Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for international students
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted visas and international travel, as well as how the University operates in general.
- University updates for students on coronavirus (COVID-19)
- UK Government's COVID-19 latest immigration update
- UKCISA's COVID-19 advice for international students
Covid-19 Immigration Update from the UK Government
- If your country has introduced travel restrictions or you are required to self-isolate and are therefore unable to leave the UK before your visa expires, you may now be able to extend your leave by contacting the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT).
- This is subject to certain eligibility criteria. Details of the criteria are available on Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents.
I am worried about the disruption to my studies and what this means for my visa.
As long as you are engaging with your studies, your visa will not be affected even if you are studyingg remotely from outside the UK. There is a limited number of programmes that require in-person attendance listed here.
If you are considering suspension, it is recommended that you discuss how it may affect your future visa options with a Student Visa Adviser. Contact our Student Visa Advisers. When you are ready to return or if you are required to undertake a supplementary year in attendance in the UK, our team of Student Visa Advisers will support and advise you about obtaining a new visa to return to the UK. Contact our Student Visa Advisers.
For students and applicants who are currently in the UK
I cannot leave the UK before my visa expiry date because of the travel restrictions - what can I do?
The UKVI acknowledge that some students may now not be able to leave the UK in time because of the current lockdown and associated travel restrictions. The latest information on exceptional immigration provision concerning this can be found on this government webpage.
If you are still studying and need to extend your UK visa for a longer period of time, please see the next FAQ.
I am in the UK, still studying and my visa is expiring soon - can I extend it?
If you are an applicant starting a new course with us (even where you have completed another course with us in the past), your CAS will be issued by the relevant Admissions team after they have issued your unconditional offer of study. In the meantime you can read about the Student visa requirements here and contact us if you have any questions.
Can I travel in and out of the UK?
On 4th January 2021, the UK government announced a UK-wide lockdown that will last until at least mid-February 2021. The government's expectation is that students who are on campus do not travel overseas unless absolutely necessary for the duration of the lockdown. This expectation is outlined in this government document. The University has had to adjust its policies in line with the government's guidance and the key message on this University webpage is not to travel to or from campus while the lockdown is in place. If you are at a risk of overstaying your visa or want to leave the UK for good, this may change matters - please contact email@example.com for advice as soon as possible.
Outside of a lockdown scenario, unless you are studying one of the courses that require in-person attendance, you can leave the UK and study remotely for all of 2020/21 academic year. As long as it is possible for you continue to engage with your studies remotely, your Tier 4/Student visa should not be affected and you should be able to resume your studies in the UK once you are able to come back.
If you have a valid visa, the University will need to know where you are: if you leave the UK you need to advise us of this using the Location of study form.
We may send any important communications about your visa to both your university and your home email address, so you should make sure that your contact details are up to date. Please check that your "home" email address is different from your university email address and is your current email address which you can access regularly. To do this please log in at https://www.bris.ac.uk/studentinfo/ and click on the 'update' button. Please also use this link to ensure that your address is also up to date.
I need to apply for ATAS or have an outstanding ATAS application – will this be affected by the outbreak?
Students studying certain programmes require ATAS clearance. Due to the pandemic ATAS was closed to new applicants for several weeks, but the applications reopened on 1 June 2020. You may potentially still encounter some delays: please make sure you apply in good time as you will need an ATAS certificate to both secure a visa and start your course. Please visit their ATAS webpage for further updates.
If you are already in the UK and were hoping to start your UoB course soon, please note that unfortunately you will not be able to start without a valid ATAS certificate.
My Police Registration certificate is out of date or I still have not received one - will this be an issue?
You can read about the current status of police registration on the Avon and Somerset Police website. Please check the site regularly. This temporary situation will not affect students’ registration or visa conditions.
You will not need to present the police registration when you leave the UK or when you return. It is however a Student visa requirement for some nationalities to register with police. If this applies to you, you should make every effort to update it once you have returned to the UK and the relevant offices have reopened. You may need to include a brief explanation note if you need to present the Police Registration certificate as part of your visa extension application in the UK and the details on it are out-of-date. We can advise you about this further if you contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
For students and applicants currently outside the UK
I need to make a new application to come back from suspension and I am overseas - what do I do?
I am currently overseas, and I was due to start studies at the University of Bristol soon - what should I do now?
o TLS Contact if you’re in Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East
o VFS Global for all other countries
I need to apply for ATAS or have an outstanding ATAS application – is this affected by the outbreak?
What happens to my Student visa if I can’t return to the UK until later on in the 2020/21 academic year?
If you are unable to return to the UK we will look to ensure that you can continue to access online teaching and assessment. As long as you continue to engage with your studies your Student visa shouldn’t be affected and you should be able to resume your studies in the UK once you are able to come back to the UK to study. At the moment UKVI are exceptionally permitting Universities to continue sponsoring students who are studying via Distance Learning in the 2020/21 academic year.
We will send any important communications about your visa to both your university and your home email address, so you should make sure that your contact details are up to date. Please check that your "home" email address is different from your university email address and is your current email address which you can access regularly. To do this please log in to StudentInfo and select the 'update' button.
If you are considering other options, such as suspension or withdrawal, please read our information about how any changes to your course will affect your visa, and contact our Student Visa Advisers. if you have any questions.
Do I need to request a change in study location if am outside the UK?
Normally, if a student will be studying outside the UK for more than 60 days (excluding holiday period), and it is agreed that you can continue your studies remotely during this time, the University reports a change in your study location to the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). This is to notify them that we, as your Tier 4 sponsor, are aware that you are temporarily studying outside the UK.
At the moment it is not required to report a change in study location. We will update this section once a new guidance is released.
Will I need to self-isolate upon arrival in the UK?
On 8th June 2020 the UK Government introduced additional measures for those arriving in the UK from overseas. Please visit these Government webpages ahead of your arrival date to make sure you review the current information and take appropriate action in timely manner. There is also important information about arriving in the UK here.
Do I need a negative COVID-19 test result to enter the UK?
From 8th January 2021 you must have a negative COVID-19 test result in order to enter the UK. Please see this government webpage for further information.