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 a full service throughout the pandemic.
At the moment we are operating mainly remotely. 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. Over the remainder of this academic year, we will be increasing our on-campus presence and will update this information as necessary.
Frequently Asked Questions
I am a current student on a Tier 4 / Student Route visa. Can I study remotely for the remainder of the academic year 21/22. Will this affect my visa?
If you are on a Tier 4 / Student Route visa and you are currently studying remotely, you will be required to travel to the UK by 30 June 2022 at the very latest. This is because the UKVI concession to allow remote study is ending on that date. Most departments at the College will require you to be in the UK earlier than that date to continue with your studies face-to-face and you should have received some communication to this effect. If not, contact your department in the first instance. If you have never applied for a Student Visa for your course then there is no impact on your immigration status if you remain studying remotely after 30 June 2022, however if you are on a 12-month Master’s degree please check our guidance on the Graduate Visa as you will need to have arrived in the UK by 30 June 2022 and complete your course in the UK in order to be eligible under this post study work scheme. Your academic department will be able to confirm if you are required to be in the UK and from what date.
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 may 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.
See our guidance for more information.
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 study 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 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.
For more information on Police Registration see our guidance.
Will I still be able to qualify for the new Graduate Visa if I started my studies remotely?
The 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.
If you start a Masters degree remotely in 21/22 you will need to arrive in the UK before 30 June 2022 in order to qualify under the scheme. Further details about the Graduate Worker Route are available on our website.