Travel restrictions and visas

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Last updated: 19:20 on Friday 22 May 2020

Travel restrictions and student visas

Travel restrictions currently affect many countries worldwide including the UK. Do check the latest offical guidance before planning any travel.

If you have any immigration queries related to coronavirus, please email the Home Office Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre at: (emails need to be written in English).


Travel to and from the UK

Last updated: 19:20 on Friday 22 May 2020

On Friday 22 May 2020 the UK government announced further details on quarantining people arriving in the UK. People arriving in the UK from Monday 8 June 2020 will have to self-isolate for 14 days. This new measure will be reviewed every three weeks, so will be in operation until at least Monday 29 June 2020.

Additional points:

  • There will be exemptions for people travelling from Ireland, medics tackling Covid-19 and seasonal agricultural workers
  • People arriving into the UK will have to complete an online form stating contact details where they are staying before travelling
  • People travelling into the UK will be required to complete a Contact Locator Form providing contact and travel information
  • There will be spot checks and £1000 fines (in England; the Devolved Nations will set their own enforcement approaches) for those found to be not complying with the mandatory conditions.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office continues to advise British nationals against all but essential international travel:

Travel within the UK

Last updated: 09:00 on Wednesday 13 May 2020

The UK's social distancing rules were updated on Wednesday 13 May.

The current rules tell people to stay at home as much as possible, and to self-isolate if they or anyone in their household shows Coronavirus symptoms. People are allowed to spend time outside for exercise, to meet one other person in a public space, and travel to work in some cases.

Find full details of what you can and can't do below:


English UK member centres temporarily closed

Last updated: 11:00 on Monday 23 March 2020

All English UK member centres have closed their premises although many continue to deliver English language teaching to students online.

On Friday 20 March 2020 the UK Government announced social distancing measures to limit the spread of coronavirus. Theses measures required publicly funded education institutions, entertainment, hospitality and indoor leisure premises across the country to close from the end of trading hours on Friday 20 March. English UK recommended that all UK English language teaching centres should also close from Friday 20 March.


Tier 4 visa flexibility

Last updated: 15:00 on Wednesday 22 April 2020

The Home Office is introducing some concessions and flexibility in relation to sponsor duties, including allowing a pragmatic approach to education oversight in most cases.

Sponsors do not need to report students who are absent due to Covid-19 related reasons although records must be maintained. Distanced learning is currently being allowed for students on Tier 4 visas.

Students who are on courses below degree level are not required to be studying for 15 hours per week although sponsors are expected to make every effort to provide the stipulated number of hours.

Students can temporarily apply for a Tier 4 visa from within the UK

The Home Office has made it possible for students with a short-term study visa to make a Tier 4 application from within the UK, if they are already here and unable to travel home to make the application.

They will still need to meet all the other Tier 4 visa requirements. The deadline for applying under this provision is 31 July 2020.

Students should contact the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre before applying, to check if they are eligible. Email contact is preferable, so that they have the advice in writing. 

Eligible students should apply online, despite the fact that many biometric appointment centres in the UK are currently closed. The Home Office says: '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.'

Visas extended to 31 July for students who cannot leave the UK

Last updated: 17:00 on Friday 22 May 2020

On Friday 22 May 2020 the Home Office announced further provisions for international students who are unable to leave the UK due to reasons relating to Covid-19. Students can apply if they have a visa which has expired, or is due to expire, between Friday 24 January and Friday 31 July 2020.

Extensions are not automatically issued. Students should complete an online form to inform the Coronavirus Immigration team that their visa has expired. They can also contact the team by email or phone 0800 678 1767 (Monday to Friday, 09:00-17:00). Calls are free of charge).

Students will need to provide:

  • full name (include any middle names)
  • date of birth (dd/mm/yyyy)
  • nationality
  • previous visa reference number
  • reason they can't go back to their home country (for example flight suspensions, border closure, self-isolation)

The Home Office has said that students unable to return home will not regarded as overstayers:

"No individual who is in the UK legally, but whose visa is due to, or has already expired, and who cannot leave because of travel restrictions related to Covid-19, will be regarded as an overstayer, or suffer any detriment in the future".