International Students Updates International Students Updates

This information is relevant for all international students studying at UG, PGT and PGR level at UEA.

Please email student.life@uea.ac.uk with any questions or concerns and an Adviser will reply as soon as possible.

 

Useful websites

https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/Information--Advice/Studying--living-in-the-UK/Coronavirus-Covid-19-info-for-international-students

Also see the UEA portal Covid 19 updates:

UG and PGT students: https://portal.uea.ac.uk/learning-and-teaching/covid-19-faq-for-students

PGR students: https://portal.uea.ac.uk/postgraduate-research/covid-19-pgr-faqs

 

All EEA/EU students

Currently you are not affected by immigration rules relating to visas.

If you wish to remain in the UK to complete your studies and work, without needing to apply for a visa once the UK leaves the EU on June 2021, you can apply for pre-settled / settled status here: https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families

NHS

If you have pre settled or settled status you can access the NHS for free without showing an EHIC card.

If you do not have pre settled or settled status, you are currently entitled to free NHS care if you become ill. You will need to show your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to ensure your medical treatment if free in an NHS hospital.

If you need more help about your own situation, you can email student.life@uea.ac.uk

 

All international students excluding EU/EAA

Immigration updates – Covid19 impact

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/academic-technology-approval-scheme

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have stated that:

“Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak we cannot accept new ATAS applications. If you submitted an application before 6 April, we will process it. We will re-open the Scheme as soon as possible and apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

 

For students needing to apply for a Tier 4 visa or a short term Study visa (that requires an ATAS) to study at UEA in 2020/2021 onwards, this means that you will not be able to make a visa application at present. Please keep checking the UEA website and the link above for the most up to date information.

 

Police Registration at UEA

The Nationality Officer is not available for appointments due to the current emergency. If you move house or have a new visa and need to register or to update your police registration certificate, you will need to check the Norfolk constabulary website; https://www.norfolk.police.uk/search?query=foreign+nationals&type=All&=Apply

This webpage will be updated with information once we know when the Nationality Officer is taking appointments. Please make sure that you have the information to register or update your police registration certificate and keep it safely until appointments are available. You can check here to see what you need to prepare: https://portal.uea.ac.uk/documents/6207125/6567667/Police+Registration.pdf/96369954-0762-4e0b-8418-b436466fd1ad

 

Biometric Appointments at UK Visa & Citizenship Application Service (UKVCAS)

If you need to give your biometrics (fingerprints, photograph and signature) in connection with a visa application you have made in the UK please see this link https://www.gov.uk/ukvcas . The website provides the following information,

“UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) have temporarily closed UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

You cannot book an appointment.

 

If you have already made an appointment

If you have already made an appointment to attend a UKVCAS center, you will be contacted and told what to do next.

Your immigration status will not be negatively affected as a result of you not being able to attend an appointment.”

This means that you cannot give your biometrics at the moment. As long as you have made an application online, before your visa expired, or if your visa has expired, using the concession granted by UKVI, then you can remain in the UK legally until you are able to make an appointment to do your biometrics and receive a decision on your visa application/replacement BRP card. If you have not yet made an appointment, keep checking this website for updates, or log into your UKVCAS account to check if appointments have become available yet.

 

Implications of remote study on students with Tier 4 study visas.

Tier 4 students are not normally permitted to undertake distance learning courses. However, due to the current exceptional circumstances, we will not consider it a breach of sponsor duties to offer distance learning to existing Tier 4 students in the UK or who have chosen to return overseas but wish to continue their current studies.

Sponsors do not need to withdraw sponsorship in these circumstances. If a student has permanently withdrawn from, or formally deferred, their studies, the usual reporting requirements apply.

New international students who have been issued a Tier 4 visa but have been unable to travel to the UK are permitted to undertake distance learning, and sponsorship does not need to be withdrawn.

New international students who have not yet applied for a visa but wish to commence a course by distance learning do not need to travel to the UK to do so and therefore do not require sponsorship under Tier 4.

These arrangements apply initially until 31 May, by which date they will be reviewed.

 

Travelling without a BRP Tier 4 visa

If you have lost your BRP in the UK or abroad, you will not be able to get a replacement immediately. This is because Visa Application Centres worldwide and UKVCAS in the UK, which process BRP replacement and visa applications are all closed due to the Covid-19 emergency.

You should go online and report your BRP visa as lost or stolen: https://www.biometric-residence-permit.service.gov.uk/lost-stolen/where?_ga=2.219933081.1023871411.1586160380-62925344.1578406601

You will not be able to enter the UK without a valid visa.

If you are in the UK you can make an online application for a replacement visa card and you should do this. You can contact the Student Life Team for help with this at student.life@uea.ac.uk

You can apply  for a replacement here: https://visas-immigration.service.gov.uk/product/biometric-residence-permit-replacement-service?_ga=2.134278769.1023871411.1586160380-62925344.1578406601

Once you have made an application you will have to wait for a biometric appointment as UKVCAS are closed.

You would need to log-in weekly to the UKCVAS booking system to check when appointments become available.

If you decide to leave the UK without waiting for your replacement BRP, you will not be able to return to the UK without applying for a single entry visa from your home country.

Currently you cannot get a single entry visa in your home country as all Visa Application Centres worldwide are closed. It is high risk to travel without your visa and you may be refused entry to the UK. You may still feel safer in your home country especially if you lose your BRP visa whilst outside of the UK.

If you are a non-visa national and can enter the UK by applying for a visa at the UK border, you will be able to get a short term study visa for 6 months. However, if you enter the UK on a visitor visa you will not be able to study.

You can email student.life@uea.ac.uk for ask for advice about your own situation if you have lost a visa in the UK or abroad.

 

I'm an international student in the UK with a visa which has just expired or is expiring shortly, and I am unable to leave because I am self-isolating or travel restrictions are preventing me from returning home - what do I need to do?


If you’re in the UK and your visa expires between 24 January 2020 and 30 July 2020, then your visa will be extended to 31 July 2020, if you cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus (COVID-19). You must complete and submit a Home Office form to update your records if your visa is expiring. You will find the form at https://gov.smartwebportal.co.uk/homeoffice/public/webform.asp?id=199&id2=5C97E7.

It could be very helpful to take a screenshot of the completed form before submitting it, and retain a copy for your own records.

 

Please visit the Home Office's website to see the specific information relating to this extension.

 

If you are applying to stay in the UK long-term

During these unique circumstances you’ll be able to apply from the UK to switch to a long-term UK visa until 31 May. This includes applications where you would usually need to apply for a visa from your home country.

You’ll need to meet the same visa requirements and pay the UK application fee.

This includes those whose leave has already been automatically extended to 31 March 2020.

You can apply online. The terms of your leave will remain the same until your application is decided.

 

Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre

If you have immigration queries related to coronavirus, please email the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre.

Email: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk. Your email must be in English.

You can also call the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre.

Telephone: 0800 678 1767 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)

Calls are free of charge.

If your query doesn’t relate to immigration provisions associated with coronavirus (COVID-19) please contact the general immigration helpline.

 

Updated guidance on 26th May;

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents

 

Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) and Covid-19

NHS treatment for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is free of charge for everyone.

If you have paid the immigration health surcharge and your immigration permission has not expired, you continue to be entitled to free NHS treatment for other illnesses and conditions.

If you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you can use it to receive free NHS treatment, at least until 31 December 2020.

 

Immigration Permission granted, but unable to travel to the UK?

If you have been granted immigration permission but you have not been able to enter the UK to start your study, you will be able to study online, if your education provider offers this, without Tier 4 sponsorship being withdrawn or short-term student leave being cancelled.

Check with your Tier 4 sponsor (UEA) if you are worried that it might have withdrawn sponsorship - the Home Office issued guidance on this in late March so some Tier 4 sponsors might have reported students who could not enrol by the expected date. Sponsors who have reported students in these circumstances can withdraw their reports before your immigration permission is curtailed.

You should be able to enter the UK with your existing immigration permission when travel is possible and courses are running again, but check this with your course provider – UEA.

Your immigration permission must not have expired, and if it was granted for longer than six months you will need to apply for a transfer of conditions (vignette transfer) - see 30-day vignette lost/stolen/damaged/expired outside the UK.

The Home Office has not provided guidance on whether it will offer refunds if immigration permission has expired, or you can no longer take the course for other reasons – it is unlikely that it will do so.

The same principle applies to Tier 4 dependants and others. If you have been granted immigration permission and issued with a 30-day vignette (sticker in your passport) but have not been to travel within that 30-day period, you will need to apply for a transfer of conditions (vignette transfer) when or if you are able to travel. If you are a dependant, the Tier 4 student in your family must still have valid Tier 4 leave, whether they are inside or outside the UK.

 

Work conditions for Medical students and Nurses

I’m an international student with a Tier 4 visa studying Medicine or Nursing. Am I still restricted in the number of hours I can work per week during term time?

 

On 31st March the Home Secretary announced that, as a response to the national effort to combat coronavirus, trainee doctors and nurses will not be limited by the number of hours they can work in the NHS during term time. This change is expected to be in place for a limited period and only applies to work undertaken in the NHS. Your course and/or your School may have additional recommendations to consider as you balance your studies and any work so please ensure that you are aware of these before making any commitments.

 

PGR Students from Saudi Arabia who need a UEA letter of permission to return home

If your government requires you to return home, or if you feel safer in the current emergency being in your home country and you need a letter of permission from UEA to permit you to travel, you should contact your school of study who will be able provide this:

scigrad.school@uea.ac.uk.

humgrad.school@uea.ac.uk

ssfgrad.school@uea.ac.uk

fmh.gradschool@uea.ac.uk

If you are a UG or PGT student and require a letter of permission from UEA you should contact your teaching Hub in the first instance