As we FINALLY see the end of 2020, we can begin to look forward to the possibility of ending this year with some form of normality to it. But what will normal now be? And what do we do until then? Over the first few days of 2021 there has already been a huge change. The transition period, leading the UK out of the EU has now come to an end and we are now officially a sovereign state. So where does that leave international students? And what are the plans in place now we have been placed into a third national lockdown? Well, hopefully this will help to clear things up.
The EU Settlement Scheme:
This scheme is designed to offer EU, non-EU EEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK before the end of the transition period (during which free movement continues), and their eligible family members, the opportunity to protect their residence in the UK after the transition period has ended (30th June 2021). If you apply and are successful you or your child will be able to continue living and therefore your/their education in the UK past 30th June.
You/your child will be given either ‘Settled’ or ‘Pre-settled’ status once your application has been approved and this is based on whether you/they have been living in the UK for a continuous 5 year period (Settled) or less (Pre-settled).
Your rights with either of these status’ will allow you to still be able to:
- work in the UK
- use the NHS for free, if you can at the moment
- enrol in education or study in the UK
- access public funds such as benefits and pensions, if you’re eligible for them
- travel in and out of the UK
To apply, you will need to provide proof of your/your child’s identity. This includes a valid passport or identification card and a digital photo of your/their face. And proof of your/their residence, which will be asked for by the Home Office once you have applied.
You can apply for the scheme on the gov.uk website. To clarify this needs to be done by 30th June 2021.
If you/your child have not been living in the UK prior to 31st December 2020 and are planning to have any form of education from that point onwards in the UK there are a number of different visas you/they may be required to have a visa. Here are the different options for said visas;
- You can apply for a Student visa if you are over 16 and plan to start a course with a provider who can act as a licensed student sponsor.
- You may be eligible for a Child Student visa instead if you’re 16 or 17 and want to study at an independent school in UK/Or if you’re aged 4 to 17 and coming to study at an independent school, apply for a Child Student visa.
- You can apply for a Short-term study visa if you’re studying on an English language course which lasts up to 11 months.
If you/your child is taking a course for up to six months, you/they will not require a visa.
Checks/Forms at UK Boarders:
With many of your children still waiting to return to school after a number of flights were cancelled because of the ban on entering the UK, which many countries imposed, it is important to know that your child MUST fill in a locator form prior to their arrival into the UK. To do this you will need;
- Your child’s passport details
- Their travel details (including times and dates)
- The address where they’ll be staying (school or host family)
- A booking reference number and the name of the test provider, if they are using the Test to Release
You can also find this form on the gov.uk website.
There has also been a lot of discussions about the requirement of a negative coronavirus test to enter the UK recently. Something which we now know will be in effect when entering England from 4am on Friday 15th January. You will be required to provide a negative test, which has been taken up to 72 hours prior to your departure. You will not be allowed entry into England and will be fined if you cannot provide this. Children aged under 11 are exempt.
The same procedures are expected to be put in place for Scotland and Wales within the next week.
Some Positive News:
International students will be able to access the Covid-19 vaccines in the UK. Yes, the vaccine has started to be rolled out across the UK allowing us to see a light at the end of this very dark tunnel. The countries University Minister has confirmed that there will be access to the treatment for all international students with no charges.