Coronavirus Information - International students

Here you will find information for current GCU sponsored Tier 4 students regarding Coronavirus and associated visa matters.

Current Tier 4 students in UK whose visas are due to expire before 31st August 2020

If you had a visa that expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020 you were able to request an extension if you were not able to return home because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus (COVID-19). The VISA Team has been in touch directly with all current students who this affects. 

Now travel restrictions are lifting globally you will no longer be able to extend your visa automatically on this basis and you are expected to take all reasonable steps to leave the UK where it is possible to do so or apply to regularise your stay in the UK.

If you have completed your studies and intend on leaving UK:

To allow time to make the necessary arrangements to leave the UK, if you have a visa or leave that was due to expire between the 24 January 2020 and 31 August 2020, you’ll be able to stay within the UK until 31 August 2020.

From 1 to 31 August 2020, the conditions of your stay in the UK will be the same as the conditions of your leave. So, if your conditions allowed you to work, study or rent accommodation you may continue to do so during August 2020 ahead of your departure.

If you intend to leave the UK but are not able to do so by 31 August 2020, you may request additional time to stay, also known as ‘exceptional indemnity’, by contacting the coronavirus immigration team (CIT).

The indemnity does not grant you leave but will act as a short-term protection against any adverse action or consequences after your leave has expired.

The Coronavirus Immigration Team will provide you with further advice on what you need to do to request an indemnity. This will include providing details of the reason why you are unable to leave the UK and supporting evidence, for example, a confirmed flight ticket with a date after 31 August or confirmation of a positive coronavirus test result. 

Please contact VISA for assistance with this process.

If you intend to extend your Tier 4 visa because you have a resit or repeat: 

It is important you contact VISA as soon as possible in order for a VISA Advisor to assess your eligibility to extend, and provide you with personalised advice on the extension process.

If you have completed your studies and intend to stay in UK by switching into another category:

If you require assistance with the route you are switching into, for example, if you have been offered Tier 2 sponsorship from an employer, please contact VISA as soon as possible for guidance. 

UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs)

Since 1968 the UK Council for International Student Affairs has worked to support international students and the institutions, students' unions and organisations who work closely with them. As a member institution of UKCISA, GCU recommend and endorse the use of the UKCISA website in conjunction with the VISA Team's website for information on Coronavirus. You can view their helpful information page about Coronavirus to read more. 

Current Tier 4 students who have left UK temporarily

If you are currently a GCU Tier 4 sponsored student and are outside of UK, GCU will not issue a report to the Home Office even if you are absent for more than 60 days, for reasons relating to Coronavirus.

It is important you keep VISA and GCU updated on your travel plans as a sponsored student. You should complete the COVID-19 International student travel form  and send this via email to visa@gcu.ac.uk along with the requested documentation. 

It is also important you liaise with your Programme staff to ensure appropriate support is in place for you whilst you are outside UK. Whilst studying remotely outside UK, it is important you continue to attend and engage in your remote learning and classes. If you are unable to engage remotely or need time off, for example if you are unwell, you must inform your Programme staff as soon as possible as per the usual attendance policy. 

If you have concerns about travelling back to UK, please contact VISA for assistance as well as your Programme staff. 

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 will usually get a reply within 5 working days. Do not send follow up emails - they may delay you getting a reply.

You can also call the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre. If you’ve emailed the help centre already, please do not contact them by phone.

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

Calls to this number are free of charge within the UK.

Check call charges with your phone provider if you’re calling from abroad.

Tier 4 students beginning in Sep/Oct 2020

If you are due to begin studies with GCU in Trimester A for the 20/21 Academic Year and have been issued a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) Number, please contact the VISA Team on visa@gcu.ac.uk for personalised assistance on your visa application process. We also recommend you visit our Tier 4 visa application process (outside UK) page.

If you are a new student and have not yet received your CAS, please contact cas@gcu.ac.uk for assistance.

Please take time to read the FAQs for new and returning students. This document provides information about the new term including your GCU welcome, blended learning environment, what will be open on campus and how to stay safe during what is set to be a great academic year.
 
Please also view GCU's FAQs on online learning, assessment feedback and results for students. This document provides information on remote online learning, dissertation projects, assessment feedback and results. Questions raised by students have been answered in relation to a wide range of topics.
Students in UK who are unable to travel home due to Coronavirus

A Scottish Government advice publication has been created specifically for International students (2019/20) bringing together key information regarding staying in Scotland during the current coronavirus outbreak in the UK. The publication can be accessed here.

If your Tier 4 visa expires between the 24 January 2020 and 31 August 2020 you’ll be able to stay within the UK until 31 August 2020.

From 1 to 31 August 2020, the conditions of your stay in the UK will be the same as the conditions of your leave. So, if your conditions allowed you to work, study or rent accommodation you may continue to do so during August 2020 ahead of your departure.

If you intend to leave the UK but are not able to do so by 31 August 2020, you may request additional time to stay, also known as ‘exceptional indemnity’, by contacting the coronavirus immigration team (CIT).

The indemnity does not grant you leave but will act as a short-term protection against any adverse action or consequences after your leave has expired.

The Coronavirus Immigration Team will provide you with further advice on what you need to do to request an indemnity. This will include providing details of the reason why you are unable to leave the UK and supporting evidence, for example, a confirmed flight ticket with a date after 31 August or confirmation of a positive coronavirus test result. 

Please contact VISA for assistance with this process.