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Health and Wellbeing

When should I come to the UK? What happens to my Student visa if I come later?

By QMAdvice 21 Jan 2021

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This blog was written by the Advice and Counselling Service at Queen Mary.

We are receiving a lot of questions from our students asking whether they should travel to the UK at this time, and what will happen to their visa (if it’s already been granted) or CAS or visa application (if they have not yet applied) if they delay their travel to the UK. Whilst we do not know how the situation with the pandemic is going to develop in the next few weeks or months, we can provide you with some information about the situation now, and the processes to take if you want to delay your travel, to help you to make an informed decision about when to travel based on your personal circumstances.

    Travelling to England and onto campus during lockdown

    There is currently a national lockdown in England. The UK government guidance says that students on most courses should remain where they are wherever possible and start their term online. The lockdown restrictions are due to be reviewed by the UK government in mid-February.

    Subject areas that can start in-person teaching at Queen Mary are mostly in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, and students on these courses will be informed directly by their Institute. If you have not heard, or do not hear shortly, from your School or Institute, you should assume your education will be online until at least mid-February.

    All students will receive an email from their School explaining the timetable for their subject. You are allowed to move onto campus and you should make the decision as to whether you do so based on your personal circumstances and the details which come from your School.

    We have been informed that students can still travel to use the library or study spaces on campus if they need to, for example if they do not have suitable study space at home.

    Review the latest government guidance and your home country’s guidance before you travel. This changes frequently and sometimes at short notice. You must self-isolate when you arrive in England.

    What happens to my visa if I delay my travel to the UK?

    You do not need a visa whilst you are studying online in your home country. 

    If you haven’t already applied, or if you need to replace your vignette, you may wish to wait until you have a better idea of when you will be able to travel to the UK before you do so, to avoid having to replace your visa vignette if your plans change again in the near future.

    If you started your course in September 2020, you can apply for permission from your Academic School to arrive after 5 February 2021. If you have received a CAS, but have not yet applied for Student immigration permission, your CAS can be updated to show a later latest arrival date and you can apply with the updated CAS. If you have already been granted permission, you can carry the updated CAS in your hand luggage when you enter the UK. You can request for your CAS to be updated when you apply for permission from your Academic School to arrive later.

    If you are starting your course in January 2021, and your CAS has been issued, but you have not yet applied for Student immigration permission, you can email cas-admissions@qmul.ac.uk to request that the latest date to arrive in the UK is updated on your CAS and you can apply with the updated CAS. For most progammes, the latest date to arrive will be 20 September 2021, you can confirm the latest date with your Academic School. If you have already been granted permission, you can carry the updated CAS in your hand luggage when you enter the UK.

    If your visa vignette has already been granted, but you are no longer able to travel within your vignette validity, please see the section of this webpage If you are unable to travel within your visa vignette validity

    If your visa vignette has already been granted and you are able to travel within your vignette validity, but later than the ‘latest date of enrolment’ listed on your CAS, then follow the instructions above (depending on when you started your course) for your CAS to be updated. You can then carry a copy of your updated CAS when you enter the UK.

    If you started your course before September 2020, you can contact your Academic School for permission to continue studying remotely. There will be no impact on your Student immigration permission, as this should be valid for the whole of your course. UK Visas and Immigration have confirmed that remote study will be permitted for the whole 2020/1 academic year. If your immigration permission is not valid for the whole of your course, for example because you have been interrupting your studies, then you can contact us for advice about your Student immigration permission application. 

    In all cases, please note how a later arrival may affect your eligibility to apply for Graduate Route immigration permission

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