Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs for students

This page is being regularly updated with the latest information and and advice for students during this challenging time.  We understand you are feeling anxious about your student life, and the impact this will have on your studies, family, friends and community.  We still working through some details, so your cooperation and understanding is much apprieciated.  Please continue to look after and support each other, and keep checking these pages for up to date advice and information. For wider information about Coronavirus please visit the NHS website for medical advice, and offical government pages for international travel and government advice.

Student News

Read the latest University statement on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Stay Connected

See how you can stay in touch with the Birmingham Student Community.

Frequently Asked Questions

Read information for:

General support and advice

I am a final year student.  Will I still be able to graduate this summer?

Colleagues across the University are working hard to ensure that all final year students, at all levels who can complete this year, will do so.

There is more information and FAQs about graduations here.

You can read the message from the Vice Chancellor  regarding this summer's graduation ceremonies here.

I am feeling anxious and stressed due to Coronavirus (COVID-19).  What can I do?

We are in unprecedented times and it's very normal to be feeling anxious and unsettled at the moment.  There is lots of information about where you can get help and advice on our special Wellbeing pages here, including a Canvas course you can work through with tools, strategies and techniques to support you during this challenging time.  

I am a Birmingham student who is having financial problems because of the Coronavirus crisis. Where can I go for help?

The Funding, Graduation & Awards team continues to be there for our students during this challenging time, working remotely to provide funding advice and hardship payments. For general money advice please visit our financial support and advice pages. There is also some helpful information on the Citizens Advice Bureau and  Save the Student websites about how Coronavirus can affect you financially, including guidance about student loans and paying rent. We also recommend that you read the government’s advice on the new sources of financial support that are available during the pandemic and, if you are in receipt of student finance, the SLC guidance for current students.

 All normally registered students are eligible to apply to the University’s Student Support Fund for help towards their living costs if they are experiencing genuine and unavoidable financial difficulties despite having made adequate provision for their studies. We are working hard to assess applications as quickly as we can at this busy time and are reviewing the Fund’s Regulations to ensure that we are best able to meet the needs of our students in light of the current situation.

How can I keep up-to-date?

Please continue to check your student email and the intranet regularly, as these are the main channels we will use to communicate with you. You may also want to follow the University’s official social media channels, if you do not already do so.

For up-to-date health advice, please check NHS 111, and for travel advice please check the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO).

I haven’t been receiving all student emails, what should I do?

If you haven’t received any emails, first please double check your spam folder.

If you have previously unsubscribed to any university emails and would like to re subscribe, send your name and student ID number to the email address below.

If you are still not receiving emails, please contact the student communications team at studentcommunications@contacts.bham.ac.uk with your name and student ID number so we can look into this for you. You can also view a copy of the previous student emails here.

Will I be entitled to a refund or compensation as a result of changes due to COVID-19?

Our response to the current crisis, and circumstances that are outside of our control, has been to prioritise the wellbeing and progression for all students. In advance of the University campus entering restricted operations we had plans in place to move quickly to provide online teaching and learning content so that students can continue their studies.  Our staff are continuing to work remotely in support of students and are continuing to set and mark assessments so that students can complete the academic year.  While physical spaces, including the Library, are unavailable, students can continue to access our significant online content and collections.  Many of our other services, where we can, continue to be available online.

It is different, and it is not what we expected to deliver for the remainder of the academic year.  However, and similar to other Universities in the UK and around the world, we are committed to ensuring that students continue to receive tuition and support online.

In these extraordinary circumstances, and having considered this carefully, the University is not anticipating offering any tuition fee refund, or general financial compensation related to this global event.  However, and in line with our standard procedures, any student who wishes to raise a concern or formal complaint can do so.  Details of the complaints procedure, for students, are available here:   https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/as/registry/policy/complaint-appeal/complaints/index.aspx

 

Exams and assessment

I am a continuing student, how will I progress to the next level of my studies?

There is detailed information for continuing students on the your studies page.

What is happening with exams?

There are significant changes to assessments for the summer exam period. Arrangements vary for Postgraduate Taught (PGT) students, final year Undergraduate students, and students due to continue their studies next year. Please visit the your studies page for more information.

Who can I talk to about what is happening?

We understand that there will be many questions and that students will be facing a range of circumstances at this time. However, please avoid contacting staff with individual requests so that they can continue to work to get information to all students as quickly as possible. We ask for your patience as we continue to work through the detail and will continue to provide you with further information as soon as we are sure that it is correct.

Can I still apply for an extension or Extenuating Circumstances?

We would encourage all students to complete any outstanding assignments, dissertations and course work where you can, including any alternative assessments you may be set to complete your award or progress to the next level of your programme. However, we do understand that the disruption to studying, caused by the pandemic, will undoubtedly cause difficulties for many individuals.  Students can continue to seek short deadline extensions and make claims for Extenuating Circumstances in the normal way through your School or College process.  We will take a flexible and supportive approach to these decisions and we do not expect that students will have to provide the normal level of evidence for these – meaning that we do not require you to submit evidence, for example medical evidence or Doctors letters.  We understand that students may have additional caring responsibilities or other circumstances for which you may not be able to provide evidence and we will recognise this on a case by case basis.  Further information about the Extenuating Circumstances process is available here

I am a final year undergraduate student, what does this mean for me?

We will graduate as many final year undergraduate students as possible without the need for you to do any exams this summer. Please visit the your studies page for more information.

If you are a final year student and you have not received a communication from your School about your options and required activity to complete your final year you can contact your school/college via the e-mail links below.  Urgent queries for final year students will be prioritised for a response as soon as possible.

College of Medical and Dental Sciences:

mds-reporting@contacts.bham.ac.uk

 College of Social Sciences:

Birmingham Business School -  bbsassessmentsupport@contacts.bham.ac.uk

School of Education -  education@contacts.bham.ac.uk

School of Government -  gandsugenquiries@contacts.bham.ac.uk

School of Social Policy  headofsocialpolicy@contacts.bham.ac.uk

 College of Engineering and Physical Sciences eps-concerns@contacts.bham.ac.uk

College of Arts and Law
Philosophy, Theology and Religion: ptr-progression2020@contacts.bham.ac.uk 

English, Drama and Creative Studies: edacsassessment2020@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music: lcahmcontactgroup@contacts.bham.ac.uk

 History and Cultures: shacadmin@contacts.bham.ac.uk

 Law: Lawqueries@contacts.bham.ac.uk

College of Life and Environmental Sciences

les-action-2019@contacts.bham.ac.uk

I am a postgraduate taught student, what does this mean for me? 

Please visit the your studies page for more information on how we will help you progress and complete your course.

I am an undergraduate student who will be returning to studies next year, what does this mean for me?

We are cancelling all summer exams for non-final year undergraduate students across the University. You do need to complete any outstanding assignments and will be asked to engage with a piece of 'bridging coursework'. Please visit the your studies page for more information.

Where can I find information for postgraduate research students?

The University Graduate School has prepared information for PGR students and their supervisors.

 Students on a study abroad or exchange programme

What is the University's latest advice for UoB exchange students on overseas placement in 2019/20?

Wherever you are in the world we hope that you are all safe and well.  During this unprecedented period, as the global community responds to tackling the COVID-19 outbreak, our priorities have always been to support your wellbeing, support your studies and provide the most up to date advice. 

In all of our advice to you over the recent months the University has adhered closely to the UK Government advice for travellers and the specific advice for students who are studying or working overseas.   When we wrote to you last on 24th March 2020 our recommendations were provided based on the current advice - that advice has now changed.

SUMMARY:

The advice of the UK Government now states:

  • All UK students and staff currently studying on exchanges (for example, Erasmus+, or terms abroad) or working temporarily overseas are advised to return to the UK now, while commercial routes are still available
  • If UK students currently overseas for longer periods, for example those studying full degrees, are considering returning to the UK, they should do so while commercial routes are still available.

The University is now strongly recommending that all UK nationals should observe the UK Government advice (updated 25/03) and return to the UK now.

Students who are not UK nationals are advised to follow the recommendations of their home country Government, observing any travel restrictions and advice.

 Why has the University advice changed?

Late on 25th March 2020 the detailed guidance for UK students already studying or working overseas was revised by the UK Government.  

The full advice is available from this link and we recommend that you read this carefully.

What this means is that our advice to you must also change, in line with the UK Government advice for UK nationals, and the advice from our travel insurance providers UMAL.

We recognise that this will be disappointing but would like to reassure you that we will make all best endeavours for you to be able to progress on your course normally, including the option to continue studying with your host institution via distance learning.

 What you should do now.

If you are a UK National we recommend that you follow the UK Government advice and make immediate travel plans to return to the UK.

Advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)

  • International travel is becoming very limited as air routes cease, land borders close and new restrictions are put in place that prevent flights from leaving.
  • If you are considering returning to the UK, you should contact your airline or travel company now, and keep up-to-date with FCOtravel advice.
  • FCO teams around the world are working urgently to ensure that governments have sensible plans to enable the return of British and other travellers, and, crucially, to keep borders open for a sufficient period of time to enable returns to take place on commercial routes, wherever possible. FCO is also working with airlines to ensure as many people as possible can get commercial flights home.
  • UK travellers abroad should keep up to date with travel advice for the country/territory they are in.
  • FCO has published advice for British nationals who do not have immediate departure options available to them.
  • FCO is working with airlines to keep routes open and is calling for international action to keep routes open to enable British people to return home on commercial flights. We are also working around the clock to support those British travellers who are experiencing difficulties coming back to the UK.
  • If you intend to return to the UK, you should use appropriate methods of travel. You need to take account of the fast-moving situation and plan accordingly, including the fact there are currently fewer commercial routes available.
  • You should continue to monitor the travel advice issued by the FCO and comply with any coronavirus (COVID-19) control measures put in place by your host nation.

Advice from the University:

If you are leaving your host country / host institution you should let them know.  Your host institution may already have supportive arrangements in place for you to leave.

If you are leaving your host country / host institution please let us know.  You can contact us for advice and information via:  coronavirusupdates@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Your host institution may already have arrangements in place for you to continue your studies with at a distance.  Where this is possible, this is the best option.

Where you cannot complete your semester/year abroad, we will make further arrangements to support your academic progression upon your return to the UK.  This may require individual advice for your specific programme and we will provide further updates as soon as possible.

What if I cannot leave my host country due to travel restrictions? / I do not want to return to the UK?

Advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)

  • Travellers currently overseas should be prepared for border closures or lockdown measures being introduced at short notice.
  • If you are abroad, you must follow the advice of local authorities and also follow the latest FCO travel advice. You must be ready to comply with local isolation, testing or quarantine requirements, and will need to rely on the local health system. You should contact your airline, tour operator and travel insurer to find out what support they can offer.

 If you are abroad, you must follow the advice of local authorities and also follow the latest FCO travel advice. You must be ready to comply with local isolation, testing or quarantine requirements, and will need to rely on the local health system.

 You can subscribe to FCO email alerts for the country/territory you are in via the ‘Get email alerts’ link on each travel advice page. You should also consult the latest PHE Public Health matters guidance.

 If you are a UK national who needs emergency help from the UK government while overseas as the country you are in will not allow you to travel back to the UK, or there are no commercial travel options available, you can contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission or the FCO in London on 0207 008 1500 for help or advice 24/7.

 Before you travel, read the latest health advice and follow guidance for travellers to reduce your risk of exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19).

 Read guidance on what you can do if you need financial help and who you can contact for support when abroad.

Advice from the University:

 If you cannot leave your host country / host institution, or you choose to remain where you are then you should stay safe by following all local advice and the advice of your host institution. You can continue to engage with your studies where you are.

If you are not a UK national then you should follow the advice of the Government in your home country as relevant to the circumstances and the country you are in.

We understand that you may have recently contacted the Study Abroad & Exchange Team with your choice of options based on our last message.  You should now reconsider these options and let us know your plans as soon as possible

Advice and support from the University’s travel insurance providers, UMAL:

Our insurance providers have confirmed that:

For UK nationals our insurance providers will accept claims for curtailment of your studies.  What this means is that if you now wish to return to the UK and you have a pre-booked flight to the UK our insurers will consider claims for any reasonable additional expenses incurred as a result of changing your flight.  Other reasonable claims, for example related to accommodation expenses, will also be considered. 

For all other students – our insurance providers will only consider a claim where your home Government has issued advice that you must now return home and you have a pre-booked flight to your home destination.

For all students overseas, our insurance providers will not accept claims where there is no pre-booked return flight.  The University is committed to supporting students with any reasonable additional costs that may arise from this situation and where our insurers will not consider the claim.  We can only consider these costs on a case by case basis.

If you are not a UK national and you remain where you are – our insurance providers will continue to provide cover for your stay if your home Government has not issued advice that you should return to your home country.  You should check the advice from your home Government about whether or not it is safe to remain where you are.

If you are a UK national and you choose to remain where you are then it is possible that our insurers will withdraw any ongoing cover.   We are waiting for updated advice from UMAL to confirm this position.  If you are actively trying to get back to the UK then your insurance cover will remain in place until you are home safely.  In the event that the University insurance cover is withdrawn you will need to secure your own travel insurance for where you are – this may be difficult in the current circumstances so you should consider this very carefully.  

Other support that is available:

Our insurance providers have activated our Global Response Cover which can offer support for students who are having any difficulty returning to their home country on the advice of their home Government:

“For those travellers who are unable to return home due to the lack of any available flights, we would urge them to contact Global Response to see if any other means of return can be arranged. The UMAL travel cover will continue to operate and will also cover reasonable additional costs of sustenance, travel and accommodation necessarily incurred until the end of the original planned duration of the journey”.

You can contact the Global Response team –

Tel.+ 44(0)29 2066 2425   (available 24/7/365)

Email umal@global-response.co.uk

We would also strongly recommend downloading the Global Risk Management App which is available from:  https://umal.co.uk/travel/pre-travel-advice  and using the website www.drum-cussac.net/travel-advices/countries  for updates - please use your UoB university email to access this.

Conclusion:

We understand that this is a long and complex message – and you should read this carefully and follow the links to the relevant available advice.

We also appreciate that this will be confusing and concerning and you may have a number of questions.  Wherever you are and whatever you decide we will support you as much as we can – and we are available to respond to your individual queries through the Study Abroad Team.   We are receiving a very high volume of enquiries at the moment and so there may be a brief delay in getting back to you.

You can contact us via:  coronavirusupdates@contacts.bham.ac.uk

We are all working hard here in the UK, under very unusual circumstances, to get you the best advice as soon as we can. The situation in the UK and the advice we are receiving is changing very rapidly, often daily.

The most important thing is to stay safe and well – and to observe all of the local advice to avoid the spread of infection. We recognise that this is lengthy advice, which reflects the various circumstances you may find yourselves in across the globe.  We are here to help and support you, as much as we can, but we are always limited in what we can do from a distance. Supporting you to be safe and continue and complete your studies is our priority so please let us know what you are planning so that we can provide the most effective advice.

I am an exchange student currently placed at the University of Birmingham.  What should I do?

Please read the university-wide student communications for information and advice. If you have any other questions please contact the Study Abroad & Exchanges Team on incomingstudyabroad@contacts.bham.ac.uk

I am planning to go on a Study Abroad placement in 2020/21. What should I do?

Your options for Study Abroad 2020/21 are outlined in this letter from Professor Robin Mason, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International). 

Students in the UK

I am a student/member of staff who works or is on placement in the NHS (clinical setting) is there any special advice for me in relation to Coronavirus?

Please visit your studies for further information on placements at this time.

My visa to remain in the UK is due to expire and I am concerned that I cannot get home to China.

The UK Government has published new guidance for staff and students who might be affected by this situation, and may face travel restrictions due to circumstances outside of your control.

Students:  If you have any other concerns about your visa please contact the International Students Team.

Staff Members should contact HR.

I am an international student (with a Tier4 visa) and I am returning home, what should I do?

In anticipation of further travel restrictions and to support social distancing measures we are recommending all students go home if you can.    

If you are returning home please read the guidance on authorised absence and take any necessary actions.

We will be keeping accommodation open to support those students who are unable to return home due to travel restrictions or personal reasons. 

Where can I find information for postgraduate research students?

The University Graduate School has prepared information for PGR students and their supervisors.

I have borrowed some books from the Library, but unable to return them as I am not campus, what can I do?

If you are unable to come onto campus to return items, please hold onto books till next term. If you wish to return items before leaving the UK, you can post items to us.

The Library will not be fining anyone during this period, the Library will also cover the renewal of inter-library loan items from other institutions. Read the latest information, including opening hours, from Library Services.


International Students

I am an international student and my visa (Tier 4, Short Term Study or Points Based Migrant) is due to expire between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020. I can’t leave the UK due to travel restrictions or self-isolation. What should I do?

Your visa will be extended to 31 July 2020 if you cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus (COVID-19).

You must contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) to update your records if your visa is expiring.

You will be required to provide the following information:

  • your full name (include any middle names)
  • date of birth (dd/mm/yyyy)
  • nationality
  • your previous visa reference number
  • why you can’t go back to your home country, for example if the border has closed, your flight has been cancelled

UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) will let you know when your request is received and when your visa has been extended.

These UKVI arrangements apply initially until 31 July, by which date they will be reviewed.

I am an International Student, and I have already contacted the International Student Team to obtain a new CAS to extend my Tier 4 visa. What should I do?

Any international student who has contacted the International Student Team (IST) to extend their Tier 4 visa will need to continue with the IST CAS Request process. 

I have obtained my CAS and made my Tier 4 visa extension application from within the UK, now I am not feeling well and I have decided to self-isolate, what will happen to my biometric residence appointment?

International students can apply online as usual, and select a biometric submission appointment to attend if they are able to in line with public health guidance.   The UKI have confirmed you will not be regarded as an overstayer, or be subject to enforcement action you are unable to attend a biometric appointment due to Covid-19, or if there are delays in processing your application. In such cases it would be advisable to re-arrange your biometric appointment using the online appointment link you would have received when you first completed your visa application.

The current frequently asked questions (FAQ) mentions that the University will only allow up to eight (8) weeks of authorised absence.  What are the implications for me if I cannot return to the UK after eight weeks due to travel restrictions?

On 27 March 2020 the UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) published Guidance for Sponsors.  It tells sponsors, such as the University, that it does not need to report or stop sponsoring Tier 4 students unless the student is withdrawing from their course permanently or defers their studies.

If you are still continuing your studies online with the University there is no requirement to report or withdraw sponsorship.

The guidance sets out circumstances which do not require reporting or withdrawal of sponsorship, these currently are as follows:

  • being absent for more than 60 days
  • changing to distance learning in the UK or outside the UK
  • studying by distance learning when you have Tier 4 entry clearance but have not yet been able to travel to the UK

Please note - as a Tier 4 sponsor the University will need to monitor your engagement with your distance learning and you will be informed of how you will do this if you are unable to travel back to the UK after the 8 weeks. 

You will also need to keep the University updated if you are not able to study or do your assessment or exams, even if you are studying online.

I am an undergraduate student and I have applied for authorised absence due to COVID-19 what happens if I am unable to return to the UK after 8 weeks, will the University withdraw immigration sponsorship?

Following the UKVI announcement on 27 March 2020 , the University has put all teaching online and will be arranging online assessments where necessary. The University’s campus is closed until the 1 June 2020, therefore we are not expecting any undergraduate students to return to the University of Birmingham campus to undertake academic activity prior to the end of the academic year.

For this reason, the University has made the decision to process all undergraduate requests for authorised absence which are due to the COVID-19 outbreak until the end of the academic year on 19 June 2020.  The University’s decision to process absences for this length of time will not impact on your current Tier 4 visa. Your visa will continue to remain valid.

I am a postgraduate taught student and I have applied for authorised absence due to COVID-19.  What happens if I am unable to return to the UK after 8 weeks, will the University withdraw immigration sponsorship?

Following the UKVI announcement on 27th March 2020,  the University has put all teaching online and will be arranging online assessments where necessary. The University’s campus is closed until the 1 June 2020, therefore we are not expecting any postgraduate taught students to return to campus to undertake academic activity prior to the end of the academic year.

I am a postgraduate taught student and I am due to start my dissertation/project around June 2020 what will happen to my visa after this date?

Postgraduate taught students normally start their dissertation/project around June.  We are aware that an email was sent to students last week which states that students will be able to take their dissertation/project with online support. This means that you will be able to remain in your home country and complete your dissertation/project.

For this reason, during the summer the University will be reverting to its normal authorised absence process for postgraduate taught students who choose to (or are required to, dependent on what happens between now and the summer) write up their dissertation in their home country.

In this case you should submit an authorised absence request using the reason ‘Dissertation – writing up in home country’.   The University will use this information for your attendance monitoring conditions, and to tell the Home Office about your change of circumstances.  There will be no impact on your visa.

The University would encourage you to only submit a request of this type from June onwards, as it is possible that your plans could change between now and then.

This would mean that postgraduate taught students would have two authorised absences in place:-

  • One until 19June 2020, for COVID-19.
  • One from 20 June 2020, for Dissertation – writing up in home country.

I am a postgraduate research student and I have applied for authorised absence due to COVID-19.  What happens if I am unable to return to the UK after 8 weeks, will the University withdraw immigration sponsorship?

The expectation is that postgraduate research students should continue work on their PhD studies.

The following options are available to international postgraduate research students and you are required to take the appropriate action and apply either for (1) an authorised absence or (2) a leave of absence (depending on your circumstances as listed below):

  1. If you are continuing researching and/or writing your thesis and you are in the UK you do not need to submit an authorised absence request.

2. If you are Normally Registered and are continuing to work on your research but are not in the UK, then you should apply for an authorised absence for the purpose of  ‘Conducting research from overseas’ .  This is a new absence category that has been created to accurately reflect your situation on the University record.

 3. If you are Normally Registered and are able to continue conducting fieldwork, you should apply for an authorised absence for the purpose of Fieldwork.

 4. If you are Thesis Awaited and writing up your thesis outside the UK then you should apply for an authorised absence for the purpose of Thesis – writing up in home country.

 5. If you feel that you are unable to continue working on your research or writing your thesis then you must contact your supervisor to discuss your situation.  In these circumstances a leave of absence may be appropriate and you will also need to contact the IST for advice on how this may impact your current Tier 4 (General) visa.

I am in the UK and have made a Tier 4 (General) visa application to extend my current visa but I am currently unable to book a biometric appointment, what should I do?

On 30 March 2020, Sopra Steria, who runs the immigration application centres (UKVCAS service points) announced that all its service points are now closed to help protect the wellbeing of their customers and staff, in response to COVID-19.

At present it is still possible to make an online immigration application in the UK but you may not be able to book a biometric appointment. 

As long as you make your visa application before your current visa expires and you follow any instructions provided by UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) or Sopra Steria, your right to stay in the UK will continue to be lawful.  This will continue even if there is a significant delay in your visa application being processed.

A Home Office factsheet published on 24 March 2020 states that: 

"Individuals will not be regarded as an overstayer or be subject to enforcement action if they are unable to attend a biometric appointment due to COVID-19 or if there are delays in processing your application".

As part of my visa condition I am required to register with the Police, however, due to COVD- 19 my appointment has been cancelled, would this affect my visa?

The Overseas Visitors Registration Office (OVRO) in the West Midlands, have suspended police registration and issued guidance for applicants.

Coronavirus

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, our office is closed until Monday 13 April. We are notifying anyone with appointments on what they will need to do.

Please do not attend the office as it will be closed. No one will be in the office to answer the phone so please do not call.

If you do need to get in touch with an urgent question email ct_ovro@west-midlands.pnn.police.uk.

You will not be penalised for not attending or making an appointment to register with the police. This includes people who have left the UK without registering, and who will need to re-enter in the future.

Please continue to monitor the West Midlands Police website for further updates.

I am trying to apply for a new visa from outside the UK but the UK Visa Application centres are now closed, what should I do?

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.

 

I am a student at the University can I return home if I have concerns about COVID-19 in the UK?

We understand that you may wish to return to your home country due to the situation with Coronavirus (COVID-19). This is entirely your decision and the University will support students as much as possible.

As a Tier 4 sponsor licence holder, the University of Birmingham has an obligation to monitor and keep records of attendance and absence for Tier 4 students. For this reason, if you do decide to return home, please ensure that you notify us by following the Authorised Absence for International students’ process, you are currently permitted to take up to 8 weeks as Authorised Absence.  

We also understand that it may be difficult to return to your home country during this unprecedented time due to the shortage of flights. Therefore, we would make the following recommendations:

a)       If you have tried to return home but your flight was cancelled or you have not been able to find a flight; your national embassy may be able to provide some support.

b)      If your visa has expired or is due to expire before 31 July 2020 and you have not been able to return home, please refer to the following UKVI guidance: covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-inside-UK . Your visa will be extended to 31 May 2020 if you cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to COVID-19. You must ensure that you follow the instructions in the link and contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team. (CIT) to update your records if this applies to you. This visa extension is not an automatic process and does not apply to all visa extensions requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure that you follow the guidance and take the necessary steps in the links.

As you may be aware, the situation with COVID-19 is evolving fast. The University of Birmingham is guided by the Government and UKVI and we will continue to update our guidance in line with the national advice.

What do I do if my visa expires soon and I cannot return home due to travel restrictions?

If your visa has expired or is due to expire before 31 July 2020 and you have not been able to return home, please refer to the following UKVI guidance: covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-inside-UK . Your visa will be extended to 31 July 2020 if you cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to COVID-19. You must ensure that you follow the instructions in the link and contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team. (CIT) to update your records if this applies to you. This visa extension is not an automatic process and does not apply to all visa extensions requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure that you follow the guidance and take the necessary steps in the links. 

I need to apply for a new visa to extend my studies, what should I do?

If you are a student whose current Tier 4 visa is due to expire during the University restricted access period you should log an enquiry online to the International Student Team (IST).

 

When you make your enquiry you should also attach any documents you want us to check for you.

 

Log an enquiry online at www.studenhelp.bham.ac.uk

 

Follow this link for the full document list for Tier 4 (General) Student Visa.

 

Please ensure you type the following text in the subject box ‘URGENT CAS REQUEST Tier 4 visa expires [enter your visa expiry date here]’.

If you do not contact the IST or if you do not have the correct documents to make a visa application, then, before your current Tier 4 visa expires, you MUST leave the UK.

Your visa is your responsibility and overstaying your visa is a criminal offence which will be recorded in your immigration history.

It is only when your supporting documentation has been approved and all internal administrative processes have been followed that a CAS can be assigned to you.  You will find Tier 4 information here.

What is the Process for dealing with CAS requests?

The IST will be dealing with CAS Requests based on the date the visa expires.  The IST is currently working remotely from home to provide continued support to our international students and CAS’s will be assigned depending on visa expiry dates and return dates to the UK.

Please ensure that you read the information about making a Tier 4 visa application to ensure that you have the correct documents.  If vital information is missing or unclear, this may delay the CAS request process.  The IST will contact you if we require further information.

If you’re in the UK and your leave expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020

Your visa will be extended to 31 July 2020 if you cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus (COVID-19).

You must request an extension by updating your records with the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT), if your visa is expiring and you cannot leave the UK at present but are not planning to stay in the UK in the long term.

If you have already had your visa extended to 31 May 2020 you visa will be extended automatically to 31 July 2020.

You will be expected to return to your home country as soon as it is safe and possible to do so.

If you’re applying to stay in the UK long-term

You can apply from the UK to switch to a long-term UK visa until 31 July 2020 if your leave expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020. This includes applications where you would usually need to apply for a visa from your home country.

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

This includes those whose leave has already been extended to 31 July 2020.

You can apply online. The terms of your leave will remain the same until your application is decided.

 

Students in accommodation

What will happen to my accommodation contract?

All students who have left their accommodation and want to be released from their contract need to submit an Early Release Request. Please see the Accommodation page for more information.

I have left or am planning to leave my accommodation, what do I need to do?

All students who have left their accommodation and want to be released from their contract need to submit an Early Release Request. Please see the Accommodation page for more information.

Who can I talk to about accommodation?

Read the Accomodation page for more information for students during this time, or visit the Contact Living page for email and call back details.

I have an enquiry about my accommodation fees, who can I speak to?

Information about paying for your accommodation can be found on the Student Fees page, along with their contact details. 

What do I need to do if I am self-isolating in accommodation?

Visit the Accommodation page for information on what to do if you are self-isolating in University accommodation.

I am in private rented accommodation - where can I go for support and advice?

If you have issues with your landlords or lettings agents information is available on the Community Living website. There is also some useful information related to COVID-19 on the Shelter website. If you cannot find what you need, or want a bit more help, email Community Living and one of the team will respond to you.

Students in Dubai

Is the Dubai campus open?

The Ministry of Education UAE has announced that all schools, colleges and universities in the UAE will close for four weeks starting from Sunday 8 March. This means the UoB Dubai campus building will be closed to students during this time. At present we are working on the assumption that it will be business as usual from 5 April. 

This decision has been made to reduce the chance of Covid-19 spreading and to provide the opportunity to deep clean schools.

Where can I find information on Coronavirus specific to the Dubai campus?

More information from our Dubai campus 
The FAQs are regularly updated in response to the latest official advice. If you have any particular queries, please contact dubai@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

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