See guidance about overseas travel as well as the visas you need to study at Sussex while the Coronavirus situation is ongoing.
Entering the UK
It is vital that international students follow Government rules on entering the UK.
What you need to do
There are a few things you must do to follow the law on international travel.
Once you have booked your travel (such as plane tickets), you must:
- take a coronavirus (Covid-19) test and get a negative result up to three days before you travel
- book a travel test package – as part of the package, you do the following:
- book two Covid-19 PCR tests to be taken on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 of quarantine
- complete a passenger locator form detailing where you will quarantine upon arrival
- plan your quarantine in the UK as follows:
- if you have travelled from or through a red list country within 10 days of arrival, you must quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel. This applies to students who are British or Irish nationals, or third country nationals with residence rights in the UK, e.g. international students. You must pre-book this in advance; or
- if you have not travelled from or through a red list country, you must quarantine in your own pre-arranged accommodation for 10 days
- Show your negative pre-travel PCR test and confirmation of your travel test package to officials on your journey. You won’t be able to travel without them
- Be ready to present proof of study documents along with necessary travel documents on arrival to the UK.
If you don’t do these things, you may be delayed, fined or denied entry at the border.
Once you’re quarantining in the UK, if you want to finish quarantine early, you can choose to pay for a private test under the Test to Release scheme. This is in addition to the two mandatory travel test package PCR tests mentioned above.
Tip: Travel advice can change. Check all guidance and updates before you travel. Speak to your travel insurer to understand the implications of changing travel dates.
See all government restrictions on travel to the UK from outside the Common Travel Area.
Check our visa guidance to see if you need to travel.
Once you are at Sussex
You can book additional Covid-19 lateral flow device tests once you have been told you can come on to campus.
We encourage all students to get tested regularly to keep everyone safe.
If you are self-isolating in University-managed accommodation, you should report Covid-19 self-isolation to the University.
Leaving the UK
Make sure you’ve updated your term-time address on Sussex Direct so we know how to contact you in an emergency.
If you’re a student visa holder, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) requires us to hold up-to-date contact details for you. If you are staying on campus, please also complete this short survey so we can stay in touch and make sure you have the latest information about how we are supporting you.
For more advice about travelling during the spring vacation, see this UKCISA news item.
Check any Covid-19 and quarantine restrictions before you travel. These can include completing a passenger locator form, quarantining in a managed hotel room or having to self-isolate when you arrive in your home country.
Seek advice from your country’s embassy or consulate in the UK if you are considering returning to your home country. You may find that travel options are limited. You should not travel if you have symptoms of Covid-19 yourself, or if you live in shared accommodation with people who are self-isolating.
Remember you will need to take a pre-departure Covid-19 test before you return to England.
If you are trying to leave the UK but cannot do so before your visa expires, for example, due to travel restrictions, then you must take action to avoid becoming an overstayer. UKVI currently operates an Exceptional Assurance scheme for this. The scheme can only be used for visas that expire between certain dates, so check back to make sure you can use it.
Important: You must make an Exceptional Assurance application before your current visa expires to avoid becoming an overstayer.
Coronavirus travel advice
Travel Health Pro is an expert organisation supported by Public Health England and a range of other expert health organisations. See Travel Health Pro information about travelling and Coronavirus.
The UK government has a dedicated Coronavirus Immigration Helpline for people affected by travel restrictions:
- Telephone: 0800 678 1767 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)
- Email: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk.
The UK Council of International Student Affairs (UKCISA) also has detailed information for international students.
Applying to the EU Settlement Scheme
If you’re studying an undergraduate or taught Masters course, check this information.
My course has not finished but I’m in my home country and my visa expires soon – do I need to do anything?
There will be no impact on your student visa if you study remotely in your home country and continue to engage with your studies as instructed by your School. Remote study is acceptable for the remainder of the 2020/21 academic year, so your visa will remain valid. We will contact you about returning.
If your visa will expire soon, or has already expired, but you still need to complete your course or resit exams, you will need to apply for a new visa before you travel to the UK. You should receive a new CAS. See how to apply for a new visa while overseas.
If you want to apply for a Graduate Work Route visa, you must meet the eligibility requirements. One important requirement is that you must return to the UK before a government deadline and complete your final semester here.
Will my visa be cancelled?
Whether you are studying a course with us in the UK or overseas, as long as you remain actively engaged with your degree programme, as instructed by your School through online teaching and assessments, your student visa will not be cancelled (curtailed) by the government. You do not need to do anything. Contact our student immigration advice team for any guidance you need about your visa situation.
If you have formally deferred or permanently withdrawn from your studies, we would report this to the government as usual. Your student visa will no longer be valid.
Check our guidance for Doctoral Researchers. We know many situations require personalised advice so don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Research Student Office: firstname.lastname@example.org. For advice related to your visa, contact our student immigration advice team.
Contact our immigration advisers for advice and support on any immigration or visa issue. We can offer video advice sessions via Zoom.
Check our international student information on the Student Hub if you have general queries.
NHS treatment if you get Covid-19
NHS treatment for Coronavirus (Covid-19) is free for everyone. For more information, see advice from the UK Council for International Students (UKCISA).