Visit our dedicated information pages on international travel
Please visit our staff testing webpage for further information.
The Test to Release scheme
Test to Release
Test to Release
If you are entering the UK from a country on the government amber list, you may wish to utilise the Test to Release Scheme, to potentially shorten your time in self-isolation. Please note the Test to Release Scheme does not replace the separate Government day 2 and day 8 tests, which still must be booked and taken.
The Test to Release scheme is not available to anyone who has been in or through any country that is classified as red or green list. Please check that the country you are travelling from, or any country you are travelling through, is classified as amber list before booking a test for Test to Release.
The Test to Release Scheme is offered by taking a HALO test at one of our campus test centres.
Test to Release – how to book
The earliest you can take a test is 5 full days after you have left a country on the amber list. Students and staff can book a test online using the links below. Your test will need to be booked prior to travelling.
For Cornwall - book your HALO test using our online form
Please ensure you register on the HALO testing system BEFORE you arrive at the testing centre. Details of how to do this can be found on our designated webpage.
Please remember to bring your University ID to the test centre with you and continue to follow government guidance.
A mobile phone number is required to complete registration and you’ll receive test results to the number you provide. If you do not have a mobile phone, please use the number of a trusted person. If you have any special requirements or would like to discuss accessibility concerns, please contact the team before booking your test so that they can advise you on what to do.
If your HALO test result is positive:
If your test returns a positive result then you will need to continue your self-isolation for an additional 10 days, from the day you took your test. Our testing wellbeing team will contact you to check you have the support you need during this time.
You’ll also find details of all the support available to you on our dedicated self-isolation webpages.
If your HALO test result is negative:
If your test returns a negative result then you are no longer required to self-isolate and you can consider that you do not pose a high risk and can access shared teaching, study and social spaces. Please continue to follow our COVID-19 secure measures around campus and ensure you follow the Government guidance on hands, face, space to help us protect our community. Please then book two of our Lateral Flow Device tests every week, to protect yourself and the University community. To book your asymptomatic ongoing rapid Lateral Flow Device tests, visit the dedicated webpage.
Please note that even if you test negative for COVID-19 through the Test to Release Scheme, you will still need to take your Government travel package test on the 8th day after you arrive in the UK.
If you have booked an LFD test then retrieve your booking confirmation email. In this e-mail there is a link to ‘Change your appointment.’ If you click this link, you can change or cancel your appointment.
Test to Release - HALO/PCR
If you have arrived in the UK from overseas and booked a HALO PCR test as part of the ‘Test and Release’ scheme, please contact the Rapid Response Hub to change your booking.
If you are travelling to University from overseas, there are a few important things to consider. We advise you to check the government’s Travel advice: coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance and also the guidance on Entering the UK to ensure you are able to plan your return:
- You should not travel if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been a close contact of someone with COVID-19.
- You should ensure that prior to departing for England you have proof of a negative coronavirus (COVID-19) test result taken within three days of departure with your transport operator. More information on pre-departure testing is available on gov.uk.
- Each country has been assigned a red, amber or green status by the UK Government. The COVID-19 regulations you must follow upon arrival to the UK differ for each of the bandings, there are significant fines if you do not follow these regulations. Please ensure you view the information available from the government webpages, and note that the status of a country can change.
- Since the 17 May, the Government has relaxed restrictions on returning from green listed countries. You must take a PCR test on or before day 2 of your return, and you won’t have to self-quarantine if your test is negative.
- From 19 July, arrivals who have been fully vaccinated with an NHS administered vaccine in the UK (plus 14 days), or are on a formally approved UK vaccine clinical trial, returning to England from amber list counties will no longer need to quarantine – passengers will need to provide proof of their vaccination status to carriers in advance of travel. Pre-departure testing and day 2 testing measures remain.
- The government Test to Release scheme allows arrivals to the UK from countries with an amber status to get tested five days after arrival in the UK and leave self-isolation early - if they test negative. See our ‘what is the Test to Release scheme for international travel and how can I use it’ FAQ for more details. Please note you will still need to get tested on day 2 and day 8 after arrival to the UK, regardless of whether you participate in Test to Release and leave self-quarantine on day 5.
- A number of countries have been classified as red list, meaning that people who have been in or transited through the countries listed in the last 10 days will not be granted access to the UK. This does not include British and Irish Nationals, or third country nationals with residence rights in the UK. If you are an international student with a Tier 4/new student visa or pre-settled/settled status under the European Union settlement scheme, you are exempt from this ban, because you have residence rights. If you are allowed to enter the UK from a travel ban country, you will need to self-isolate in a quarantine hotel for ten days after you arrive in the UK. There is a cost of £1750 per person for hotel quarantine. For more details, please see our FAQ ‘I want to travel to University from a red list country. Am I allowed to do so and what should I consider?’
- Some countries may impose travel bans or choose to limit flights to and from the UK as the COVID-19 situation changes. Please be sure to check the travel advice of the government where you live before making travel plans.
- You should read the Government’s safer travel guidance for passengers before departing and refer to Exeter’s Planning Your Travel to University guidance.
- Everyone travelling to the UK must complete a Passenger Locator Form prior to your departure. You will be required to show proof of a completed Passenger Locator Form at the UK border. You can complete it up to 48 hours before you enter the UK.
If you need to self-isolate on arrival in the UK, please see our information for students who are self-isolating webpage for frequently asked questions and information, including specific advice for students who need to self-isolate when arriving from overseas.
British and Irish nationals, or third country nationals with residence rights in the UK, can enter the UK after having been in one of the red listed countries, but they are required to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival at a managed quarantine hotel. There are no exemptions to self-isolation for these travellers. Non-EEA national visitors, and EEA nationals without a right to reside in the UK, will be denied entry to the UK if, in the 10 days before their arrival to the UK, they have been in or travelled through a red listed country. If you are an international student with a Tier 4/new student visa or pre-settled/settled status under the European Union settlement scheme, you are exempt from this ban, because you have residence rights.
If you are allowed to travel to the UK from a red list country, upon arrival in England you will need to self-isolate for 10 days in a designated quarantine hotel. Please note that if you need to stay in a travel quarantine hotel, you may only enter the UK through designated airports – you can find detail on the Government website. 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.
When you arrive in England, you will be taken directly from the airport to one of these government approved quarantine hotels. There is a maximum cost of £1750 per person to quarantine in one of these hotels. Bookings will be made through a dedicated Government online portal before you travel and will include:
- assigned government transportation
- food and drinks
- accommodation in a government-approved hotel
- welfare support
- COVID-19 testing on day 2 and 8 of quarantine
You can find the Government’s full guidance on quarantine hotels and details of how to book on the Government’s ‘Booking and staying in a quarantine hotel when you arrive in England’ website.
To ensure compliance, the Government had introduced fines from £5,000 rising to £10,000 for arrivals who fail to quarantine in a designated hotel.
Please contact the Rapid Response Hub if you plan to travel to the UK from a red list country and need to self-isolate in a quarantine hotel. You will be eligible for support such as our ‘Digital Hamper’, with vouchers for services like Kindle, Amazon, and Netflix to keep you entertained during your time in quarantine. We can also arrange welfare calls to check in with you during your time in hotel quarantine and make sure you have everything you need. You can find details about our support for self-isolating students, much of which can be accessed virtually, on our dedicated self-isolation support pages.
If the £1750 fee for hotel quarantine creates a significant financial hardship for you, the Government offers an opportunity to apply for a deferred repayment plan when booking. If these costs cause you substantial financial hardship, you may be eligible to apply for financial support through our Success for All Fund. Please read the information on the Success for All Website carefully if you are considering applying for a grant.
These enhanced measures are in place in order to prevent the spread of new strains of COVID-19 into the UK.
If you test positive for COVID-19 or need to self-isolate with your household, you will need to self-isolate and will not be able to travel on a plane or other form of public transport. It is important to note that travel insurance may not cover your costs if you cannot take a pre-booked flight owing to a positive COVID-19 test. If you are travelling for work or study purposes, University travel insurance will not cover your costs if you cannot take a pre-booked flight owing to a positive COVID-19 test.
You are therefore advised to book refundable, cancellable, or flexible travel options where possible to make sure that you do not lose out if you are required to self-isolate. Check the terms and conditions of any bookings carefully.
Please be aware of the latest Travel Advice for Trains from South Western Railway if you wish to travel by rail.
Before travelling, you should read the Government’s safer travel guidance for passengers. There are some key features to consider, including:
- if possible, travel using private transport rather than public transport
- if travelling in a private vehicle, avoid car sharing with anyone from outside your household or support bubble
- wearing a face covering while travelling unless exempt, especially if using public transport
- where possible, keep a safe distance from people from other households when travelling
- wash or sanitise hands regularly
- avoid the busiest routes where possible, as well as busy times like the rush hour
- download the NHS COVID-19 app before you travel, if possible, and check in where you see official NHS COVID-19 QR code posters
- if using public transport, book ahead wherever possible to let transport providers know you will be using the service
If you are planning to travel to Exeter or Cornwall from overseas, you can find details of routes to airports and travel hubs on our Planning Your Travel webpage. Travel plans are aimed at students travelling to Exeter / Cornwall from major airports. Also on this website, you can find details of local taxi companies that will provide airport transfer at reasonable rates if you feel more comfortable travelling in a private vehicle. If travelling from the airport, it is important to plan your travel carefully in advance and adhere to the safe travel guidance outlined above.
Yes. Everyone travelling to the UK from abroad will need proof of a negative coronavirus (COVID-19) test result to enter the country. You need to have taken the test in the 3 days before you travel. If you arrive in England without proof of a negative approved test for COVID-19, you could be fined £500.
You can read the full Government Guidance for further details.
Arrivals from countries classified as amber will be required to undertake 2 mandatory COVID-19 PCR tests – on day 2 and day 8 of their 10-day quarantine. If you have travelled from a country listed as amber, you can participate in the Test to Release scheme.
From 19 July, arrivals who have been fully vaccinated with an NHS administered vaccine in the UK (plus 14 days), or are on a formally approved UK vaccine clinical trial, returning to England from amber list counties will no longer need to quarantine – passengers will need to provide proof of their vaccination status to carriers in advance of travel. Pre-departure testing and day 2 testing measures remain.
Arrivals from countries classified as green will be required to undertake 1 mandatory COVID-19 PCR test – on day 2 after arrival to the UK.
Arrivals from countries on the red list will be required to undertake 2 mandatory COVID-19 PCR tests – on day 2 and day 8 of their 10-day quarantine.
You must book these tests through the Government portal. You can read full details and book your tests on the Government’s website.
People travelling to England will be responsible for booking these tests before they travel. The passenger locator forms you complete, any time in the 48 hours before arriving in the UK, will require you to include details of your self-isolation arrangements and the testing package you have arranged. Tests must be booked from a list of government-approved test providers. A penalty will be given to any international arrival who fails to take their mandatory test(s).
If you arrive in the UK from a country that is not on the travel ban list, the people you’re staying with do not need to quarantine, unless:
- they travelled with you
- you or someone in the place where you’re staying develop symptoms of coronavirus
You should still avoid as much contact with other people as possible in your home to reduce the risk of transmitting coronavirus. You should stay in a well ventilated room with a window to the outside that can be opened, separate from other people in your home. Wear a face covering in all communal areas of your accommodation, social distance (2m) from others in your household and robustly clean any areas that you are required to share such as kitchen surfaces, taps, door handles and switches. Strictly obey Government guidance on reducing the risk of spreading coronavirus.
We will be providing further guidance on quarantine self-isolating and how we’ll support you, as well as more specifically support available for students travelling to our Penryn campuses, as soon as we can.
Please see our information for students who are self-isolating webpage for frequently asked questions and information, including specific advice for students who need to self-isolate when arriving from overseas.
No. Please do not return to campus if anyone in your household has any symptoms of COVID-19 (a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss of teste/smell) or has tested positive for COVID-19. You are required to complete 10 days in self-isolation from the date anyone in your household returns a positive test result. Even if you test negative for COVID-19 yourself, you must not travel until you have completed this ten day period in self-isolation. If you subsequently develop symptoms of COVID-19, you must self-isolate for 10 days from when symptoms start.
If you develop any symptoms of COVID-19 while you are away from University, please seek a test through the relevant provider where you are located. If you are within the UK please use the Government testing service.
Once you have completed your time in self-isolation, you may return to campus - paying careful attention to safe travel guidance and the restrictions in your local area.