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

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 visa for UCL:

  • Passport
  • 90 travel vignette
  • Biometric Residence Permit (if you have collected it)

Please note, if you have asked for your BRP to be sent to UCL and we have received it, we will have already uploaded this to your student record and you will see the details in the pre-enrolment task.

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
  • Previous Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) (if applicable)
  • Your UKVCAS appointment confirmation (if you have applied in the UK)

If you have a visa that is not Tier 4:

  • Passport
  • Visa (Biometric Residence Permite (BRP) if applicable)
I need to apply for a visa, which Visa Application Centres are open?

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

Services will reopen in phases.  For updates to the status of VACs 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.


UCL plans to deliver lectures online and offer campus-based seminars, tutorials, labs and studios.  Does a Tier 4 visa allow me to study in the UK as a ‘blended learning’?

Yes, UK Visas and Immigration have confirmed that Tier 4 students can begin their studies online as long as they intend to arrive in the UK for face-to-face teaching as soon as circumstances allow. 

Do I need a Tier 4 visa in order to enrol on my programme?

No, enrolment is online and therefore you will be able to complete enrolment and start your programme before you obtain your Tier 4 visa.

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.

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.

If I start my studies online in my country for Term 1, will I obtain a Tier 4 visa to come to the UK for campus-based learning from Term 2?

Yes, if you are eligible to receive Tier 4 sponsorship, UCL will assign you will a CAS so you apply for a Tier 4 visa. However, it is important that you take into consideration how long it will take for you to obtain a Tier 4 visa as the processing times can vary in different countries:

  • Tier 4 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 Tier 4 visa as soon as possible
  • Tier 4 students who intend to travel to the UK in time to start in January should use their CAS to apply for a visa at least 6 weeks before they intend to travel to the UK

Once your Tier 4 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).

I intend to travel to the UK for Term 1.  If I arrive later than 28 September 2020 will it impact my Tier 4 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 Tier 4 visa. 

If you are not able to apply for your Tier 4 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 Tier 4 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, including maintenance requirements

We would like to remind you that for the Tier 4 maintenance requirements you will need to show £1,265.00 for each month of your course starting from the start date listed on your CAS rather than from the intended date of travel, for a maximum of nine months. Therefore you should prepare your financial evidence so that it demonstrates you have held the maximum amount of £11,385.00.

Please note, you must ensure you check the Tier 4 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 now 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 Tier 4 visa application. 

Extending a Tier 4 visa to start a new programme.

UKVI have confirmed that students will be able to apply for a Tier 4 visa for a new programme more than 28 days before their current leave expires if they had to apply before 31 July 2020 because their current leave would expire before that date and the start date of the new programme named on the CAS is no later than 1 October 2020.

I am currently enrolled on a pre-sessional programme, when will I receive my CAS?

UCL will be able to begin the process of assigning you a CAS for your main programme of study once the results of your pre-sessional programme have been received and you have become an unconditional offer holder for your main programme of study.  The earliest we expect this process to begin for pre-sessional students is the start of September.

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

Yes, please remember to use UCL’s Alternative Collection Location (ACL) code in your visa application: 2HE484 so you can collect your Biometric Residence Permit from UCL.  Further updates will be posted as soon as possible on our website.

I am an affiliate student. Do I need to apply for a Tier 4 visa?

If you will be studying with us for more than six months, then you will need to apply for a Tier 4 visa in order to complete your programme.

If you will attending for a single semester, you also have the option to apply for a Short-Term Study Visa.

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 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 starting in the 2020/21 academic 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.