If you have Covid-19 symptoms you must self-isolate and let us know using a simple form. All the details are available here.

International travel and visas

See guidance about overseas travel as well as the visas you need to study at Sussex while the Coronavirus situation is ongoing.

Entering and returning to the UK

If you are travelling back to Sussex from overseas, you may need to self-isolate (quarantine) for 10 days under government rules relating to certain countries.

If this applies to you, you should do quarantine immediately and not book one of the mass asymptomatic tests on campus.

If you live on campus, you should return to your household. As long as you are not showing any Covid-19 symptoms, you can mix with your housemates (but not leave your home or visit areas of campus for 10 days) as per the Government guidance.

You can end your isolation early if you receive a negative result from a PCR test taken at least five days after your flight. For this result to be valid, you must book the PCR test before you travel to England and enter details of your test on the passenger locator form. The test must be carried out by one of the government’s approved private providers. The lateral flow tests provided at the mass asymptomatic test centre on campus are not part of the “test to release for international travel” scheme.

All students who need to self-isolate after travelling can register for the University's self-isolation support package.

Once you have finished your period of self-isolation, if you are not experiencing any symptoms, you can attend your in-person teaching, and follow the rules of the classroom.

If you are travelling from a country on the UK’s travel corridor list, you do not need to self-isolate – unless you have visited or stopped in any other country or territory. This list is subject to change.

Important: If, at any time, you have Covid-19 symptoms you must self-isolate and let us know using our symptom reporting form.


If you need to quarantine on arrival, current guidance requires you to:

  • provide your journey and contact details when you travel to the UK
  • stay in your residence for the first 10 days you’re in the UK, except in very limited situations.

This is because it can take time for symptoms to develop and, in this time, you could unknowingly pass the disease to others. If you need to quarantine on arrival, and will be living in University-managed accommodation for this academic year, contact the Housing Services team to let them know.

Leaving the UK

Make sure you’ve updated your term-time address on Sussex Direct so we know how to contact you in an emergency.

If you’re a student visa holder, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) requires us to hold up-to-date contact details for you. If you are staying on campus, please also complete this short survey so we can stay in touch and make sure you have the latest information about how we are supporting you.

Travelling home

Seek advice from your country’s embassy or consulate in the UK if you are considering returning to your home country. You may find that travel options are limited. You should not travel if you have symptoms of Covid-19 yourself, or if you live in shared accommodation with people who are self-isolating.

You will not be penalised by the Home Office if you need to stay in the UK and end up overstaying your visas – see more visa-related information.

Coronavirus travel advice

Travel Health Pro is an expert organisation supported by Public Health England and a range of other expert health organisations. See Travel Health Pro information about travelling and Coronavirus.

The UK government has a dedicated Coronavirus Immigration Helpline for people affected by travel restrictions:

The UK Council of International Student Affairs (UKCISA) also has detailed information for international students.

Applying to the EU Settlement Scheme

If you are an EU/EEA student, you can apply for the EU Settlement Scheme from outside the UK (free of charge) based on the fact that you have been living in the UK in the last six months.

Alternatively, if you are returning to Sussex, you can apply once you are back in the UK but you should do so before 31 December 2020. See our Brexit Hub for more information about the EU Settlement Scheme.

Visa guidance

If you have a student visa issue, check this information.

Research students

  • Can I continue to study from overseas?

    Many doctoral researchers have already returned to their homes, outside of the UK. If you are continuing to study, please agree this with supervisors and use the Change of Study Location (COSL) form to notify the University.

    The COSL form is normally used for changes of more than three months. We are advising doctoral researchers to use this form where the length of time outside the UK is uncertain, and to update the Research Student Administration Office (RSAO) upon your return to the UK. Email researchstudentoffice@sussex.ac.uk.

  • Can I take a break from my studies?

    Wherever possible, you should continue your programmes of research. Doctoral researchers and supervisors should discuss how to adjust the research project temporarily to enable different activities to take place, under remote supervision. We acknowledge this will differ in complexity based on an individual’s circumstances and the discipline or stage of the PhD.

    Options for taking a break

    It is important to discuss all options with supervisors before making a decision to pause studies.

    If it is not possible to continue studies as a direct result of Covid-19, Tier 4-sponsored doctoral researchers have two options:

    • apply for a period of authorised absence, or
    • extend a current period of authorised absence up until 30 September 2020.

    Authorised absence can be granted regardless of current location, within or outside of the UK. A period of authorised absence as a direct result of Covid-19 can be applied for, regardless of any previous authorised absences.

    Authorised absence effectively ‘stops’ the registration clock, and extra time will be added to the maximum date of registration. Extra time is not added to the length of the visa and fees are not accrued during this time.

    Requests for new authorised absence will be dated from the start of the month and can be requested using the Covid19-related authorised absence form. Applications must be supported by a full description of the current circumstances which explain how studies are not possible as a direct result of Covid-19. Applications are signed off (by email) by Supervisors and Directors of Doctoral Studies in the normal way.

    You can request an extension of authorised absence up until 30 September 2020 if you are unable to return to studies as a direct result of Covid-19.

    Requests for extensions to authorised absence can be made by completing the Covid19-related authorised absence form.

    You must include:

    • a note describing your current circumstances, and why you are requesting an authorised absence, or an extension to a previously granted authorised absence
    • evidence to support your request, where possible, such as a doctor’s note
    • the length of further absence requested (one or two months – up until 30 September 2020)
    • supervisor support of the further period of authorised absence.

    If you have not previously applied for a period of authorised absence, it is not possible to make a retrospective application for previous months. You may only apply from the start of the current month.

    If you have questions, email researchstudentoffice@sussex.ac.uk.

    Take a period of intermission (also called temporary withdrawal)

    The University standard guidance on intermission for Tier 4 sponsored students applies in the current Covid-19 context. Doctoral researchers who require intermission should note the standard UKVI procedures, and that to intermit from studies would end a current Tier 4 visa, and require a return to a home country outside of the UK.

    If you have questions about intermission, contact the International Student Support team.

  • Will a period of authorised absence affect a Tier 4 visa?

    The University will continue sponsoring Tier 4-sponsored doctoral researchers through a period of Covid-19 related authorised absence.

    Additional time will not be added to your visa-length if you take a Covid-19 authorised absence.

    As a result of Covid-19 authorised absence, if you require further time to remain in the UK and complete your PhD, you will need to apply for a visa extension in the normal way, noting visa application costs and proof of maintenance.

  • Do supervision meetings need to be recorded during authorised absence?

    As the University is continuing to sponsor a Tier 4 visa during authorised absence, you must keep your contact details up-to-date on Sussex Direct and maintain monthly contact with your main supervisor.

  • How will an authorised absence or intermission affect my studies?

    Authorised absence effectively ‘stops’ the registration clock, and extra time will be added to the maximum date of registration.

    It is expected that many early-stage Doctoral Researchers will not require any additional registration time to complete their PhD. However, where additional time is required, the University is committed to offer flexibility in registration extensions due to Covid-19.

  • How will an authorised absence or intermission affect a scholarship?

    Funded Doctoral Researchers will need to consult with their funders for further information regarding funding during a break in studies, and funding extensions.

  • Do I need to return to the UK for a viva?

    Not at the current time. All Sussex viva examinations are being conducted via teleconferencing (e.g Zoom / Skype) until further notice. Under these arrangements, a doctoral researcher, an internal and external examiner, and a viva ‘Chair’ would all be remote and away from Sussex campus. If there is no access to technology, or a delay is preferred, this should be discussed with supervisors.

    Beyond the current Coronavirus situation, we expect distant vivas to revert to being used only in exceptional cases, where one party cannot travel to campus.

See more guidance for postgraduate researchers and supervisors while the Coronavirus situation continues.

Working at this time

The same working limits for Tier 4 visa-holders apply, whether you’re studying or on a period of authorised absence during term-time. You cannot work more than 20 hours a week.

See more about working while studying with a visa.

More advice

Contact our immigration advisers for advice and support on any immigration or visa issue. We can offer video advice sessions via Zoom.

Check our international student information on the Student Hub if you have general queries.

NHS treatment if you get Covid-19

NHS treatment for Coronavirus (Covid-19) is free for everyone. For more information, see advice from the UK Council for International Students (UKCISA).