COVID-19 Updates: For advice and updates for staff, students, and applicants who may have concerns about the coronavirus outbreak please visit our Situation Updates page.

Covid-19 FAQs for International students

The global pandemic is causing challenges for us all. Here at the University of Northampton, we are working hard to ensure your transition to study with us is smooth and we aim to keep you updated with all news in this fast moving environment. Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions about coming to study with us in 2021.

For information on how we are responding to COVID-19, please visit our Situation Updates page

International student isolation guide

  • Dealing with your application in a timely manner, whilst ensuring we consider you as an individual will continue to be our aim at this unusual time. We will aim to acknowledge your application within 48 hours and then contact you again with more information, once it has been processed.

    Will it take longer than usual to process my application?

    Our Admissions Team is processing applications as normal. This is a very busy time of year for us, so please be patient – if you have received an acknowledgment, we will be in contact with you as soon as possible.

    I have been asked for documents but I cannot access them as my institution is closed.

    If you are having difficulties providing any documentation we have requested, please contact to discuss your situation. One of our team will be pleased to advise you.

    I have already received an offer from UON, will this be affected?

    Your offer of a place to study with us will not be withdrawn, however, in a small number of circumstances it may be necessary to make you an alternative course offer.

    I have just completed my undergraduate studies. If I don’t get my degree award when I expected will I lose my place?

    We will be as flexible as we possibly can at this difficult time, including keeping last arrival dates under review but there are government regulations that we must follow. We will make you aware of any deadlines but if you want to discuss your situation, please contact

    I have almost met the English requirement for my programme. Is there any flexibility?

    If you have not already done so, send your current English Language results to and we will advise you on the options available to you. You must still meet the minimum requirements stated by UKVI to gain a student visa.

    I have taken an IELTS test but I am waiting for the certificate. What should I do?

    When you receive your Test Report Form (TRF) by email, forward it to If you do not have the certificate tell us the TRF number we can verify your results.

    I can’t book an IELTS test due to test centre closures. What should I do?

    The latest information is available on the IELTS web site. We also accept a range of other English qualifications – please refer to our English Language Requirements to check what tests and scores are accepted.

    Do you accept other English tests?

    We do accept a range of other English qualifications and are continuously reviewing our policy, so please refer to our English Language Requirements to check what tests and scores are accepted.

    My course normally requires an interview – will this be affected?

    Wherever possible we have removed the requirement for interviews. Where interviews are still required they will be conducted remotely and we will provide details of how this will be conducted. You may still be asked to complete a task. Helpful information about interviews, auditions and tasks is available on our website.

    Will I lose my place if I do not currently have access to my work to provide the portfolio you have requested?

    Stick as closely as possible to the advice in ‘Your Portfolio Guide’ which we sent you when we asked for a portfolio, but we understand that your most recent completed work may not be available to you. We will consider photos of your work, earlier work, part-finished work, abandoned work and conceptualisations, if you explain your situation.

    When is the deadline for paying my deposit?

    It is best to pay your deposit as soon as possible after you receive an offer. This will secure your place on the course and give you access to the accommodation booking system. Booking accommodation early improves your chances of securing the room you want and you only pay for the period of occupation if you are prevented from coming to Northampton due to COVID-19. There is no specific deadline for deposits, but you must pay a tuition fee deposit of £5,000 before we will issue your CAS. Remember, though, there are still many stages to go through before starting your course and you must aim to meet our standard Enrolment Deadline of 15 February for postgraduate courses and 1 February for undergraduate courses. Contact as soon as possible if you think you may be arriving after that date.

    If I pay my deposit and am unable to attend will I get a refund?

    If travel restrictions mean you can’t get to Northampton you will be able to start your course online and join us on campus when travel becomes possible. If you are prevented from meeting the conditions of your offer by the effects of COVID-19, we will refund your deposit.

    How can I find out about my CAS?

    If you have paid your tuition fee deposit and have any concerns or query related to your CAS, please email

    When should I apply for my visa?

    You should only apply for your student visa when you have definite plans to travel to start your studies on campus. This is because the vignette issued by UKVI overseas is only valid for 90 days, so you must be ready to travel within this time. At present there are no plans to start face-to-face teaching before 8 March at the soonest but if you have booked and paid for your flight to arrive before then, you should continue with those plans.

    When will I need to arrive?

    Unless you hear from us advising you that you can travel to campus for face-to-face teaching, enrolment will take place online and teaching will be entirely online until a review takes place in April. When you are informed by us that you are allowed to travel to campus, we will inform you of the last arrival date.

    When is the last enrolment date and can I defer instead?

    If you do take the option to start your studies with us remotely, you must be sure you will be able to arrive in the UK by the latest arrival date which we give you. If you would like to defer to the next available intake please email You may defer for a total of one academic year (e.g. from September to January and then again from January to the following September intake). To notify us, please email

    Can UON help me get my visa if the visa centre in my country is closed?

    We know that visa centres are closed in some countries but the situation is changeable and you should check the VFS Global website regularly. Universities cannot directly intervene in your visa application.

    Do I need a visa to start my course online?

    You will not require a student visa if you start online. Once you receive information about when you can continue your course at the University, you will need to apply for a visa.

    Who can I contact at UON for advice?

    In the first instance you should contact If our Admissions Team cannot answer your query, we will put you in contact with the person who can.

    Is UON attending any of the planned Education Fairs in my country?

    At present, University staff are not carrying out any recruitment activity overseas. In some countries virtual events are being organised, so you should check with the event organiser. We are also hosting online Open Days and subject-specific events which you can find out about by following us on social media.

    You can also book a one-to-one advice session with one of our International Officers.

    Is the UON Regional Office still open in my country?

    You can still contact Regional Offices and our network of local representatives for advice and assistance, but staff may be working from home in some cases. Visit our pages for information about your country for contact details.

  • At the University of Northampton we have developed a style of teaching and learning that is ideally suited to the situation in which we find ourselves now. Our expertise in delivering our courses via a mixture of face-to-face sessions and innovative use of modern technology, avoiding the use of mass lectures, means we have not been forced into sudden and radical adaptations of our methods. Our students regularly praise this modern learning experience.

    What will teaching be like?

    On Monday 22 February, the Government updated its guidance to allow some face-to-face teaching to recommence. University students on practical courses who need to access specialist facilities and equipment can return to, or commence, in-person teaching and learning from Monday 8 March and we will inform you if are eligible to return. If you do not have confirmation from us that you may begin face-to-face learning, you should not travel to campus.

    Will I have to be tested after I arrive?

    The Government has been very clear in its expectation that students on site should take two lateral flow tests for coronavirus on campus every week

    When can I come to campus if my course is not one of the practical courses allowed to return?

    A further review will be conducted by the Government in April and you will hear from us when further details are made public. Until that time you should not travel to campus.

    Will it be possible to continue learning online?

    Yes. The option to continue learning online via ‘synchronous learning’ will remain in place until the end of the academic year.

    Are you offering the option to study 100% online?

    All courses (with very few exceptions) will be taught via online learning until 8 March at least and, when permitted, we will recommence some face-to-face learning. So joining us on campus as soon as you can will ensure you have the best possible learning experience during these difficult times. Some practical courses, such as those which include placements as a statutory requirement, cannot be delivered by synchronous learning, however and you will be informed after you apply, if this is the case.

    The option of studying 100% online should only be used as a last resort, if restrictions prevent you from travelling to the UK. By not travelling to Northampton if you are able, you run the risk of future travel restrictions, visa issues or other reasons preventing you from coming to campus.

    What will the learning experience at UON be like?

    All courses (with very few exceptions) will be taught via online learning until 8 March at least and, when permitted, we will recommence some face-to-face learning. For students who are not self-isolating and students self-isolating in University halls, we have set up a laptop loan system if you don’t have your own. If you do, you should bring it nevertheless. but it is advisable for you to bring your own. It will not be possible to loan laptops to students who are self-isolating in private accommodation, so it is essential that you bring your own or buy one on arrival.

    Once face-to-face teaching is allowed again, specialist teaching spaces, such as laboratories, workshops and studios will be open for those courses that need them. Social distancing will be maintained with clear markings on floors and all necessary measures in place to ensure everyone’s safety.

    How will practical courses like Nursing or Podiatry, for example, be taught?

    Specialist teaching spaces and clinics will be open and students will have the necessary levels of face-to-face teaching and practical experience to meet the requirements of the course. Social distancing will be maintained at 2 metres, with clear markings on floors and all necessary measures will be in place to ensure your safety, the safety of our staff, patients and members of the public. Online learning will make up the remainder of the teaching and learning experience.

    Will I be able to start online and then travel to the University later to continue my course?

    All courses (with very few exceptions) will be taught via online learning until 8 March at least. If you have already purchased your flight ticket you can continue with your arrangements provided the regulations permit you to do so (see Travel and Arrival) but if you have not yet booked you should wait for further advice from us. In all other cases you will be able to start your course online and join us for on-campus teaching as soon as you are able to.

    Will it still be possible to remain in the UK and work after I graduate?

    The Home Office have agreed to introduce a new Covid-19 concession for students who are due to begin studying in January 2021.This means that if you are starting a one-year master’s in January 2021, you will still be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route – even if you begin studying remotely – provided you  are in the UK by 27 September 2021 and complete the final semester of your studies in the UK. We understand this will also apply to courses beginning in February, but we are still awaiting formal confirmation on this.

    If you are studying courses lasting longer than a year, which are not due to be completed in 2021 you will still be eligible for the Graduate route – even if you have studied all or part of the 2020/21 academic year via distance learning due to the pandemic.

    However, if you started your course before January 2021 and your course finishes in summer 2021, you will still need to be in the UK by 21 June 2021 to be eligible. The full details of the UK government guidance will provide more information.

    The Universities UK website also has a very good FAQs section.

    If I start online will it be the same fee?

    Yes. The fee will remain the same.

    Will my certificate say that the course was taught online?

    No. Your certificate will state simply your degree subject and classification and will be exactly the same as in any other year.

    What can I do to get ready for coming the university?

    You can take part in online Open Days and subject-specific events which you can find out about by following us on social media.

    You can also book a one-to-one advice session with one of our International Officers.

    What if I start the course online and then am not able to get a student visa to continue my course in the UK?

    Every case is different and we will consider your individual circumstances at the time. You may have a number of options including continuing to study online, suspending your studies temporarily and withdrawing from your course. If you are prevented from coming to the UK as a consequence of COVID-19, we will consider your case very sympathetically.

    When will I find out about the exact plans for my course?

    We will notify you as soon as we are informed that face-to-face learning is allowed to re-start. In advance of this we will keep each subject under continual review, to determine how many students can be in class and how many hours of face-to-face teaching will be possible. We will let you know the exact arrangements for your course, when you receive your timetable and update you as soon as the situation regarding the type of teaching that is allowed changes.

    Is it possible to study a UON course via distance learning?

    We have a range of programmes available entirely by Distance Learning. More information can be found on the Distance Learning page of our website.

  • What is the situation regarding travelling to the UK and self-isolation?

    If you have not already booked and paid for your travel you should not make any travel arrangements – even if you are allowed to enter the UK – until you hear from us.

    There are different sets of circumstances affecting whether you can enter the UK or not and what you need to do:

    1. You cannot travel to the UK if you’ve visited or passed through a country where travel to the UK is banned (sometimes called the ‘red list’) in the 10 days before your arrival, unless you are one of the following:
    • a British national
    • an Irish national
    • someone with residence rights in the UK
    • holders of a current student visa from a “red list” country can travel to the UK but will need to complete mandatory quarantine at their own cost as set out below

    From 15 February, anyone from one of these groups who, in the last ten days, has visited or passed through a country where travel to the UK is banned must do the following on arrival in the UK:

    2. If you live outside the Common Travel Area comprising the UK, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, but not in one of the ‘red list countries’, there are a number of steps you must take. Full details are on the UK government web site. You must:

    • take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test and get a negative result during the 3 days before you travel
    • book and pay for a travel test package, which will include COVID-19 tests to be taken on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 of your quarantine
    • complete a passenger locator form with details of where you will home quarantine when you arrive and the travel test package booking reference number
    • quarantine for 10 days
    • follow the national lockdown rules

    3. If you’re travelling from somewhere in the Common Travel Area and you have not left the Common Travel Area for the past 10 days, you do not need a test before leaving or to home quarantine and take tests after arriving.

    When I am permitted to travel, do I need to inform the University?

    You must not travel without informing the University. Once you know your plans, please complete this form with details of your travel arrangements and contact address.

    Will I need a COVID-19 negative test result to come to the UK?

    From 18 January, it is mandatory for international arrivals to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure. Please check for further updates before you travel.

    Can I self-isolate, if necessary, in University accommodation and then move into my private accommodation?

    No. If you do need to self-isolate when you arrive you can only do so in University accommodation if you have booked to stay in one of our Halls of Residence. If you have booked private accommodation, you must self-isolate there.

    How will I get from the airport to the University?

    If you have already booked your flight, you may continue with your travel plans if you wish but, regrettably, we will not be able to offer our usual Meet and Greet service.

    You are strongly advised to arrange a taxi or car hire as the safest means of transport to the University in advance of travelling. This makes it imperative that you inform us of your arrival by competing this form, so that appropriate preparations can be made.

    We will soon send you a ‘Getting Started Guide’ which will run through the full process. If you are required to self-isolate this will place at the accommodation you have booked.

    Are my parents or friends permitted to accompany me to the University to help me settle in?

    Your family and friends will not be able to accompany you, as their travel is not considered as essential.

    I enrolled online. When is the last date I can arrive for face-to-face teaching?

    The current Government advice is not to travel and a review will take place in April on a date still to be confirmed. Online teaching will continue and if you are unable to get to us when circumstances do change, we are committed to teaching online/synchronously for the rest of the academic year.

    If you have already booked travel and can’t change it without incurring costs you may continue with your plans provided the regulations allow. (Refer to ‘What is the situation regarding travelling to the UK and self-isolation?’ above). You should pay particular attention to the regulations and costs associated with arriving from a ‘Red List’ country.

    If you do intend to join us on campus, the new last date of arrival is  June 25. We are in the process of updating your sponsorship information with UKVI.

    What if my vignette expires before this date?

    If your 90-day vignette has expired or will expire before June 25, you will need to apply for a replacement by completing the online form. The cost of replacing an expired vignette is £154 and you will need to make an appointment to resubmit your biometric information.

    We strongly advise that you only apply for a new visa, or apply to replace an expired vignette, when you are confident you can travel to the UK. This is because the new vignette will be also valid for a period of 90 days. If you cannot travel during this time, you may need to apply and pay again.

    If you have submitted an application for a replacement vignette, and are still awaiting a decision, but now no longer intend to travel, you should submit a withdrawal request at the Visa Application Centre that you applied from in order for your passport to be released back to you. Check the visa information on the Government web site.

    Are there any other documents I need to bring?

    You will need to bring your qualifications, CAS document and passport. Please ensure you have taken copies of these and stored them in a safe place.

    Will I have to wear a face covering?

    It is compulsory to wear a face covering on public transport, in shops and in a range of other indoor spaces including cinemas and places of worship. If you do come to campus, you must wear a face covering in all teaching rooms, resource areas and communal spaces.

    The University closely follows the government list of circumstances where a person is exempt from wearing a face covering. Find out more on our Reunite and respond: how we have adapted after Covid-19 page.

  • How will enrolment and induction happen?

    Whether you are joining us on campus or starting your studies remotely, enrolment will take place online. Please be sure to complete the pre-enrolment details that you will receive from us by email and check our Enrolment pages on the website. When you do travel to join us on campus, a face-to-face enrolment session will be arranged for you.

    What are the activities in welcome week and orientation week?

    When you are able to travel to the UK, your tutor will be in contact with you to arrange your induction and orientation.

    How do I apply for work on campus or off?

    You will be able to register with the Employability Service at the University and with our dedicated Employment Agency, Unitemps. At present it is compulsory to work from home except in a specific range of jobs, so opportunities are very limited.

  • Should I apply for University accommodation?

    Our accommodation compares very favourably in price, location and range of rooms available and many international undergraduate students find that University accommodation is the best option for their first year. You should book in the usual way once you have paid your tuition fee deposit. If you start studying by synchronous study, you should still book University accommodation from the start of term and your rent will be automatically adjusted for the number of weeks you occupy your room. If you are unable to take your place due to COVID-19 restrictions, you will receive a full refund of any fees paid.

    If I pay my accommodation deposit and I am unable to travel to the UK, will it be refunded?

    If you are unable to take your place due to COVID-19 restrictions, you will receive a full refund of any fees paid.

    If I arrive after the start of term will I still have to pay in full for my accommodation?

    If you have already booked and paid for a flight to the UK, you can go ahead and travel. If you have not yet done so, you should await further information about when to travel. If you are unable to arrive at the start of term due to COVID-related issues, you will only pay for the period of time that you occupy your accommodation. When you register for Accommodation you are given 2 options: Pay in full or Pay in instalments. If you know you will not be able to arrive until after the course start date, choose pay in instalments, and you will only pay your deposit. Our Accommodation staff will then enter your arrival date and an invoice will be generated for the correct duration of occupation.

    What will happen if the self-isolation for travellers entering the UK is still in place?

    Travel advice for international students has yet to be updated following the introduction of stricter regulations on 5 January. Please be aware that the situation may change and you should check regularly for further updates from the UK government.

    If you have already booked and paid for a flight to the UK you can go ahead and travel. If you have not yet done so, you should await further information about when to travel. When you do travel to the UK, current regulations state that you will not have to self-isolate if you come to England from one of the travel corridor countries.

    If you are arriving from, have travelled via, or have stayed in a country not on the list during the 14 days prior to arriving in England, you will have to self-isolate. This will take place in the accommodation that you have booked. Before you travel to the UK, you must complete this form with details of your travel arrangements and contact address. The UK government has provided guidance on how to go about self-isolating when you arrive.

    You will not be charged any accommodation fees before the date you move into your contracted accommodation. You will be provided with bedding and essential food for the duration of your self-isolation and the flats will be equipped with cooking utensils, pots and pans and crockery and cutlery. We will also ensure that you have the ability to receive food via an ordering system. This service will be provided free of charge.

    How will I get food and essential items if I am self-isolating?

    If you are self-isolating, we will provide a care package, free of charge. The following items will be provided in your bedroom or flat on your arrival. They are to be used during your stay but must not be taken with you when you finish your period of isolation. Bedding and towels, Crockery and cutlery, Saucepans and ovenware, Mugs and glasses, Kitchen utensils, Rice cooker, Cleaning materials, Toiletries, Sanitary products, Toilet roll, Washing powder and fabric softener.

    Basic essentials such as rice, pasta and dry goods will be provided in each kitchen and will be supplemented with items for breakfast and lunch every couple of days. A variety of evening meals will be available for you to order and will be delivered cold, for you to re-heat when you are ready. Supermarket deliveries and takeaways can also be arranged at your expense.

    How would social distancing and lockdown work if I am in student accommodation and lockdown rules apply?

    You must comply with the regulations outlined in the guidance issued by the UK government concerning the new national lockdown. Breaking the regulations may result in you receiving a fine.

    If I am living in private accommodation will I still need to self-isolate?

    Yes, you will be expected to comply with the regulations.

    Will I be able to live in private accommodation?

    Yes, private accommodation will still be an option and we can help you find accommodation to suit your needs. Bear in mind the importance of living within easy
    travelling distance of campus and read our Guidance for international students living off campus.

  • A set of stricter regulations was introduced by the government on 4 January and you must comply with them if you come to the UK.

    Your safety, the safety of our staff and visitors and the general public is our top priority and we will continue to ensure our full compliance with all government regulations and advice.

    How will people go in and out of University buildings and move around once inside?

    There will be a one-way system with separate entrances and exits. The doors won’t open if you try to exit the wrong way.

    How will social distancing be maintained?

    Furniture has been reduced and stickers on floors and furniture indicate social distancing, including in communal spaces. This will be adapted as and when the regulations change.

    Will sanitiser be provided?

    Yes. All students, staff and visitors will need to use the hand sanitiser on entering the building – dispensers have been fitted on the walls outside the buildings. When you enter the classroom, you will again need to use the hand sanitiser and an anti-bacterial wipe to clean your desk down before settling in for the session. The lift buttons and turnstiles etc. will be regularly sprayed with an antibacterial shield to ensure they are germ free.

    What about Help desks and places where we need to talk to Support Staff?

    Screens have been installed at the student desk and a ticket system will be used to encourage students not to congregate around the desk whilst waiting.

    Will the Library be open?

    Your full library service, including online access to books and journal articles is still available for you, even if you are not able to come on to campus.

    Visit the library service website for further information including access links to Nelson, for booking tutorials with our Learning Development Tutors and Academic Librarians and our Skills Hub materials.

    Will the restaurants and coffee bars be open on campus?

    The Market restaurant, the Engine Shed (the Student Union snack bar) and coffee shops will be open, when the regulations allow, there will be additional outdoor furniture so students can eat, wait, relax or work in the fresh air. Whilst stricter regulations are in force, the restaurants may be offering a take-away service only.

    Will it be possible to go shopping, visit other parts of the country, or visit friends or family?

    A set of stricter regulations was introduced by the government on 4 January and you must comply with them if you come to the UK. Leaving your home is permitted for a specified set of reasons only.

    What means of payment should I use?

    It is not advisable to bring large sums of money with you in cash. The University Finance Office will not accept cash for tuition or accommodation fees and cards are the preferred means of payment in most retail outlets during the pandemic. Since you won’t be able to open your UK bank account straight away, you should bring a credit card, debit card or a pre-paid currency card to ensure you have sufficient funds to see you through the first couple of weeks at least.

    Will sanitiser be available in town?

    Non-essential shops are currently closed. Those shops that are allowed to open are likely to have sanitiser available for you to use – it is advisable to carry your own.

    Will public toilets be open?

    Public toilets may be open but you can expect toilets in supermarkets to be in use for customers, with some controls. Toilets on campus are open and have been adapted to make social distancing easier.

    Where can I find up to date advice on studying and living in the UK?

    Further information and advice is available from UKCISA and the British Council.

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