International News

This section provides you with information on changes to immigration rules and procedures and how these changes may affect you.

Graduate Route

The UK government has confirmed that the Graduate route will open for applications at 9am on 1 July 2021. Successful applicants will be granted a one-time non-extendable leave period of two years if graduating at an undergraduate or masters level and three years if graduating with a PhD. The route will not have a maintenance requirement and applicants will not need to demonstrate English language ability as they will already have proved English language ability by successfully completing a degree at a UK university.

Information for students returning to the UK or travelling for the first time

Before you travel to the UK, it is important to check the current government guidance on what you need to do before you travel to the UK. The guidance can change at short notice so it is important you read and familiarise yourself with the relevant rules before you book your travel to the UK from overseas.

What you must do before you travel? 

  • You are required to complete the passenger location form;
  • provide a negative Covid-19 test. A test must be taken in the 3 days before departure;
  • If you have NOT been in the 'Red list’ countries, book and pay for a travel test package, which includes two COVID-19 tests to be taken on day two and eight of your quarantine, or
  • If you are travelling directly from a country in the ‘Red List’ or will be in a ‘Red List’ country 10 days prior to your arrival to the UK, you must purchase a quarantine package within the 14 days window before arrival.

Do I have to quarantine on arrival to the UK? 

There are no longer travel corridors between England and any country therefore you are required to quarantine for 10 days on arrival to England (please note, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have different rules). Under current regulations, there are two quarantine options and the place to quarantine depends on where you travel in the 10 days before you arrive in England.

What are the quarantine options?

What happens if I test positive during my quarantine? 

If you receive a positive result from your day 2 or 8 test, you must quarantine for 10 days beginning the day after the test was taken. Everyone living in the same accommodation as you will also need to quarantine. If you are completing your quarantine in a government-approved facility, you will be required to pay the additional rate to complete your quarantine period.

How much do I need to pay to quarantine in a Government-approved facility?


10 Day Rate

  Additional day rate 

Rate For 1 Adult In 1 Room For 10 Days (11 Nights)



Additional Rate For 1 Adult (Or Child Over 12)



Additional Rate For A Child Aged 5–12



What is test to release scheme? 

If you arrive in England from somewhere outside the travel common area (UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man) you must quarantine for 10 days on arrival. Under the Test to Release scheme you can choose to pay for a private COVID-19 test. If the result is negative, you can end your quarantine. You still need to arrange and pay the travel test package on day 2 and 8. The test to release scheme can only be used by travellers who have travelled from non-red list countries and after receiving a day 2 negative result.  

 Can the Covid-19 test on campus replace the travel test package or be used for the test to release for international travel? 

By law, all tests privately provided on day 2 and day 8 for international arrivals must meet minimum standardsThere are different requirements for the test to release scheme, which means that some providers for the general testing may not meet the minimum standards for Test to Release for international travel. LMU offers a ‘lateral flow test’, which detects the presence of COVID-19 through a swab of saliva. These tests do not require a laboratory to be processed and can rapidly turn around results within an hour therefore the test does not meet the minimum standards.  

I have the vaccine; do I need to quarantine or book the travel test package? 

There is no current provision for people who have receive the vaccine, at this point everyone arriving to England must follow the Government regulations outlined in this guide.

My entry clearance vignette expired before travelling to the UK. What do I need to do?

If you fail to enter the UK within the 90 day validity period of your entry clearance vignette, you must submit a Transfer of Conditions application. The cost of this application is £154 and you are required to submit your Biometrics again. Please note, this is not a fresh Student Visa application, you have already been granted a visa under the student route. When submitting the application please select the following options: 

  • Confirm your visa type: BRP vignette transfer

Please include in the additional information that you have been granted a visa under the student route but have not been able to enter the country, please explain the reason for it. 

It is possible to come to the UK to apply for the Graduate scheme? 

The Graduate route will open for applications on 1 July 2021, a lot of students may be eager to return to the UK to apply for the scheme. We strongly advise you to check the UKCISA guidelines to find out if you are eligible to apply for the scheme and to understand when do you need to arrive in the UK to apply for the route. Please check with our International Advice Service before making any travel arrangements 

New visa route for British National (Overseas) in Hong Kong

In January 2021 the UKVI introduced a new immigration route for those with British National (Overseas) status from Hong Kong, with this visa they are permitted to work and study in the UK.

Hong Kong nationals could apply for this visa for 2 years and 6 months or 5 years and can extend as many times as they want however, they are eligible to apply for British Citizenship after 5 years of residence.

Family members can apply for a BN(O) visa if they are eligible. Please refer to the family members information from the UK Government to find out their eligibility to apply for this immigration category. 

EU, EEA and Swiss nationals applying for the Student Visa Route

The UK left the EU in March 2020 and the transition period ended on 31st December 2020. From 1st January 2021, the new Student Route was introduced under the Points Based System (PBS) for Students who do not hold EU Settled or Pre-Settled status (EUSS).

New Student Route

The government recently introduced a new immigration route for students and their dependents on Monday 5 October. The new student route is for Students, Child Students, and dependants of Students. The route replaces Tier 4 of the Points Based System. Some of the changes have been outlined below:

Study Caps

If you are studying a course at RQF level 6 (Degree level), the study cap is now 5 years only with certain course exemptions. There are no study caps on programmes at RQF level 7 (Masters) or above.

Finance (Maintenance)

If you, your dependent partner, or dependent child have been living in the UK for 12 months or more at the time of your application in the UK, you will satisfy the financial requirements. This means that you will not need to submit any financial evidence with your application.

This exemption also applies to Student Union Sabbatical Officers applying to stay in the UK.

No changes have been made to the existing format required for documents to prove finances for Students who do not meet the 12-month exemption.

Please note also that there has been an increase to the financial requirement. If you apply under the Student route from 1 December 2020,  you must show the new monthly figure of £1,334 a month up to a maximum of nine months.

Doctorate extension scheme applicants who are not exempt even if they have lived in the UK for 12 months or more must provide evidence of £2,668 (£1,334 x 2 months).

Immigration Health Surcharge Increase (IHS)

There was an increase in the immigration health surcharge on 27 October 2020. 

Students and their dependants previously paid £300 a year, but this has now increased to £470 a year. The charge for other applicants has also gone up to £624 a year.

Differential Evidence Requirement

Applicants who hold passports from certain countries will not be expected to provide evidence to show that they meet the financial requirements or provide the qualifications listed as the basis of the offer. UKVI decision makers continue to reserve the right to request for documents on an ad hoc basis.

Nationals from the EU, EEA and Switzerland now fall under this category.

Differential Evidence Requirement and Dependants

If you apply as a Student dependant from 1 December 2020, you must provide evidence of finances, even if you come from a country that is listed under the differential evidence requirement section in Appendix ST: Student paragraph ST 22.1. The main Student visa holder is not required to provide evidence of finances.

Beware of Telephone Fraud

We have been informed of a fraudulent attempt in which some students were telephoned by someone pretending to be the Home Office and asking students for a £500 payment or they risk facing deportation. The Home Office have been made aware of this incident and are looking into it.

Please note that, the Home Office will never ask you for personal information over the phone nor demand any money.

The Immigration Rules state that, while Student visa holders (previously Tier 4) studying at RQF level 6 (undergraduate level) and above on a full-time basis are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week during term time and full time during official vacation periods, or you may be completing a work placement as part of your degree. The immigration rules state that there are some kinds of work you must not do:

  • self-employment and business activity
  • work as a professional sportsperson including as a sports coach
  • entertainer
  • a permanent full-time job
  • doctor or dentist in training, unless you are on the foundation programme.

The Home Office has amended the definition of what constitutes professional sportsperson, the full guidance of which you can find on pages 102 and 103 of the Student and Child Student Guidance. This applies to you if you are in possession of a student visa, regardless of when you applied for it. Please read through this information carefully.

Upon reading the rules, you will note that the restriction prevents you from providing services as a sportsperson or coach at any level of sport, paid or unpaid, unless you do it as an “amateur” in a charity game. "Amateur" is a defined term and means a person who engages in sport solely for personal enjoyment and who is not seeking to derive a living from it, which includes payments made in kind, such as travel costs, accommodation or meals.

For more information, please feel free to look through the information provided by UKCISA.

Information for EU students following the referendum and triggering of Article 50

Following the UK's referendum vote to leave the European Union, the triggering of article 50 means that official negotiations regarding the exit have now begun. At this time, EEA nationals' immigration status remains unchanged until further negotiations/decisions clarify their position. Please feel free to read further on this topic on the UK Council for International Student Affairs section titled: What we know for EU students.

26 October 2016

Information on telephone scams

We have been made aware of a scam in which students are called from a number identified as 'Home Office - Customer Services' asking for money to be paid for paperwork not correctly submitted upon entering the UK. It is our understanding that the callers can be very persistent and may even imply that, if you were to end the call, you may be penalised further.

Please note, the Home Office will never ask you for personal information over the phone nor demand any money.

Beware of Telephone Scams

We have been made aware of telephone scams that target international students. Please see the briefing below:

The caller instructs the student to verify their telephone number 020 7035 4848 on the GOV.UK website, search for Home Office, and then scroll down to the bottom of the screen so that they can verify that the caller is calling from the genuine Home Office number.  The caller ID on the student’s mobile does show this number. 

The caller is in possession of the students full name, postcode in the UK and passport number, and asks the student to confirm those details are correct.  

They then proceed to tell the student they have not paid for an immigration service and, as a result, have to pay a fine (usually £1200 - £1520) or they will be reported to the Police/or the Home Office who will detain or deport them.   

Please note, UKVI will not contact students in this manner.

Right to Rent Checks

Private landlords are now required to check on whether any prospective tenants have a right to be in the UK before renting. Non EU-nationals will need to show a valid visa before a rental contract can be issued.

The Home Office has published a guidance for landlords explaining what they need to do.

Immigration Health Surcharge

The immigration health surcharge applies to applicants who come to the UK for more than six months. For Student visa applicants specifically, the amount is £300 per 12 months' leave. Previously, Australians and New Zealanders were exempt from this charge, but as of 6 April 2016, they will also need to pay this charge as part of their Student visa application.

The Home Office recently announced that the fee will increase to £470 per 12 months leave from October 2020. The Home Office has further information on the Immigration Health Surcharge.

You can find previous immigration news on the UKCISA Newswall.

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