International students Coronavirus FAQs

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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

When you travel to the UK, you will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test taken up to 72 hours prior to departure to the UK. 

You will be required to self-isolate for 10 days, even if you have a negative test result.

You must fill in a passenger locator form and you will be subject to national lockdown restrictions.

If you have been in or through any of the countries listed in the last 10 days, you will be refused entry to the UK.

Nationals with residence rights in the UK will be able to enter the UK. You must self-isolate for 10 days on arrival along with your household. You cannot use the Test to Release scheme.

From 15 February

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 on or after the 15 February 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 from 15 February 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.

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.

If you are coming from a country that is not on the banned travel list you must:

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

Before you travel you must:

- take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test and get a negative result during the 3 days before you travel
- book and pay for a travel test package, which will include COVID-19 tests to be taken on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 of your quarantine - this costs £210
- complete a passenger locator form with details of where you will home quarantine when you arrive and the travel test package booking reference number

We would recommend that you begin your studies virtually and you can take part in our Virtual Orientation and course Induction Programme from your home country during the current UK lockdown. Once the lockdown is lifted you can then join us when you can. The exception is in respect of courses where face to face teaching or blended delivery is permitted and your course leader would advise you accordingly.

If you do travel to the UK, you will need to complete a passenger locator form before arriving in the UK. You will need to self-isolate for up to 10 days when you arrive.  You may be able to end self-isolation early if you pay for a private coronavirus (COVID-19) test through 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.

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 are continuing our on campus programme of asymptomatic testing for students and staff without COVID symptoms starting on 4 January through to mid-February. 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.

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 or Student Route visas in the following periods:

Undergraduates
  • Easter Break: Monday 5 April 2021 – Friday 16 April 2021
  • Summer Vacation: Monday 22 June – Sunday 4 October
Postgraduate Taught (Master's)
  • Easter Break: Monday 5 April 2021 – Friday 16 April 2021

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.  

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 January 2021 and 28 February 2021, 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 yet confirmed whether the scheme will be extended beyond the end of February.

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 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 may 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/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.

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. 

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.

If your course finishes in summer 2021 or you are studying on a one year Master’s course that started in September 2020 you will need to arrive in the UK before 6 April 2021. You must study your last semester in the UK. If you start a one-year Master's course in January 2021, you must be in the UK before 27 September 2021 and complete the final semester of your course in the UK.

If your course is longer than one year and does not end in summer 2021, any period of time you have spent studying by distance learning outside the UK will not be held against you in an application under the Graduate Immigration Route. The GIR visa will start from Summer 2021. In all cases, you must have unexpired Student permission when you apply for the Graduate Immigration route visa and you must meet all the requirements.

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

We would recommend that you begin your studies virtually and you can take part in our Virtual Orientation and course Induction Programme from your home country during the current UK lockdown. Once the lockdown is lifted you can then join us when you can. The exception is in respect of courses where face to face teaching or blended delivery is permitted and your course leader would advise you accordingly.

If you do travel to the UK, you will need to complete a passenger locator form before arriving in the UK. You will need to self-isolate for 10 days when you arrive. You may be able to end self-isolation early if you pay for a private coronavirus (COVID-19) test through 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.

We are continuing our on campus programme of asymptomatic testing for students and staff without COVID symptoms starting on 4 January through to mid-February. 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 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 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.

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

We would recommend that you begin your studies virtually and you can take part in our Virtual Orientation and course Induction Programme from your home country during the current UK lockdown. Once the lockdown is lifted you can then join us when you can. The exception is in respect of courses where face to face teaching or blended delivery is permitted and your course leader would advise you accordingly.

If you do travel to the UK, you will need to complete a passenger locator form before arriving in the UK. You will need to self-isolate for up to 10 days when you arrive. You may be able to end self-isolation early if you pay for a private coronavirus (COVID-19) test through 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.

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 are continuing our on campus programme of asymptomatic testing for students and staff without COVID symptoms starting on 4 January through to mid-February. 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.

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 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

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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