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. 

When should I apply for my Tier 4 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 a Tier 4 visa before you can travel to the UK.

You cannot apply for a Tier 4 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 Tier 4 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 Tier 4 visa application is approved.

This will be valid from 7 days before the ‘intended travel date’ you put on your Tier 4 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.

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 Tier 4 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 Tier 4 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 Tier 4 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.