cannot accept BRP deliveries on your behalf.
Applying for your visa overseas
Most UK Visa Application Centres (VACs) are fully operational but there can be delays if local service is limited or there have been backlogs.
Exceptionally, UKVI is allowing:
- Students to begin their course by distance learning if necessary due to Covid-19-related reasons (you need to check the extent to which your studies may permit this).
- Use of any other Visa Application Centre (VAC) if local services remain closed due to Covid-19
All new Student vignettes are issued for 90 days to allow for more flexible travel.