Covid-19 and your immigration status
We understand that the current situation relating to the Coronavirus pandemic has created many questions about the impact this has on your immigration status in the UK or your ability to obtain a visa to start a course of study.
This page aims to address the common questions we have received from current and prospective international students.
The International Student Support Service
We want to reassure you that the International Student Support Service will continue to operate throughout the pandemic.
At the moment we are operating a fully remote service. You will still receive the same high quality guidance, and we are able to offer visa application appointments via MS Teams to students making visa applications in the UK, as well as a highly responsive email advice service.
Frequently Asked Questions
I'm a current student on a Tier 4 / Student Route visa. I am studying remotely for the remainder of the academic year 20/21. Will this affect my visa?
No. If you are on a Tier 4 / Student Route visa and you are continuing to engage with your studies remotely, this is fine. The College will continue to sponsor your visa and it will remain valid during this time, even if you are not in the UK. UKVI have now extended the remote study concession to the student Immigration Rules (announced on 1 July 2021). This concession will extend to cover the first two semesters of the 2021-2022 academic year, until 6 April 2022. This date is encouraged to be seen as a deadline, not a target, and will help avoid a surge in travel and the associated resources needed to comply with quarantining measures, and help manage the arrival of students. Your academic department will provide you with more information about what teaching will look like for academic year 21/22.
I have made a successful visa application outside the UK, but I am unable to travel during the validity of the entry clearance sticker. What can I do?
If your 90 day vignette has expired, or will expire before you are able to travel to the UK, you will need to apply for a replacement by completing the online form. The cost of replacing an expired 90 day vignette is £154 and you will need to make an appointment to resubmit your biometric information. We strongly advise that you 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. If you are from a country that requires you to show you are free from TB as part of your visa application, you may have to provide an updated clearance certificate with your vignette transfer application if your previous one is more than 6 months old.
I have recently arrived in the UK and need to collect my Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). How can I do this?
If your BRP is coming to the College, we will email you with instructions once we have received it. If you think we should have received it by now and you have been in the UK longer than 1 month, please contact us with a copy of the letter from UKVI so we can look into this for you. Although we are working remotely, we do have staff going in to the office to process BRPs and to arrange delivery to students.
If you are required to collect your BRP from a Post Office, please go to the address detailed on your letter from UKVI.
Do not panic if you are unable to collect your BRP before the date your entry clearance sticker expires.
Can I travel to the UK as a Visitor to start my course?
No. If you are commencing a full-time degree course you must have a Student Route visa in order to be able to travel to and study in the UK. Imperial College will not be able to let you continue studying on your course if you enter the UK with the wrong immigration permission. If you are studying a short course, or a distance-learning programme, you can come to the UK as a Visitor for face-to-face teaching. Read our guidance for short-term students for more information.
I am travelling to the UK in the coming months to start / continue my course at Imperial. How do I know what I need to do?
Please read the College guidance on Arriving in the UK.
I am currently in the UK but need to travel home. Am I allowed to do this?
There is an exemption to the international travel restrictions which is for international students travelling home so you are allowed to do this. This is confirmed in the latest Government guidance. If you are intending to travel during term time you must ensure you have spoken to your academic department and continue to study remotely if required.
I am in the UK and my visa is about to expire but I cannot get a flight home at the moment. What should I do?
You are expected to take all reasonable steps to leave the UK where it is possible to do so or apply for a visa if you are eligible to do so. If you intend to leave the UK but have not been able to do so and you have a visa or leave that expires between 1 March 2020 and 30 September 2021 you may request additional time to stay, known as ‘exceptional assurance’.
I need to update my Police Registration Certificate / Register for the first time. Can I still do this?
Yes. The Overseas Visitors Records Office is running a pre-booked appointment system. Please log on and book the next available appointment. Do not worry if your appointment is not within 7 days. As long as you have booked the appointment you will meet the requirement.
Will I still be able to qualify for the new Graduate Worker Route if I started my studies remotely?
UKVI have confirmed that applicants must have completed the entirety of their degree in the UK except for permitted study abroad programmes or when distance learning has been necessary due to Covid-19. Under Covid concession guidance, if you started a Masters degree in 2020 remotely due to Covid-19, UKVI have confirmed that you must be in the UK before 27 September 2021 on a Student Route visa in order to qualify under the scheme. If you start a Masters degree remotely in 21/22 you will need to arrive in the UK before 6 April 2022 in order to qualify under the scheme. Further details about the Graduate Worker Route are available on our website.