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Travel update: students from India, Bahrain, Qatar & UAE can now skip England’s quarantine hotels

There is some great UK immigration news for international students this week. Students coming from India, Bahrain, Qatar and UAE no longer need to stay in a quarantine hotel for 10 days upon arriving in England. 

The new rules began on August 8th, and they come as COVID-19 restrictions have eased across the country. For example, masks and social distancing in England are no longer required.  

“As we learn to live with this virus, we are continuing to take steps to safely reopen international travel based on the latest data and expert public health advice,” said the UK’s Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid in the announcement.  

Now, let’s learn more about what the UK international student news means, and how the rules have changed for students from these countries:  

What are the rules now?  

England ranks countries for coronavirus risk and has different rules for people traveling from them. It places countries into three color-coded categories - green, amber, and red.  

India, Bahrain, Qatar and UAE have just moved onto England’s amber list of countries. This means students from these places can now avoid the expensive 10-day government hotel quarantine.  

However, you still need to take a number of steps before being allowed to come to England.  

Before entering England 

There’s a list of things every person needs to do before they can enter England. These rules haven’t changed, and you still have to follow them whether you are vaccinated or not. Before arriving to England, you will still need to:  

Take a COVID-19 test up to three days before the trip. If you don’t show a negative test, you may not be able to board the plane. Learn more.  

Book a COVID-19 test to take in England. You need to do this well in advance, so the test can be delivered in time to your address in England. Learn more

Fill out a passenger locator form. This can be done for free online up to 48 hours before travel. Learn more.  

After arrival (if fully vaccinated) 

If you’re coming from India, Bahrain, Qatar and UAE and are fully vaccinated, you will now only need to take a COVID-19 test upon arriving on or before day two. This is the test that you booked before traveling, which was sent to your address in England. 

If your test result is negative, you will not need to quarantine. If it is positive, you will need to quarantine at home for 10 days.  

But keep in mind: not every vaccine is recognized by England. To be considered fully vaccinated in the country, you need to have been given a vaccine that’s approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), or a vaccination program in Europe or the US.  

Read more about which vaccines are approved on the UK government website.  

After arrival (if not fully vaccinated) 

If you are not fully vaccinated (or your vaccine is not approved in England), you will need to quarantine at home for 10 days.  

You’ll also need to take a COVID-19 test on or before day two, and another on or after day eight of your quarantine.  

Traveling from a red list country 

Many countries are still on England’s red list. So to study in the UK, for international students from these places, there are some extra hurdles.  

You’ll need to:  

  • Take a COVID-19 test before arrival 

  • Complete a passenger locator form before arrival

  • Book a quarantine hotel package

  • Quarantine in a managed hotel for 10 days, as well as take a COVID-19 test on or before day two, and on or after day eight.  

For one adult, a quarantine hotel in England now costs £2,285. However some universities do refund international students for this cost. So, we recommend reaching out to your university to ask what its policy is.  

Traveling from a green list country 

If you’re traveling from a green list country, the rules are more relaxed. You simply need to: 

  • Take a COVID-19 test before arrival  

  • Complete a passenger locator form before arrival

  • Book for a COVID-19 test to take in England on day 2  

If your test in England comes back negative, you do not need to quarantine.  

Remember: there are exceptions to some of these rules. For a complete guide on entering England, always visit the UK government website. 

Interested in reading more UK immigration news for international students? Our blog features plenty of advice for international students studying in the UK - from information on visas, work, study tips, and more. 

Check it out