FAQs for students arriving in the UK after 15th February 2021
Before planning your return to the campus/UK, you should check the latest guidance given by the Vice-Chancellor and your academic department. Unless you are advised that your course is going to be delivered on campus, you should continue your studies online. The next government announcement will be made on 12th April and we will find out more about the plans for the rest of the semester.
If you’re arriving in England on or after 15 February 2021, there are new rules you need to be aware of.
If you have travelling from or via a country on the banned travel list (sometimes called the ‘red list’) in the last 10 days, you will need to quarantine (self-isolate) in a government quarantine hotel for 10 days.
If you’re coming from a country that is not on the banned travel list, you will need to quarantine at home for 10 days and take one COVID-19 test before leaving your country and two COVID-19 tests during your quarantine (travel test package).
You do not need to quarantine in England if you’re travelling from Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man and have not been in any other countries in the last 10 days.
All travel corridors have been suspended.
More information for international arrival is available on the UK Government website.
Before travelling to the UK, everyone must:
- take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test and get a negative result during the 3 days before you travel.
- book and pay for a travel test package, which will include COVID-19 tests to be taken on day 2 and on day 8 of your quarantine (or book and pay for your hotel quarantine. See above.).
- complete a passenger locator form with details of where you will quarantine when you arrive and the travel test package booking reference number.
Providing false or deliberately misleading information when filling out your passenger locator form is an offence punishable by imprisonment. You could be fined up to £10,000, imprisoned for up to 10 years or both if you do not provide accurate details about the countries you have visited in the 10 days before you arrived in the UK.
If you break the quarantine rules you may face a penalty of up to £10,000.
How do I book and pay for the two COVID-19 tests (travel test package) I need to take on arrival in the UK if I am quarantining in my own accommodation?
Anyone arriving in England on or after the 15th February 2021, will need to take a COVID-19 test on day 2 and day 8 of their quarantine.
The cost ranges from £170 to £399. Information on the cost and the UK government approved providers is available on the UK Government website.
You will need to book these tests BEFORE you arrive, as you are required to include the booking reference number on your passenger locator form.
Use this link to book and pay for the 2 required ‘COVID Testing Package’ to use during your quarantine:
You cannot use the University's Lateral Flow testing facilities or the NHS COVID-19 test centres instead of the Travel Test Package.
You will not be able to leave quarantine until you have received both a negative result from your day 2 and day 8 test and quarantined for 10 days.
If you do not take the tests, you may face a penalty of up to £2,000.
If you test positive for either test you must quarantine for a further 10 days from the day you took the test – you will receive further advice alongside your test results.
If your test shows that you have a variant of coronavirus known as a ‘variant of concern’ you will get a further call and your contacts will be asked to be tested.
When you book your travel test package, you will be asked to include your UK address so that you pack can be sent to you by Royal Mail Recorded/Special delivery. It is not possible to change the address afterwards, so make sure you include correct details. If you live in the halls of residence, you should contact the accommodation team to ask for you test package to be brought to you as soon as they receive it via the post room. You should not leave your room to collect it. The instructions on how to take the test is included in the pack. You will be advised to post your test by using one of the Royal Mail priority mail boxes. Information relating to this is included in your pack. Please note that there are currently various Royal Mail scams circulating in the UK. If you receive a text message or an email regarding your package having been taken to the depot or asking you to pay extra customs fees, please do not click on any links. If Royal Mail is unable to deliver your package, they will leave a card in your post box/university's post room.
You must self-isolate/quarantine for a period of ten days when you arrive in England. The travel test package does not exempt you from this requirement. Please read the self-isolation guidance on the UK government website to understand what you can and cannot do.
Where do I take the tests?
You will take these tests in your own accommodation. The test kit is posted to the address you give as part of the travel test package booking process. Please note that it is not possible to change the details afterwards, so make sure you double check the details before confirming your booking.
When do I take the tests?
The day of arrival in England will be treated as day zero.
This first test is designed to help identify any potentially harmful variants of COVID-19 at the earliest opportunity and it must be taken on or before day 2. The second test must be taken on or after day 8 to check that you do not have COVID-19.
How do I take the test?
Please follow the instructions that are provided with the test kit.
How do I calculate my quarantine period and when to take the test?
Day 0 = arrival day
Day 1 = first test can be taken
Day 2 = first test can be taken
Day 8 = second test can be taken
Day 9 = second test can be taken
Day 10 = second test can be taken
How do I end my quarantine?
If you’ve quarantined for 10 days and received a negative result for both your day 2 and day 8 test, you may leave the place where you’re quarantining.
What if my test results are positive?
If you get a positive result from your day 2 test, you must quarantine for 10 days beginning the day after the test was taken (this means until day 13). Your household will also need to quarantine until day 13. If you get a positive result from your day 2 test, you do not need to take a test on day 8.
You need to take a COVID-19 test on or after day 8, unless you got a positive result from your day 2 test.
If you get a positive test result from your day 8 test you will need to quarantine until day 19. Your household will also need to quarantine until day 19.
Do I need to tell the University staff if I get a positive test result?
You should contact the Covid report team firstname.lastname@example.org so that they can advise you and your household regarding self-isolation and offer you support.
What if my test kit does not arrive?
You should call the test provider in the first instance. If you have trouble getting through to them, you can try calling 119 (NHS test helpline) to request a test kit to be sent to you. If you are experiencing difficulties with this, please contact email@example.com for advice.
How do I post the test?
The guidance you receive with your test kit advises you to post your test via one of the Royal Mail Priority post boxes. This is the only time you are allowed to leave your accommodation during your quarantine. You must walk to the closest possible priority post box and stay away from others and wear a facemask.
What if I take a test on a Sunday and my area does not have a Royal Mail priority box with a Sunday collection?
If possible, avoid taking either of the tests on a Sunday. You should take and post the test on the same day. If your day two is on a Sunday, try to do your test on day one (Saturday).
If your day 8 is a Sunday, it is ok to take the test on day 9 or 10.
Lateral Flow testing at the University
Students who have taken two tests and self-isolated for the required period of time, are not expected to take a further LFD testing (administered by their University) at the end of their self-isolation period when they return to campus.
However, you should access the LFD testing available on campus on a weekly basis. We recommend that you have two tests per week (3-4 days apart). LFD testing remains voluntary but is encouraged to help keep not only our community but the wider community safe. For more information on the LFD testing arrangements please visit our website.
Some international arrival can opt to take part in the Test to Release Scheme. This scheme is designed to help you reduce your period of self-isolation to less than 10 days. You must book and pay for the scheme, include the details on your passenger information form and take a test after 5 days of self-isolation. If the test comes back negative, you can stop self-isolating. If you test positive, you must continue self-isolating. Taking part in this scheme does not exempt you from having to pay for the Travel Test package. You must still take these two tests in addition to the Test to Release Scheme test. All these tests must be booked via a UK government approved test providers. The University's Lateral Flow Testing facilities or the NHS COVID-19 test centres can't be used instead. Please visit the UK Government website for more information.
All international arrivals are required to self-isolate/quarantine for 10 days after arriving in England. The current UK government guidance on self-isolation is available on the Government website. If you need more advice on the self-isolation requirement, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that arrivals from Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man are not required to self-isolate/quarantine.
If you have booked a room in the University Halls of Residence and you need to self-isolate on arrival, please contact our accommodation team to let them know when you are due to arrive. You should keep contact with your housemates to a minimum and avoid using the common areas (kitchen, bathroom, living room etc) at the same time.
If you are in a catered room, you can't leave your room to get your food, but can request that your food is delivered to your room. Please contact the accommodation team at email@example.com to arrange this and let them know if you have any dietary needs or allergies.
If you are in a self-catered room, you will need to arrange your food and other necessities to be delivered to your room throughout your self-isolation period. You can find information on shopping online and arranging deliveries on our Moodle page.
If you are a new student the International Student Advisers will provide information on how to get ready for the self-isolation period before you are due to arrive. This will include information on how to register an online shopping account and how to arrange food and other necessary items to be delivered to your room. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
If you live off-campus in a private shared house, you can use it as a base to self-isolate. The people you live with do not need to self-isolate unless you travelled together. You should keep contact with your housemates to a minimum and avoid using the common areas (kitchen, bathroom, living room etc) at the same time. You should have your food and other necessary items delivered as you will not be allowed to leave your self-isolation base except for limited reasons. Make sure you read the self-isolation guidance in detail and contact the International Student Advisers if you need any support or advice.
The UK Government currently advises against using public transport unless you have no other option. We recommend that you book a taxi as it is easier and safer. When travelling on public transport you must use a face covering and stay 2 meters apart. The full guidance on travelling by public transport is available on the Government website.
A good alternative to public transport is to pre-book a local taxi to collect you from the airport. A local taxi will cost about £60-£90 depending on the location and drop of points as well as waiting times at the airport. You can read the government guidance on using taxis and adhering to social distancing.
Please note that the National Express coach service is not operating from 10th January 2021 until further notice. This will limit your public transport travel options especially from Heathrow airport. https://www.nationalexpress.com/en
To stop the spread of potentially harmful variants into the UK, more stringent measures are in place for people who have travelled from or passed through a country on the list where travel to the UK is banned (the ‘red list’) and you must quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel.
You will need to agree to pay for, and book, a quarantine package before you complete your passenger locator form (PLF) and board start your journey.
The package includes the costs of transport from the port of arrival to the designated hotel, food, accommodation, security and other essential services and testing.
The cost for a single adult in one room for 10 days (11 nights) is £1750.
All package prices will be reviewed before the end of March and may change.
If you have not arranged a quarantine package prior to your arrival in England, you face a penalty of up to £4,000 and will still have to pay for your quarantine package on arrival.
If you’re required to quarantine in a quarantine hotel you can only arrive in England at certain ports of entry. Currently these are:
- Heathrow Airport
- Gatwick Airport
- London City Airport
- Birmingham Airport
- Farnborough Airfield
Other ports of entry may be added in the future.
If you’re required to quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel and do not arrive in England at one of the designated ports of entry, you may face a penalty of up to £10,000 and will be charged for the cost of transportation to the nearest designated port or entry.
When you arrive in England you will need to provide your completed passenger locator form to Border Force officers alongside your passport and negative COVID-19 test result.
You will be escorted through the airport with other passengers who need to quarantine at a managed quarantine hotel. Your ‘quarantine package’ includes transport to your quarantine hotel (and back to the airport at the end of your quarantine).
You must only travel to your managed quarantine hotel by the transport specified in your quarantine package and not by public or private transport.
At the end of the quarantine period you will be transported to the airport you were collected from when you arrived in England. You will then need to make your own arrangements to travel to the university.
When you arrive at the managed quarantine hotel you will be required to quarantine in your room for 10 days. The managed quarantine hotel will provide your meals.
It is not possible to select a particular room at the managed quarantine hotel or to seek a higher standard room upon arrival.
You cannot have visitors in quarantine, including friends or family.
If you have items delivered to you during the quarantine period, they will be brought to the door of your room by the managed quarantine hotel staff. Staff will try to bring the items to you in a timely manner. However, given the need to maintain compliance with COVID guidelines, deliveries may not be able to be brought to your door immediately when they arrive at the hotel.
Use this UK Government Portal to book the hotel quarantine:
For more information click here
Visa concessions allow for the ongoing provision of online learning for the duration of the academic year 2020/21.Students who continue their studies online until the next Government announcement is due after the Spring break, are not breaking visa rules by doing so. If you have been asked to return to your studies and are unable to do so due to travel restrictions please contact your academic department to find out how they can continue to support you online.
Collection of BRP:
Students will not be penalised for being unable to collect their Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) while coronavirus (COVID-19) measures are in place.
New graduate route
The UK Government has confirmed that students who need to commence their studies via distance learning prior to entering the UK will be eligible for the new graduate route. Students who are completing their course in summer 2021, including those who commenced a one-year Masters programme in September 2020, will benefit from this route if they enter the UK on or before 21 June 2021 and complete their course.
Students who commence a one-year Masters programme in January 2021 will benefit from this route if they enter the UK before 27 September 2021 and complete the final semester of their studies in the UK.
Please see the full list of concession in the latest UKVI guidance
Am I entitled to any financial help from the University for either the hotel quarantine or the Covid testing package?
If you are unable to meet the costs of either the hotel quarantine or the Covid testing package, please get in touch with the International Student Advisory Service at email@example.com for advice. Or visit our Moodle page to find out about our current International Hardship funds.
You can find the latest information relating to national restrictions on the UK Government website.
The Department of Education has published guidance for Higher Education Institutions relating to Students returning to or starting their studies during the spring semester. All students are subject to the current 'Stay at Home' rule and if you have returned to the campus, you should remain in your term-time accommodation. International travel is currently limited and you are allowed to travel if you have a legally permitted reason to leave the UK. This rule will be in place at least until 17th May. Please read page 30 of the Department of Education guidance which is available here.
International students who live in the UK and are registered with a GP will be able to access the Covid-19 vaccination in the UK, just as they are currently able to access healthcare. This means that older international students or those with underlying medical conditions will fall into priority categories, in the same way as the domestic population.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.