Please see answers to frequently asked questions below.
Study in the UK in 2020-21 FAQs
What is the current situation in the UK?
The UK is currently in a period of tighter national restrictions. England and Scotland implemented national lockdowns in early January, and there are also restrictions in place across Wales and Northern Ireland. Most UK universities will begin teaching online from the start of the spring term, and students are advised not to return to campus (with some exceptions for certain courses which cannot take place online).
Any international students travelling from overseas for the spring term should carefully consider when to travel, particularly if your course does not require you to be on campus until later in the term. Stay in touch with your university for advice on what the latest guidance means for your studies.
There will be continued support available to international students who are already in the UK, as well as any students who are due to arrive in the UK in the coming months.
Universities are prepared to deliver high-quality teaching as the spring term begins, whether through online learning, face-to-face or a blend of teaching methods.
Remember to check advice on entering the UK, and the travel advice in your own country, as you make your travel plans.
View the relevant guidance for the spring term 2021 below:
What do I need to know about travelling to the UK?
In advance of travelling to the UK, please note that all international arrivals to the UK must currently:
- supply your contact and accommodation information
- self-isolate in your accommodation for 10 days
From 15 December 2020, if you’re arriving into England from a country not on the travel corridor list, you can take part in the Test to Release for International Travel scheme. If you opt into this scheme, you can choose to pay for a private Covid-19 test five days after arriving in the UK. If the test is negative, you can stop self-isolating.
Please note that from Monday 18 January 2021, passengers travelling to England will need to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test, taken up to 72 hours prior to departure. More information is available on GOV.UK.
We know how daunting moving to another country can be, and we want to reassure you that universities are working hard to ensure that you are welcomed and supported on arrival, and throughout your time at university.
If you are unable to travel to the UK yet, your university will support your learning and wellbeing online.
How will I have access to banks and groceries if I’m under lockdown restrictions or self-isolating on arrival to the UK?
Lots of local food supermarkets offer online delivery services. You can also order food online from local take-away restaurants to be delivered to your accommodation.
Please see the links below for more information:
We recommend arranging an international bank account or bank card before you arrive in the UK, as you may be unable to open a bank account in your first two weeks. This will make it much easier for you to buy food and other essentials in case you need to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival. Don’t bring large amounts of cash with you.
Remember that your university will have lots of measures in place to support you if you need to self-isolate, so get in touch for more information.
What is ‘blended learning’?
Large audience teaching, such as lectures, will be delivered online to ensure the safety of students and staff. This may be supported by online discussions. Courses that involve practical teaching sessions will be delivered in a safe way with physical distancing and personal protective equipment provided where appropriate.
Most institutions aim to hold face-to-face study in small groups that will be made safer through the creation of ‘bubbles’. This means the same group of students will be taught together in the autumn term. This mix of formats is called 'blended learning’.
The UK government has confirmed that it will allow visa sponsors to sponsor international students for blended learning for the 2020-21 academic year - see guidance here.
For more information, check with your university.
How are universities supporting international students during this period?
Many UK universities are going above and beyond to ensure that students’ physical and mental health and wellbeing are prioritised.
Universities have implemented a number of Covid-19 services for international students, such as airport pick up services, support through any self-isolation period and food packages.
Universities are also offering increased mental health support during the pandemic, with many putting initiatives in place which support students in keeping active and that help them to socialise safely. This includes online activities that facilitate students meeting others during periods when they are required to self-isolate, or for those who are unable to travel to the UK just yet.
Contact your university for more information on the support available to you.
What measures has the UK government implemented to ensure health and safety of students?
The UK government and universities continue to monitor the health situation closely and will follow the latest scientific advice.
The UK government has provided guidance to universities on how to operate safely, and universities have taken a range of measures for campuses and accommodation to be Covid-secure. This includes increases in cleaning, ventilation, handwashing facilities, social distancing and advice on rules of contact and social mixing. The UK government also requires that universities support students in the event they are expected to isolate.
All UK universities are required to have outbreak management plans. In the event of a local outbreak of Covid-19, universities will work with local public health officials to consider moving to other modes of teaching that reduce face-to-face contact.
The UK government has also supported the creation of a programme of mental health support for students, Student Space, for students in England and Wales. Whether it’s your mental health, your studies, money, housing or relationships, there are resources and support available to you on the Student Space website.
What should I do if I think I have coronavirus?
Seek prompt medical attention if your illness or the illness in any household members is worsening.
If it's not an emergency, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For any emergency conditions, if you need to call an ambulance, dial 999 and inform the call handler or operator if you or your relative have coronavirus symptoms as well as any emergency conditions.
When to get a Covid-19 test
Get a test as soon as possible if you have any symptoms of coronavirus.
The symptoms are:
- a high temperature
- a new, continuous cough
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
The test needs to be done in the first eight days of having symptoms.
You do not need to get a test if you have no symptoms or if you have different symptoms. Find out more on the NHS website.
Tell people you've been in close contact with that you have symptoms.
You may want to tell people you've been in close contact with in the past 48 hours that you might have coronavirus.
Is there financial support provided to existing international students?
Many universities and colleges have student hardship funds, and some may have specific funds for international and EU students.
Some universities and colleges are providing financial assistance to existing students who are ineligible for public funding, such as international students, particularly in cases where they have lost their part-time jobs as a result Covid-19.
Any student who is experiencing financial difficulty as a result of Covid-19 should talk to their university directly, and in some cases, contact your accommodation provider.
Will there be any concessions for students struggling to get a student visa for 2020 study?
The UK government has announced concessions for students who have, or will be applying for, student visas, in light of Covid-19. It has confirmed that new international students starting their degrees in the 2020-21 academic year will be able to begin their studies through distance learning and remain eligible for their student visa. This is provided that you transition to face-to-face learning as soon as circumstances allow it. View the updated guidance on the GOV.UK website.
What should I do if my 30 day or 90 day visa vignette to work, study or join family has expired?
If your 90 day vignette has expired, you will need to apply for a replacement by completing this online form.
Only apply for a new visa, or apply to replace an expired vignette, when you are confident you can travel to the UK. The new vignette will be valid for a period of 90 days - if you cannot travel during this time, you may need to apply again to update your vignette.
For the latest advice please check GOV.UK.
Will the Graduate Route be affected by students studying online?
The new Graduate Route will enable you to work, or look for work in the UK, at any skill level for two years (this rises to three years for PhD graduates) after graduation.
If you’re beginning your studies in the 2020-21 academic year, you will be able to benefit from this new Route, even if you begin your degree online in your home country due to Covid-19.
If you are due to complete your course in summer 2021 but have been unable to travel to the UK just yet, you will be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route when it launches, as long as you arrive in the UK before 6 April 2021 and complete the final semester of your studies in the UK.
If you are starting a one-year master’s course in January 2021, you will need to arrive in the UK by 27 September 2021 and complete the final semester of your studies in the UK in order to be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route.
This is part of the UK government’s concessions to students who have, or will be applying for, student visas, in light of Covid-19. View the updated guidance on GOV.UK and for more information on the Graduate Route, visit our page on post-study work opportunities.
What’s the outlook for graduate employability for international students?
UK graduates are among the most employable in the world (QS Graduate Employability Rankings). 83 per cent of international graduates credit their UK degree for helping them get a job (International Graduate Outcomes, UUKI). So, by gaining a prestigious UK education, you’ll be respected by employers and academics from all over the world.
The global economic impact of Covid-19 is not yet known. Across the world, many countries are adapting and responding to the crisis by finding new ways of delivering services and managing our everyday lives. This will inevitably impact on the jobs market, creating opportunities in new industries and making others obsolete.
I'm studying in an area going into lockdown. Can I return home?
You can return to your home country if you would like to do so. Leaving home for the purposes of outbound travel to your country of nationality/residence can be considered a ‘reasonable excuse’ under the current regulations in England. However, leaving home for the purposes of a holiday is not considered a ‘reasonable excuse’.
Please follow local public health advice to ensure you are travelling safely. Do not travel if you have symptoms of Covid-19, or if you’re part of a household that is self-isolating.
If you wish to return home, you should also consider restrictions in your home country as you may be required to self-isolate when you return, or there may be other measures in place at the border.
Find out more on GOV.UK, and remember to contact your university for advice on your current situation.
How does the UK leaving the European Union affect students from the EU?
Please visit our EU student advice page for the latest information.
As an international student, will I be able to get the vaccine in the UK?
The UK’s NHS (National Health Service) is currently offering the Covid-19 vaccination to people most at risk from coronavirus. This includes groups such as care home residents and staff, people over 80 and health workers. The vaccine will be offered more widely as soon as possible, to people in order of age and risk.
International students who live in the UK and are registered with a GP (general practitioner) will be able to access the Covid 19 vaccination in the UK, just as they are currently able to access healthcare. This means that older international students or those with underlying medical conditions will fall into priority categories, in the same way as anyone else in the UK.
The NHS will let you know when it’s your turn to have the vaccine. Find out more on the NHS website.