Travel restrictions & visas

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Last reviewed: 19 March 2021

Covid-19 | Travel restrictions and student visas

Inbound travel restrictions currently affect passengers travelling to the UK from all countries.

English UK members should make sure that any students arriving to the UK understand the specific testing requirements to avoid issues on arrival. 

Current UK inbound travel rules

Travel to the UK from 'red list' countries is banned for anyone who is not a UK or Irish citizen or UK resident. Passengers travelling from all other countries must do the following before departure:

Upon arrival, all passengers are required by law to self-isolate (quarantine) for 10 days and take the two pre-booked tests. If either of these post-arrival tests is positive, they must quarantine for a further 10 days.

Quarantine hotels

Everyone who arrives into Scotland will have to book and pay for managed isolation in a quarantine hotel. Quarantine hotels are also mandatory for UK and Irish residents travelling home from red-list countries to other parts of the UK.

Test to Release

Travellers arriving into England can use the Test to Release for international travel scheme which may shorten their mandatory quarantine period. This involves taking an additional authorised Covid-19 test five days after arrival. 

How to apply for a visa if a visa application centre is closed due to Covid-19 restrictions

Where a VAC is closed, applicants can apply for any type of visa online using this link and then select a VAC in any country worldwide (subject to that country's entry requirements) to submit their application and biometrics. If you have immigration queries related to Covid-19 you can contact the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre.

Find out more:

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English language testing centres

You can find information on which centres are open on the test centre providers' websites:

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Coronavirus concessions for sponsors and short-term students

Details of the special Coronavirus (Covid-19) concessions are available here:

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Government global travel taskforce

The Secretary of State Grant Shapps chaired the first meeting of the new Global Travel Taskforce on 2 March 2021 to set out a plan for restarting international travel in a safe and sustainable way. The Terms of Reference for the Global Travel Taskforce have now been published. The taskforce will provide a report to the Prime Minister on 12 April 2021, which will be used to help government determine when and how to resume safe international travel no earlier than 17 May 2021.

There is an opportunity to offer your thoughts and share any written evidence or ideas by emailing

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