Coronavirus (Covid-19): info for international students

Last modified: 27 November 2020

This is an evolving situation and UKCISA continues to work with the UK government and local public health authorities to distribute appropriate guidance to UK international students.

The Education and Universities Ministers of the four countries of the United Kingdom (UK) addressed a letter dated 22 June to international students who will be studying in the UK from autumn 2020. It covers a number of matters, including how you will be taught and supported in your academic and personal life, the introduction of the post-study work graduate route, and links to other useful sources of information.

The #WeAreTogether campaign involves students, academics and all staff from UK universities, students unions and pathway providers. It will highlight the full range of activity the education sector is engaged in to combat Covid-19, and bring all those involved in UK international education together in a positive online community, to share messages of solidarity, support and gratitude. The campaign is particularly aimed at providing reassurance and support for international students.

Some answers to your questions

Last modified: 27 November 2020

In this section, we provide answers to some of the questions you are asking us. Please be aware that some education providers will have their own policies which might differ from our answers. We try to explain what the Home Office (UKVI) has published on its website, but you may need to contact the Home Office's Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre

See also information provided by:

Universities UK - information aimed specifically at current and future international students

Office for Students (regulator of higher education in England), including guidance for education providers and a briefing note on best practice in supporting international students

Student Awards Agency Scotland, aimed at students with links to guidance for education providers

Welsh government covering further and higher education, travel, accommodation and collecting belongings

NI Direct for information about all areas of life in Northern Ireland

National Union of Students (NUS), particularly its Safety Net campaign for a hardship fund for all students

Office of the Independent Adjudicator (reviews complaints about higher education providers in England and Wales), including a briefing note for education providers

COVID-19 Anti-Racism Group (CARG), which calls out racism, particularly against British East Asians and international students, and has resources on where to find help and how to report hate crimes

We will try to keep this information as current as possible. Where we provide a link to the original source, please check it before contacting us, because it might have been updated.

Hear from other students and join in with positive campaign actions through the #WeAreTogether campaign.

What do 'lockdown', 'firebreak' and 'protection levels' mean? (updated 25 November)

What will happen over the Christmas holidays? (updated 27 November)

Communicating with your education provider (updated 1 May)

What are UK universities and colleges offering this autumn? (updated 26 October)

Study, including distance learning and starting a new course (updated 6 October)

English language tests (updated 26 October)

Leaving the UK earlier than expected (updated 3 November)

When student sponsors will withdraw sponsorship (updated 6 October)

How periods of overstay will be regarded (updated 26 October)

Immigration permission expiring after 31 October 2020 (updated 24 November)

Immigration permission expired between 1 September and 31 October (updated 26 October) 

Immigration permission expired between 24 January and 31 August 2020 (updated 7 October)

Making an immigration application in the UK (updated 3 November)

Applying in the UK under the Student Route when this is not usually possible (updated 26 October)

Biometric residence permits (updated 3 November)

Police registration (updated 26 October)

Making an immigration application outside the UK (updated 20 November)

Immigration permission granted, but you cannot travel to the UK (updated 3 November)

EU settlement scheme and absences from the UK (updated 26 October)

Travel and self-isolation on arrival in the UK (updated 25 November)

Free NHS treatment including Covid-19 testing (updated 30 October)

Accommodation (updated 30 October)

Work (updated 3 November)

Financial hardship and no access to public funds (updated 30 October)

Tuition fee refunds (added 26 November)

Concessions for fee status and student finance eligibility (added 19 October)

Student finance and scholarships (updated 3 June)

General support for international students

Last modified: 10 July 2020

The wellbeing of international students is our top priority at UKCISA and we are doing everything we can to ensure that you have the support you need during this unprecedented global pandemic.

Universities and colleges are working online but staff will continue to work to support you in your own institutions. We advise all students to check information and advice on your institution’s websites and to keep in touch with academic and support staff. Be sure to let your institution know if you are planning to leave the country.

All the latest advice from the UK government.

Latest health advice and information from National Health Service.

Latest health advice from Public Health Wales.

Latest health advice from Northern Ireland.

Latest health advice from Health Protection Scotland.

Looking after our mental health is more important now than ever and social distancing can be extremely difficult to cope with. There is lots of useful information about looking after your mental health during this pandemic on the Student Minds website. One of our #WeAreInternational Student Ambassadors, Khoa Nguyễn, has offered tips for looking after your mental health in a lockdown situation via a blog found here

We understand that many students live in shared accommodation and this can be worrying if you or your housemates start to feel unwell. If you are living in student halls of residence and are worried about your own health or the health of students that you live with, contact staff at your accommodation to inform them that you are unwell, and use this link to guide you on to next steps.

The Department for Education (DfE) has produced guidance on self-isolation and social distancing for students living in university or college halls of residence.

The DfE has an email address to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education.

Staff, parents and students can contact:

For support or clarification on any of the information given here, you can phone our student advice line on +4420 7788 9214 which is open Monday to Friday (except for public holidays) from 1.00pm to 4.00pm (UK time)

Before calling us, please check Some answers to your questions.

Statement from UKCISA

Last modified: 27 March 2020

Joint statement from UKCISA and Universities UK International: Covid-19 impact on international students

19 March 2020

Everyone at UKCISA and Universities UK International understands that it is a difficult time for many international students. This is a rapidly evolving situation, and advice from institutions, and from the governments in the UK and other countries is understandably being updated on a very frequent basis. Student and staff wellbeing is the top priority for ourselves and our university members and we will be doing everything we can to ensure that everyone has the support they need.

Please be reassured that we are working constantly with UK government departments, our members, and other sector organisations, taking every possible measure to ensure the university community is well-informed, supported and safe. The health of all students and staff is of the utmost importance to university leaders and operational and contingency planning to manage the outbreak is underway across our institutions. This is a constantly-evolving situation and universities are planning for all possible scenarios.

UK universities understand that a university ‘closure’, which can mean a variety of things, may cause anxiety for students who cannot return home. Universities understand that a student’s halls are usually their main home for much of the year and universities will support those students who cannot or do not want to go home. 

We are seeking specific advice from the government on self-isolation in shared accommodation. The focus for universities who have students in this situation would be to ensure every possible measure is being taken to support them during self-isolation, to ensure this is effective but also that their needs are met. 

For support or clarification on any of the information given here, you can phone our student advice line on +4420 7788 9214 which is open at the following times:

  • Monday to Friday (except for public holidays) from 1.00pm to 4.00pm (UK time)
  • Additional extended hours until the end of May 2020:
    Tuesday morning and Thursday morning from 10:00am to 12:00pm (UK time)

Before calling us, please check Questions we can answer and Questions we can not answer yet.

Update: 23 March

The UK government has now issued guidance on isolation for residential educational settings

It notes that 'It is important that institutions operate a ‘non-eviction’ policy if students have no alternative residence' and that this 'is particularly important for international students who may not be able to return home due to travel restrictions.'


Joint statement from Universities UK International, Universities UK and the UKCISA on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on Chinese staff and students at UK universities

5 February 2020

The health, welfare and safety of students and staff is the top priority for university leaders following the Coronavirus outbreak. UK universities have been supporting all students and staff who might be concerned about their health with up-to-date advice from health services. Our universities have a strong history of welcoming Chinese students and staff to the UK and they are very much part of our international community. UK universities will not tolerate racism in any form, and we encourage students and staff to report any incident of racial harassment and seek support from their university.

We understand that students and staff may be worried about friends and family members in China and our thoughts go to all those affected by this situation. At this difficult time, we ask that students and staff support their fellow friends and colleagues in solidarity with the whole of the international higher education community.

For support or clarification on any of the information given here, you can phone our student advice line on +4420 7788 9214 which is open at the following times:

  • Monday to Friday (except for public holidays) from 1.00pm to 4.00pm (UK time)
  • Additional extended hours until the end of May 2020:
    Tuesday morning and Thursday morning from 10:00am to 12:00pm (UK time)

Before calling us, please check Questions we can answer and Questions we can not answer yet.

联合声明:英国大学联盟 (Universities UK) 和英国国际学生事务委员会 (UK Council for International Student Affairs) 针对新型冠状病毒疫情对中国学生影响的声明。 




如果学生需要更多支持和帮助,请联系所在大学的相关部门,或致电英国国际学生事务委员会的学生咨询热线+442077889214 (英国时间星期一至星期五下午1-4 点之间。请注意,我们的咨询热线只提供英文服务。)