FAQ

COVID Frequently Asked Questions

Q1 Will COVID 19 affect my University application or applying for my visa?

As you well be aware, the UK is currently under national lockdown. Thus most universities are closed except or those in essential roles. Most university staff are currently working from home and are operating on reduced capacity than usual. The Universities are doing the best they can give the unprecedented times we are in. Hence, there are extended delays in processing applications. Student Connect has a good network of communications with these Universities and we are working with the University to progress your application as fast we can. Rest assured Student Connect will do everything in our ability to get updates from Universities.

All universities are currently operating classes online hence, there is not an urgency to be in the UK at this stage since no physical classes are taking place. Therefore we kindly urge you to not worry excessively. In due course we will bring updates to you when we have received them from university

Q2 Due to COVID 19 delays, I am

Yes, you can register online and attend classes while you are waiting to either apply for a visa or waiting to receive your CAS following your unconditional offer and have paid the fees.

Your university would send you an email with all details about online registration and how to attend classes. Please check your email including the spam folder in your email to see if your university has contacted you. You will need access to a computer and internet to take part in classes and access e-library and other resources which will assist you with the course. If you need help with online registration or have issues with it, please let us know. Some universities would expect you to pay the full registration fee to access classes such as 50% of the fee depending on the University.

Q3 I have now received my Student Visa, what are my next steps?

When you receive your visa, follow these steps,

  • Inform Student Connect
  • Prepare for COVID restricted travelling which is discussed later on with the upcoming questions.
  • Think about how you are going to travel
    to the UK, when you get to the UK how to travel to your place of accommodation or hotel.
  • Register for your online classes and attend them until you arrive in the UK.
  • What to do and what not to do.

Q4 I have got my visa and I am

There are regulations when and if you think to travel to the UK. Please note the UK is currently under lockdown therefore the majority of the country will be closed for non essential services until further notice from the government if you do decide to come to the UK.

Some of the things you must consider before booking your flight is the following:

Self-isolation: More information here

  • You Will so need to self-isolate in the place you’re staying for the first 10 days after you arrive. You cannot go outside your house unless it is absolutely necessary.
  • You may be fined up to £10,000 if you do not self-isolate when you need to.
  • You may be able to end self-isolation early if you pay for a private coronavirus test.

Accomodation:
Firstly ensure you have arranged suitable accommodation in the UK. This is very important since you must self-isolate when you arrive in the UK. You need to provide this address in your passenger locator form as well.

Q5 What happens when I arrive in the UK airport?

You must go through Immigration where the Immigration officer will ask you for your COVID test confirmation, your TB test report if needed and your passenger locator form. You must be prepared to provide this. Post this go straight to your accommodation when you have cleared immigration, customs, and other formalities.

Q6 What does COVID self-isolation mean when I enter the UK and

When you arrive in England, it is very important that you stay in your declared accommodation on your passenger locator form for the full self-isolation period (see examples above). It can take up to 10 days for you to develop coronavirus symptoms after you catch the virus and in this time you can unknowingly pass it on to others, even if you don’t have symptoms. You cannot change your address unless it is a safety issue and you can no longer remain there.

The only Exceptional circumstances to this is In England, you may also be allowed to leave your accommodation in exceptional circumstances. This includes such things as:

  • Accessing basic necessities like food and medicines where you cannot arrange for these to be delivered or get your family or friends to deliver these for you.
  • accessing critical public services including social services and services provided to victims (such as victims of crime)
  • moving to a different place for self-isolation where you can no longer remain where you are.

Q7 How to travel to the place where I am self-isolating?

When you arrive in England, go straight to the place you’re staying to self-isolate. Only use public transport if you have no other option. If you do use public transport, wear something that covers your nose and mouth and stay 2 meters apart from other people unless you’re exempt. Pack a face covering to cover your nose and mouth before you travel. If you have coronavirus symptoms, it is important that you do not travel by public transport.

If you have a long journey within the UK to arrive at your self-isolation accommodation, you may be able to stop overnight in accommodation in which you can isolate yourself from others before continuing your journey. Before doing so, you should check that the overnight stay is necessary and permitted under the national lockdown ‘Stay at Home’ rules. If so, you must self-isolate and provide the address of your overnight stop on your passenger locator form in addition to your declared accommodation address.

If you develop coronavirus symptoms when you’re travelling to England, you should tell one of the crew on your plane, boat, train or bus. They’ll let staff in the airport, port or station know, so they can tell you what you should do next when you arrive.

Q8 What if I arrive in England without symptoms, but develop symptoms before my self-isolation period ends?

If you develop symptoms before your 10- day self-isolation period ends, you should self-isolate for 10 more days from the point you developed symptoms, even though this is longer than your initial 10-day self-isolation period. If your symptoms have stopped after these 10 extra days, your self-isolation period ends. Your household will need to self-isolate for 10 days from the day you develop symptoms.

If they have no symptoms after 10 days, their self-isolation period ends. Anyone who has symptoms can get a test. If you test positive, additional self-isolation requirements apply

Q9 What to do if I get coronavirus symptoms?

You should look for any of the following symptoms in the 10 days after the day you arrive in England:

• new continuous cough
• high temperature
• loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

If you have any of these symptoms, you should continue to self-isolate at home. If you are staying with others and you develop symptoms, the whole household that you are staying with should begin self-isolating. You should self-isolate for at least 10 days from the date of symptom onset and until you are better and no longer have a high temperature. Symptoms of a cough or changes to your sense of smell or taste can last for several weeks after the infection has gone and so you can stop self-isolating even if you have these symptoms.

The household you are staying with should self-isolate for 10 days from the point that your symptoms start. You should get a test if you have symptoms of coronavirus. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 119 to arrange for a test.

Q10 When and how can I collect

You cannot collect your BRP in the first 10 days of your arrival until you finish the self-isolation period. Your BRP collection address will be in your decision letter from the Home Office when you collected your passport. This will most likely be a post office.

Q11 Due to COVID or other reasons I am unable to travel right now, will this affect my visa?

Students currently receive 90 days on their vignette on their passport which allows more flexibility travelling to the UK. The 90 day visa is only for you to enter the UK and will collect their actual visa BRP from the local post office in the address mentioned on their visa decision letter. Those students that have been issued a visa and decide not to travel, must get in touch with Student Connect to discuss further since there are visa implications to this. Should students wish to defer their studies, again you will need to get in touch to discuss further. However, we strongly recommend students to continue with their studies as getting another visa is not a guarantee and also involves further cost of applying for a visa.

Q12 What happens if the 90 visa expires while I am waiting to travel to the UK?

In this case, please get in touch with Student Connect or your University International office. In most cases, you will need to re-apply to get a replacement vignette on your passport. Please note this is not applying for your visa again but merely getting a replacement sticker on your passport and is a straightforward process but may take about 3-4 weeks to get one.

Q13 Will international students be able to access the COVID vaccine?

International students who live in the UK and are registered with a GP will be able to access the Covid-19 vaccination in the UK, just as they are currently able to access healthcare because you paid the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of your visa application. This means that older international students or those with underlying medical conditions will fall into priority categories, in the same way as the domestic population. International students in the UK will be able to access the vaccine as it is rolled out across the country, meaning they are likely to receive the vaccine much quicker in the UK than their home country and will be protected when they return home. The UK will be the first country to be fully vaccinated, likely by late spring/early summer, meaning September 2021 entry will be very safe.

Q14 What COVID measures Universities currently have in place for the 2021 academic year and what should I be doing?

Universities have been planning for a range of scenarios since the spring and have plans in place for such circumstances. Part of this process will involve making the university covid secure should physical classes resume. There will also be plenty of support for your online classes and universities will continue to offer support via emails and phone calls. You MUST attend ALL your online classes as attendance will be monitored and your visa is tied to your attendance and engagement.

Universities are following government advice and are well prepared to deal with a range of scenarios. For many universities this currently means a mix of in-person and online provision moving forward. As of now the majority of the universities are doing only online sessions.

During the outbreak in the UK in spring 2020, universities continued to support those students who remained on campus. Support such as food packages and increased mental health support were available. Students are advised to check their university’s website or get in touch with the student support team to find out more about the support available.

Q15 What support is available for international students in the UK who may now be facing financial hardship because of the Covid-19 outbreak?

International students do not have recourse to public funds i.e. government funding which is available to the UK citizens. It is vital that you plan for your finances before travelling to the UK since you cannot rely on other external funding during this uncertain time. Ensuring you bring sufficient cash to bring with you since you will be self-isolating for 10 days plus will not be able to access bank accounts straight away. In addition, you should also have sufficient means to live in the UK as you proved this via your visa application.

Universities at times have hardship funding available which is a limited pot of money you can use for those who are already studying in the UK at the moment. Please contact your International Office to get more information.

Q16 What will happen if I am unable to complete their course as a result of Covid-19?

Students who are unable to complete their course as a result of Covid-19 will be able to apply to extend their Tier 4/Student visa in the UK, exempt from certain immigration rules. If you do wish to temporarily withdraw then please first discuss this with Student Connect and we shall support you through the process.

Q17 When should I be in the UK to avail the post study work visa or Graduate Route?

We believe the new Route will come into force by 6th April 2021 (yet to be confirmed by UKVI).

Successful applicants on this route will be able to stay and work, or look for work, in the UK for a maximum period of two years.

  • In all cases, you must have unexpired Student permission when you apply for permission under the Graduate route, and you must meet all the requirements (not yet known)

  • If your course finishes in summer 2021, you need to be in the UK on or before 6 April 2021 and you must study your last semester in the UK; this includes you if you started a one-year Master’s course in September 2020

  • 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 affected by an application under the Graduate route.

USEFUL LINKS

UKCISA This website is one of the most reliable for International Students: UKCISA COVID 19 Information 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. Take a look at Coronavirus advice for international students for comprehensive advice and guidance