Skip to main content
menu

Advice and Counselling Service

Immigration and Covid-19 (Coronavirus)

This information is for Queen Mary students and applicants and explains the affect of the current situation on your immigration permission. If you have further questions after reading through this information, you can contact us

*This page was most recently updated on 4 April 2022*

Students with Tier 4 immigration or Student immigration permission

Information for prospective and current students outside the UK

Information for current Queen Mary students with Student immigration permission

Not attending classes in person and your Tier 4 or Student immigration permission

If your School allows you to continue studying remotely, this would not be reported to the Home Office because there are special rules in place in relation to Covid-19. Your Tier 4 or Student visa should not be affected in this situation, however you must continue to engage with your studies.

Please see the FAQs on Queen Mary's Coronavirus guidance website, which provides the deadlines to arrive in the UK according to the School in which you are studying and the programme you are undertaking. If your situation is not covered in the FAQs, please check with your Academic School what the requirements would be for Semester 2 of your programme and the deadline to arrive in the UK.

There will be a requirement to attend some activities in-person on campus after your arrival in the UK. Check with your academic school what the requirements will be for your programme. 

If your School cannot authorise your absence or facilitate you studying remotely, or if you choose to take time out of your studies, you can request an Interruption of Study from your School. 

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, check how absences from the UK might affect your Pre-settled or Settled Status, or eligibility in the future. See ‘What happens if I spend some time outside the UK?’ on our guidance for EU, EEA and Swiss students.

If you have arrived in the UK but want to leave again 

Student visas holders can return home to continue their studies remotely, provided their Academic School agree to their continued remote study. You will need to send evidence of your return home (e.g. boarding pass/flight ticket) to the Immigration Compliance Team. It is important that you do provide this evidence so that they are aware that you are no longer subject to the requirement to attend campus. If you need to return home, but your Academic School cannot support your continued remote study, you will need to interrupt your studies. 

Please note how any time outside the UK might impact on your eligibility for the Graduate Route visa later. 

PhD students 

If an international research student is not able to travel to the UK due to Covid-19 related travel restrictions and/or visa application delays they may request to defer their programme start date or to start studies online. Please note that if your course requires ATAS, you will not be able to enrol online until you have received ATAS clearance.  

International students should discuss with their supervisor and school/institute Director of Graduate Studies whether they can commence studies online (considering funding terms and conditions, access required to research resources and training requirements) and agree a study plan and arrival date. Students should aim to arrive in the UK as soon as is feasible.  

If your supervisor cannot facilitate you studying remotely, or if you choose to take time out of your studies, you can request an Interruption of Study from your School. 

If you have Student immigration permission, the UK government guidance currently states that you should transition to face-to-face learning in the UK no later than 30 June 2022.

Please note how a later arrival in the UK might impact your eligibility for the Graduate Route on completion of your course. 

It is also important to note the UK Immigration Rules in relation to ‘lapsing leave’ for those whose permission is valid beyond 2 years. If you have immigration permission to be in the UK, including Tier 4 immigration permission or Pre-settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme, then your permission will be cancelled if you spend two continuous years or longer outside the UK. 

If you are in the UK legally but unable to leave or apply for new permission before your visa expiry

If you are in the UK legally, but unable to leave the UK, or make an application for new permission in a relevant category before your visa expiry date, please see the information from UKVI

Further information is on the UK government website, including what you can so if your visa expires and you are unable to leave the UK as a result of the pandemic, e.g. because your flight has been cancelled or you had Covid-19.

If you have 'Exceptional Assurance' and now meet the requirements to apply for Student permission

The UK government website confirms:

You are also able to apply for permission to stay to remain in the UK if you have been issued with an ‘exceptional assurance’. You must submit your application before the expiry of your ‘exceptional assurance’.

If you are unable to leave the UK before the end date of your 'exceptional assurance' and you need to make your Student application from inside the UK, we would advise that you include evidence showing that you have been unable to leave the UK because of Covid-19 and a cover letter explaining why you have been unable to leave the UK, how your situation has changed and why you need to remain in the UK. You must meet all of the usual Student visa application requirements, including the maintenance requirement. 

UKVI's financial caseworker guidance confirms that 'exceptional assurance' would be counted towards the time a student held permission. If you have been in the UK with permission (including 'exceptional assurance') for the 12 months before your application, and you are applying inside the UK, you do not need to show funds for your Student visa application:

If the applicant had 3C leave or exceptional assurance (during the Covid pandemic) during the 12 months, that time should be counted as a time during which they had permission.

If you were unable to register with the Police, or update any relevant changes with the Police

Please check our guidance if you were unable to register with the Police, or update any relevant changes with the Police.

Extending your Tier 4 or Student immigration permission at this time

You can submit your application online still. If you submit, and pay for, your application online, you are considered to have made your application, so please ensure that you do this before your visa expiry, if you are eligible. 

If there are more than 28 days between your visa expiring and new course starting

In order to be eligible to apply for or extend Student permission inside the UK, there must normally be no more than 28 days between your visa expiry date and your course start date. The consession allowing students to apply for a course starting more than 28 days after their visa expired was removed on 27 September 2021. 

See: Can you apply in the UK?

Working additional hours for the NHS

UKVI have published information about working additional hours for the NHS with Tier 4 or Student immigration permission. Please see the UKVI web page for a list of the relevant occupations in which students with Tier 4 or Student immigration permission can work more than 20 hours during term-time. Please note that you should also continue to study on your course. 

Information for prospective and current students outside the UK

Travelling to England 

Review the latest government guidance before you travel. This changes frequently and sometimes at short notice.

Queen Mary's Student Health Service has a list of FAQs about vaccines in the UK. If you have a question about vaccinations or vaccination status in the UK, then please check this web page. You can also find the contact details if you are unable to find the answer to your question. 

Studying your course online in your home country

You do not need a UK visa whilst you are studying online from your home country. You will need immigration permission before you travel to the UK.

Please see the FAQs on Queen Mary's Coronavirus guidance website, which provides the deadlines to arrive in the UK according to the School in which you are studying and the programme you are undertaking. If your situation is not covered in the FAQs, please check with your Academic School what the requirements would be for Semester 2 of your programme and the deadline to arrive in the UK.

If you have been issued with, or are going to apply for, Student immigration permission, the UK government guidance currently states that you should transition to face-to-face learning in the UK no later than 30 June 2022. 

Please note how a later arrival in the UK or time outside the UK might impact your eligibility for the Graduate Route on completion of your course. 

There will be a requirement to attend some activities in-person on campus after your arrival in the UK. You won't be able to study your course fully online if you are in the UK. Check with your academic school what the requirements will be for your programme. 

If you are unable to travel within your visa vignette validity

Visa vignettes are currently being issued for 90 days. If you are unable to travel within the 90 day validity, then you can apply to replace your visa vignette. The cost to replace your vignette is £154. Select 'transfer your visa to a new passport online if you’re outside the UK (it costs £154)' and select ‘To transfer or replace your visa (vignette)’

You do not need to apply for Student immigration permission again, just to replace the vignette. You do not need to provide proof of your finances with your vignette transfer application. The gov.uk guidance says: 'If required, you may ask for supporting documentation to establish that their circumstances have not changed.' Whilst it is possible that the Home Office could contact you to confirm that you still have sufficient funds to live in the UK, we are not aware of any students being asked to provide this as part of a vignette replacement application. 

If you are resident in a relevant country, you will need to provide a valid TB test with your replacement vignette application. Your TB test is valid for 6 months, if this has already expired, you can take another test at an approved clinic. You do not need to provide the other supporting documents 

You do not have to apply to replace your 90 day vignette before your current vignette expires. This is because your full permission is on the letter that you received when your passport was returned. 

When you apply to replace your vignette, you can include a print out of your CAS showing your latest date to arrive in the UK as evidence of the latest date to arrive. If you need your CAS updating to show an updated latest date to arrive, email: casinfo@qmul.ac.uk if you have already started your course. If your latest date to enrol has been extended, you can print and include the email notifying you of this. 

You may decide to wait until you know when you will be able to travel to the UK before you apply to replace your vignette.  

If you cannot or do not want to travel to the UK before the latest date listed on your CAS

You do not need a visa whilst you are studying online in your home country. 

If your CAS has already been issued and is still valid, but you have not applied for a visa yet, your latest date of arrival will be updated in line with the latest date of arrival for your programme. The latest dates are listed on the FAQs on Queen Mary's Coronavirus guidance website

If your visa vignette has already been granted, but you are no longer able to travel within your vignette validity, please see the section of this webpage If you are unable to travel within your visa vignette validity. You can include a print out of the email confirming your CAS has been updated, with your visa vignette transfer application.

You can also carry evidence that your latest date of enrolment has been extended when you enter the UK. 

Please note how a later arrival may affect your eligibility to apply for Graduate Route immigration permission

If your CAS has expired or will expire soon

If your CAS was issued between 24 Jan and 31 December 2020 it can still be used for applications, even where they have expired, been marked as used, or the course start date has changed. UKVI will consider on a case by case basis, taking a ‘pragmatic approach’ where the new course start date is ‘significantly different’ from that stated on the CAS. The caseworker will need to be satisfied that the reason the applicant couldn’t previously use the CAS in a new application, or travel to the UK, was due to Covid-19. Therefore you may want to include a cover letter and any related evidence you may have, to explain that you could not make a new application, or travel to the UK, due to Covid-19.

Alternatively, you could choose to request a new CAS

If your CAS was issued outside this time and has expired, and you want to apply but have not yet applied for Student immigration permission, you will need to request a new CAS before you apply for your visa. If you submitted your visa application before your CAS expired, you do not need to request a new CAS. 'Submitted' means that you paid the visa application fee. You also do not need a new CAS if your permission has been granted but you need to replace your vignette, see the section: If you are unable to travel within your visa vignette validity

If you have already made a successful application, but want a note made on your CAS in order to facilitate you entering the UK or for a replacement vignette application, email: casinfo@qmul.ac.uk 

Collecting your BRP card

If you will be arriving in the UK later than you originally planned, your BRP card may still be in the Post Office when you arrive. If it's not there when you arrive, you can report it on the bottom of this UK government web page
Return to top