COVID-19 travel information

Safely making your plans for the Easter break

Please remember that national Government COVID restrictions will still be in place during the University’s Easter vacation. If you plan on travelling to another destination during this break, please make sure you follow this advice.

Travelling away from campus during Easter vacation

Get tested as soon as you return to campus

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

  • If you want to get a test during the Easter vacation you can find a local UK test centre online.
  • 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
  • Upon your return to the University please make sure you have LFT tests at our clinic twice 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.

You can find out more about returning to university for the Spring Term in the latest guide from the Office for Students.

Please remember to keep to the current government rules to protect yourselves, your friends and your family.

Travelling to the UK - quarantine information

Travelling from one of the government’s 'red list' countries

You can see the latest 'red list' on the UK Government website.

The UK Government announced on 25 January 2021 that over 30 countries were being placed on a travel ban list. This means that people travelling from or transiting in these countries will be denied entry into the UK. However, this ban does not apply to British and Irish Nationals, or third country nationals with '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'. Please note however, that you will not be allowed to use the test to release scheme to end isolation early.

For further information please see the UK Government website.

Preparing to travel from and arriving from a country on the ‘red list’

From 15 February 2021, if you arrive from a country on the banned travel list you will have to self-isolate for 10 days in a UK Government-contracted hotel. You will need to purchase a hotel quarantine package at a cost of £1750 which includes the 10 days' accommodation and the two COVID-19 tests. Further information on how to book this package can be found on the UK Government website.

Fines and prison sentence can apply if you fail to follow this process, so please check carefully. 

Travelling from any country not on the government’s 'red list'

You can see the latest 'red list' on the UK Government website.

From 15 February 2021, if you arrive from non-banned countries, you will need to have purchased the two COVID-19 tests to be taken on day two and day eight of your self-isolation period. This is booked through the NHS currently and there will be a cost to this. Please look at the UK Government website for details of what you need to do before you travel and how to book this package.

Before you travel self-isolation and the Test to Release International Travel scheme

The UK Government has decided to allow people entering England from outside the UK the chance to reduce their period of self-isolation by booking a private COVID-19 test with the Test to Release for International Travel scheme. The scheme allows people entering England to book a COVID-19 test with a private provider in England before they arrive. If the COVID-19 test result is negative, they will be able to end their self-isolation immediately. The earliest you will be able to take the test will be 5 full days after you left the country you travelled from. 

You should book your test before you travel to England. This is so you can enter these details 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 website linked above. It's important that you read this the test to release information on the Government website carefully and understand what you have to do before and after your arrival in England.

If you’re travelling to the UK for less than 10 days, you will be expected to self-isolate for the length of your stay, but you can travel directly to your place of departure. See the Government website for further information on how to self-isolate.

We know self-isolating is a challenge. We offer a range of support to help you through this challenging time.

Accommodation and campus support

What to do if you are 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 if you have any questions.

Returning to accommodation

The Government has also made clear that students should not return to their term time accommodation at this point, without a compelling reason. Examples of compelling reasons are:

  • you are an international student who has remained in the UK or have arrived and do not have alternative accommodation  
  • you do not have access to appropriate study spaces or facilities in your vacation accommodation  
  • you have remained in your university accommodation over the winter break 
  • you need additional support, including with mental health issues  
  • you are on a placement where the placement provider has COVID secure measures in place, is permitted to open based on the relevant local restrictions and is content for placements to continue

We appreciate that these arrangements will create particular challenges for care leavers, estranged students, international students and those for whom studying from home may be difficult. It has also been difficult for our students who have stayed on campus or are living alone in the university areas. If you need to speak to someone, help and support is available.

University accommodation charges

Students who have not yet moved into University accommodation, either because they have deferred occupancy or have paused their tenancy during the Autumn Term, will only pay accommodation charges for the Spring Term when they move in. Contact for more information.

COVID-19 testing and self-isolation


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 and you should not attend for the University based tests until after you have finished your quarantine period. 

We are running an increased number of clinics and we ask our community to be tested more frequently during this period. By increasing the frequency of testing we hope to allow our students to safely return and protect those who have remained on campus during the break.

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.


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

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.

International students

Leaving the UK to study remotely from 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 live in Essex, you won’t be able to register as Essex Police have suspended new registrations and confirmed it in writing, go to our website to download a copy of their letter so that you can show it to UK Border Force when you travel back into the UK.
  • 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 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.

COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccination for Autumn 2021

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. The NHS has detailed information about coronavirus on its website.

The UK currently has a vaccination programme in place that is on schedule to have over 18 year olds vaccinated by the end of July 2021. It is therefore anticipated that when international students arrive in the UK to continue their studies in Autumn 2021, they should be able to receive a free coronavirus vaccination. Information will be provided to students as part of their registration process.

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