Coronavirus (Covid-19): info for international students

Last modified: 26 July 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: 26 July 2021

In this section, we provide answers to some of the questions you are asking us, or links to elsewhere in our website where we discuss these things.

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. The Home Office's Coronavirus Immigration Helpline appears to no longer takes queries by phone, but their email address is CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk

You can also see information provided by other bodies, including Universities UK, the Office for Students, the Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish governments, and the National Union of Students, in the next layer of this page, Information and support for international students.

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

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

Returning to the UK (Recently updated)

How the UK's 'red list' impacts international students and travel (recently modified)

Communicating with your education provider

Study, including distance learning and starting a new course (Recently modified)

English language tests

Leaving the UK, including Exceptional Assurance

Leaving the UK earlier than expected

When student sponsors will withdraw sponsorship

How periods of overstay will be regarded

Making an immigration application in the UK (recently updated)

Biometric residence permits

Police registration

Making an immigration application outside the UK

EU settlement scheme and absences from the UK

Travel in the UK

Free NHS testing, treatment and vaccination for Covid-19

Accommodation

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

Information and support for international students

Last modified: 05 February 2021

The following bodies are all providing information and support:

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. Also provides a Student guide to coronavirus.

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

Keep up-to date with all the latest advice from the UK government.

Get the latest health advice and information from National Health Service, and the latest health advice from Public Health Wales, from Public Health Agency Northern Ireland, and from Health Protection Scotland.

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 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.

Looking after your 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. It also has an email address to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education. Staff, parents and students can contact: DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk.

For support or clarification on any of the information given here, you can phone our Students' advice line.


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