As a new international student we understand you may have some questions about your visa and how the visa application may be impacted by Coronavirus. Please browse the FAQs below.  If you cannot find the answer you are looking for, please contact the VISA Team on visa@gcu.ac.uk. 

New Student immigration route Oct 2020

Please read our News item on the New Student immigration route Oct 2020. These pages will soon be updated with the changes once the route is live (from 9am on 5th October 2020.) 

When should I apply for my visa?

To help you make a decision on when to apply for your visa, please take the following information into account:

The majority of courses are being taught remotely for Trimester A and so you can choose to apply for your visa to come to UK either before or after you begin your course, provided your course does not require face to face attendance before your expected date of arrival on campus. If your course requires face to face attendance during Trimester A, you should apply for your visa as soon as possible.

Within the module pages for your course in GCU Learn, you will find a range of information about your modules, such as your week to week schedule and learning objectives which should make clear when face to face attendance is required. You can also contact your Programme staff directly if you are unsure when face to face attendance is required.

You can apply for your visa up to 3 months before your course start date and once you have received your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number from our Admissions Team. 

Once you are granted your visa, you will receive a 90-day temporary travel visa (TTV). This means you can enter UK up to 90 days after receiving your visa.

You may begin your studies remotely outside UK before securing your visa.

If you begin your studies via remote learning before you apply for your visa, it is important you check to ensure that your course does not require face to face attendance before your expected date of arrival on campus, taking into account potential visa delays, travel issues, and self-isolation requirements upon your arrival in UK.

Your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number will have a "Latest Course Start Date". Throughout the Admissions process, you will be asked to provide an estimated date of your arrival in UK. If you expect to arrive in UK after your Latest Course Start Date, you will be contacted by the VISA Team who will provide your CAS.

If I start my course remotely, do I still need a CAS?

You will not need a CAS or a visa to start engaging with your studies remotely; however, you will need to obtain your visa before you can travel to the UK.

You cannot apply for your student visa without a CAS. 

Your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number will have a "Latest Course Start Date". Throughout the Admissions process, you will be asked to provide an estimated date of your arrival in UK. If you expect to arrive in UK after your Latest Course Start Date, you will be contacted by the VISA Team who will provide your CAS.     

Am I permitted to start my studies outside of UK?

Yes, you can start a course that is delivered through distance learning or a mix of face-to-face-learning and distance learning ('blended' learning) as long as the intention is to move to face-to-face delivery only as soon as possible. This concession will remain in place until the end of the 2020-2021 academic year.

Unless your course specifically requires face to face teaching during Trimester A, distance learning in the UK and in other countries is currently acceptable for all students.  This is in line with the Covid-19: Guidance for Tier 4 sponsors and migrants and for short-term students.

If you begin your studies via remote learning before you apply for your visa, it is important you check to ensure that your course does not require face to face attendance before your expected date of arrival on campus, taking into account potential visa delays, travel issues, and self-isolation requirements upon your arrival in UK.

The majority of courses are being taught remotely for Trimester A and so you can choose to apply for your visa to come to UK either before or after you begin your course, provided your course does not require face to face attendance before your expected date of arrival on campus. If your course requires face to face attendance during Trimester A, you should apply for your visa as soon as possible.

Within the module pages for your course in GCU Learn, you will find a range of information about your modules, such as your week to week schedule and learning objectives which should make clear when face to face attendance is required. You can also contact your Programme staff directly if you are unsure when face to face attendance is required.

What if my visa application is delayed?

Unfortunately, your visa may be subject to delay as there are many overseas UK Visa Applications Centres which are temporarily closed in response to COVID-19.  In these circumstances, you should still able to submit your online visa application but you may not be able to make a biometric appointment.  You will need to follow the guidance provided by the visa application centre in your country, therefore please expect there to be delays in visa processing times.

What if I cannot travel to UK?

If you are able to travel to the UK before your current CAS latest course start date, then no action is required and you can travel to the UK once you receive your passport and travel visa.

If you are unable to travel to the UK until after your current CAS latest course start date, and you have already received your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) Number, please contact the VISA Team on visa@gcu.ac.uk before applying for your visa. The VISA Team will then inform the Home Office of your new expected date of arrival. 

If you are unable to travel to the UK after your current CAS latest course start date and you have already applied for your visa, please contact the VISA Team on visa@gcu.ac.uk as soon as possible. The VISA Team will then inform the Home Office of your new expected date of arrival.

If you are unable to travel to the UK and will miss any face-to-face teaching as a result of this, please contact your Programme staff directly for necessary academic support.  Remember, most courses are being taught remotely for Trimester A. 

Once I receive my visa, how long do I have to travel to the UK?

The UKVI have confirmed that during the year of 2020, a 90-day temporary travel visa (TTV) will be issued when an overseas Student visa application is approved.

This will be valid from 7 days before the ‘intended travel date’ you put on your visa application form, and you will be able to enter the UK up to 1 month before your 'course start date', if you are going to study a degree level course.

What if I need to self-isolate when I arrive in UK?

When you arrive in the UK, you will not be allowed to leave the place where you’re staying for the first 14 days you’re in the UK (known as ‘self-isolating’ or ‘quarantining’) unless you’re arriving from an exempt country.*

This is because it can take up to 14 days for coronavirus symptoms to appear. If you’re travelling to the UK for less than 14 days, you will be expected to self-isolate for the length of your stay.

*Please note that the guidance, including country exemptions, differs depending on whether you will be coming to GCU Glasgow (Scotland) or GCU London (England.)

For the latest information for Scotland, please find the link below:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-public-health-checks-at-borders/pages/self-isolation/

For the latest information for England, please find the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-how-to-self-isolate-when-you-travel-to-the-uk

If you are uncertain if you will be required to self-isolate upon your arrival in UK, please contact the VISA Team on visa@gcu.ac.uk.

It is extremely important you adhere to the self-isolation measures.

How do I collect my BRP if I am required to self-isolate?

You must usually do this before the vignette sticker in your travel document expires or within 10 days of arriving in the UK, whichever is later.

Do not collect your BRP if you’re self-isolating because of coronavirus (COVID-19). The Post Office will keep your BRP for 60 days. You mat collect it when you finish self-isolating.

Check your decision letter - It will tell you to collect your BRP from a named Post Office branch.

Please note that you must be over 18 to collect a BRP.

If your Post Office branch is closed because of coronavirus (COVID-19), your BRP will be stored safely until it reopens. Contact your Post Office for more information. You can also contact VISA if you require assistance with this process. 

If I start my course remotely, would I still be eligible for the new Graduate Route work visa when I complete my course?

As you may be aware, the UK government has announced their intention to introduce a new Graduate Route work visa in the summer of 2021.

This will benefit international students who graduate from a degree-level course or above and who hold a valid student visa when the scheme launches in the summer of 2021.

In a policy guidance document published on 16 June 2020, UKVI stated that those studying by distance/blended learning will be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route work visa provided they are physically in the UK by 6 April 2021 and complete the final semester of their studies in the UK, and provided all other eligibility requirements are met.

How can I switch to a student visa in the UK when this is not usually possible?

Changing in the UK from one category of immigration permission to another is often called 'switching'. Applying for more time in the same category of immigration permission is called 'extending'.

The types of immigration permission that allow you to apply in the UK under the Student visa route are usually very restricted. If you have a different kind of immigration permission but think you can apply in the UK because of one of the concessions in place by the Home Office, please contact the VISA Team on visa@gcu.ac.uk for guidance.

 

How do I register with the Police when I arrive in UK?

If you are required to register with the Police, this will be listed as a condition of your visa. You will have been informed if you are required to register with the Police. 

Due to the circumstances of Covid-19, Police Scotland have adapted the way the service is operated and so there are some changes which have been put in place to ensure the safety of all the students and Police Scotland staff.

All new students who require initial registration or students who were unable to register back in March 2020 will have to email directly at SCDOVROGlasgow@scotland.pnn.police.uk to make an appointment. Appointments will be offered on a first come, first serve basis.

If you have recently arrived in UK and are required to register with the Police, you do not have not to worry about the 7 days registration period, a 21 day allowance has been enforced so that students can quarantine and then notify us they need an appointment to register.

To aid with Social Distancing measures, fewer appointment slots will be available and so there will likely be a delay in securing an appointment.

When you email Police Scotland to make an appointment, you will be asked a set of questions checking that you have quarantined for 14 days if required, as well as being asked to provide your personal contact information for track & trace purposes. Those who have not quarantined as required will not be able to make an appointment. They will be asked to email for an appointment once their isolation period is up.

Appointment Guidance: 

When you come to your appointment you are asked to ensure you arrive on time or at least 5 minutes before your appointment. Those who are too early to their appointment (e.g. an hour or so before) will be asked to come back at their correct time and those 5 minutes before appointment will be asked to wait outside the building 2 metres apart.

Please note you should not be accompanied by friends, only those from the same household like a family member or a translator can accompany the individual who has an appointment.  Those who arrive late or who forget any of their documentation required for their appointment (e.g. 2 X Passport Photo) will not be seen and asked to return home and book in for a new appointment date/time.

At your appointment you will be asked to wear a mask and sanitise your hands on entry to the building. Entry to the building will be through a single door which is separate to staff entry and will be sign posted. There will be a one way system with barriers and signage guiding them to the registration desk. You will be given your Police registration certificate on the day of your appointment. Pens will be provided and cleaned for your signature on the certificate, however it is preferred that you bring your own to help prevent cross contamination.

Payment for Police registration certificate will be £34 cash. Students should bring exact £34 cash to help reduce handing out change but change will be available if need be. Police Scotland are looking into making Contactless payment available but at the moment this is not an option.

You must complete the OVRO Initial Registration Form available on the Police Scotland website and bring this with you to your appointment.

Change of Circumstance to Police Registration Certificate

Changes to police registration certificates appointments will work in the exact same way as initial registration appointments and the same rules will apply.

If you have any queries please do not hesitate to get in contact the VISA Team directly on visa@gcu.ac.uk who will be happy to help answer any questions you have.