International Applicants FAQs

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS APPLYING FOR A COURSE STARTING IN SEPTEMBER 2021

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to impact on how we live our lives across the world. We understand that you will have questions on how the current global health pandemic will affect your application to study with us at the University of South Wales. 

USW remains fully committed to welcoming international students to our campuses in the September 2021 intake. We would like to reassure you that we continue to follow UK GovernmentWelsh Government and Public Health Wales guidance and carefully monitor and provide updates to keep our international community safe. 

This page contains important information for offer holders and applicants intending to join our student community in September 2021.

We understand you will have questions regarding the impact of COVID-19 on your studies and the following FAQ’s aims to address these. Whilst the FAQ’s attempt to answer as many of your questions as possible, we acknowledge that this is an evolving situation and will continue to update guidance as it becomes available from the UK Government and other relevant bodies.  Other useful resources, general advice and travel information for international students can be found via the UKCISA and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office websites. 

If you have a query which is not answered here, please email us at  [email protected]  and we will do our best to help.

For current USW students and staff, please refer to our central page FAQ's and updates and internal resources on Connect and Unilife for information.  

SEPTEMBER 2021 INTAKE PREPARATIONS

We’re busy getting ready for our new students to join the #USWfamily in September. We know that studying at university isn’t just about what you are taught. We want you to collaborate and innovate with other students, to discuss and challenge, and to have access to specialist resources and facilities. We have had students on our campuses throughout the summer term and are preparing high-quality learning and social experiences on our campuses for you as well. We want you to experience hands-on and practical learning, where you develop skills ready for the workplace. 

We are planning to deliver significantly more in-person learning on campus in the Autumn 2021 term, including workshops, seminars, tutorials, labs, and practical sessions.

All programmes that would usually be delivered on campus will have on-campus activity every week.

Blended learning
Building on the feedback that we have had from students about their experience of blended learning, we are also seeking to keep the best of what we have put in place with this approach. Students have told us that having virtual lectures has allowed them to playback the recordings at a convenient time, whilst connecting with others on the course digitally. So, we will be keeping some of these arrangements in place.

The precise make up of delivery will vary for each course, however we will continue to offer you a high-quality experience. There will be significantly more in-person learning and teaching than we have been able to offer in the 2020-2021 academic year as a result of changes to guidance about the number of people we can safely have in our learning and teaching spaces, mixed with online delivery. Your timetable will be ready for you to view in September. 

Due to the pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to further change through the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. Please note that your options, studies and immigration and travel may also be impacted by Government guidelines or decisions in your home country.  

Any changes to your course have been considered and approved through the University Quality Assurance processes, which include student and external scrutiny. If any further changes are necessary, we will inform you at the earliest possible opportunity. 

Your safety and well-being
Your safety and well-being continue to be our priority and we are committed to delivering our courses, research opportunities and other services as safely as possible. We operate within Welsh Government and Public Health guidelines and have established a wide range of safety measures at our campuses to protect our community over the last year. This includes social distancing, the wearing of face coverings, asymptomatic COVID-19 testing, hand washing and hand sanitising facilities, as well as one-way systems. Many of these measures will remain in place next term, subject to any easing of Welsh Government regulations. More people are also now receiving their first and second vaccines, which will further help to keep everyone safe.


Applying to USW

Yes, we will consider your application to study here at USW for the September 2021 intake. We will be delivering our courses following a blended learning approach. You can apply to the University here


The deadline to apply for the September 2021 intake is the 9th August 2021.  


The term dates for this academic year remain the same.  Most of our courses begin on the 20th September but please check your offer letter as a small number of our courses have different start dates. Please note that the International Welcome Programme will start on the 13th September 2021. Make sure that you sign up!

We are developing our timetable on the basis of a blended learning approach, a mix of on-campus and virtual delivery, delivering as much face-to-face learning on our campuses as we safely can, whilst complying with requirements. There will be significantly more in-person learning and teaching than we have been able to offer this academic year as a result to changes to guidance about the number of people we can safely have in our learning and teaching spaces. The precise make up of delivery will vary for each course, however we will continue to offer you a high-quality experience.  Our analysis of student feedback from the 2020-2021 year shows that our students have been able to access their learning effectively, so we are confident in this approach. 


Yes, all international scholarships, including the Chancellor’s International Development Scholarship, will continue to be awarded as normal. 


We are aware that the situation with exams and assessment in some countries is currently unclear. Because of this, there may be students who do not receive the awards and qualifications that they were expecting. Rest assured, we are monitoring these developments carefully. Please do contact our admissions team on [email protected] if you have any concerns or questions or if you think that your exam results may be delayed. 


Yes, in some cases, we can issue an offer letter without your final transcript or certificate this will be considered on a case by case basis. Please contact [email protected] for further advice.  


We are aware that the current global health pandemic has caused difficulties for students all over the world. Please rest assured that we are considering applications holistically. If you would like to discuss any aspect of your application, please contact [email protected]. It may be possible to consider evidence other than your academic results when assessing your eligibility for a place on one of our courses. 


The UKVI has not changed its English language requirements for the Student Visa Route. It may, however, be possible for you to take a non-UKVI SELT and undertake an online pre-sessional programme.

If you are studying a course at degree level or above, we accept a range of English language qualifications. These include the following: 

  • Duolingo
  • Pearson PTE 
  • TOEFL 
  • IELCA 

Depending on where you studied, your high school qualification may also be considered, please see country pages for further details.  

Duolingo
USW is accepting the Duolingo English Test on an interim basis for the September 2021 and February 2022 entry. We require students to achieve a score of 100 overall, with 90 in each component.

Please note that the overall scores shown above are indicative of the score required. Your test will also be reviewed by the University’s Centre for International English to provide us with a holistic assessment of your English language proficiency and to determine whether you are eligible for direct entry.

If you take a Duolingo test, you will need to nominate USW to receive the results. Once the results are available please email [email protected] confirming the following information to enable us to verify your results:

Name
Student ID

Date of test
We will only consider Duolingo tests taken on or after 1st October 2020. If you receive an offer for the September 2021 intake and later decide to defer to a later intake, you will have to submit an alternative English test. Students who have had a Duolingo test approved as part of their USW application for September 2021 entry will, however, be able to use the same test if they have to defer from September 2021 to the February 2022 intake.

TOEFL Home Edition
ETS is temporarily offering the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition test which is identical in content, format and on-screen experience to the TOEFL iBT test taken at a test centre. It is taken on your own computer at home and is monitored by a human proctor online through ProctorU®.

A minimum alternative English Language qualification score of 72 overall (Reading 18, Listening 17, Speaking 20, Writing 17) is required.  

If you wish to study with us but would like some time to consider your options, you can of course delay accepting our offer until you are ready. You should be aware, however, that some courses fill up quickly and you will need to formally accept your offer and make your pre-payment of fees before you can apply for a visa. Depending on the circumstances in your home country, it may also take you longer to secure a visa and a flight to the UK than it usually would. You will also need to allow time for self-isolation/quarantine Our advice would be that you should not delay accepting your offer. If you have any questions or concerns, our admissions team are available to support you. You can contact them on [email protected] 


As noted above, we recommend acting as soon as possible, but delaying an online interview is in theory possible. If you wish to do this then please email [email protected] so we can add a note to your application. All online interviews do, however, need to be completed by the 23rd August 2021 at the latest.


You will still be required to make a deposit payment or submit a sponsor letter as outlined in your offer letter in order to receive a CAS. Normally we advise applicants to make a deposit payment from April onwards for our September intake to allow you to complete the pre-CAS process, which usually includes providing evidence of the documentation that you will need to supply when you make your visa application. 

We recommend that you make the deposit payment as soon as possible but understand that in the current circumstances, you may choose to delay paying your deposit. If you do decide to do this, we still strongly advise you to begin the pre-CAS process of providing documentation should this be required to ensure that once you pay the deposit, you are in a position to make a visa application and obtain a visa as quickly as possible. All payments for the September intake need to be received by the 31st August 2021. 


ENROLMENT ARRANGEMENTS AND DELAYED ARRIVALS

We are aware that some students may experience delays in travelling to the UK for the start of the 2021/22 academic year due to coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. We will do our best to provide as much support as we can to anyone experiencing delays.

It may be possible for students who are unable to arrive on campus for the start of their course to enrol online and commence their studies virtually for the first 4 weeks of term, but if you are in the UK you should engage with blended delivery elements as soon as you are able. Some (but by no means all) of our September start courses can offer flexibility and virtual learning options beyond the first four weeks of term and some permit virtual study for the whole of term one for students who have not yet travelled to the UK.  Full distance learning for students who are present in the UK is not possible.

You must remember that if you enrol online and start your course virtually, you will miss some in-person teaching and not all study materials will be available to access online. By not attending the sessions you may miss specific learning experiences. We therefore encourage all of our students to arrive on campus as soon as possible.

No changes will be made to the generous scholarship packages that we offer to international students but there will be no further fee discounts for students who choose to commence their studies virtually. 

You must enrol online by the 4th October 2021 although you should endeavour to enrol sooner if you can, Once you have enrolled, you will be able to study virtually until the18th October 2021. After this date, on campus attendance becomes compulsory for most courses.   If you have any concerns about this deadline, please contact the admissions team as soon as possible on [email protected] to discuss your options. The Admissions team will be able to advise you whether any further flexibility can be offered on the date we require you to be on campus. This will depend on your course.


Once you have satisfied all application and pre-CAS requirements and have accepted your offer of a place on one of our courses by making your deposit payment (or submitting your sponsor letter), you will be issued with a CAS. Students must hold a CAS before they are able to enrol online on one of our courses. The course start date on the CAS will reflect the actual course start date in September 2021 even if you plan to travel later in the term.

If you think that your arrival in the UK will be delayed, it is very important that you contact the admissions team as soon as possible at [email protected]  as we may need to make changes to your CAS.  Once you are aware of your travel plans, please update your CAS Shield Portal record with a copy of your vignette (visa sticker in your passport) and confirm the date you intend to travel.


We are aware that some students may experience delays in travelling to the UK for the start of the 2021/22 academic year due to coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. We will do our best to provide as much support as we can to anyone experiencing delays.

It is very important that you communicate with us about your arrival arrangements and any difficulties that you are facing. You must let us know as soon possible if you are going to have difficulties meeting the deadlines referred to in this section and we will ensure that you receive the correct advice. Please contact us our admissions team on [email protected] as soon as possible.

Unless you have been informed that alternative arrangements are possible for the course that you will be studying, we will expect all September start students to have enrolled online or in person no later than 4th October and have arrived on campus and commenced engagement with blended delivery on campus no later than 18th October 2021.  

Failure to enrol online or be able to engage in on campus learning by the deadline above could result in sponsorship/your CAS being withdrawn and being withdrawn from your course. 

If the University has confirmed that you can study your course virtually for a period of time before you travel to the UK, you must have enrolled online by 4th October 2021. 

Please note that you will be expected to engage fully with your studies online during the period leading up to you travelling to the UK, even if this period is relatively short.  Failure to engage with your studies could result in your sponsorship or CAS being withdrawn, even if you haven’t yet travelled so it is vitally important that you let us know if there are genuine reasons preventing your academic engagement online engagement prior to travel


We will provide you with full instructions on how to enrol online later in the summer. 


If you think that your arrival in the UK may be delayed, we strongly recommend you do not commit to booking accommodation or putting down a deposit on a tenancy in the UK. If you book accommodation, you are likely to have to start paying rent from the beginning of your tenancy regardless of whether you are in the UK or not. In all cases, if you are planning to rent a house or apartment from a private landlord, you should not sign a tenancy agreement before viewing the property. Please follow this link to find out more about your accommodation options.

Additionally, please note that you are expected to live within a reasonable commutable distance of your primary site of study within the South Wales/South West area.  You will not be permitted to live further afield.  Please bear this in mind when exploring accommodation options.


Pre-Sessional English

Our pre-sessional courses will be delivered online until further notice. This includes the pre-sessional courses starting in the Autumn of 2021. Further details can be found at: https://www.southwales.ac.uk/international/courses/ielts-english-programmes/ Your CAS for your main course of study will be issued upon successful completion of your pre-sessional course. Since the pre-sessional course will be delivered online, it will not be possible for us to sponsor you under the student route whilst you are studying on your pre-sessional course. 


INTERNET ACCESS

Students living on campus will have free broadband internet access. All of USW’s campuses have WIFI throughout which can be used by all USW students.   

There is lots of information about what you need to know about our blended learning approach and post-covid learning at USW and the upgrades made to our campuses to keep you safe available here


COVID-19 VACCINATION

The UK’s highly successful vaccination programme continues to roll out to all age groups.  Over half of the adult population in the UK have now received both doses of vaccine and that number is increasing every day. Wales is leading the way and has now offered a first COVID-19 vaccination to every adult in Wales.

The Welsh government has confirmed that all international students arriving this autumn will be eligible for vaccinations in line with the rest of the UK population and that there will be no charge for the vaccinations. At USW, we are working closely with Public Health Wales to ensure that the needs of our students, including our international students, are considered as part of the vaccination rollout. We will share further details with you on how you will be able to access a vaccine later in the summer.  Please note that although we strongly recommend students consider being vaccinated, vaccines are not compulsory either for entry to the UK nor enrolment on your programme at the University. 

If you are required to self-isolate when you arrive in the UK, you may be required to provide evidence of a fixed address that you will be using during the self-isolation period. If you are a returning student and already have private sector accommodation arranged, you will be able to use this address and provide your tenancy agreement as evidence. If, however, you are a new student, do not to sign a tenancy agreement from overseas without seeing the property first. There is further info on our welcome pages in the accommodation and arrivals sections which can be found here.  


INTERNATIONAL ARRIVALS AND QUARANTINE SUPPORT

The current pandemic means that travel and arrival arrangements are more complex than usual. Unless you are from a green list country, you will need to prepare to quarantine when you arrive in the UK. Please don’t worry, however, we have staff available at USW who are able to support you. For further information about quarantine and the support that the University can provide, please see here. Our Immigration and International Student Advice team will update this page to confirm arrangements for September 2021 start students very soon.   

Before you travel, you need to check that you have the latest information and ensure that you have followed all the necessary steps for your journey. 

The guide below is updated as quickly as possible once the UK Government makes changes, but in all cases you should check each of the links in the sections below to ensure that there are now further updates as things can change quickly.

International arrivals to the UK are currently categorised in green, amber and red list countries. A list of countries and territories and which list they are in is available on the gov.wales website. You need to follow the rules for the highest risk country or territory that you have been in or passed through in the previous 10 days. This can include transit stops. 

Remember England and Wales have different lists, and you need to check the list for the country you are travelling to. If you are flying to England, you will need to follow the rules for England before travelling onto Wales.

Please remember that countries can be moved between lists if conditions change. You can sign up for an email alert here to be notified when changes to the lists are made

The broad regulations for each of the categories is provided below:

Green list countries
Before you travel you must:

You must take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 after you arrive. Children aged 4 and under do not need to take this test.

You do not need to quarantine unless the COVID test result is positive.

You must quarantine if NHS Test & Trace informs you that you travelled with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

You must follow these rules even if you have been vaccinated.


Before you travel you must:

On arrival you must:

  • quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days
  • take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8

You can find out more about quarantine and taking COVID-19 tests here.

Children aged 4 and under do not need to take the day 2 or day 8 test.

Please note that unlike the regulations in England, there is no Test to Release scheme in Wales. Negative tests taken elsewhere do not reduce the period of quarantine required in Wales. This means that if you take a test in England after 5 days and then travel to Wales, you will still ned to continue to quarantine in Wales until 10 days after your arrival in the UK.

You must follow these rules even if you have been vaccinated.

The Government have confirmed that they will carry out some spot checks to ensure amber list quarantine is being carried out and penalties will be in place for those who do not comply. 


There are currently travel bans in place for those living in or travelling from red list countries. This means that people travelling from, or transiting through, these countries will not be allowed entry into the UK.

However, this ban does not apply to British and Irish Nationals, or third country nationals with residence rights in the UK. If you have a Tier 4 or Student Visa or have Pre-Settled or Settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, then this ban does not apply to you because you have 'residence rights'. Any PBS dependants will also be permitted to enter the UK. Please note, however, that any family members intending to travel with you on visitor visa will be affected by the ban and will not be permitted to enter the UK.

If you have a visitor visa or are planning to apply for a visitor visa at the border, please contact us before you travel for immigration advice.

For more information please visit the Immigration and International Student Advice pages.

Before you travel you must:

On arrival you must:

quarantine in a managed hotel, including 2 COVID-19 tests

It is important you read the information in the links above carefully and contact us if you have any questions.

You must follow these rules even if you have been vaccinated.


We know that the complexities around international arrivals and the requirements around self-isolation or quarantine can be confusing.

We are pleased to confirm that where you are required to pay for government quarantining and/or coronavirus testing on arrival in the UK, the University of South Wales will help cover the costs for new and returning international students who will be travelling to South Wales for the start of the 2021 academic year. This applies to students from red, amber and green list countries.

We hope that you will agree that this is welcome news.

You will need to pay for the hotel fees and testing costs yourself in the first instance. When you arrive in the UK, please email your full name, USW student ID and all the receipts for government quarantine/testing costs eligible for reimbursement to [email protected]. Your receipts must include a CTM locator that confirms payment.

For most students, the reimbursement will be a reduction against any outstanding tuition fees.



For students arriving from a red list country, if a 10-day hotel quarantine period is required, the University will reimburse you the cost of the hotel stay which is currently £1,750 and will increase to £2,285 from 12 August 2021.


If you are arriving from an amber list country, current requirements mean that you will need to take COVID-19 travel tests on day 2 and day 8 after your arrival in the UK. We will reimburse you for the testing costs up to the value of £210.

We are working with the Welsh Government to assess self-isolation arrangements for amber list students but please rest assured that you will be supported for the duration of your self-isolation period.


We will also cover the costs of COVID-19 tests required for students arriving from green list countries.


If you are from an Amber list country, subject to availability, you will be able to book a self-isolation assistance package with our Accommodation team. For information, please contact [email protected]  

If you stay in University halls of residence, the University will be able to support you with accessing online orders and supplies and you will able to order hot meals from the University’s catering team. 

The Immigration and International Student Advice (IISA) team and Student Support will be on hand for further support.  

If you don’t have accommodation booked in the UK, staying on campus with us whilst you quarantine is a good option for you and we strongly recommend you consider this especially if you haven’t lived in the UK before.


In order to sure that our amber list students using our halls for quarantine are fully supported, we will be setting aside specific buildings for quarantine. You will be allocated a room in one of these buildings for your quarantine and when you have completed your quarantine, you will be able to move to the room that you will be staying in for the rest of the year. For information, please contact [email protected]  


If you are an amber list student and are required to quarantine when you arrive in the UK, you will be required to provide evidence of a fixed address that you will be using during the quarantine period.

If you have booked to live in private halls or if you have lived in the UK previously and already have private sector accommodation arranged, you will be able to use this address and provide your tenancy agreement as evidence.

If you are a new student, do not to sign a tenancy agreement from overseas without seeing the property first. There is further info on our welcome pages in the accommodation and arrivals sections which can be found here.  

If you are quarantining in the community and need support, our Immigration and International Student Advice team will be available to provide advice and support should you need it. Please contact IISA at [email protected]

 

Defers and refunds

We understand that some applicants are considering a deferral to a future intake. Although we do not recommend this, if you do decide to defer, the normal process for deferrals will apply. We would advise you to contact our admissions team on [email protected] before making a decision to defer.  


We are aware that the impact of COVID-19 is fluid and circumstances can change quickly. If you have made an advance fee payment of your fees and are unable to travel due to COVID-19 or if you are unable to make arrangements to travel in time to make the enrolment and arrival deadlines, we will work with you to find the best solution for you. This may be a refund of your fees or a deferral of your offer to the next available intake.  


If you were unable to travel to campus due to ongoing circumstances surrounding COVID-19, and ongoing online study is not possible, we will work with you to find the best solution for you. This may involve interrupting your studies until the following academic year (and allowing you to resume where you left them) or, depending on the course, supporting you with credit transfer documentation.  


Students are unable to enrol online until they have received a CAS which means that we believe that students have the best possible chance of securing a Student Visa to undertake their courses with us. However, as long as you apply promptly for your student visa, we will refund your deposit in line with standards terms and conditions around deposit refunds in the unlikely event that your visa is refused.  

For courses starting in September 2021: If you are able to demonstrate that you have applied for your visa before the 15th October 2021, and subsequently receive a visa rejection, then you will be entitled to a refund in line with standards terms and conditions.


Further queries

USW International and the Enquiries and Admissions team continue to support students via email, telephone and online chats.  

At the moment, our recruitment team cannot travel overseas. However, we are able to provide support and information through a range of digital channels.  To speak to our International Officers, please refer to our country specific pages where you will find contact information for the International Recruitment Officer responsible for your country or region.   

For applicant queries, please use the dedicated live chat feature on the University of South Wales homepage to speak to our Enquiries and Admissions team.  

For visa and immigration and arrival queries, please contact the Immigration and International Student Advice service either by email, on the Ask an Adviser service, or by phone on +44 (0)1443 482083. Students in the UK are also able to make an appointment for a face to face meeting with the IISA team. 

We look forward to meeting you soon!