COVID-19 travel information

Travelling to the UK

COVID-19 travel guidance is currently subject to change. Please check the UK Government website and this page regularly before you  travel.

What you must do before you travel

Travel requirements vary depending on whether the country you have been in the 10 days before your arrival is on the red, amber or green list. Check which list your country is on.

Before you travel to the UK you must:

  • Provide your journey and contact details 72 hours before you arrive via the government passenger locator form. You will need to show a printed copy or the form on your phone upon arrival in the UK
  • Take a COVID-19 test up to three days before departure and keep evidence to show on arrival in the UK
  • Book and pay for COVID-19 tests that you need to take after you arrive in the UK. If living on the Colchester Campus ensure you address the test for our North Teaching Centre Collection Point (See 'Booking your tests' below)
  • Consider booking an optional 'Test to Release' which may allow for you to finish your quarantine earlier (see below) 

Please note: based on your employment or for medical reasons there may be changes to what you are required to complete for travel.

Booking your tests

When booking your post-arrival tests, you must use a Government-approved COVID-19 testing provider.

We work closely with Latus Health to provide our University asymptomatic testing clinicUniversity asymptomatic testing clinicUniversity asymptomatic testing clinic which is approved by the Government to provide a range of COVID-19 testing services and will also allow the University to better support you.

If you wish to book your COVID-19 tests through Latus Health you can do so by emailing: essexuni@latushealth.co.uk.

Collecting your tests

For day 2, day 8, Test to Release and travel PCR tests:

If you will be living on Colchester Campus, please ensure you address your tests to be delivered to our North Teaching Centre building using the address below and not your accommodation address. This will allow for you to easily collect your tests before starting quarantine, Monday to Friday between 10am and 4pm.

COVID-19 Test Collection Point
North Teaching Centre
University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park
Colchester, Essex
CO4 3SQ

If you are living off campus your should arrange delivery of your tests to the location where you will quarantine.

Sending your tests

For day 2, day 8, Test to Release and travel PCR tests:

  • Living off campus – your provider will advise you of the arrangement for sending your test.
  • Living on Colchester Campus - If your test provider uses Royal Mail, after you have completed a test, you should take this packaged as instructed to the main Royal Mail post box next to the campus shop on Square 4. This must not be returned to the Post Room or North Teaching Centre.

For collection that day, the completed test must be dropped into the mailbox by 3.30pm Monday to Friday. Tests dropped after this time will not be collected until the following day. 

If your test provider does not use Royal Mail, you must organise this separately.

If you receive a positive result

If you receive a positive test result you should inform the University as soon as possible by emailing covid19@essex.ac.uk so that we can provide support and advice.

Arriving from a RED list country

If you have been in a country or territory on the red list in the 10 days before you arrive in England, you will only be allowed to enter the UK if you are a British or Irish National, or you have residence rights in the UK.  If you have a Tier 4/new student visa or have pre-settled/settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, then this ban does not apply to you, because you have 'residence rights'.

You need to:

Please note you will need to purchase a hotel quarantine package.

Arriving from an AMBER list country 

You will need to:

Arriving from a GREEN list country

You will need to: 

  • complete the day 2 COVID-19 test
  • self-isolate if your COVID-19 test result is positive and inform us at covid19@essex.ac.uk so that the University can offer advice and support
  • once your self-isolation is completed if you are attending campus ensure you test twice weekly

You must self-isolate if NHS Test and Trace informs you that you travelled to England with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Arriving early and student visas 

Arriving early

We know that due to frequency and cost of flights, it might be more difficult to plan your flight arrival with the beginning of the academic year. In order to help with this – and accommodate any need for quarantining/self-isolation on arrival – we will be staggering arrival times for students moving into University-owned accommodation. 

These arrival dates vary depending on the country you are coming from:

Travelling from a red list country

If you are staying in Government-approved hotel provision you do not need to arrive between these dates but check your visa to see when the earliest date is that you can arrive.

You should plan to arrive between 3 September and 10 September if you are able to quarantine in University accommodation (as you must complete your quarantine period by 20 September).

Travelling from an amber list country and required to self-isolate

You should plan to arrive from 13 September onwards.

Travelling from any other location (green list countries and UK)

We are still encouraging you to arrive early and you can come from 27 September. 

The majority of in-person activities, including your departmental induction programme, will start formally on our campuses from 3 October so try to complete your quarantining/self-isolation period by then.

Student visas

If you are issued with a student visa to study at Essex, you can expect to be issued with entry clearance that will start up to one month before the course start date stated on your CAS.

The standard processing time for student visa entry clearance applications is currently 15 working days but it can take much longer during peak application periods.

You will need to have your student entry clearance vignette (sticker) in your passport before you travel to the UK and must enter the UK on or after the date it is valid from.

Last date you can arrive in the UK

The last date you can arrive in the UK will vary depending on your course of study. Your academic department will be in touch with further information about this by the end of June.

The last date of registration is 3 November; even if you are unable to travel to the UK for the start of your course, it is important that you register by this last registration date in order to access your course remotely (if possible) until you are able to travel to the UK.

If you are issued with a CAS to apply for a student visa, the Student Immigration Rules require you to be studying in person. Therefore, if your department agree you can start your course remotely, please be aware that the Home Office require us to withdraw our sponsorship and, if you have been issued with a Student visa it would be cancelled by the Home Office. There are Home Office COVID-19 concessions in place that allow sponsored students to study via distance learning for the current 2020-21 academic year, should those concessions be extended for 2021-22 this may change.

If you are interested in applying to stay in the UK under the Graduate route when you have completed your course, you will need to meet all the eligibility criteria in force at the time, including the UK residency requirement. If you are studying an eligible Bachelors or Masters degree for one academic year only, you need to make sure you are in the UK by the course start date stated on your CAS. 

Getting a vaccination

Some treatments provided by the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is free for everyone. This includes coronavirus tests and treatment, as well as vaccinations against coronavirus.

Vaccines for international students in the UK

COVID vaccines are available in the UK and provided free via the NHS. The UK Government is currently predicting that all UK adults aged over 18 will be vaccinated by July 2021. We expect that vaccines will be given to international students after they arrive in the UK if they have not already been vaccinated. In order to be eligible for the vaccine, you will need to register with a GP (doctor) on arrival.

We have health services available locally to all campuses (doctors surgery on Colchester Campus) and NHS hospitals close to all of our campuses. You will be able to access these (and wider health care) through the fee paid for health cover.

Travelling to the UK without a vaccine

At the moment there is no UK Government requirement that you should have a vaccine to enter the UK, although this might change/and individual airlines might introduce specific requirements. You should check UK Government requirements regularly as these are subject to change.

We will not require all students and staff to be vaccinated, but would encourage everyone who is eligible to be vaccinated to do so. If you have not yet had a vaccine by the time you arrive at Essex, we will provide information and advice to you about how you can access local vaccination facilities.

Leaving the UK to study remotely overseas

If you came to the UK to study but would now like to return home to study remotely from overseas, the UK government have confirmed that this will be regarded as ‘essential travel’ and you can travel to your UK departure destination. Please ensure that you follow the UK government guidelines relating to COVID-19. You should also check what restrictions are in place in the country you will travel to.

Before you make arrangements to leave the UK please ensure that you have done the following:

  • completed your registration by attending an in-person right to study check and;
  • change your study location to remote by completing the Student Study Form on your MyEssex portal. If you have in person teaching scheduled, check with your department if you can study remotely instead.
  • check when your in-person teaching is due to start next term and make plans to be back in time to attend, don’t forget you may have to quarantine when you get back.

For students with a Tier 4 or Student visa you should also:

  • collect your BRP (if you originally applied for entry clearance overseas and haven’t already done so) and;
  • if your Entry Clearance or UKVI decision letter states “Police Registration” you must register with the Police unless your local Police Force has suspended Police Registration.
  • if you haven’t completed your right to study check and/or have been unable to collect your BRP, please contact our International Services team.

Please be aware that we are required to monitor the academic engagement of all our sponsored students (immigration) even when you are studying remotely, if you fail to engage for 30 days we may be required to withdraw our sponsorship and you may not be able to continue your course. Read our immigration pages for more information about studying remotely overseas in 2020-21.

For students from the EEA/Switzerland, we recommend you apply to the EU Settlement Scheme before you leave, if you are eligible and haven’t already done so. Read the UKCISA guidance and contact their student advice line if you have any questions about your application.

When you travel back to the UK, please be aware that you may be required to self-isolate (quarantine) when you arrive so you may need to arrive in the UK at least 15 days before you are required to attend. We recommend you review the latest guidance on entering the UK before travelling. If you have in-person teaching, don’t forget to change your study location back to on-campus via the Student Study Form on your MyEssex portal.

Quarantining

You must follow Government guidance regarding quarantining and only leave your accommodation in exceptional circumstances or when collecting or dropping off your COVID-19 tests. You must not attend the asymptomatic campus testing clinic during your quarantine.

Test to Release scheme

You can reduce your period of quarantine by booking a private COVID-19 test with the Test to Release for International Travel scheme which if arranged you can take on day 5. If the COVID-19 test result is negative, you will be able to end your quarantine immediately. However, you must still complete and send off the day 2 and day 8 COVID-19 test.

You should book this test before you travel to England when you opt into the scheme on the passenger locator form. However, you can also choose to take part in the scheme once you're in England.

Please note that if you are travelling from certain countries to the UK, you will not be allowed to use the Test to Release for international travel scheme. This updated list can be found on the UK Government’s Test to Release webpage. If you’re travelling to the UK for less than 10 days, you will be expected to quarantine for the length of your stay, but you can travel directly to your place of departure. 

Arrangements for students from red list countries

This guidance is based on UK government guidance and therefore is subject to change as and when changes and updates are made.

Current UK requirements are that students arriving from red list countries must quarantine for 10 days.

If you do not have University accommodation

If you do not have an allocation via Accommodation Essex or if you will be living in private rental accommodation, you will need to stay in a Government-approved hotel and the University will reimburse this cost once you have registered and providing you do not leave the University before November.

Further information about claiming back this cost will be available soon.

If you have University accommodation

If you have an accommodation allocation via Accommodation Essex for the academic year 2021-22, if the UK Government allows and there is space, there may be the opportunity to stay in campus accommodation for the period of quarantine. Accommodation Essex will provide more information on this when it becomes available.

Students on a PSE course

If you need to arrive in the UK before 3 September and are required to quarantine, you will need to stay in a Government-approved hotel.  

We will reimburse the cost of the Government-approved hotel provision once you have commenced your main programme of study. Further information about claiming back this cost will be available soon.

Arrangements for students from amber list countries

Students in private rental accommodation 

If you do not have an allocation via Accommodation Essex or if you will be living in private rental accommodation, you will be able to self-isolate in your private term-time rental accommodation. You should liaise directly with your landlord if you want to request an earlier arrival date than the start of your tenancy.

Students in University accommodation

If you have made a University accommodation booking for the new academic year, you will be able to make a free of charge self-isolation accommodation booking to be able to arrive early on campus. Details about this will be provided once you have received and accepted your term-time University room offer. Current UK requirements means that students arriving from amber list countries must quarantine for 10 days.

Quarantine/self-isolation support in University accommodation

You will receive a kitchen pack, bedding pack, food pack and cleaning pack free of charge. A laundry service will also be available. Support will be provided to facilitate Tesco deliveries to flats at the Colchester Campus (details to be confirmed) and Sainsbury’s deliveries to the flat at the Southend Campus.

A number of restaurants and food outlets also deliver takeaways to the University via apps such as Uber Eats, Just Eats and Deliveroo.

Any post/parcels you have delivered to the University, will be delivered to your flat door.

The Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity Service is here to support your health and wellbeing throughout your time at Essex. One of the friendly Wellbeing Assessors will contact you via your university email address during your period of quarantine to make sure you have the support you need. The Wellbeing Assessors can also provide advice and support on areas such as personal, welfare, emotional/mental health concerns on weekdays across all campuses. If you want to book a virtual meeting or call with one of the Wellbeing Assessors you can do this via the appointment request form.

Our friendly Residence Life team host a range of social activities for students living on and off campus, for you to participate with and meet new friends and make new connections.
The Students’ Union will also be organising a broad range of virtual and in-person activity; further information will be available nearer the beginning of the new academic year.
We will also be offering a range of online activities to help you prepare for your time at Essex.

For students from red list countries

In order to comply with UK Government requirements, it is likely that you will be required to have a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen/cooking facilities for your sole use. This means that you will be in a flat/studio flat on your own during the period of quarantine. 

For students from amber list countries who need to self-isolate

Depending on where your other flat mates are travelling from, you may have other students in your flat during your self-isolation period. You will be sharing kitchen facilities (and in some flats bathroom facilities) but you should avoid using these facilities at the same time.

Coming to Essex as a new student?

Find out more about accommodation at Essex and living on campus.

Worried about the self-isolation requirement?

Please contact your department who will be able to advise of the teaching requirement for the term and if there are circumstances that would make it difficult or prevent your from travelling this can be discussed. You can also email covid19@essex.ac.uk if you have any questions.

Returning to campus from elsewhere in the UK

Get tested as soon as you return to campus

You also need to get tested as soon as you return to campus:

  • If you test positive you should self-isolate before returning to campus.
  • You should get tested at one of our test clinics when you arrive on campus and again three days later.
  • If you test positive at our clinic you should self-isolate and let us know by emailing covid19@essex.ac.uk.
  • Upon your return to the University please make sure you have LFT tests at our clinic twice weekly.

We undertake lateral flow, rapid antigen tests on campus for asymptomatic students and staff and recommend these twice weekly.  The tests you will need to take for the quarantine period if you are travelling from overseas are different to these tests (see above) and you should not attend the University’s asymptomatic testing clinic until after you have finished your quarantine period.

For students travelling from within the UK and Ireland, to ensure we are COVID secure, any student not wishing to be tested during this period will need to self-isolate for 10 days before accessing any of our campuses. Therefore, you will be asked in the first week you return to campus to take two tests - on day two and day eight. After your first week back, it is suggested that you have a test weekly

 

 

Taking a lateral flow test somewhere else

If it is easier for you to access asymptomatic testing in the community, near where you live, you are free to take a lateral flow test there.

This might be particularly useful if you live some distance from University.

Testing if you've already had COVID or a vaccine

If you have tested positive to COVID within the past 90 days, you are exempt from testing.

If you have had a vaccine against COVID, you should still take the tests.

Self-isolation

If you are a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case, or if you have been made aware that you are a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case, you must isolate for a 10-day period.

If you are a close contact of a positive case and you wish to travel during the vacation period, you will need to have a negative antigen test or a negative PCR test before you travel. You will still need to self-isolate for a 10-day period at your destination. If you develop symptoms in the 10-day period you will need to arrange for an NHS COVID-19 test.

If you are sharing a house with others at your destination, they will not need to self-isolate unless you develop symptoms. We have developed a full programme of self-isolation support.

Students who are required to isolate should let us know by email covid19@essex.ac.uk.

Travelling from campus and the UK

You must follow Government guidance on what you need to do to travel internationally and check the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office for the latest advice about travelling abroad and testing requirements for travel.

If you have had a full vaccine course (two doses), you will be able to demonstrate your COVID-19 vaccination status to enter some countries and territories. 

Travelling to a country on the red list

If you are travelling to a country on the government's red list, you should make sure you are aware of what the rules are when you return to the UK from a red list country.

You must identify which COVID-19 test you require before your departure, according to the requirements set by the destination country.


Lateral test and letter requirement for travel

The University’s asymptomatic testing clinicasymptomatic testing clinicasymptomatic testing clinic provides COVID-19 Innova antigen testing (99.68% specificity and 76.8% sensitivity).

This test is free of charge and a letter confirming the Innova antigen test result can be provided upon request. However, you must check that this meets the specifications as set by your destination country.

If you wish to receive a letter confirming your test result you must:

  • email covid19@essex.ac.uk on the day of your test and request a confirmation letter (this will be sent back to you via email)
  • ensure the test is done within the timeframe specified by your destination country

PCR test requirement for travel

A COVID-19 PCR Test Certificate may be required by some countries This can be booked from a list of government approved private test providers and will incur a cost. We have identified some local providers below:

We work closely with Latus Health to provide our University’s asymptomatic testing clinic, who are approved by the Government to provide a range of COVID-19 testing services and will also allow the University to better support you.

If you wish to book your COVID-19 PCR test through Latus Health, email essexuni@latushealth.co.uk and provide all the details requested.

If you book the test via Latus Health, you can opt to have your test at the University’s asymptomatic testing clinicUniversity’s asymptomatic testing clinicUniversity’s asymptomatic testing clinic (within the clinic's opening times) or to do the test at home. The result turnaround is approximately 36 hours from the time it reaches the laboratory, and a certificate will be sent  to you by email once the result is available.

Collecting your test

  • Living off campus - you should arrange delivery of your tests to the location where you will quarantine
  • Living on campus - your tests will be delivered to the North Teaching Centre and is open for collections, Monday to Friday between 10am and 4pm

Sending your test

  • Living off campus – Your provider will advise you of the arrangement for sending your test.
  • Living on Colchester Campus - If your test provider uses Royal Mail, after you have completed a test, you should take this packaged as instructed to the main Royal Mail post box next to the campus shop on Square 4. This must not be returned to the Post Room or North Teaching Centre.

For collection that day, the completed test must be dropped into the mailbox by 3.30pm Monday to Friday. Tests dropped after this time will not be collected until the following day. 

If your test provider does not use Royal Mail, you must organise this separately.

If you receive a positive result

If you receive a positive test result you should inform the University as soon as possible by emailing covid19@essex.ac.uk so that we can provide support and advice.

Travelling by public transport

If you need to use public transport to travel, find out what options you have:

Travelling from Colchester Campus

Travelling to Stansted Airport
  1. Take a bus or taxi from the University of Essex Colchester Campus at Wivenhoe Park. to Colchester (North Station).
  2. Take an overground train (Greater Anglia) from Colchester North Station to Liverpool Street.
  3. Take an overground train (Stansted Express) to Stansted Airport
Travelling to Heathrow Airport
  1. Take a bus or taxi from the University of Essex Colchester Campus at Wivenhoe Park. to Colchester (North Station).
  2. Take an overground train (Greater Anglia) from Colchester North Station to Liverpool Street.
  3. Take an underground train (TfL) via the Circle (yellow) or Hammersmith & City (pink) line from Liverpool Street to Paddington or King’s Cross St Pancras station
  4. Take an overground train from Paddington station OR take an underground train (dark blue & white striped line) to Heathrow Airport. From Kings Cross St Pancras Station use the underground train Piccadilly (dark blue) line to Heathrow Airport.
Travelling to Gatwick Airport
  1. Take a bus or taxi from the University of Essex Colchester Campus at Wivenhoe Park. to Colchester (North Station).
  2. Take an overground train (Greater Anglia) from Colchester North Station to Liverpool Street.
  3. Take an underground train (TfL) via the Circle (yellow) line from Liverpool Street station to Victoria station.
  4. Take the Gatwick Express (overground) directly from Victoria station to Gatwick Airport OR take an overground (Southern Rail or Thameslink) train from Victoria to Gatwick Airport.
Travelling to Luton Airport
  1. Take a bus or taxi from the University of Essex Colchester Campus at Wivenhoe Park. to Colchester (North Station).
  2. Take an overground train (Greater Anglia) from Colchester North Station to Liverpool Street.
  3. Take an underground train (TfL) via the Circle (yellow) or Hammersmith & City (pink) line from Liverpool Street station to King’s Cross St Pancras.
  4. Take an overground train (Thameslink) from King’s Cross St Pancras to Luton Airport

Travelling from Southend Campus

Travelling from Loughton Campus

Rules when travelling on public transport

When you travel, you should follow the Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer travel guidance for passengers:

  • wear a face covering unless exempt
  • keep your distance from people from other households when you travel, where possible
  • wash or sanitise your hands regularly
  • avoid the busiest routes, 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
  • book ahead wherever possible.

Travelling by car

If you are travelling by private vehicle you should try to avoid car sharing with anyone outside your household or support bubble and should follow the safer travel guidance for passengers to reduce the risk of transmission where this is not possible.

Students on Erasmus+ exchanges

Travel to and from regions affected by COVID-19 may have to be postponed or cancelled, and participants should speak to their provider in case alternative arrangements are necessary. Where this travel is funded through the Erasmus+ or European Solidarity Corps programmes, the Force Majeure clause in your contract may apply. See the National Agency’s website for more information.

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