Now that international travel restrictions are lifting globally, international students who have been stuck in the UK due to COVID-19 can finally make arrangements to return home. Previously, many international students in the UK have received automatic visa extensions up to 31 July.
The Home Office recently announced that international students, and all other visa-holders, who have been extending their visa validity in the previous months, can use the month of August to make arrangements and either return to their home countries or apply to regulate their stay in the UK.
Regulations from the previous months, regarding foreign nationals who could not return home due to the coronavirus pandemic, gave internationals in the UK the possibility to extend their visa if it was set to expire between 24 January and 31 July. With international borders opening gradually, automatic visa extensions are no longer available.
“Now travel restrictions are lifting globally you will no longer be able to extend your visa automatically on this basis and you are expected to take all reasonable steps to leave the UK where it is possible to do so or apply to regularise your stay in the UK,” read the announcement.
For those who decide to leave the UK, they should use the month of August to make the necessary arrangements to do so. The conditions applicable to these persons’ visas will still remain up until the last day of August.
“If your conditions allowed you to work, study or rent accommodation you may continue to do so during August 2020 ahead of your departure,” specified the UK Home Office.
Those who decide to stay, however, should apply for the “necessary leave to remain” which means they should meet the requirements of the route they are choosing as well as pay the application fee. They can submit an application form from within the UK, which in normal circumstances should have been done from their home country.
International students in the UK have been going through a tough period of time ever since the outbreak of the pandemic. Apart from the obvious threat of the virus, intl students had to also deal with financial difficulties as well as job losses. While some could return to their home countries, others had to go through this challenging time away from their families.
Students were not the only ones to face economical issues, since the pandemic has financially affected universities in the UK as well. During a time when international enrolments are not certain, UK universities have recently seen a ray of hope in domestic applications which reached a record number in the month of June.