International students Coronavirus FAQs

Female student looking away

Advice for international students

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

Please see our coronavirus FAQs below for further details on how coronavirus may affect your studies.

Current international or study abroad students

We are currently planning a timetable that combines both face-to-face and online elements in a way that allows us to be responsive to Government guidance. 

For the rest of the calendar year, for both new starters and continuing students, we are planning to continue to deliver blended and connected teaching in line with UK Government guidance. If you are unable to join us on campus in October 2021 due to visa, country, travel or other restrictions you can study with us online and join us as soon as you can. We would encourage you to join us in Portsmouth as soon as possible, as both the academic and broader interactions with staff and other students on campus provides an invaluable university experience and is an important part of your university education.

If you have any questions you can email international.student.adviser@port.ac.uk

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 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

From 17 May a new “traffic light system” will be in place for all travellers to England including students.

All arrivals will be required to complete a pre-departure test, complete a passenger locator form and book a travel test package.

  • If you arrive from a Green country you will not have to self-isolate (quarantine) on arrival, and your travel test package will only include a test on Day 2
  • If you arrive from an Amber country you will be required to self-isolate in your own accommodation, and your travel test package will include a test on both Day 2 and Day 8
  • If you arrive from a Red country you will be required to quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel, and your travel test package will include a test on both Day 2 and Day 8. Further information about travelling from a “Red List” country can be found on the UKCISA website.

Please make sure that you check this information regularly as it may change at short notice.

The Covid tests that are available through the University are not valid for the travel test package and must be arranged as above.

All people who are allowed to enter England who have visited or passed through a country where travel to the UK is banned in the last 10 days must:

- quarantine for 10 days in a managed quarantine hotel
- take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 of quarantining
- follow the national lockdown rules

You can only arrive at the airports below:
Heathrow Airport
Gatwick Airport
London City Airport
Birmingham Airport

If you have a booking to a different airport, it’s your responsibility to change it to one of the airports above as airlines will not be permitted to carry anyone who has been in a red list country in the previous 10 days to any other airport other than those specified.

 

 

If you arrive in England and you have been in or through any of the countries listed in the last 10 days, you will need to book a quarantine hotel. 

Information about hotel quarantine is available on the gov.uk website and will be updated regularly.

You will need to agree to pay for, and book, a quarantine package before you complete your passenger locator form and board your flight to the UK.

If you are a new student travelling from a Red List country you can apply for support to cover the costs of the quarantine package. 

The cost of a package for 1 adult in 1 room for 10 days (11 nights) is £1,750. The package includes the costs of transport from the airport to the designated hotel, food, accommodation and testing.

From 17 May a new “traffic light system” will be in place for all travellers to England including students.

All arrivals will be required to complete a pre-departure testcomplete a passenger locator form and book a travel test package.

  • If you arrive from a Green country you will not have to self-isolate (quarantine) on arrival, and your travel test package will only include a test on Day 2
  • If you arrive from an Amber country you will be required to self-isolate in your own accommodation, and your travel test package will include a test on both Day 2 and Day 8

From 17 May a new “traffic light system” will be in place for all travellers to England including students.

All arrivals will be required to complete a pre-departure testcomplete a passenger locator form and book a travel test package.

  • If you arrive from a Green country you will not have to self-isolate (quarantine) on arrival, and your travel test package will only include a test on Day 2
  • If you arrive from an Amber country you will be required to self-isolate in your own accommodation, and your travel test package will include a test on both Day 2 and Day 8
  • If you arrive from a Red country you will be required to quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel, and your travel test package will include a test on both Day 2 and Day 8. Further information about travelling from a “Red List” country can be found on the UKCISA website.

Please make sure that you check this information regularly as it may change at short notice.

We are continuing our on campus programme of asymptomatic testing for students and staff without COVID symptoms. However the test the University provides cannot be used as part of the ‘Test to Release’ scheme.

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 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

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.

Remember to book two tests (which should be three days apart) before restarting any face-to-face activity on campus and/or using facilities such as the library.

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

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.

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

Undergraduates
  • Summer Vacation: Monday 21 June – Sunday 4 October
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.

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/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.

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.  

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.

Visa expiration

If you are planning to leave the UK

If you intend to leave the UK to return to a country or territory currently listed amber or red but are not able to do so and your visa or current Exceptional Assurance expires by 30 September 2021, you must request additional time to stay, also known as ‘exceptional assurance’.

There may also be exceptional cases where you may be unable to return to a country or territory listed as green where that nation has closed their borders or where quarantine facilities are temporarily over-subscribed in which cases you may also request 'exceptional assurance'.

You need to contact the Coronavirus Immigration team (CIT) and send them the following information:

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • nationality
  • 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”.

 

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 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/Student Route 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.

The Nationalities Office for Police Registration has limited appointments available due to the current lockdown, 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 need to change your address, passport or visa details please create an account or log in to Hampshire Constabulary and input your details. Please check their website for updates.

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 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 2020/21 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 2020 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.

The Graduate Immigration Route launched on 1 July 2021.

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 in 2021 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, for example a one year Masters course, via blended learning and connected study, and you have not previously entered the UK to study that course you will be able to make the GIR application if you make a successful Student Route visa application and arrive in the UK either before your visa ends or by 27 September 2021, whichever is sooner. 

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 6 April 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 2020 or 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 6 April 2022. If your current visa expires before 6 April 2022 you must enter the UK before the expiry of your Student permission rather than 6 April 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.

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

From 17 May a new “traffic light system” will be in place for all travellers to England including students.

All arrivals will be required to complete a pre-departure testcomplete a passenger locator form and book a travel test package.

  • If you arrive from a Green country you will not have to self-isolate (quarantine) on arrival, and your travel test package will only include a test on Day 2
  • If you arrive from an Amber country you will be required to self-isolate in your own accommodation, and your travel test package will include a test on both Day 2 and Day 8
  • If you arrive from a Red country you will be required to quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel, and your travel test package will include a test on both Day 2 and Day 8. Further information about travelling from a “Red List” country can be found on the UKCISA website.

Please make sure that you check this information regularly as it may change at short notice.

The Covid tests that are available through the University are not valid for the travel test package and must be arranged as above.

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 are continuing our on campus programme of asymptomatic testing for students and staff without COVID symptoms. However the test the University provides cannot be used as part of the ‘Test to Release’ scheme.

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. Remember to book two tests (which should be three days apart) before restarting any face-to-face activity on campus and/or using facilities such as the library.

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 information and guidance: 

  • 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.

  • Government advice is that you should not travel unless it is essential. If you are planning to return to your home country you will need to complete the Travel Declaration Form.

  • Either print a copy of the form and carry it with you when you travel, or download it to your mobile phone or other device. If you download it, make sure you can find it on your device so you can show it at your port of departure.

  • Entering a port of departure to travel internationally without a completed form is a criminal offence, for which you could be fined. If you try to travel abroad without a legally permitted reason, you may also be fined for breaching the stay at home requirements.

  • 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.

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

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.

Prospective international students

We are currently planning a timetable that combines both face-to-face and online elements in a way that allows us to be responsive to Government guidance. 

For the rest of the calendar year, for both new starters and continuing students, we are planning to continue to deliver blended and connected teaching in line with UK Government guidance. If you are unable to join us on campus in October 2021 due to visa, country, travel or other restrictions you can study with us online and join us as soon as you can. We would encourage you to join us in Portsmouth as soon as possible, as both the academic and broader interactions with staff and other students on campus provides an invaluable university experience and is an important part of your university education.

If you have any questions you can email student-visa@port.ac.uk

Students arriving in the UK are subject to the latest UK Government regulations which may include testing, self isolation, and in some cases enforced hotel 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 continue to provide Coronavirus home testing kits for students and staff.

However the test the University provides cannot be used as part of the ‘Test to Release’ scheme.

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. Remember to book two tests (which should be three days apart) before restarting any face-to-face activity on campus and/or using facilities such as the library.

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

For the rest of the calendar year, for both new starters and continuing students, we are planning to continue to deliver blended and connected teaching in line with UK Government guidance. If you are unable to join us on campus in October 2021 due to visa, country, travel or other restrictions you can study with us online and join us as soon as you can.

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 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 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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