International Applicants FAQs

Current and future international applicants

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, and 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 January and February 2021. A full list of the courses that we will offer in January 2021 can be found here.  

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 UKVI.  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 below, please email us at: [email protected] 

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

January and February 2021 intake

The health, safety and wellbeing of our students and staff is of paramount importance to us. We are committed to delivering our courses, research opportunities and other services as safely as possible. The ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic means that we are having to make changes to the way in which we deliver our courses and services during the academic year 2020/2021.  

Your student experience is important to us and we continue to work to ensure a positive experience for you. We intend to deliver our courses in a blended format; with a proportion of the teaching and learning being delivered digitally, and where it is safe to do so, some teaching and learning being delivered in person on our campuses using social distancing and/or mitigating measures as deemed appropriate in line with government guidance. 

The nature and balance of learning and teaching methods and activities are sufficiently flexible to adapt and enable you to succeed in your studies. 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. 

If you need to start your studies in the new term virtually, then the University will put provisions in place to enable this.  You will receive information about enrolling online and our faculty teams will provide information on your studies. For courses where there are mandatory elements of practice or practical sessions, we will work with you to do all we can to make alternative arrangements where possible. However, please note that whilst we will endeavour to make alternative arrangements, by not attending the sessions you may miss specific learning experiences. This may mean that you are not able to complete your course within the length of your visa and may need to extend it in the future. If you have any queries in relation to your visa, please contact our Immigration and International Student Advice team.  

Arrivals and Self-isolation Advice

Page last updated 15.02.21

Before you travel you need to check that you have the latest information and have ensured that you have undertaken 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 no further updates exist.

From 15 February onwards, everyone allowed to enter England from outside the Common Travel Area must:

  • quarantine for 10 days
  • take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test on day 2 and day 8 of quarantining (£210 cost)

Some countries will also need to undertake additional managed quarantine - it is important you read the information below carefully and contact us if you have any questions.

11/02/21 - From 15 February, new rules will apply to anyone entering the UK, who has visited or passed through a country on the travel ban red list in the previous 10 days.

04.02.21- Cardiff Airport is currently closed. If you are travelling to the UK, you will need to fly to England and follow the rules there before travelling onto Wales.

There are currently travel bans in place for those living in or travelling from certain 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'. This will also not apply to PBS dependants, but family members travelling with you on visitor visas will be affected by the ban.

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.

Applying to USW

Yes, we will still consider your application to study here at USW for the January/February 2021 intake. We will be delivering our courses following a blended learning approach detailed above. A full list of courses that we offer in January/February is available here and You can apply here

The term dates for this academic year remain the same.  

During this term (autumn 2020), we have delivered a blended learning approach, delivering as much face-to-face learning on our campuses as we safely can, within social distancing requirements. Whilst we cannot be sure how the virus will develop and how restrictions will change, we are actively planning to deliver the same blended learning model for the first term of 2021. We believe this will be in line with other universities given the likelihood of continuing restrictions, social distancing and a reduction in classroom capacity. Our initial analysis of student feedback shows that our students have been able to access their learning effectively, so we are confident in this approach. We are therefore planning to have a mix of on-campus and remote delivery and are now developing our timetable for the term on that basis. 

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

Students who enrol online in January/February 2021 will benefit from a full blended learning approach and we are confident that you will have a quality academic experience that will enable you to study effectively. 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 study virtually. 

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. 

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 for courses below degree level. However, it may be possible for you to take a non-UKVI SELT IELTS 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 equivalent to IELTS. These will be assessed as part of your application, but include the following: 

  • Pearson PTE 
  • TOEFL 
  • IELCA 

Depending on where you studied, your high school qualification may also be considered, please see your country page.  

The TOEFL Home Edition test. 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 center. 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.  

Courses requiring IELTS 6.0 overall with 5.5. in each component 
580 overall 
Listening 54, Reading 56, Written Expression 53, Speaking sample marked by Centre for International English 
Courses requiring IELTS 6.5 overall with 5.5 in each component 
610 overall 
Listening 54, Reading 56, Written Expression 53, Speaking sample marked by Centre for International English 

The IELCA Test direct entry carries an overall score of 32, with each component having a score of 30, whereas IELCA entry needing a higher IELTS score has an overall score of 35 and each component a score of 30 

If you have taken a recent English language test, please send your results to your [email protected]

We strongly recommend visiting our country pages for more information about English language requirements for students from your country. 

If you wish to study with us but would like to monitor the ongoing global health situation, 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. 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. Email: [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. 

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 October onwards for our January/February intake to allow you to complete the CAS issuing process, which includes providing evidence of documentation to make your visa application. We recommend that you make the deposit payment as normal, but under the current circumstances, we appreciate that you may choose to delay paying your deposit. However, 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.   

Visas and Immigration

Once your deposit payment and/or evidence of sponsorship has been received, the admissions team will prepare your CAS. We will be issuing CAS for the January/February 2021 intake from November onwards.  

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 you 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 January or February 2021.  

You need to apply for your visa once it is safe and possible for you to do so, the University’s Enquiries and Admissions team will contact you to request confirmation of your intended date of travel to the UK. We advise all students intending to travel to the UK in January/February 2021 to apply for their visas as early as possible and no later than the beginning of December 2020 in order to avoid potential visa processing delays. 

January intake:  
If you are intending to start your course online, the final date a CAS can be issued is Friday 18th December, if you wish to arrive in the UK to arrive for enrolment on the 4th January the CAS deadline will be the 4th December.  

February intake:  
If you are intending to start your course online, the final date a CAS can be issued is Monday 25th January, if you wish to arrive in the UK to arrive for enrolment on the 1st February the CAS deadline will be the 6th January.  

The deadline to apply for January 2021 is the 14th December 2020.  

The deadline to apply for February 2021 is the 18th December 2020. 

We will expect all January start students to have enrolled online or arrived on campus and enrolled no later than 4th January 2021.  All February start students must have enrolled online or arrived on campus and enrolled no later than 7th February 2021.  Failure to enrol physically or online by these dates will result in sponsorship/your CAS being withdrawn. 

Please note that you can enrol online and then travel to the UK as soon as it is safe and possible for you to do so, even if this is after your online enrolment date. Please note, however, 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. 

Yes, all students enrolling online in January/February 2021 on an eligible course and intending to travel to the UK in April 2021 to study with us on campus will be able to apply for a Student Route visa regardless of the time remaining on their programme of study.  

Should you prefer to apply for another immigration route such as the short-term study visa, the University’s Immigration and International Student Advice Team will be happy to advise you on your options and any associated implications. You can contact the Immigration and International Student Advice Team at [email protected]  

Students who are completing a course eligible for the Graduate Route in summer 2021, including those who commenced a one-year Masters programme in September 2020, will be able to apply for the graduate route if they enter the UK on or before 21 June (updated from the previous date of 6 April 2021).

Students who commence a one-year Masters programme in January or February 2021 will be able to apply for the graduate route if they enter the UK before 27 September 2021 and complete the final semester of their studies in the UK.

Students who are studying courses lasting longer than a year in length, which are not due to be completed in 2021, and who have studied all or part of the 2020/21 academic year via distance learning will not have any period of distance learning during the 2020/21 academic year held against them in relation to the Graduate route.

For further information about the Graduate Route please see Immigration & International Student Advice

The Immigration and International Student Advice team can provide further advice should this be required.

Students on a Student Route visa are able to work for 10 or 20 hours depending on course level during term time and full-time during official vacation periods. Many of our international students work part-time alongside their studies and the University can provide advice to students seeking part-time work. Although we are unable to provide guarantees around securing part-time work, despite the impact of Covid-19, there are part-time jobs available in the local area although it may take longer than usual to secure employment.  

It is very important to remember that, although international students are permitted to work part-time during their course, you should be in a position to support yourself without needing to find a job. If you are issued a Student visa, this is granted on the basis that you can prove both fees and living costs are available to you without you having to work, as potential earnings are not admissible evidence for a Student visa application. If you have any questions about working in the UK please contact [email protected] 

If you are an international student on a Student visa and intend to start your studies virtually then you will need to inform the Student Immigration Compliance Team in Academic Registry. Further details about how to do this will be provided soon. 

All students (new and returning) who will be engaging in on campus activities must read through the Individual Risk Assessment information and must inform the University if they identify as Extremely Vulnerable, Vulnerable or have a risk assessment score of four or above. You must inform the University by completing this form.

If you are unable to attend campus for any other reason, then you must also complete the same form.

If you are currently in the UK on Tier 4, or another type of visa, and wish to start a course at the University please contact our IISA team, either by email , on the Ask an Adviser service, or call +44 (0)1443 482083, for advice and support on your individual situation and circumstances. 

EU citizens, non-EU EEA, Swiss citizens and their eligible family members who arrive in the UK after 11pm on 31st December 2020 will need to have immigration permission. For students, this will either need to be under the EU Settlement Scheme or under the Student Visa Route.   

Whether you are a new or returning student from the EU, if you have proof you entered the UK before 31st December 2020 (this could be flight tickets, landing cards, tenancy agreements or student status letter) then you can still apply for the EU Settlement Scheme inside or outside the UK as long as you do so before 30th June 2021. 

Even if you have a documented right of permanent residence under EU law, you will still need to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme, or via another immigration route, before the end of the transition period, as the right of permanent residence will no longer be recognised after the transitional period.  

Remember the IISA team can assist and advise on all applications, in the UK or Overseas.  Please contact the team, either by email, on the Ask an Adviser service, or by phone on +44 (0)1443 482083, for advice and support on your individual circumstances and application. 

Pre-Sessional English

Our pre-sessional courses will be delivered online until further notice. Further details can be found at: 


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 and  available here

Travel Restrictions and Self-isolation

At this stage, it is difficult to predict what restrictions may be put in place in the coming weeks and months due to the rapidly evolving nature of the global health situation. For the latest advice, please see here.  

If you are unable to travel to campus for the beginning of term, you will need to let the University know. Details on how to do this will be supplied in due course.   

The UK Government has introduced a 10-day self-isolation period for individuals arriving in the UK from certain countries. Details of countries exempt from self-isolation are detailed here. You will need to prepare for the possibility that self-isolation measures will be in place when you arrive in the UK. For further information about self-isolation and the support that the University can provide, please see here.   

It is important to say that the UK Government’s approach to self-isolation is different from that of some other countries. Currently, on arrival, Government advice indicates that you will be asked to complete a form providing your contact details and travel information before being asked to self-isolate in your planned accommodation for 10 days. This means you will be able to travel to your accommodation and self-isolate either in University halls or in your own private accommodation, depending on which you have booked. The Government have confirmed that they will carry out some spot checks to ensure self-isolation is being carried out and penalties will be in place for those who do not comply. 

Throughout the self-isolation period, we will be here to support you. Subject to availability, you will be able to book a self-isolation assistance package with our Accommodation team. For information, please contact [email protected]  

We will support you with accessing supplies and those students booked to live in University halls of residence will able to order hot meals from the University’s catering team. The Immigration and International Student Advice (IISA) and Student Support will be on hand for further support.  

IISA are constantly reviewing the self-isolation requirements. If you have any questions about self-isolation, please contact IISA at [email protected]


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.  

Defers and refunds

We understand that some applicants are now 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 us to ask any questions you may have in relation to studying with us and the ongoing situation before making this decision.  

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, 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.  

We are aware that the impact of Covid-19 is fluid and circumstances can change quickly. Our current confirmed delivery plan covers the term from January to April 2021. We will continue to monitor the situation carefully and our planning for the next part of the academic year will reflect the evolving nature of the situation. Plans will be announced to staff, students, applicants and other stakeholders as soon as possible.   

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

For courses starting in February 2021: If you are able to demonstrate that you have applied for your visa before the 15th March 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 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 on campus are also able to make an appointment for a face to face meeting with the IISA team.