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Moving to another country as an international student is a big move and we appreciate you want to know exactly what plans we are putting in place to support your arrival this year. These are, of course, unprecedented times that we are all living in, but we want you to know that we are planning an academic experience for you in 2021 that will ensure your learning and cultural experience will not only be safe, but also highly rewarding and valuable for your future career. It may initially look a little different, but we are taking as much as we can from the traditional experience and adding some new and exciting elements.

In the table below, you will find information about all stages of our plan for students starting in 2021

Applications for the 2021/22 academic year

We are delighted that you are considering the University of Chester as your preferred overseas study destination. More international students have applied to study with us in 2020/21 than ever before, so join us and become part of our diverse and vibrant international community next year.

Applications for our September/October 2021 intake are open as normal, and we encourage you to apply.

For guidance on how to apply as an international student please visit the How to Apply page. Important: We are aware that many offer holders are currently struggling to find availability for English language tests such as IELTS in order to satisfy the English language condition of their offer. We are pleased to inform you that the University of Chester has its own in-house online English language test, which offer holders can take online and for free. The UoCELT test assesses all four areas of English language proficiency, and is recognised for visa purposes for entry to the University.

CAS and Visa arrangements

Most international students will need to apply for a student visa before travelling to the UK to start their studies. We currently expect that our new international students will be able to join their programmes as planned in 2021 and onwards, depending on the individual start dates of their programmes.

The International Centre will issue CAS as normal to offer holders who have satisfied all entry conditions and who have paid either a minimum financial deposit of £3,000, have confirmed student loans or have demonstrated financial sponsorship to the University to secure their place. We expect offer holders who are in possession of a University of Chester CAS to apply for their student visa at the earliest opportunity.

UK Visa Application Centres (VAC) are operational in most countries worldwide. For updates to the status of VACs in each country you should access the appropriate commercial partner website:

Starting your studies

We expect and are planning to welcome international students to the UK and at the University from January onwards, joining the University’s blended approach to teaching and learning in the 2021 (more information on our blended approach can be found below).

For those students who have been issued a CAS and who have been granted a student visa to study at the University of Chester in 2021, we do expect them to travel to the UK at the earliest opportunity.  However, we also understand that travelling to the UK may not be possible at the very start of the academic year for some students, due to delays in visa applications, travel restrictions that may be temporarily in place, or other administrative reasons.

As a result, the University can support students starting online across the vast majority of its programmes* and is able to effectively integrate students when they are able to travel to the UK.  Please note, students will be unable to study for the entire academic year in a wholly online capacity, and therefore students must have firm plans and a clear commitment to studying in-person in a blended capacity at the University of Chester and travel to Chester as soon as circumstances permit. Should students be unable to transition from an online start to in-person blended learning at the University, they will have the option to defer/suspend to the next available intake or request a refund.

* Restrictions apply to some programmes, and we will contact offer holders by email if they may be affected by this.

Engaging with your studies

All applicants and students of the University of Chester must be aware and remember that the University expects all students, regardless of their location, to fully engage with all University requirements regarding the induction and enrolment process, payment of fees and fully engaging with teaching and learning activities, whether these activities are face to face or online.

Under UKVI rules such engagement will be monitored by the University.  Failure to engage will result in a withdrawal of the University CAS/student visa, or a refusal by the University to issue a CAS to a student who intends to transition to in-person study having already started their studies online.

This guidance and our arrangements for the next academic year will remain under constant review as Government restrictions ease or tighten, ensuring that the health, wellbeing and safety of our students and staff is at the forefront of our decision making.

Tuition fees 2020/21 -  Payments

The University has amended its financial terms and conditions to provide as much flexibility for new international students as possible this coming year, in particular for those students who begin their studies wholly online.

Under normal circumstances, new international students are required to pay at least 50% of the remaining post-deposit tuition fee balance in order to formally enrol at the University. This payment is in addition to the £3,000 minimum tuition fee deposit students pay to the University in order to secure a place and satisfy all entry conditions during the admissions process.

In 2020/21, the above payment schedule will still apply to all new students, regardless of whether they travel to the UK and enrol on their programme during the normal arrival window for their programme, or if they enrol and begin their formal teaching and learning online.

Tuition fees 2020/21 -  Refunds

Updated July 22nd, 2020: The University has amended its refund policy for new international students planning to join during the 2020/21 academic year, reflecting the various circumstances in which students may find themselves.  The important aspects to note are:

  • Offer holders are eligible for a full tuition fee deposit refund at any point of the admissions process if they have not received a CAS from the University and have not yet enrolled for either online or in-person studies.
  • Students who are granted a student visa, and who travel to the UK and enrol on their programme during the normal arrival window for their programme, will adhere to the University’s standard policy relating to payments and refunds, which can be found here.
  • Students who begin their formal teaching and learning online will receive a full refund of any tuition fee payments made to the University (less a £150 administration fee) if they are unable to transition to the UK to continue their studies, but only in the following circumstances:
    • Where a student's visa application was unsuccessful on any grounds, except where fraudulent documentation was given as a reason for the refusal by the Home Office; or
    • Where a student is unable to physically travel to the UK for reasons outside their control, for example as a result of travelling restrictions in place either in the UK or in their home country;
  • Students who are granted a student visa but subsequently do not travel to the UK to enrol, no deposit shall be refunded.
Safety first

Student safety is our highest priority. We have arrangements in place to ensure that social distancing and COVID-secure personal hygiene practices are established and maintained, while this is necessary, across all our sites. This includes all of our owned and partnership residential accommodation.

Our campus-based catering outlets will have social distancing provisions in place for your safety. We will also be introducing our own click and collect service, should you wish to take your food out.

The Chester Blended Approach to 2020/21

What is ‘The Chester Blended Approach’? It is our teaching philosophy for the next academic year and beyond; a blended learning experience that puts as much emphasis on face-to-face teaching as it does on online teaching. From speaking to our students, we understand the value they place on face-to-face teaching, so we are planning as much social learning in small groups as is safely possible, alongside online lectures that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own room.

However, we have not done this just out of necessity. Prior to the Coronavirus outbreak, the University was already considering ways of adopting new technologies for the delivery of a more flexible learning experience, so recent events have simply advanced these plans. Of course, this approach will initially be dictated by any social distancing measures in place, but we will be looking to take a more flexible approach as the restrictions are lowered. Regardless of the situation, you can be assured of the same high-quality teaching as always.

Keeping active

Sport and physical activity will look somewhat different, but we have already come up with a variety of sports and physical activities that can be undertaken with social distancing in mind, yet keeping the fun intact. ‘Chester Rules’ are customised games that can be played and enjoyed without the worry of close contact. ‘Chester Rules’ is going to be BIG in 2021 and we have all the major sports, as well as personal training sessions, Couch to 5k and social walking groups covered, so look out for more information.

The perfect locations

Chester: Ideally located in the North West of England, Chester is a modern and compact city which is also rich in history and culture! University campuses and student accommodation are located within walking distance of the city centre so it’s easy for you to get around. Chester is also less than an hour from Manchester and Liverpool, just a two-hour direct train journey to London and close to both the beautiful Welsh coast and mountains.

Shrewsbury: Nestled on the banks of the River Severn in glorious Shropshire, the medieval market town of Shrewsbury is famous for its criss-crossing cobbled passages, timber-framed black-and white buildings and curiously named streets. Everything you need can be reached on foot with the town centre, student accommodation and main teaching facilities all just a stone’s throw away from each other. Shrewsbury is also on the doorstep of the Shropshire Hills; an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Warrington: Located in the heart of North West England, Warrington is a vibrant town, rich in arts and culture.  The campus offers a range of accommodation options, along with on campus dining room, bar and student union.  Warrington is also very accessible from surrounding areas and students can commute from Chester, Liverpool and Manchester in less than one hour.

Virtual work placements and your e-portfolio 

Alongside your studies, Chester already offers you a range of distinctive opportunities to help you develop new skills and grow in confidence; these are still a significant part of our experience. Our volunteering and work-based learning programmes now both offer virtual alternatives, ensuring that our graduates continue to be challenged and inspired while working remotely. All evidence of both academic and personal development can be logged in your e-portfolio which will stay with you throughout your university journey and, we hope, beyond. It’s initiatives like this, and the University’s location in Cheshire, the second highest performing economy in England outside of London, that demonstrates how the University is well placed to enhance its students’ employability.

Here for you

We are committed to helping and nurturing every international student at the University. Every student at Chester is allocated a Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) in order to ensure our students maximise their potential. As such, the PAT’s role is to help you with your personal development by engaging with you on a one-to-one basis, acting somewhat like a personal coach. We also have a Wellbeing and Mental Health team that spans across all our campuses ensuring that our students settle in, get the most out of their university experience and feel safe and at home in Chester.

Finally, how could we forget our fantastic team from the International Centre? Our staff are on-hand to support students at every step during their journey in Chester.

Arrival, Induction and Enrolment

Social and academic integration before travelling to the UK

You will have the opportunity to get a taste of Chester and the chance to network with your new friends and classmates before you even arrive in the UK. Our pre-arrivals activities will include interactive Q&As, social and cultural activities, virtual tours and more. Details of the Pre-arrival Events will be emailed to you directly and can also been viewed on our Pre-arrival site, PASS found here  

You will be invited to the international starters group on Facebook, and can participate in live chat events to further engage with fellow international students and International Centre staff. 

Travelling to the UK and Airport Transfer

Due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19, it is a requirement that you make your UK arrival and accommodation arrangements in advance of travelling, as failure to do so may result in you being detained at the border and prevented from entering the UK.  

Students who are also required to self-isolate on arrival must have evidence of their pre-booked accommodation when arriving at the UK border. Failure to provide evidence of an accommodation booking may result in you being detained at the border and prevented from entering the UK. 

Current UK Government guidance requires all new arrivals to the UK to self-isolate for a period of 14 days after arriving in the UK. The government has introduced travel corridor exemptions for some countries and territories, however the majority of students arriving in the UK are expected to have to self-isolate. Please keep checking this website for the most up to date information as the list of country exemptions is subject to regular change.  

Passenger locator form:

All students arriving from overseas must complete the UK government’s public health passenger locator form before entering the UK, regardless if you are required to self-isolate on arrival. You will need to provide your contact details, transport information and your address in the UK. You can complete this form no more than 48 hours before your planned arrival time in the UK. Failure to complete the form may delay your entry to the UK at the border. 

Supporting your arrival in the UK and transfer to the University 

The University has arranged a safe and effective airport transfer service for all students arriving from overseas, which includes a personal taxi journey to your campus of study. We recommend this option to all students who are not required to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival in the UK. 

Cost: £50 

  • Studying at Chester or Warrington campus? We will collect you from Manchester Airport 
  • Studying at Shrewsbury campus? We will collect you from Manchester or Birmingham Airport 

If you would like to make use of the airport collection service, you will need to ensure you book and make payment at least 2 working days before your flight is due to arrive. (Please note working days do not include Saturday and Sunday).  

IMPORTANT: Please note that face masks need to be worn when in the airport terminal building, on public transport and in taxis in the UK.  

Book Your Airport Transfer

**The University airport collection service will not be available between the 4th December and 2nd January.  Please make plans to arrive from the 2nd January onwards.  

Self-isolation 

Please be aware that the UK Government has established a mandatory two-week self-isolation on arrival for nationals of some countries, which may affect your travel plans as well as your integration during your first two weeks in the UK, and at the University. Details of what you can and can’t do during self-isolation can be found on the UK Government website.  You will need to self-isolate if you visited or made a transit stop in a country or territory that is not on the travel corridor list in the 14 days before you arrive in the UK. Please ensure you read this before you travel to the UK. It is important to check whether you will be required to self-isolate on arrival and understand what is required of you.  

The University has developed a number packaged options, available to both new and returning students, if necessary, to provide support during the mandatory two-week self-isolation period, the induction period, as well as the formative weeks of teaching and learning. 

Details of the package options and prices can be found below.  Please note, you must book and make payment at least 48 working hours (Mon-Fri) prior to your arrival.  

Taxi + 2-week Supported Self-Isolating Experience in University owned accommodation 

Who is eligible?

  • Both new and returning international and EU students are eligible
  • Only suitable for students who have booked to live in private or partner owned student accommodation during the 2020/21 academic year AND who are required to self-isolate for 2 weeks on arrival in the UK

What does this option include?

  • Personal taxi collection from Manchester airport and drop-off at your campus of study
  • University owned, standard self-catered accommodation for 14 nights, includes own bedroom, with shared kitchen, bathroom and lounge
  • Food Pack on arrival - Food pack sufficient for initial 24 hours
  • Bedding Pack on arrival
  • Kitchen Pack on arrival
  • Food box delivered once per week
  • Pre-departure self-isolation briefing
  • Peer support and social activities
  • Ongoing support from the Wellbeing Team
  • Out of hours emergency support on campus

What is the additional cost?

  • £250 fee. 

Book Now

Taxi + 2-week Supported Self-Isolating Experience in University owned accommodation

Who is eligible?

  • Both new and returning international and EU students are eligible
  • Only suitable for students who have booked to live in University owned student accommodation during the 2020/21 academic year AND who are required to self-isolate for 2 weeks on arrival in the UK

What does this option include?

  • Personal taxi collection from Manchester airport and drop-off at your campus of study
  • Food Pack on arrival - Food pack sufficient for initial 24 hours
  • Bedding Pack on arrival
  • Kitchen Pack on arrival
  • Food box delivered once per week
  • Pre-departure self-isolation briefing
  • Peer support and social activities
  • Ongoing support from the Wellbeing Team
  • Out of hours emergency support on campus
  • A University allocated room available from 1st September, no additional charges

What is the additional cost?

  • £100 fee. 

Book Now

Members of staff at the University have created a video which explains what will happen during self-isolation for international students. 

**The University airport collection service and self isolation (quarantine) packages will not be available between the 4th December and 2nd January.  Please make plans to arrive from the 2nd January onwards.  

Induction and formative teaching and learning

Induction in January/February 2021 and the first few weeks of the academic year will be different to our traditional induction experience, and will vary for students depending on their individual circumstances:

  • For those students who travel to the University during the normal arrival window for their programme, and who will not be required to self-isolate for a two-week period, induction and formative teaching and learning arrangements at the beginning of the academic year will be a blended experience of both online and in-person activities and experiences. Additional details on this provision will be provided in due course.
  • For those students who travel to the University during the normal arrival window for their programme, and who will be required by the UK Government to self-isolate for a two-week period, all induction and formative teaching and learning arrangements at the beginning of the academic year will be wholly online for that two-week period.

Following the two-week self-isolation period, students will transition to a blended experience of both online and in-person activities and experiences. Additional details on this provision will be provided in due course.

  • For those students who start their studies entirely online prior to travelling to the UK, and who will not be required to self-isolate for a two-week period on arrival in the UK, all induction and formative teaching and learning arrangements at the beginning of the academic year will be wholly online.

Additional induction and integration provision will be provided to students who arrive after the start of their programmes. Once students travel to the UK, they will be able to join the blended approach to teaching and learning immediately.

  • For those students who start their studies entirely online, but who then must self-isolate for a two-week period on arrival in the UK, their teaching and learning experience during those two-weeks in self-isolation will continue to be wholly online. The University is currently developing its plans for supporting students in self-isolation during the two-week period. The University will also be mindful of your overall integration into the University of Chester community. Additional details on this will be provided in due course.

Following the two-week self-isolation period, students will transition to a blended experience of both online and in-person activities and experiences. Additional details on this provision will be provided in due course.

The above plans will remain under constant review over the coming weeks, and we will update our guidance should anything change

Enrolment

As an international student, guidance on how to complete your enrolment will be sent to your personal email address prior to the start date of your course, after you've received your CAS. There are several  stages involved in the enrolment process which are listed below. 

  • Complete your online enrolment - Instructions will have been sent to your personal email address, on how to complete your online enrolment. This can be done before you arrive in the UK and can be access either via the University of Chester app or by logging on to our pre-arrival site PASS.
  • Pay your fees - To complete your enrolment you need to pay at least 50% of the remaining balance of your fees. This MUST be done regardless of where you will be commencing your studies i.e. in the UK or online overseas. The payment of fees can be done the same way you made your initial deposit and we strongly advise this is done before you travel to the UK.
     
  • Collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) – Tier 4 (General) visa holders only. Within 10 days of arriving in the UK you will need to collect your Tier 4 BRP. The location where you need to collect your BRP card from will be stated in the visa decision letter you received when your passport was returned to you. When collecting your BRP you will need to have your passport with you.

If you are required to complete a two-week self-isolation period on arrival to the UK you must collect your BRP card within 1 working day of your self-isolation period finishing.  

If you need to collect your BRP card from the University of Chester International Centre you will need to book an appointment to do this. Appointments can be booked here and you will need your student number and password (the same you used to access PASS) to book an appointment.  

  • Submit your immigration documents to the International Centre and provide your current contact information. You will need to present the following information to the International Centre:
    • ​​Passport
    • BRP Card /Current UK visa (if applicable)
    • Current UK address, contact telephone number and email address

If you are not required to visit the International Centre in person to collect your BRP card, these documents can be submitted electronically, via email, to international@chester.ac.uk

For all international students, once you have travelled to the UK to must ensure you have completed all the stages of your enrolment by any specified dates communicated to you. Failure to do so will result in you being withdrawn from your studies at the University of Chester. If you are studying on a Student visa, the sponsorship of your visa will also be withdrawn.   

Enrolment delays 

If you are experiencing problems completing your online enrolment, paying your fees or collecting your BRP card please ensure you keep the International Centre updated and keep in contact with the International Centre staff at the University. Where possible, we will provide you with advice and support to help ensure your enrolment is completed on time. 

Student accommodation

You must ensure that you have booked accommodation before you travel to the UK.

We understand that some international students may have to begin their studies online in the 2020/21 academic year, and will therefore arrive at the University later than originally planned.  In order to best support students in this situation, the University is offering more flexible accommodation contract start-dates for students intending to live in university owned or partnership residential accommodation in 2020/21.

If you have paid your tuition fee deposit or made us firm on UCAS, you will be able to apply for accommodation and we recommend you do this as soon as possible.

We have a range of accommodation types available to choose from, including self and semi catered properties and studio flats. Best of all, we are able to guarantee accommodation for international students, that’s one less thing to worry about!

If you accept an accommodation offer, but are unable to arrive until later in the academic year, the University reserves the right to reallocate your accommodation.  However, please be assured that the University will still guarantee accommodation on your arrival, although it may not be the same preferred accommodation type as previously arranged. Please be aware, the later in the academic year you arrive at the University, the greater the risk of your preferred accommodation being reallocated.  

Please be aware that the Home Office can ask the University to provide details of the UK address of individual students. If you choose to live outside the Chester area (or Warrington or Shrewsbury area if your programme is based there) your visa may be at risk. To avoid such issues, students should live within close proximity to their place of study. 

Pre-arrival Site (PASS), Chester app, and getting connected on campus

PASS access here 

The University of Chester Pre-arrival site is known as PASS. Information on how to access this site will be emailed to you, along with enrolment information once you have received your Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS), or confirmed your place (if you are not studying on a Tier 4 (General) visa).  

Our PASS site will provide you with the following information: 

  • Pre-Arrival Events 
  • Induction week events and presentations 
  • Introduction to your course and academic department 
  • How to apply for a bank letter  
  • How to register with a GP 
  • How to register with the police (if necessary) 
  • How to apply for your National Insurance Number 
  • Enrolment requirements 
  • Important information about retaining your Tier 4 visa 

The University of Chester Mobile App 

Prior to arrival we would recommend downloading the University of Chester mobile app. The University of Chester mobile app provides students quick and easy access to our Pre-Arrival site, PASS tasks, Moodle (your course specific pages), and other vital information. Your personalised timetable is front and centre, so you know where you need to be, when and who is teaching. You will even be shown the location on the campus maps. The University of Chester mobile app can be downloaded here 

Getting connected on campus 

Once you arrive on campus or to your University accommodation, it is important that you connect to the University of Chester WIFI. The WIFI is free of charge and can be accessed with your student number. Information on how to access the University of Chester WIFI can be found below:  

  • Turn on your WIFI and Bluetooth  
  • Connect to => UoC WIFI 
  • Your Username = your student number 
  • Password = Cheyyyymmdd (capital C followed by the year, month and day you were born)  
Getting to the International Centre

On arrival to the UK, and once you have completed your two-week self-isolation period (if required), you will need to visit the International Centre to complete your enrolment.

The International Centre is based in Chester City Centre. The full address of the International Centre is:

Temperance Hall, 20B George St, CH1 3EQ

Please view our location map which shows where we are in relation to the other Campus locations in Chester.

Travelling to The International Centre in Chester from Warrington Campus

Students studying at our Warrington campus can either make their own way to Chester using public transport (please note face masks are mandatory in order to travel on public transport) or you can make use of the free University of Chester shuttle bus.

The shuttle bus can be booked via the Warrington reception desk or by ringing 01925 534206. Bookings on the shuttle bus are on a first come first serve basis and can be booked up to five working days in advance.

Travelling to the International Centre in Chester from University Centre Shrewsbury campus

The quickest way to travel from our Shrewsbury campus to Chester is via train (please note face masks are mandatory in order to travel on public transport). Trains from Shrewsbury to Chester are available very regularly and the journey can take approximately 1 hour. Information on train times and prices can be found via the National Rail website. 

The International Centre is a short 15-minute walk from the train station. 

Phones and Laptops

 Before leaving for the UK, especially if needing to self-isolate, it is extremely important to have sorted the following: 

Ensure your mobile phone is unlocked to accept a UK sim card. You will receive a sim card in your accommodation key pack, if you are staying in University accommodation. If you are staying in private accommodation, you are able to receive a free sim card upon your enrolment at the International Centre. 

Make sure to bring a laptop/electronic device with you, as you will need to have a laptop or electronic device to order food online, join our online social and Q&A sessions throughout the pre-arrivals weeks’ and to start your blended learning course.

We will continue to update all of the above information as our planning develops, so please visit this page on a regular basis. We will highlight areas where information has been updated recently so that it is easier for you to identify. If you have any questions, please contact the International Centre