Coronavirus (Covid-19): info for international students

Last modified: 22 January 2021

This is an evolving situation and UKCISA continues to work with the UK government and local public health authorities to distribute appropriate guidance to UK international students.

Some answers to your questions

Last modified: 22 January 2021

In this section, we provide answers to some of the questions you are asking us. Please be aware that some education providers will have their own policies which might differ from our answers. We try to explain what the Home Office (UKVI) has published on its website, but you may need to contact the Home Office's Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre

See also information provided by:

Universities UK - information aimed specifically at current and future international students

Office for Students (regulator of higher education in England), including guidance for education providers and a briefing note on best practice in supporting international students

Student Awards Agency Scotland, aimed at students with links to guidance for education providers

Welsh government covering further and higher education, travel, accommodation and collecting belongings

NI Direct for information about all areas of life in Northern Ireland

National Union of Students (NUS), particularly its Safety Net campaign for a hardship fund for all students

Office of the Independent Adjudicator (reviews complaints about higher education providers in England and Wales), including a briefing note for education providers

COVID-19 Anti-Racism Group (CARG), which calls out racism, particularly against British East Asians and international students, and has resources on where to find help and how to report hate crimes

We will try to keep this information as current as possible. Where we provide a link to the original source, please check it before contacting us, because it might have been updated.

Toggles (below) marked with '(Recently updated)' have been updated within the last week.


What do 'lockdown', 'tiers' and 'protection levels' mean?

Returning to the UK in early 2021 (Recently updated)

Communicating with your education provider

Study, including distance learning and starting a new course

English language tests

Leaving the UK earlier than expected (Recently updated)

When student sponsors will withdraw sponsorship (Recently updated)

How periods of overstay will be regarded

Exceptions if your immigration permission expires soon (Recently updated)

Making an immigration application in the UK

Biometric residence permits

Police registration

Making an immigration application outside the UK

Immigration permission but you cannot travel for the first time, or return, to the UK (Recently updated)

EU settlement scheme and absences from the UK

Travel and self-isolation on arrival in the UK (Recently updated)

Free NHS treatment including Covid-19 testing


Work during and after study, including the Graduate route

Financial hardship and no access to public funds

Tuition fee refunds

Concessions for fee status and student finance eligibility

Student finance and scholarships

General support for international students

Last modified: 10 July 2020

The wellbeing of international students is our top priority at UKCISA and we are doing everything we can to ensure that you have the support you need during this unprecedented global pandemic.

Universities and colleges are working online but staff will continue to work to support you in your own institutions. We advise all students to check information and advice on your institution’s websites and to keep in touch with academic and support staff. Be sure to let your institution know if you are planning to leave the country.

All the latest advice from the UK government.

Latest health advice and information from National Health Service.

Latest health advice from Public Health Wales.

Latest health advice from Northern Ireland.

Latest health advice from Health Protection Scotland.

Looking after our mental health is more important now than ever and social distancing can be extremely difficult to cope with. There is lots of useful information about looking after your mental health during this pandemic on the Student Minds website. One of our #WeAreInternational Student Ambassadors, Khoa Nguyễn, has offered tips for looking after your mental health in a lockdown situation via a blog found here

We understand that many students live in shared accommodation and this can be worrying if you or your housemates start to feel unwell. If you are living in student halls of residence and are worried about your own health or the health of students that you live with, contact staff at your accommodation to inform them that you are unwell, and use this link to guide you on to next steps.

The Department for Education (DfE) has produced guidance on self-isolation and social distancing for students living in university or college halls of residence.

The DfE has an email address to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education.

Staff, parents and students can contact:

For support or clarification on any of the information given here, you can phone our student advice line on +4420 7788 9214 which is open Monday to Friday (except for public holidays) from 1.00pm to 4.00pm (UK time)

Before calling us, please check Some answers to your questions.