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Immigration advice for prospective students during COVID-19

Frequently asked questions, advice and support for prospective students during the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak

FAQs for prospective students

 

I intend to travel to the UK for Term 1.  If I arrive later than the start of term will it impact my Student visa application?

You will be able to enrol on your UCL programme online and therefore you will be able to complete enrolment before you obtain your Student visa. 

If you are not able to apply for your Student visa before the latest enrolment date (as stated on your CAS), you should include a copy of your Student Status Letter in your visa application.  You can download a Student Status Letter from Portico after you have completed online enrolment. 

UCL will also confirm to UKVI that you have enrolled on your programme should your CAS still be ‘active’ in the UKVI system after you complete enrolment.

Are there be changes to the Student visa application process?  Do I still need to show the same level of funds for tuition fees and maintenance?

There have been no changes to the visa application process due to COVID-19.  For information about the financial requirements of the Student visa, please visit our website

Please note, you must ensure you check the Student requirements at the time of your application as they can be subject to change at short notice.  The Student Immigration Advice Team can assist you with your visa application.

Is the Academic Technology Approval Scheme now open?

Yes, the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)   is open and running at full capacity.  However please note that it can take 30 days or more for your application to be considered, therefore please ensure you submit your ATAS application well in advance of your Student visa application. 

Will I be able to get my BRP delivered to UCL?

Information about obtaining your BRP can be found on our website

I am an affiliate student. Do I need to apply for a Student visa?

If you will be studying with us for more than six months, then you will need to apply for a Student visa in order to complete your programme.

If you will attending for a single semester from January 2021, you also have the option to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa which, from 1 December 2020, will permit study in the UK for up to 6 months. 

What is the update on the Graduate Immigration Route? Will it definitely be available from summer 2021?

The Graduate Route will be available to international students who have successfully completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance and who have a valid Tier 4/Student visa at the time of application.

The new route is due to launch in the summer of 2021, meaning that any eligible student who graduates in the summer of 2021 or after will be able to apply for the route. This includes students who have already started their programme and therefore includes students starting in the 2020/21 academic year. 

Students will normally be expected to undertake their studies in the UK to be eligible for the Graduate route.  However, if you are required to either continue your current studies or start a new programme by distance or blended learning due to Covid-19, you will still be eligible to switch into the Graduate route on a concessionary basis if you have spent some time studying outside the UK.  Students graduating in the 2020/21 academic year will be eligible to access the graduate immigration route as long as they are in the UK by 6 April 2021 and complete the final semester of their studies in the UK.

Please see UKCISA’s website for further information on what we currently know about the Graduate Route.

I am an EU/EEA/Swiss national starting my programme at UCL in 2020-21, can I study Term 1 online and arrive on campus in Term 2?

We strongly recommend that EU/EEA/Swiss nationals who intend to commence studies at UCL in the 2020/21 academic year, do not delay their arrival to the UK until after 31 December 2020.  If you do not arrive by this date, you will not be eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme and you will require a Student visa to study in the UK from 1 January 2021.  The EU Settlement Scheme application is free and offers no restrictions on work or study.  Those who enter the UK before 31 December 2020 will have until 30 June 2021 to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Further details on eligibility and how to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme can be found on our website.

I can enter the UK as a ’general visitor', can I arrive as a visitor and then apply for a Student visa from inside the UK?

You cannot arrive in the UK after 31 July as a 'general visitor' and switch to the student route. You must apply for a Student visa from overseas before entering the UK.

I need to apply for a visa, which Visa Application Centres are open?

Most UK Visa Application Centres (VACs) are resuming services where local restrictions allow.

Priority and Super Priority services are only available in some locations. If available, you’ll be able to purchase these services when booking your appointment.

For more information, and for updates to the status of VACs, including opening times in your country, check with:

  • TLS contact if you’re in Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East
  • VFS global for all other countries

UCL continues to monitor Visa Application Centre closures and travel restrictions closely and will provide updates once they become available.

Ongoing global restrictions mean some UKVI services will remain closed. Where services are resuming, existing customers will be contacted.

Which documents should I provide as part of pre-enrolment?

You will be able to upload scans of the relevant documents in the online pre-enrolment task.  The scans you will need to upload will depend on your circumstances:

If you have a Tier 4 or Student visa for UCL:

  • passport
  • travel vignette (given as a sticker in your passport if you applied for your visa outside the UK)
  • visa - this will most likely be a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
  • if you applied for your visa from outside the UK, you will also be required to send in a copy of your boarding pass/flight confirmation
  • online immigration status* - if you applied for your visa using the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document on your phone, you will need to provide your 'share code'. Please visit the UKVI website for details on how to do this

*In addition to your share code, you will also be required to send us a copy of your confirmation email from UKVI which confirms you have been granted the visa, as this provides information about the conditions of your visa. 

If you have a visa that is not a Tier 4 or Student visa:

  • passport
  • if applicable, your travel vignette (given as a sticker in your passport if you applied for your visa outside the UK)
  • visa - this will most likely be a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
  • if you applied for your visa from outside the UK, you will also be required to send in a copy of your boarding pass/flight confirmation
  • online immigration status* - if you applied for your visa using the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document on your phone, you will need to provide your 'share code'. Please visit the UKVI website for details on how to do this. 

*In addition to your share code, you will also be required to send us a copy of your confirmation email from UKVI which confirms you have been granted the visa, as this provides information about the conditions of your visa.

If you have submitted a visa application but have not yet received a decision:

  • passport
  • evidence of your visa application, e.g. a copy of your application confirmation form and biometrics confirmation
  • previous visa - this will most likely be a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
  • your UKVCAS appointment confirmation (if you have applied in the UK)

If you have entered the UK on a Standard Visitor visa in order to study on a short course:

  • passport
  • visa* - visa nationals only - this will most likely be a sticker in your passport 
  • boarding pass/ flight confirmation

*If you are a visa national, you will have a vignette (visa sticker) in your passport. However if you are a non-visa national and entered the UK via an e-gate, you will not have evidence of your permission to study in the UK and will therefore be required to submit a copy of your boarding pass or flight confirmation. 

If I start my studies online in my country for Term 1, will I obtain a Student visa to come to the UK for campus-based learning from Term 2 or Term 3?

Yes, if you are eligible to receive Student visa sponsorship, UCL will assign you will a CAS so you apply for a  Student visa. However, it is important that you take into consideration how long it will take for you to obtain a Student visa as the processing times can vary in different countries:

Students who intend to arrive in the UK in September or as soon as possible in Term 1 should use their CAS to apply for a Student visa as soon as possible Students who intend to travel to the UK in time to start in January or later  should use their CAS to apply for a visa at least 6 weeks before they intend to travel to the UK Students who do not intend to travel to the UK this academic year and have been assigned a CAS should contact the Student Immigration Compliance Team

Once your Student visa is granted, you will receive a 90 day Travel Vignette which will start 7 days before your intended date of travel (as stated in your visa application).

Please note that if you are registered on a programme which is more than 6 months in duration, you will need to apply for a Student visa if you wish to study in the UK, you must not apply for a Standard Visitor Visa or Short-term Study visa, even if you intend to study in the UK for less than 6 months.  For further information about this, please contact the Student Immigration Compliance Team

UCL plans to deliver all core teaching and assessment online for Terms 2 and 3.  How does this affect my Tier 4 or Student visa? 

Whilst we are confident that our campus, teaching spaces and facilities are safe, it is likely that teaching in Terms Two and Three will be similar to Term One: all core teaching and assessment online, a limited amount of educational activity on campus, and alternative activity for students not on campus.  

Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, UK Visas and Immigration have confirmed that Tier 4 and Student visa holders can continue to study their programme online and as such your Student visa remains unaffected.  This means that whether you are in the UK or still in your home country, you will still retain your Tier 4 or Student visa.  Please note that UKVI polices are subject to change, therefore we will be closely monitoring this concession and will update this website with any further information which may impact your visa. 

Please do note however, that in order to retain your Tier 4 or Student visa, you must ensure that you continue to engage with your programme remotely and meet UCL's Student visa engagement requirements

If you are studying from your home country and have been given a CAS but decide not to apply for a Student visa, please let the Student Immigration Compliance Team know. 

Do I need a Student visa in order to enrol on my programme?

We understand you may not be able to obtain your visa and arrive at UCL before the start of your programme. You will still be able to begin your studies online and provide us with a scan of your visa once you have it.  UCL enrolment is online and therefore you will be able to complete enrolment and start your programme before you obtain your Student visa.

If you currently hold a visa to study in the UK, you will be asked to upload a copy of this as part of online enrolment as well as evidence that you have submitted a new visa application using your UCL CAS. Please see Which documents should I provide as part of pre-enrolment? above.