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The University of Southampton

International students and language requirements

Our University is a place of inclusion and opportunity, where your safety and wellbeing is our top priority. We’re looking forward to welcoming you to our community, and supporting you with any questions or concerns you might have.

International students

Start dates

For the majority of our undergraduate and postgraduate taught students your course will start on 5 October 2020. You will need to arrive before then for induction and to settle into your accommodation. If you’re unable to travel in time for the start of your course on 5 October 2020, you may be able to delay your start date. This depends on your course, so contact if you are a new student and student services if you are a returning student, if you are having problems travelling.

You may need to self-isolate for 14 days when you arrive. If you’re staying in one of our halls of residence our Student Life team is available 24 hours a day to support you.

You might not need to self-isolate if you’re arriving from certain countries. GOV.UK lists the countries currently exempt from self-isolation on arrival.

Your visa

Some visa application centres are now resuming their services.

To find out whether visa application centres are open in your country:

GOV.UK has step-by-step guidance on applying for a tier 4 visa whether you’re outside the UK or inside.

We can also help you with guidance about applying for a tier 4 visa.

If you’re worried about not getting your visa in time to start your course in October, you may be able to start in January 2021. To find out more, please contact our Student Admissions team.

Set up a bank account

Along with many other shops and services throughout the UK, we’re making our campuses cash-free to improve safety. You’ll need to set up a bank account as soon as possible so you can easily make payments on our campuses and elsewhere.

You’ll need to show your visa to open an account, applications can be completed online.

If you need approval from the Academic Technology Approval Scheme

Your offer letter will say whether you need this approval. You’ll need to get approval before applying for your visa. Check if you need approval from the Academic Technology Approval Scheme and apply

If you need to defer your start date

We may have already offered you a January 2021 start date if you’re a postgraduate student. You can also defer until September 2021. You’ll need to check your English language qualification is still valid if you need one. Contact to discuss deferring.

Pre-sessional English courses

We’re still running our pre-sessional English courses to prepare you for your studies. These courses improve your capability and confidence using English.

We now have online study options for pre-sessional courses, running to the same high standards as our on-campus courses You can choose between a 6 or 11-week online course.

Find out more about pre-sessional English courses

Visa concerns for pre-sessional students

We’ll contact you during your pre-sessional course to make sure you’re prepared to apply for your visa. You can apply as soon as we send you a ‘confirmation of acceptance’ for your main programme of study.

You may be able to defer the start of your main programme of study to January 2021 if you’re worried about getting your visa in time.

Contact us if you have any concerns about your visa:

Deferring your start date

If you take an online pre-sessional course this year and achieve the required level, you can defer (postpone) your main studies until 2021 if you choose to.

You could also withdraw from the pre-sessional course this year and re-apply for courses in summer 2021 if you prefer.

If you’re taking a pre-sessional course this summer, but your main course starts in January 2021, your English language qualification will still be valid.

Language requirements

We understand that some people will not have been able to take their IELTS, TOEFL and PTE tests due to coronavirus.

We will accept the following online English language tests this year:

We’ll email you with instructions on how to take the test.

Find out more about English language proficiency tests and our pre-sessional language courses.

What to do if you’re deferring the start of your course

You may need to take a new English language test if you choose to defer (postpone) your start date. Your test must be less than 2 years old on the first day of your course.

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