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Immigration updates

General updates

Graduate Immigration Route and remote study: Applications for the new Graduate work visa opened on 1 July 2021! We know that many students will want to qualify for this visa but that some of you are currently studying remotely.  While it is usually a requirement that students be based in the UK throughout their studies, the government has recognised that some students have needed to study remotely due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  If you are studying remotely in 2020/21 or will be studying remotely in 2021/22, you must arrive in the UK by a specific date. These vary depending on your course start date and length and are outlined in the Remote Study section of our Graduate visa page which also covers eligibility and the application process.

CAS issuing timeframes - Summer 2021: We know many students are anxious to receive their CAS and apply for visas to travel to the UK in September.  The CAS team are currently working to the following service standard:

  • If you received and accepted your unconditional offer prior to 16 July, you should already have received your CAS Data Check, unless there is a hold on your record (for example, you are waiting for the result of an ATAS application).  
  • For all other students, you should receive your CAS Data Check within 12 working days of firmly accepting your unconditional offer.
  • Once you have completed and returned your CAS Data Check, you should receive your CAS within 5 working days.

Remember that the standard processing time for Student visa applications submitted outside the UK is 3 weeks. Full information about CAS is available to read here.

ATAS: The UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) currently have a service standard of at least 30 working days (6 weeks) to process an ATAS application which is longer than usual. We cannot help to chase ATAS applications that are still within that service standard.

British National (Overseas) visa: This visa route opened in January 2021 for British National (Overseas) passport holders and their family members who are ordinarily resident in Hong Kong or the UK. The visa allows you to live, work and study in the UK for up to 5 years and leads to settlement. More information is available on the Home Office webpage.

EU Settlement Scheme: The deadline for initial applications to the EU Settlement Scheme for EU/EEA and Swiss nationals living in the UK without a visa has now passed.  EU/EEA and Swiss nationals either inside or outside the UK will need to apply for a visa unless they have been granted Pre-settled or Settled status.

Covid-19 immigration concessions:

 Exceptional assuranceIf your visa is expiring before 30 September 2021 but you are unable to travel, you can request ‘exceptional assurance’ from the Home Office which will allow you to stay in the UK legally until at least 30 September 2021. 

 Remote study and your visaIf you have a Tier 4 / Student visa but now have permission to study remotely for 1 or more terms due to Covid-19, your visa will remain valid as long as you are registered and engaging with your programme. This concession will continue until 6 April 2022. 

 Replacing your 90-day vignette: When you apply for and are granted a Student visa overseas, you will be issued a 90-day entry vignette (visa sticker) in your passport. You must travel to the UK during the period listed on your vignette. 

If your travel plans are disrupted or you have decided to start your studies remotely or defer your start date, your vignette may expire before you can travel to the UK. In that case, you will need to replace it by following the steps outlined on our Student visa page.