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Coronavirus: Applicant Information

These frequently asked questions (FAQs) will continue to be updated as new information becomes available. We appreciate that this is an uncertain and anxious time for everyone across the RCA community, including future students. This is a fast-changing situation and we anticipate that answers to these questions will change as the situation develops. We will update these FAQs as new information becomes available and we advise you to check back regularly for the latest information.

Health, Self-Isolation, Precautions

We recommend you take advice from the World Health Organization (WHO) and your country’s public health service, on what actions and precautions to take in response to Covid-19.

My Application 

Will the coronavirus outbreak affect my application?

We are doing everything we can to limit any impact coronavirus may have on current applications to study at the RCA. Our admissions staff and colleagues across the whole College are still working hard to process all applications. For further information, go to the applications process page. 

Can I still apply to the RCA for a 2021 start? 

Some programmes are still accepting applications for September 2021 entry. Check the page for the programme you are interested in. If you would like to complete your application as soon as possible you will still be able to do so through our online application portal. 

Applications for Graduate Diploma Art & Design will open shortly for entry in January 2022.

My current university is or will be closed due to coronavirus and I will be unable to take my exams/ my graduation date might be postponed. What are my options?

We advise you to speak to your university as soon as you are able to determine if or when it will be possible for you to complete your degree and let us know if you may be affected in this way. Please be reassured that we are doing everything we can to limit any impact this has on you beginning your studies with us this year. We will publish more information surrounding our policies as it becomes available.

English Language Requirements

I am interested in studying at the RCA but I do not meet the English language requirements.

We are aware that, due to the Covid-19 global pandemic, a number of approved English language test centres around the world have been closed. Although some test centres are starting now to re-open, we understand that many students are concerned about how they will be able to meet the English language conditions attached to their offer. 

We have been reviewing possible alternative test options and are delighted to confirm that the RCA will now accept the following online English language tests:

IELTS Indicator Test
TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition

We have also added the following test, available to students in China:
TOEFL ITP Plus for China

We are continuing to review online alternatives and will provide information on developments when it becomes available.

In addition, we have extended the deadline for you to provide evidence of having met our English language requirements. Students needing to take the College’s English for Academic Purposes (EAP) pre-sessional course have until 6th July 2020 to meet these entry requirements.

If you submit your  English language test results after 6th July, and so do not partake in the EAP course, you will need to meet the College’s general English language requirements for entry (which are higher than the entry requirements for the EAP course). 

We recommend that you submit your English language test results to the College as early as possible. This will also ensure you have sufficient time if you are making a Student Visa application.

Are Pre-sessional English courses still being offered by the RCA? 

Pre-Sessional English for Academic Purposes courses will be offered online. Four and eight-week options are available.

Starting Your Studies

Will I still be able to start in 2021?

Given that the UK Government has announced the end of social distancing restrictions from 19 July, we are planning for on-campus teaching, learning and assessment from September 2021.

What if there are further restrictions?

The health and safety of our students and staff is our highest priority and we will continue to follow UK Government guidance on the pandemic.

Should the UK Government introduce further national or London-specific restrictions in or before the 2021/22 academic year, the College reserves the right to adapt teaching delivery and access to campus. Depending on the restrictions in place, this could be a blended or wholly online approach which could also limit workshop access.

We will be sharing our detailed planning for a number of scenarios with students in advance of the start of the next academic year. However, with all of the experience and knowledge we have gained during the academic year 2020/21, we are confident in our ability to deliver a positive student experience that meets our high academic standards.

Will I be able to defer my place if I cannot enrol due to the Covid-19 situation?

The College is not accepting any requests from applicants to defer their place until autumn 2022 from those who have accepted an offer for the 2021/22 academic year.

If you wish to withdraw your application having read this message, then please let us know by responding to this message by 2 August 2021 and we will then refund your deposit paid in full.

You will of course be able to re-apply for a College programme in future years and your withdrawal will not impact negatively on any future application.

If you are unable to travel to the UK due to ongoing restrictions, please contact [email protected] and we will consider whether alternative arrangements would be possible.

I need to apply for a Student Visa in order to study at the RCA, but the Visa Application Centre(s) in my country is/are closed. What can I do?

We will continue to monitor the VFS Global website for news on when centres may re-open, and recommend that prospective students do the same. We will issue CAS for applicants requiring a Student Visa three months prior to the start date of their programme; there is no change to that plan at this time. We will update this page, and contact all affected students, if there are any changes.

We are currently reviewing our issuance of CAS for new students and will be updating affected students in the coming weeks on the procedure for applying for a Student Visa. We are aware that the majority of visa application centres are closed, and that normal time scales for CAS issuance will be affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

We strongly advise that you do not book flights or accommodation in the UK until you have received information from us about CAS processing and have secured a Student Visa.

Who can I contact about my application?

You should continue to contact admissions by email: [email protected]. Please include your applicant ID in the subject line of any email to help the Admissions staff identify your application. 

Travelling to the UK

If you are travelling to the UK to begin or resume your studies at the RCA, please ensure that you are aware of current travel regulations concerning Covid-19 and quarantine. If you will miss any teaching, contact your department administrators to keep them informed.

If you have any questions you can contact [email protected]

Red, amber and green list rules

The UK is currently operating a 'red, amber, and green' system for entry into the country. What you must do when you arrive in England from abroad depends on where you have been in the 10 days before you arrive, and whether you have been fully vaccinated in a country recognise by the UK. Visit the webpage Red, amber and green list rules for entering England for the latest guidance on travel and quarantine requirements for each list of countries.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs also answers some frequantly asked questions on the latest updates to the international travel system here at

Please note that the countries on the lists and the rules can change regularly, so be sure to check the UK Government website for the most up to date information.


The Home Office has published guidance on immigration for individuals affected by travel restrictions associated with Covid-19. For more information please see UK Government updates on Visas extended for those currently unable to return home due to Covid-19 and Covid-19: Advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents 

A Home Office Coronavirus immigration helpline and email address is available for all immigration enquires related to Coronavirus.  

+44 (0) 800 678 1767 (Monday–Friday, 9am – 5pm)
[email protected] 

Quarantine on arrival in the UK

If you need to quarantine in the UK upon arrival, make sure that you plan for this in advance. 

If you are in a shared house, please ensure you visit the UK Government guidance for self-isolation to ensure you all follow all the rules. If you are living alone, please try to ensure you have as much information in advance about how to get support if needed. Please check your local council for support information. You can find your local council here.

If you have a diagnosed disability or additional support needs which may present challenges during quarantine, contact our student support team, who can make an appointment to discuss any concerns you have.


Make sure you have a bank card that you can use to pay for transport to your accommodation and to buy food and groceries online. If you have a non-UK bank, check that you can use your card in the UK and whether there are any restrictions.

You might choose to set up an online bank account in advance so that this is open when you arrive. There may also be options in your home country of opening a prepaid travel card which you can add money onto in advance. This may be helpful for the first few days in London.

Food and groceries

When in quarantine, you will not be able to go to the shops. You will therefore need to order your food online. Be aware that supermarket delivery services are currently very busy, so delivery times may need to be arranged several days in advance. If you can, arrange the delivery online before you travel to the UK. 

The main shops in the UK that you can buy groceries and toiletries online from are:

If you have a day or two to wait for delivery, try to bring some basic supplies, such as dried food, to ensure you have something available if needed. There are restrictions on food you can bring into the UK, so check here if you are unsure.  

You may also want to order from local restaurants or take-aways. The main food delivery companies are DeliverooUberEats and JustEat (these may also do some basic grocery shop deliveries for you). Some restaurants will also deliver to your place to support people in quarantine – look on Google Maps for places near where you live.

Internet and phone

To keep in touch with family and friends make sure you can use your phone in the UK. If not you may be able to set up a new account or order a new SIM card in advance. If internet access is not included in your accommodation, you may want to get a 4G dongle for initial access. 

If you want to open a new account with a mobile phone or broadband provider there is some useful information online; comparing both price and service. Be aware that installation services and deliveries may be currently restricted.

Healthcare and medications

If you need any medical assistance, please visit the NHS 111 website or call 111.

If you develop coronavirus symptoms you should ask for a test online to find out if you have coronavirus or call the national Covid-19 helpline on 119 to arrange one. If you test positive please contact the health and safety team at the college on 0207 590 4175 or email [email protected] 

You will also be able to access medications online from BootsSuperdrugLloyds Pharmacy and others.

The RCA's Approach

How is the College responding to the Covid-19 Novel Coronavirus outbreak?

The College continues to closely follow the official guidance from the UK Foreign Office, Public Health England, World Health Organization and the NHS. An internal Covid-19 Coronavirus response group has been meeting regularly to put in place robust plans behind the scenes, should the outbreak reach us at the RCA. 

Across the RCA, College continuity planning is taking place. We are working hard to make sure that we are planning for a range of scenarios and will continue to update the RCA community regularly. 

Like other institutions and organisations around the world, here at the College we are working at pace and in real time; to address issues raised by the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic. Our focus during these unprecedented times continues to be to follow UK Government advice and, with our buildings currently closed, to provide student choice and opportunities for progression. This includes developing and rolling out online learning across all our programmes. 

Where can I get the most up-to-date information?

The College continues to closely follow the official guidance from the UK Foreign Office, Public Health England, World Health Organization and the NHS and is updating the intranet at least daily based on these sources, including FAQs for students, and staff.