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22 June 2021
Please read important information regarding:

  • Return to on-campus learning
  • CAS and visa
  • Travel arrangements and isolation/quarantine requirements
  • Solent residential accommodation
  • Vaccination eligibility

Read the letter 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK is currently under strict lockdown measures. You should not travel to the UK unless you have been advised to do so by your course leader.

The Government has recognised the difficulties and disruption this approach may cause for students, but believe it is necessary to continue to limit the numbers returning at this stage to minimise the risk of transmission.

Your university journey is therefore looking different to everything you have imagined, and as one of our international students, you may need extra information and support - please know that everyone here is working hard to help you make the best of your experience as a Solent student.

Please read the information below, together with the student information and FAQs and campus and general FAQs.

If you have not yet arrived in the UK, please also take a look at the Get Ready page on SOL. Please note that only registered Solent students will have access to Get Ready, as it requires a Solent username and password.

If you have any questions about your studies or life at Solent please email student.hub@solent.ac.uk.

If you have any questions about visas and immigration, or life in the UK, please email internationalsupport@solent.ac.uk.

If you receive a positive test, or have been asked to self-isolate, please email covid.support@solent.ac.uk 

Scroll down and you will find some frequently asked questions that provide more details specifically for our international students. We'll be updating them regularly, so keep checking back.


Arrival in the UK

What you need to do before you arrive in England

On arrival in the UK you will need to self-isolate or quarantine and get tested for Covid-19. Please visit the UK Government website for up to date information.

You must provide a negative coronavirus test to travel to the UK and again after arrival. Check information regarding testing. You must book your tests prior to arrival

Check if your country is on the banned list, which means that you must quarantine in a hotel on arrival. Find out more about booking your quarantine hotel.

If your country is not on the banned list, you will still need to self-isolate.

You may be fined up to £10,000 if you do not self-isolate when you need to.

Travelling to your accommodation

Please follow the UK Government guidance for safe travel, and travel straight to the place where you will be self-isolating or be in quarantine. Solent does not currently provide a pickup service from the airport. 

Open a UK bank account

It is more important than ever to open a bank account before you arrive in the UK.

The UK Government's list of countries from which travellers need to self-isolate or quarantine upon arrival could change shortly before your planned arrival date. We strongly recommend you arrange an international account or bank card to facilitate your self-isolation or quarantine period upon arrival, even if you currently are not required to do so.

In the UK many places accept card payments only, due to the pandemic. Therefore, you should arrange an international bank account or bank card to be able to make card or online payments for basic necessities, such as food shopping, takeaway meals, and paying tuition fees, when you arrive in the UK.

Mastercard and Visa are widely accepted in the UK - you should avoid bringing a large amount of cash with you as opening a UK bank account may take a little while, depending on which bank you choose.

How do I keep in touch with the University during self-isolation?

It's important you keep in touch and we recommend you have a PC, tablet or smartphone so you can access the student portal, download the MySolent app and connect with the University's online learning platform, Solent Online Learning.

If you are in a University student residence, you will have access to the internet, but you need to ensure you have internet access if you are in private accommodation.

Are there any online activities for self-isolating students that I can join?

Quarantine or self-isolation can be really difficult, and you might feel bored and lonely. The Solent Self Isolation Kit will give you tips and support and our Wellbeing Team is here to help you.

You can also access our Get Ready to Learn programme to prepare you for studying at Solent.

You can also join Friends International. This is an organisation based in Southampton which supports international students and organise regular social events

I will be living in Solent's student accommodation. How will the University support me during my self-isolation?

The residence team will support those who are self-isolating by:

  • Ensuring a swift check-in procedure on arrival,
  • Providing a handbook in your room with lots of useful information,
  • Arranging for deliveries and mail to be taken to your room,
  • Residence staff available to call 24 hours a day if assistance is needed.
You can join the Solent student residences Facebook group for the latest news and events across the student residences.

I will be living in the private sector. How will Solent support me during my self-isolation?

You should arrange an international bank account or bank card to be able to make card or online payments for basic necessities such as food shopping or takeaway meals.

You may place and online order for groceries, toiletries or other essential items from one of the following stores and have it delivered to you:

If you have any questions or concerns while you are self-isolating, you can contact the Student Hub by email at student.hub@solent.ac.uk or by phone on 023 8201 5200.

The time will pass very quickly, and you’ll be able to get on with your studies and your new life in Southampton in no time.

Covid-19: Track and Trace app and symptoms

Everyone in the UK is encouraged to download the NHS app and keep up to date on the NHS website.

Advice for Southampton residents is provided on the Southampton City Council website 

Our free, on-campus testing centre is open. Alternatively, you can book a test online at GOV.UK, or by calling NHS 119. Get help if you feel unwell but are comfortable at home. 

Follow government guidelines regarding self-isolation  if you have symptoms or test positive and email covid.support@solent.ac.uk.

If you live in a student residence you must also notify them.

Visas and immigration

The visa guidance states I need to collect my biometric card within 10 days of arrival in the UK, but I need to quarantine for 14 days

You will be able to collect your biometric card after you have completed your quarantine.

  • If your visa letter states that you should collect your BRP from Solent University, please email PBI@solent.ac.uk with a copy of your visa letter, your vignette and passport (photo page) and the address where you would like your BRP to be delivered to.
  • If your visa letter states that you should collect your BRP from the post office in Southampton but you would rather collect it from a different post office you can do this through the Post Office website.

My visa states that I need to register with the police seven days from my arrival in the UK

Currently the nationality officers have suspended their operations due to Covid-19. For the latest information about Hampshire Nationality service visit the Hampshire Police website.

If you already have a police registration certificate that needs updating, you should contact your local police station (by phone or email). You should make them aware that you are self-isolating and make arrangements for any updates after the 14 day period. 

Can I work more than 20 hours a week while being taught online?

Although there are no face-to-face lectures, tutorials or seminars taking place, you are still, from a UKVI perspective, what is called 'in term time'. In term time refers to any scheduled teaching, reading or assessment weeks. The only exceptions to this are for official winter and spring holiday periods and, for undergraduate students, during the summer. Therefore, your restricted working hours, as stated on your BRP, still apply.

My UK visa has expired, or will expire soon, and I'm concerned I cannot travel home

There are two different scenarios that may apply to you:

Tier 4 visa holders needing to extend their visa to complete their course in the UK
If you hold a Tier 4 (General) visa and need to extend your visa to continue your course of study, please complete the CAS request form on the student portal.

Visa holders whose leave expires soon but cannot return home due to Covid-19 restrictions
You are expected to take all reasonable steps to leave the UK where it is possible to do so or regularise your stay in the UK.

If you intend to leave the UK but are not able to do so and your leave expires soon, you may request additional time to stay, also known as ‘exceptional assurance’. All details are available on a dedicated UK Government website.

The UKVI will make decisions on a case by case basis on the permitted engagements within the leave granted. Once your exceptional assurance leave is granted you may be allowed to apply for a different visa category. But please note you will not be able to apply for a short-term student visa from within the UK.

I have a short-term visitor visa and require treatment for coronavirus. Do I have to pay for NHS treatment?

Government advice is that no charge is made to an overseas visitor for the diagnosis or treatment of coronavirus. All overseas visitors, including anyone living in the UK without permission, should be aware that:

Who can I contact with further questions regarding my visa?

Students with immigration and visa-related queries can contact the international support team by email: internationalsupport@solent.ac.uk.

In addition, the UK Council for International Students (UKISA) has created a frequently asked questions page, which contains information and guidance for international students.

General questions

My classes are starting again on campus, but cannot travel or will need to quarantine

If you are unable to come back to the UK or will need to quarantine, your tutors will continue to give as much support as possible online and you will not be penalised. 

Will international students be vaccinated?

International students who live in the UK and are registered with a GP (general practitioner or doctor) will be able to access the Covid-19 vaccination in the UK, just as they are currently able to access healthcare. This means that older international students, or those with underlying medical conditions will fall into priority categories, in the same way as the UK population. Providing you are registered with a GP, you will be contacted for vaccination.

Currently the Government is aiming to have all adults vaccinated by the end of July. Find out how to register with a GP.

Please read the latest information about vaccination from NHS England

I am an international student and cannot book an English test because test centres are closed

We accept other equivalent tests or evidence of English language proficiency. More information on this can be found on our course entry statement.

We currently also accept the following tests:

Duolingo

TOEFL iBT

Financial support for international students

For help with setting up an instalment plan for your tuition fees you should contact the income team on: income.team@solent.ac.uk

If you find yourself in financial hardship the student funding team may be able to help. Please contact them on student.funding@solent.ac.uk explaining your situation and confirming your student ID number, visa type and its expiry date.

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