Student international travel advice to and from university
Student travel advice
What to do when you’re returning to the UK
- Take a COVID-19 test within 3 days before you travel, to provide proof of a negative test before departure. Always check with your airline as specific requirements will vary
- Complete a passenger locator form up to 48 hours before you travel
- Check if you are travelling from or through a red, amber, or green list country
- Pre-book and pay for a travel test package and pre-arrange your accommodation according to countries travelled from or through
- Quarantine for 10 days on arrival in a managed quarantine hotel if you travel from or through a red list country, or in your own accommodation if you travel from or through an amber list country
- Take approved COVID-19 tests on day 2 and day 8 after your arrival, or day 2 test if you’re travelling from a green list country. From 19 July, travellers who have been fully vaccinated with an NHS administered vaccine in the UK (plus 14 days) no longer have to take a day 8 test, though must still take a day 2 test.
- Regularly check all relevant guidance pages for updates as travel advice might change
- 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. You may also be eligible to apply for financial support through our Success for All Fund. Find out more about the Success for All Fund on the financial help pages
What to do when you’re travelling out of the UK
Before you travel to the UK
It is vital that you follow the correct arrival procedure as failure to do so may result in possible delays or fines. In some instances, you may be denied entry at the border.
- You must take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test and have proof of a negative result to travel to the UK. Tests must be booked before you travel. Airlines will have different requirements and you are advised to check specific requirements and timeframes for testing with your airline
- The University’s asymptomatic testing programme is not appropriate to fulfil the legal requirement for travel testing
- It is your responsibility to pre-book and pay for a travel test package, which will include COVID-19 tests to be taken on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 of quarantine. Testing provided by the University will not cover this. You must pre-book the travel test package. If you do not take the day 2 and day 8 tests, you could face a fine of £2000. NB: 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.
- Be aware that travel advice may change, so regularly check all relevant guidance pages for the latest updates prior to travelling
Arrival in the UK
- Students holding valid Tier 4/Student visa for degree study are are permitted to enter the UK from amber and red list countries.
- Upon arrival from a green list country, you must ensure you take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 of your arrival in the UK.
- Upon arrival from a red or amber list country, you must quarantine for 10 days on arrival and you should pre-book/pre-arrange your accommodation accordingly:
- if you have travelled from or through a red list country 10 days before arrival, you must quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel. This applies to students who are British or Irish nationals, or third country nationals with resident’s rights in the UK, this includes Tier 4/Student visa holders. You must pre-book your quarantine hotel in advance, or you could face a fine of up to £4000.
- if you have travelled from or through an amber list country you must quarantine in your own accommodation for 10 days, though 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.
- if you have travelled from a green list country you do not need to quarantine but must take a day 2 test.
- Be ready to present proof of study documents on arrival to the UK if arriving from an amber or red list country.
- Speak to your travel insurer to understand the implications of changing your travel date.
- You have a legal duty to quarantine on your return to the UK from amber and red list countries, and you may receive a public health self-isolation compliance check. If you break quarantine rules you may face a penalty of up to £10,000.
Test to Release scheme
- You may be able to end your quarantine early through the optional Test to Release scheme if you pay for a private coronavirus (COVID-19) test and have arrived from an amber list country.
- You must still take the day 2 and day 8 tests you booked before you travelled and must have been in the UK for a full 5 days before the Test to Release test
- A day 5 Test to Release test can only be used by travellers who have travelled from non-red list countries and whose day 2 test result was negative or inconclusive.
- You can book a day 5 Test to Release test via the Rapid Response Hub, the test must be booked before travelling and will need to be recorded on your passenger locator form
- You must continue to quarantine until a day 5 negative test is received
Before you travel out of the UK
It is vital that you follow the correct procedure before you leave the UK as failure to do so may result in possible delays or fines. In some instances, you may be denied entry at the border.
- You must take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test and have proof of a negative result to travel out of the UK. Tests must be booked before you travel
- The University’s asymptomatic testing programme is not appropriate to fulfil the legal requirement for travel testing. You should contact the Rapid Response Hub to get a HALO PCR test
- Each airline and country will have different requirements and you are advised to check specific requirements and timeframes for testing with your airline and foreign travel advice websites
- You should prepare to show your proof of study documents at border control when leaving the UK to travel an amber or red list country
Frequently asked questions
See below our frequently asked questions on travelling to our campuses from within the UK and overseas:
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you are entering the UK from a country classified as amber, 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.
Please check that the country you are travelling from, or any country you are travelling through, is not classified as red list or green list before booking a test for Test to Release.
The scheme is voluntary and applies to those self-isolating in England only.
Find out more on our dedicated Test to Release information page.
Support will be available to all registered students, irrespective of fee status and study level via an application process involving the submission of a valid a receipt of payment for accommodation at a Government approved quarantine hotel.
Travel Test Packages booked through the Government portal are provided by a company called Corporate Travel Management (CTM). The booking form and contact details for anyone requiring support can be found here: https://quarantinehotelbookings.ctmportal.co.uk/ Anyone experiencing a delay in their tests for days 2 and/or 8 being delivered by CTM is advised to call 119.
The UK government has announced that it will introduce the Graduate Route from the summer of 2021. From this time, students holding a valid Tier 4 or Student visa, who have completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a UK Higher Education Provider, will be able to remain in the UK and work, or look for work, for 2 years after they complete their studies (or 3 years if they have completed a PhD).
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic it is possible that some students may need or choose to study part of their programme from their home country before coming to the UK. The UK government has announced that to be eligible for the Graduate Route applications must be submitted in the UK. It was originally a requirement that all students who started their programmes in 2020 and hoped to apply to the Graduate Route would have to arrive in the UK by 6th April, but owing to the COVID-19 pandemic this deadline has been pushed back until 21st June. For further details see: http://www.exeter.ac.uk/internationalstudents/applyingforavisa/graduateroute/
There will be several important things for you to consider, and the requirements will vary by country and maybe even by region. It is important you both check the government’s travel advice and follow any guidance issued by your placement provider well in advance of your departure date. The Global Opportunities team have produced risk assessments for each of the placement countries which outline some of the restrictions and considerations you will need to factor into your placement preparation. The risk assessments and other resources such as the Pre-Departure Handbook can be accessed via the Outbound 2021-22 Teams site. If you have not already requested access please email email@example.com
Vaccination requirements will vary by country and maybe even by region. It is important you both check the government’s travel advice and follow any guidance issued by your placement provider well in advance of your departure date. When you are eligible to book a vaccination you will be able to do so via the NHS website, studying or working abroad next academic year does not expedite your eligibility for the vaccination. If your placement provider requires you to have received your vaccinations before you start your placement and this will delay your travel please contact your placement provider to enquire if you can study or work remotely until you have received your second dose of the vaccination.
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.
To ensure you receive all the support you need, all international travellers to our Cornwall Campus should contact us using this form:
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.
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.
Information on travel overseas and arriving in the UK from overseas, is available on our international travel advice pages.