Studying remotely - the rules and processes for 2021/22

The Student Immigration Rules and guidance allow us to sponsor a student if they are required to study inside the UK. However, the Home Office have introduced some temporary concessions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that allow some distance learning from overseas and blended learning in the UK.

For further information about these concessions please see the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) and the Home Office COVID concessions documents.

Once you are registered, regardless of your physical location, the University and Home Office expect you to engage fully with all aspects of your course and when you are in the UK must attend all in person study events. Studying fully online from inside the UK is not permitted under these concessions.

Registering online to start a new Essex course

In order to register for your course, you will need to complete Online Registration which includes the payment of fees (where required). You are not considered to be registered for your course until your fees have been paid. Once you have registered and have arrived on Campus you should make an appointment with the Student Services Hub to complete your in-person Right to Study check.

Please see our registration webpage for further details about summer term registration. If you are not able to arrive in the UK in time to study in person from the start of your course, please contact your department.

If you cannot register online by the latest date set by your department, you should contact your Admissions adviser to discuss deferring to start your course later and must not travel to the UK if you have been issued with a student visa. If you have a CAS you should not use it to make a Student visa application or, if you have submitted an application but haven’t received the outcome you should withdraw it.

Requesting remote study - continuing your course remotely overseas

Current Home Office concessions enable students who have a CAS or student visa to start or continue their course remotely from overseas and retain their student sponsorship, provided that they are inside the UK by the Home Office deadline.

If you would like to enquire as to whether you would be able to study remotely from overseas, you must speak to your department in the first instance. If remote study is approved, you will be required to engage fully with your course via remote learning and if continuing on to the next academic year, will have a deadline by which you must be inside the UK to attend in person. Please be aware that your department may set an earlier deadline, in which case you must be in the UK studying by then.

The impact on your immigration permission depends you’re your student circumstance. Please see the relevant section for further information.

Undergraduate students

I am due to continue my course in academic year 2022-23

The current Home Office concession permits online study until the end of the summer term. This means that in order to retain your immigration sponsorship, you must return to the UK by the beginning of the next academic year.

If you have a valid Student visa or have submitted an application to apply for a Student visa, this will remain valid assuming that there are no other changes to your studies and you comply with the responsibilities and conditions.

If a CAS has been issued to you and you have not yet submitted your application, be aware that a CAS is only valid to be used for 6 months from the date it was issued and may expire before you submit your application. Please contact the International Services Team if you are in this situation.

I am due to finish my course this summer

The current Home Office concession permits online study until the end of the summer term. This means that if you have a valid Student visa or have submitted an application to apply for a Student visa, this will remain valid, assuming that there are no other changes to your studies and you comply with the responsibilities and conditions.

Postgraduate Masters Students

If you are requesting a period of remote study after the 30 June 2022, the University may be required by the Home Office to withdraw its immigration sponsorship. This is because, for most Masters students, you will be expected to continue studying beyond this date and will be required to do so from within the UK, if you wish to remain sponsored for your visa.

If you are requesting a period of remote study after the 30 June 2022, please contact the International Services Team.

Postgraduate Research Students

I am due to continue my course after 30 June 2022

The current concession permits online study until the 30 June 2022. If you are considering requesting remote study beyond this date, the University is required to withdraw your immigration sponsorship. This will mean that your Student visa will no longer be valid and you will be unable to enter the UK using this. If you would like to keep your Student visa, you should come to the UK to continue your course by the 30 June 2022.

I am due to finish my course before 30 June 2022

The current concession permits online study until the 30 June 2022. As your course is due to be completed before this date, the university will not withdraw sponsorship. This means that if you have a valid Student visa or have submitted an application to apply for a Student visa, this will remain valid assuming that there are no other changes to your studies and you comply with the responsibilities and conditions.

Returning from remote study

Ten days before you are due to return from remote study, you will receive an email asking you to confirm whether you are returning as expected or would like to request an extension. If you would like to discuss extending your period of remote study, please contact your department.

If you would like to come to the UK to commence face-to-face teaching earlier than planned, it is not a problem and you do not need any prior approval.

Once you arrive in the UK you must attend your in-person right to study check. Once you have attended this, your student record will be updated to show that you are on campus and this will update your timetable.

Studying inside the UK

Studying remotely from inside the UK is not allowed, therefore, any request to do so would be turned down by the International Services team.

The Home Office concessions enable you to study via blended learning, a mix of in person and online study, until the 30 June 2022. The University requires you to attend ALL your teaching and study events online and in-person unless you are unwell or you are required to self-isolate due to COVID-19, in which case you will need to request authorised absence from face-to-face teaching.

We will monitor your attendance and engagement and if it falls below expected levels or the Home Office minimum requirements, we may be required to withdraw our sponsorship and your student visa would be cancelled.

Read the academic engagement, attendance and progression page to find out more.

Graduate route

If you have a valid student visa and are interested in applying for permission to stay in the UK under the Graduate route after you are awarded an eligible qualification, you will need to make sure you are able to meet all the requirements. You will need to have been in the UK studying with valid student immigration permission for the minimum duration required, as per the Graduate Immigration Rules and guidance. If you are allowed to start studying remotely overseas, you must be in the UK by the relevant Home Office concession deadline. Please read the UKCISA guidance for more information about the Graduate route and deadlines. Our Working after your studies page contains everything we know about the Graduate route including how we make reports to the Home Office.