Skip to content

Open times: Mon Thurs 8.30am - 6.00pm Fri 8.30am - 5pm

Support for our International Students

If you are an international student in Sunderland or London, the University can offer guidance and support to help you. 

Money Worries | Welfare & WellbeingLearning & TeachingImmigration & Visas

Your questions answered

Imagine an students asking a staff member questions

Got a Question?
Submit an Enquiry

An image of the Gateway Building

Money Worries?

You can contact the Student Financial Guidance Team to talk about any aspect of your finances while you are a student here at the University of Sunderland.

Contact Student Financial Guidance

Due to the current Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, to keep all our students and staff safe, we are asking students to contact us by either telephone or email in order to access guidance from our student financial consultants, rather than coming on to campus. please see our contact details below, or you may find the answer to your query on our Coronavirus & Your Finances FAQ page.

Student Support Reception telephone: 0191 515 2933

Money Saving Expert

MSE's guides on support available during the Covid-19 outbreak

Student Financial Guidance FAQs

Our Student Financial Guidance FAQs on Covid-19

Welfare & Wellbeing

We realise just how difficult this current situation is, particularly when you are living so far away from family and friends who you may also be concerned about.  We recognise the particular challenges faced by International students whilst appreciating that your specific experience is unique.   We want to reach out to you so no-one feels alone at this time. 

You have student support services in place and our aim is to support each and every one of you to get through this difficult time. 

Your Wellbeing team can be contacted by email at Don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Your Chaplaincy can offer a listening ear They are here to support.

We provide a Global Friendship evening which takes place every Tuesday at 7pm via Zoom. Come and join us! Find out more on our Activities Calendar.

What are the main symptoms?

Symptoms to look out for are high temperature (fever), a new continuous cough and difficulty breathing.

What should I do if I have these symptoms?

The NHS advise the following:

If you have either a high temperature or a new, continuous cough and live alone then stay at home for a full 7 days

If you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in your house became ill.

Report your absence to the University by:

Logging your absence through the TDS Student Portal as you would as usual at
Please visit here for guidance and links to mobile apps to access the portal

Email us at and tell us you are staying at home.

Please do not come into University or go to your GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital

If your symptoms do not get better after 7 days or your condition gets worse or you feel that you cannot cope with your symptoms at home then:

Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service
Please only telephone 111 if you cannot get NHS help online.

For comprehensive information on what to do, visit

I am just really worried about everything and don’t know what to do

There is a lot of information around about Coronavirus – and it seems to be popping up everywhere.  We understand that this outbreak of Coronavirus can be a cause of concern and anxiety.  We are actively following Government advice and guidance and your safety is our top priority.

Please make sure that you are following official Government advice and guidance including the latest Government information for the public and keep referring back to this FAQ page where the University will publish its latest updates.

Try to keep yourself up-to-date with trusted news sources such as the BBC rather than relying on social media.

There are some useful websites which can help you understand and deal with feelings of anxiety about this outbreak:

Here are some tips about coping with feeling anxious about the outbreak and some more.

You can also access the University’s Silvercloud Health service. We recommend you sign up at and access “Space from Anxiety”.

If you have concerns about the impact of Coronavirus on your assessments or other aspects of your learning then please contact your Programme Leader.

I feel lonely and isolated

You are not alone.

Come and join us (virtually) on a Tuesday night. Everyone welcome.

To find out more:

I find night times particularly difficult. Who can I talk to?

The Samaritans are a listening service if you are struggling. It's available 24 hours a day.
Call 116 123 or text

I have been threatened, abused or harassed, what should I do?

The University will not tolerate abuse or harassment and we take all such allegations seriously. If you feel you have been a victim or have seen a student victimised then please report it immediately using the Report It, Get Supported online service here.

We also have a campus police officer who is at hand to ensure the safety and security of our community. For more information, please click here.


Silvercloud is an online programme which to support your mental health

Become a Halls Volunteer

Join your University Hall “Slack” community and support each other.

Activities Calendar

Take a look at all of our upcoming activities and see how you can get involved

Immigration & Visa Information

International Student FAQs

Our International Student Support team are ready to support you via:

Our International Student Support team have also gathered key information for visa holders:

  • The Home Office has extended their support for those who have not been able to return home due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Visa nationals currently residing in the UK will be able to extend their leave until 31st July 2020 if their previous leave expired after 24th January 2020 and leaving the UK was not possible due to self-isolation or travel restrictions.
  • If your visa expires beyond the existing allowance of 31st July 2020, please contact International Student Support to discuss your situation.
  • The UK Government currently advises you to avoid making arrangements to leave the UK, even if your visa is due to expire, until it is safe and possible to return to your home country.
  • Don’t worry! The Home Office has said that online learning is an acceptable way of engaging with your course whilst the current social restrictions are in place. 

Please ensure that you continue to engage with your lectures, seminars and group sessions as well as any additional materials that your lecturers provide as non-engagement may impact on your visa status. If you are having any issues with accessing materials or engaging please contact The Gateway in the first instance.

I am worried about my visa, what should I do?

The University has notified you that all teaching and assessments will be moved on line from 23 March. Therefore if you have returned overseas and plan to continue to study online there will be no impact on your Tier 4 visa. The University will continue to sponsor you. This means that you will be able to return to the UK on your current visa once face to face classroom teaching starts again.

If you are a student with a current Tier 4 Visa, and you have returned to your home country you should also inform us via our Overseas Returner form.

All students holding a tier 4 or other approproiate study visa be contacted in due course you to discuss your plans and whether you want to continue studying using the online provision or if you would prefer to take a longer break from your programme. We will then explain the impact this will have on your Tier 4 sponsorship and whether you need a new visa in order to come back to the UK to pick up your studies at a later date. International Student Support will guide and support you through a new CAS process if you do require a new visa.  This process will be conducted via a Compass enquiry.  

If you have a specific concern in regards to your Tier 4 Visa, please Submit an Enquiry on Compass to our International Student Support Team.

If you are on a Start-up Visa and have returned to your home country please contact the Enterprise Team at so that we can support you through the next few months.

Should I travel back to my home country?

The Government’s advice is that students remaining at University in England should now stay where they are and not attempt to travel.

You should also check the UKVI Factsheet UKVI Factsheet - Travel

If you are living in student halls, or private rented accommodation, they should remain there and stay indoors while current restrictions are in force. As the Prime Minister said, staying put and remaining indoors are now crucial to slow the rate of transmission of COVID-19, to protect the NHS from being overwhelmed, and save lives.

If you are a student with a current Tier 4 Visa, and you have returned to your home country you should also inform us via our Overseas Returner form.

I am an international student and want to take a break from my studies

The University understands that this is a very difficult time and will continue to sponsor your Tier 4 visa throughout the Easter vacation. 

We will then contact you to find out about your plans and whether you want to study using the on line provision or take a longer break from your programme. We will then advise you on the impact this will have on your Tier 4 visa and whether you need a new visa in order to come back to the UK to pick up your studies at a later date.

I am an international student. How will the University monitor my engagement during this period of on line learning and assessment.

All the University expects is that our student community, including international students, log into Canvas and access the on line learning teaching and assessments that are available for each particular programme.

If you continue your studies on line, even though face to face teaching is not available, then you will be fully compliant with your Tier 4 visa requirements.

My visa has expired and I am still in the UK, what should I do?

The Home Office has extended their support for those who have not been able to return home due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Visa nationals currently residing in the UK will be able to extend their leave until 31st July 2020 if their previous leave expired after 24th January 2020 and leaving the UK was not possible due to self-isolation or travel restrictions.

Students should email and provide;

  • Full name (include any middle names)
  • Date of birth (dd/mm/yyyy)
  • Nationality
  • Previous visa reference number
  • Reason you are unable to return to your home country

Please note if you previously had your visa extended to 31st May 2020, your visa will automatically be extended to 31st July 2020.

The Home Office will respond as soon as possible to confirm the request has been approved and your visa has been extended.  

You will be expected to leave the UK and return to your home country as soon as it is safe and possible to do so.

If you have any additional questions on this process, the Home Office has created a helpline to support those who may require an extension; 0800 678 1767.

We would also recommend that you take a look at the UKVI Factsheet UKVI Factsheet - Temp Resident & Visa Holders

You can also Submit an Enquiry to our International Student Support team for additional support and guidance. This includes if you have an upcoming visa expiry beyond 31st July 2020, and therefore don’t qualify for the above allowance, but still have questions regarding your immigration status.

Visa extensions for NHS and frontline health workers

If you are an NHS or frontline health worker during the Covid-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for a visa extension of up to one year for free. If you are eligible, your family members could also get an extension of up to one year.

For more information please visit the Government’s Covid-19 Support Webpages and carefully read the guidance provided.

You can also email the UKVI’s NHS team by contacting 

Returned Overseas?

If you've left the UK, let us know so we can help support you in your country

UKCISA's Advice

UKCISA's advice pages on COVID-19 and International Students

Learning & Teaching

Is the University open?

The University is currently open with the vast majority of activity being delivered online in the week commencing 23 March 2020. 

All buildings across both City Campus & Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter’s in Sunderland are now closed effective from 5pm on Monday 23rd March. The only University buildings that remain open after this time are Student residences. Please note we do have essential staff (security, cleaning and maintenance) available support students in our managed residences.

The University nursery is closed in accordance with instruction from HM Government.

Library services have also moved all library provision online.

Teaching will be delivered online from 23 March 2020 with announcements on the detail of how we will carry out assessments to follow.

The University of Sunderland in London campus building is closed with teaching and services being delivered online.

What will happen with my assessments, exams, results and progression?

The University has developed a set of Emergency Academic Regulations in response to the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic, and the impact of the pandemic on teaching, academic student support and assessment. These Regulations are intended to enable the University to keep upholding academic standards and quality, while trying to lessen the impact of the disruption on you, and to support you in progressing and achieving your awards.

Take a look at the regulations here, along with the FAQs here.

What will happen to my attendance?

If you are engaged in online sessions, there's nothing you are required to do. Although you will not see your swipe, your attendance % will not be affected.

If you are absent from online teaching, please log your absence as usual through the TDS Student Portal.

I'm on a placement, what should I do?

If you're placement provider is still open as usual, you should still engage with your placement until otherwise advised, ensuring to follow hygiene advice as per guidance from Public Health England and Government.

Please contact your Placement Support Officer for further guidance.

Study Skills

Find out how our Library Services team can help you.

Emergency Academic Regulations

Take a look at our Emergency Academic Regulations and what it means for you.

close tray menu