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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Page last updated: 10/09/2020

International students

Information for international students around the potential impact of coronavirus on their travel, visas and assessment arrangements.


Plus Icon Will my Tier 4 visa be affected?

As on campus activity is not currently taking place, it is important you understand that your health and wellbeing and those of your fellow students is the first priority. As such, self-isolation / social distancing as stated by Public Health England is important and doing so will not harm you academically, nor will it impact on your Tier 4 visa. UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has confirmed  that students will not be disadvantaged by the situation.

The Home Office has also set-up a helpline for students and international higher education if they have immigration queries related to coronavirus, including questions about urgent, compelling, compassionate cases where an international student or other visa national based abroad needs to travel to the UK. The helpline can only speak to the visa holder or applicant about individual cases. If a third party wishes to speak on their behalf, they must have the visa holder’s permission. Call 0800 678 1767 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, calls free of charge) or email

If you choose to return home,  please inform us so that we know of your whereabouts, and that you are safe. Therefore please keep your School and Student Immigration Advice & Compliance informed if you do decide to travel. This will not lead to the cancellation of your visa.

Being unable to attend classes for any reasons connected with coronavirus will not lead to the cancellation of your visa. If you have any specific concerns, please contact Student Immigration Advice & Compliance on

Plus Icon I am a Tier 4 student, can I go back to my home country?

Should you choose to return home due to the coronavirus outbreak, it is essential that you inform the University of your absence by emailing your Course Administrator and Course Tutor, copying in the Student Immigration Advice & Compliance Team on Please include your name, student ID number and the date that you expect to return home.

Before travelling, please ensure that you check and carefully follow any government guidance of the country that you are travelling to, so as not to put yourself or others at unnecessary risk. Please also read the essential international travel guidance . If you’re due to travel to an area affected by coronavirus, ensure that you keep up-to-date with the latest information from your travel company or airline.

The University will remain supportive of its students in this position to the full extent of its capacity to do so. During your period of absence it is essential that you engage with your studies via your School’s arrangements for online provision and remain in good standing, as this is a requirement of your Tier 4 visa. If you have notified the above departments of your absence, you will not be penalised as a result. We can work together to ensure we minimise any impact on your visa.

Plus Icon What if I am unable to return for my exams / assessments?

Please refer to the Teaching and Learning FAQs. Schools are providing more detailed guidance.

Plus Icon Will I be marked as unauthorised absence for not attending?

You should ensure that you fully engage with the requirements of your course, by attending all the classes, lectures, tutorials and other sessions indicated on your timetable. You do not have to get your timetable signed. Attendance can be online, face to face in classes or a combination of both depending on the requirements of your course. Failure to fully engage with your course without providing a satisfactory explanation to your School may result in you being marked as ‘Unauthorised Absence’.

Plus Icon What is the advice if I am travelling back to the UK?

The UK Government has released new guidance around which international entrants to the UK must self-isolate for a 14 day period. Please ensure that you fully read the guidance on how to self-isolate. This includes information on how to travel to the place where you are self-isolating, how to self-isolate in your accommodation and what to do if you get coronavirus symptoms during the process.

Before travelling, you must provide your journey and accommodation details via the online form. You will need to show your completed form when you arrive at the UK border, either by printing a copy, or showing it on your phone.

In England, you must wear a face covering in the following indoor settings (a list of examples for each is included in the brackets):

  • public transport (aeroplanes, trains, trams and buses)
  • transport hubs (airports, rail and tram stations and terminals, maritime ports and terminals, bus and coach stations and terminals
    shops and supermarkets (places which offer goods or services for retail sale or hire)
  • shopping centres (malls and indoor markets)
  • auction houses
  • premises providing professional, legal or financial services (post offices, banks, building societies, high-street solicitors and accountants, credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses)
  • premises providing personal care and beauty treatments (hair salons, barbers, nail salons, massage centres, tattoo and piercing parlours)
  • premises providing veterinary services
  • visitor attractions and entertainment venues (museums, galleries, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, cultural and heritage sites, aquariums, indoor zoos and visitor farms, bingo halls, amusement arcades, adventure activity centres, indoor sports stadiums, funfairs, theme parks, casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, indoor play areas including soft-play areas)
    libraries and public reading rooms
  • places of worship
  • funeral service providers (funeral homes, crematoria and burial ground chapels)
  • community centres, youth centres and social clubs
  • exhibition halls and conference centres
  • public areas in hotels and hostels
  • storage and distribution facilities

Social distancing measures are currently in place.

If you require any advice on booking accommodation, please contact our Accommodation Team on

Plus Icon What will happen to my Visa if I travel overseas and cannot return to the UK?

Please contact Student Immigration Advice & Compliance at

We will continue to review UKVI published guidance and update when able to do so.

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