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Update 2 April: UCL have created a specific ‘immigration advice and COVID-19’ webpage which is being regularly reviewed and updated as information comes in.

In this update UCL received the welcome news that sponsors will not be required to withdraw sponsorship of a Tier 4 student should they be absent due to COVID-19 for more than 60 days.  This includes where they are absent due to illness, their need to isolate or inability to travel due to travel restrictions.

Tier 4 students are permitted to return home to study via distance learning should they wish to do under a new Tier 4 concession.  We ask that students notify us of their intention to travel home and complete the ‘Coronavirus Return Home’ notification form in the “Visas and Immigration” section of askUCL so that we are able to support them.

It wasn’t clear at first how international students on a Tier 4 visa would be able to return home for more than 60 days and then be able to return. UCL confirmed that should you wish to return home, you must inform UCL of your intention to leave the UK by completing the Coronavirus Return Home notification for in the ‘Visas and Immigration’ category of askUCL.

The UKVI website says sponsors do not need to report student absences related to coronavirus which they have authorised.  UCL has sought additional reassurances from UKVI for those who choose to self-isolate or return home and they have confirmed that UCL will not be required to take immediate action against visas. However, UKVI have not provided any guarantee that UCL will not be required to withdraw your visa in the future. If UCL are required to do this, they will contact you as soon as possible.