UK Visas and Immigration (part of the UK government) have confirmed that remote study will be permitted for the entire 2020/1 academic year for those with Tier 4 or Student immigration permission, without impacting on your permission. If you have been granted Pre-settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme, or are eligible to apply before 30 June 2021 because you were resident in the UK before 31 December 2020, you are also permitted to study remotely at this time, but do carefully check how absences from the UK might affect your eligibility for Settled Status later, if you want to stay in the UK long-term.
It is also important to note the UK Immigration Rules in relation to ‘lapsing leave’ for those whose permission is valid beyond 2 years. If you have immigration permission to be in the UK, including Tier 4 immigration permission or Pre-settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme, then your permission will be cancelled if you spend two continuous years or longer outside the UK. We know that many of you will have left the UK in March 2020, in which case you should return to the UK before March 2022 in order not to lose your status. This might particularly affect those due to be abroad in the 2021/2 academic year, if you are studying or undertaking a placement abroad. If so, you may choose to return to the UK at some point before you have been outside the UK for 2 continuous years so that you don’t lose your status. It is also especially important to note if you were previously studying abroad, so that you can return, if possible, before you have been away for 2 years. For other students, whilst we sincerely hope that face-to-face teaching will resume before March 2022, we cannot predict how the pandemic situation will develop, so it is important for you to be aware of the requirements too.
*Please note that this does not apply to you if you have been granted Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme. In this case you can spend up to five consecutive years outside the UK without losing your status, or four years if you are a Swiss national.*