International Applicants FAQs

Current and future international applicants

We are looking forward to welcoming new students at the start of the academic year and of course we understand that this is a worrying time. The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is impacting how we live our lives across the world. We understand that you will have questions on how this 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 USW continues to follow UK GovernmentWelsh Government and Public Health Wales guidance and continues to 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 2020. We understand you will have questions regarding the impact of Covid-19 and the following FAQ’s aims to address these.

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

NEW ACADEMIC YEAR - SEP 2020

The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount 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 for the academic year 2020/2021.

Your student experience is important to us and we have been working and continue to work to ensure your overall experience. 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 and 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 if you are hoping to join us to study from a country outside of the UK, your options/studies may also be impacted by Government guidelines or decisions of that 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. 

FURTHER QUERIES

USW International is currently working remotely and continues to support students via email, telephone and online chats. 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.

 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. 

 Whilst the following 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 Office websites.

 While the situation is constantly evolving, we have put together a question and answer section to keep you up to date with the latest developments here at USW. If you have a query which is not answered below, please email us at: international.admissions@southwales.ac.uk

Travel Restrictions

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 this situation. Please check the Foreign Commonwealth Office and Public Health Wales page for more guidance.

If there are self-isolation controls in place for people coming into the UK when you are planning to travel, then we will get in contact to provide you with further information about how the University will be able to assist and support you.

If you are unable to travel to the UK for the start of the new term, either because of government restrictions on travel, you must inform the University by completing this form.

If you are an international student on a Tier 4 visa, then you must also inform the Tier 4 Administration Team in Academic Registry whether you intend to come to campus or not, by completing this form.

If you need to start your studies for the new term virtually, then the University will put provisions in place to enable this.  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

Meeting Us

At this moment in time our team unfortunately cannot travel overseas. However we are able to provide support and information through a range of digital channels In the meantime, please visit your country page to find the relevant staff contact details.
 

September 2020: CAS and Enrolment

Students who enrol online in September 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 online in the first semester.

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. Please note that a wide variety of our courses have a start date in February 2021.

We are aware that the impact of Covid-19 is fluid and circumstances can change quickly. Our current confirmed delivery plan covers the first term, from September to December 2020. 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 in January 2021 due to ongoing circumstances surrounding Covid-19, and should continued online study not be 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 them where you left them) or, depending on the course, supporting you with credit transfer documentation.

If you are unable to attend campus for the first term, they you must complete this form to let the University know. You can read the corresponding information for this form here.

If you are an international student on a Tier 4 visa, then you must also inform the Tier 4 Administration Team in Academic Registry whether you intend to come to campus or not, by completing this form.

If you need to start your studies for the new term virtually, then the University will put provisions in place to enable this.  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

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 September 2020. 

Once it is safe and possible for you to make your visa application, you will need to contact the University’s Enquiries and Admissions team at international.admissions@southwales.ac.uk and the Admissions team will add a sponsor note to your CAS to confirm your intended date of travel to the UK. We advise all students intending to travel to the UK in January 2021 to apply for their visas as early as possible and no later than the middle of December 2020 in order to avoid potential visa processing delays

Yes, all students enrolling online in September 2020 and intending to travel to the UK in January 2021 to study with us on campus will be eligible for a Tier 4 visa regardless of the time remaining on their programme of study. The UKVI have also confirmed that students who begin their studies online and then travel to the UK in early 2021 will still be eligible to apply for the two-year graduate route upon successful completion of their degree programmes.

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 international.advice@southwales.ac.uk  

The UK Government has introduced a 14-day self-isolation period for individuals arriving in the UK from certain countries. Details of countries exempt from self-isolation are detailed here.

These measures will be reviewed every three weeks and we do not know how long they will be in place. This means we need to prepare for the possibility that self-isolation measures will be in place in September and October 2020. We are therefore advising all new and returning international students who believe they may need to self-isolate to plan to fly back to the UK two weeks prior to the start of term.

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 14 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 for the coming year. 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. For those of you booked to live in University halls, we will support you with accessing supplies. You will also have check-in chats and the Halls Life Student Experience team and Immigration and International Student Advice (IISA) and Student Support will be on hand for further support. 

If you are required to self-isolate upon arrival, we will advise you to travel to the UK two weeks before the start of term. We will contact you over the summer with information about self-isolation and how to book a self-isolation assistance package with Accommodation.

IISA are constantly reviewing the self-isolation requirements. If you have any questions about self-isolation, please contact IISA at international.advice@southwales.ac.uk

Further information is also available here.

We will expect all students to have enrolled online or arrived on campus and enrolled no later than 5 October 2020 or 12 October 2020 for students who have exceptional Covid-19 related circumstances and have had an additional exceptional extension agreed by Enquiries and Admissions because of this.  Failure to enrol physically or online by 12 October 2020 will result in Tier 4 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 one or two weeks after your online enrolment date. You will need to advise our Enquiries and Admissions team of your intended date of travel at international.admissions@southwales.ac.uk  so that a sponsor note can be added to your CAS to help you with your visa application. 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 Tier 4 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.

The last date for issuing a CAS for the September 2020 intake will be 21 September 2020. It is likely, however, that if you receive a CAS on this date, you would need to enrol and commence your studies online and then make arrangements to travel to the UK as soon as it is safe and possible for you to do so. Since the UKVI are not currently offering a priority visa application service, if you plan on travelling to the UK to enrol on campus at the start of term, we would advise that you would need to be in receipt of your CAS no later than 31 August 2020 to allow for sufficient visa processing time. 

If you are required to self-isolate when you arrive in the UK, you may be required 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. 

If you will need to self-isolate upon arrival in the UK, we can provide support on campus but you will need to ensure that you are able to arrive two weeks before the start of term to use this service. Please contact the Enquiries and Admissions team by emailing international.admissions@southwales.ac.uk if you have any concerns or questions and we will do our best to help. You can also find out more about self-isolation arrangements here.

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.

Students on a Tier 4 visa are often 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 Tier 4 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 Tier 4 visa application. If you have any questions about working in the UK please contact international.advice@southwales.ac.uk

You can upload the receipt from FlyWire. The Enquiries and Admissions team will be able to cross check and confirm receipt of your payment from the FlyWire dashboard.

Students who enter the UK by 6 April 2021 to complete their courses will be eligible for the new Graduate Route providing they meet the other requirements. However, this is not, and should not be viewed, as the date you are encouraged to arrive. You should arrange to travel as soon as it is safe and practical for you to do so and you should arrive in the UK no later than January 2021.

The UK Government has still not provided rules or guidance for this scheme, but the Immigration and International Student Advice team will provide updates to all students once guidance becomes available. 

Applying to USW

Yes, we will still consider your application to study here at USW for the September 2020 intake and we will be providing a blended learning approach in September You can apply here.

The term dates for the next academic year remain the same. Your health and wellbeing is our top priority as we prepare to welcome students onto our campuses in September 2020. With social distancing requirements expected to continue for some time, we are adapting how we run our courses with a blended and phased return to on-campus learning. 

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

If you wish to study with us but would like to monitor the ongoing 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 applied via UCAS, we would advise you to monitor the deadlines set by UCAS. If you have any questions or concerns, our admissions team are available to support you. Email: International.admissions@southwales.ac.uk

As noted above we do still recommend acting as soon as possible, but we do recognise that the priority now is that all applicants and students are safe and delaying an online interview for up to four weeks is possible. If you wish to do this then please email international.admissions@southwales.ac.uk 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 April onwards for our September 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. 

Please Note: Even if you have made a deposit payment, no CAS will be issued whilst there are travel restrictions in place. Your will also be asked to check and confirm your draft CAS before a CAS number is allocated. You will be able to apply for a full refund of the deposit if you do so before a CAS is issued.

We are now issuing CAS for the September intake for those students that have met the requirements. Once you have met all of the admissions requirements and your deposit payment and/or evidence of sponsorship has been received, the admissions team will prepare a draft CAS for you to review and check. Your CAS will then be issued.

All students (new and returning) 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 an international student on a Tier 4 visa, then you must also inform the Tier 4 Administration Team in Academic Registry whether you intend to come to campus or not, by completing this form.

If you need to start your studies for the new term virtually, then the University will put provisions in place to enable this.  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.  

If you are a new student at USW, please be assured we are continuing to prepare to welcome our new students in September 2020 and we have started to issue CAS to our applicants who have met all of the required conditions.

 If you choose to study at a distance for your course, our admissions and faculty teams will provide information on study and enrolment to you directly.

 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 international.advice@southwales.ac.uk, on the Ask an Adviser service or call +44 (0)1443 482083, for advice and support on your individual situation and circumstances.

We understand that some applicants are now considering a deferral to a future intake. We do not recommend this as we are currently planning for a September 2020 intake. If you do decide to defer, however, 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. Also, please note that for some popular courses, USW offers a February intake. Please see here for further information.

The UKVI has not changed its English language requirements for Tier 4 visas 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 or a pre-sessional course on a short term study visa. If you are studying a course at degree level or above, we accept a range of robust English language qualifications equivalent to IELTS. These will be assessed as part of your application, but include the following:

  • University of South Wales English Language Test
  • Pearson PTE
  • TOEFL
  • Duolingo
  • IELCA

Depending on where you studied, your high school qualification may also be considered.

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.

TOEFL ITP Plus

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 Duolingo English Test carries a minimum alternative English Language qualification score of between 95-100. Please note that the overall score shown is indicative of the score required. Your whole test will be reviewed to provide us with a holistic assessment of your English language proficiency and to determine whether you are eligible for direct entry. Test samples will be reviewed by the University before being accepted. The Duolingo test is accepted on an interim basis for 2020 entry.

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 International.admissions@southwales.ac.uk.

We strongly recommend visiting our country pages for more information.


EU citizens, non-EU EEA, Swiss citizens and their eligible family members who are in the UK after the 31 December 2020 will need to have immigration permission. This will either need to be under the EU Settlement Scheme or under the immigration rules which will be in place from 1st January 2021.

Whether you are a new or returning student from the EU, as long as 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: international.advice@southwales.ac.uk, on the Ask an Adviser service or by phone on +44 (0)1443 482083, for advice and support on your individual circumstances and application.

EXAMS AND RESULTS

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 and will make appropriate decisions in due course. Please do contact our admissions team if you have any concerns or questions.

Yes, in some cases, but please note that conditions will need to be met before a CAS number can be issued. Please contact International.admissions@southwales.ac.uk for further advice. 

The University is currently actively engaging with relevant exam boards. As the extent of the disruption becomes clearer, we will be in a better position to update you on other related policies. Please be assured that we are considering this as a matter of urgency and you will be updated in due course. 

Contact your school/university/college/agent for further information on the impact this may have on your studies. Students from the European Union may be able to demonstrate their English proficiency using alternative means.

We strongly recommend visiting our country pages for more information on other English language tests we may accept.

ACCOMMODATION

Yes, accommodation is guaranteed if the application is received by the Accommodation Office before 20 August of the year of entry: https://www.southwales.ac.uk/student-life/accommodation/allocations/

No, there isn’t a refund for the part of the tenancy missed. If you think you are going to arrive late, please inform the accommodation office know of your expected arrival date. 

Yes, applications for University accommodation are open so if you intend to study at USW this September you should still apply. You will be informed of any changes that may affect your accommodation application as the situation progresses. 

PRE-SESSIONAL ENGLISH

Our pre-sessional courses will be delivered online from May 2020. Further details can be found at: https://www.southwales.ac.uk/international/courses/ielts-english-programmes/