Coronavirus (COVID-19) immigration advice for current and prospective students

We will continue to update this page when we receive more information.

 

UKVI and External Guidance

Last updated 3 March 2022

The current UKVI guidance was updated on the 15 February 2021:

Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents

Sponsor specific guidance, which was updated on the 2 March 2022 and includes information on the Graduate Route, plus an extension to the distance learning concessions until 30 June 2022 for new students can be found at:

Covid-19: Guidance for Student sponsors, migrants and Short-term students

You can also find detailed guidance on the UKCISA web pages:

UKCISA 

 

Where can I find the latest information on travel restrictions and testing requirements?

Updated 3 March 2022

For up to date advice on travel restrictions and testing requirements, please refer to the School's COVID-19 FAQs for students:

LSE: Coronavirus FAQS for students

Government advice on how to quaratine upon arrival in the UK can be found on the following web page:

UK Government: How to quarantine when you arrive in England

My visa expires before 31 March 2022 and I obtained exceptional assurance. I don't have any other immigration options to switch into.  Are there any concessions in place allowing me to stay longer?

Updated 3 March 2022

If you’re in the UK

The following information is taken from the UKVI guidance:

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. You are allowed to access Visa and Immigration services as these are considered an essential public service. You must follow current COVID-19 rules for where you live, in EnglandScotlandWales and Northern Ireland.

If you intend to leave the UK to return to a country or territory currently listed amber or red but have not been able to do so and you have a visa, leave or ‘exceptional assurance’ that expires before 31 March 2022 you may request additional time to stay, known as ‘exceptional assurance’.

This is for individuals whose country of residence is red-listed or exceptional cases where you may be unable to return to a country or territory where that nation has closed their borders or where quarantine facilities are temporarily over-subscribed.

Please submit your request for an ‘exceptional assurance’ by emailing cihassuranceteam@homeoffice.gov.uk with the following details:

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • nationality
  • Home Office, GWF or any other reference number
  • type of visa
  • expiry date of visa
  • reason for request
  • evidence of flight or evidence showing reason you can’t leave

The subject header of your email should read “Request for an assurance”.

In your email you should attach evidence to show why you cannot leave the UK. For example, if you can’t leave the UK because you cannot find a flight before your leave/visa expires, you will need to submit a copy of a confirmed flight ticket or evidence of flight unavailability.

During the time in which your request for ‘exceptional assurance’ is pending you will continue on the conditions as per your current or most recently expired visa.

If you are granted ‘exceptional assurance’ it will act as a short-term protection against any adverse action or consequences after your leave has expired. If conditions allowed you to work, study or rent accommodation you may continue to do so during the period of your ‘exceptional assurance’. ‘Exceptional assurance’ does not grant you leave. It is a means to protect those who are unable to leave the UK due to COVID-19 restrictions and not to facilitate travel, other than to return home.

If you’ve already been given assurance but your circumstances have changed or you’re unable to leave the UK by the assurance date previously given, you must reapply using the process above. You will need to clearly state that you’re making a subsequent application. You’ll be asked to provide new supporting evidence.

Important: Exceptional Assurance is not guaranteed and unlike in 2020/21, we are seeing applications being turned down especially from nationals of countries where travel is possible.  You should not rely on Exceptional Assurance simply as a way to remain in the UK under the conditions of your Student visa.

If you intend to stay in the UK

In order to remain in the UK, you will need to apply for the relevant permission to stay. Where eligible, you’ll be able to submit a permission to stay application form from within the UK.

You’ll need to meet the requirements of the route you’re applying for and pay the UK application fee.

The terms of your current permission will remain the same until your application is decided. If you are switching into work or study routes you may be able to commence work or study whilst your application is under consideration, depending on the terms of your current permission.

You are also able to apply for permission to stay to remain in the UK if you have been issued with an ‘exceptional assurance’. You must submit your application before the expiry of your ‘exceptional assurance’.

UKVI: COVID-19 Guidance

The key point is that whilst the conditions of your visa continue, exceptional assurance is not a grant of leave. This means that it is not a visa and if you choose to benefit from this scheme, we strongly advise that you keep a record of this and the number of days you remained in the UK beyond the original expiry date of your visa to provide in future immigration applications.

I'm a PhD student and my research has been affected.  Will my visa be affected?

Last updated 3 March 2022

The options for PhD students can be complex and will depend on:

  • What point you are at in your PhD;
  • Whether you require an extension of your Tier 4/Student visa;
  • Whether you are planning to interrupt your studies.

Advice for PhD students is very much based on your individual circumstances and we would like to encourage you to get in touch with the team. ISVAT are the specialists in immigration advice at LSE and we are happy to help you on your individual options. We strongly recommend that you contact our team to allay any concerns you may have, rather than seek non-specialist advice from other sources.

The UKVI COVID concessions no longer permit students requesting a break in studies of longer than 60 days to remain sponsored.  This will now be classified as an interruption of studies and sponsorship would need to be removed.

ISVAT Enquiry Form

I'm an EU/EEA student already registered at LSE and have returned home.  Will my residency be affected for the EU Settlement Scheme?

Last updated 3 March 2022

It is still possible to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme both in the UK and overseas.  However, the EU Settlement Scheme guidance has always allowed for absences up to a maximum of 6 months (12 months in some permitted circumstances) and more information can be found in the Qualifying Residence section of the following guide:

EU Settlement Scheme Guidance

We have been advised that an absence of 12 months is permitted under the current circumstances if it is related to COVID-19. Further details can be founbd on the UKCISA web pages:

UKCISA: Coronavirus guidance for students

There is also new guidance from the UKVI on absences due to COVID:

Absences due to COVID

Any period in excess of 12 months including time abroad for field work and due to COVID is likely to affect your period of time in the UK and when you will become eligible for Settled Status.

You may also wish to refer to the following Free Movement articles:

How do Covid-related absences from the UK affect EU settled status?

Lengthy absences from the UK can put EU settled status at risk

If you have any concerns about your ability to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme, please contact ISVAT for advice.

If you are applying for Settled Status or Citizenship, we may refer you for external advice.  ISVAT does not advise students on settlement routes regardless of their nationality or immigration status (EU Settlement Scheme is an immigration status).

 

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a student at the Student Service Centre drop in counter

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