Posted on January 8, 2021
#unitedkingdom #internationalstudents #covid19 #safetytips 

Moving to the UK in Jan 2021 will be different because of Covid-19, but don’t stress we have you covered. In this article, put together by Great British Mag – a digital magazine for international students moving to the UK, we list the 10 things you need to know before you board the plane.

Arrange your visa well in advance


Research the travel restrictions from your country

To avoid being caught out by travel restrictions, which can change rapidly without much warning, set up alerts from the UK Government website as well as your Government, local authority and your chosen airline.

You should also check rules and restrictions being implemented by the UK airport where your flight will land.

The links below will take you to the Covid-19 updates from the major UK airports.

Arrange a Covid-19 test

You will not be able to board your flight or enter the UK without proving you do not have Covid-19.

Most airlines will require you to take a PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test different from the regular Covid-19 tests as it detects the presence of a coronavirus antigen, rather than the presence of the body’s immune response. By detecting the antigens present in the body before symptoms of the disease are present, the tests can tell whether someone has the early stages of the virus.

Find out whether you will need to self-isolate when you get to the UK.

Firstly, not everyone, travelling to the UK must self-isolate, so check whether your country is on the UK Government’s travel corridor list. However, if you are moving to the UK from a country, not on the travel corridor or have visited or travelled through somewhere that is not on the list in the last 14 days before you arrive in England, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days.

You can reduce the 14-day self-isolation to six days by taking a test to prove you don’t have Covid-19, under the test to release scheme. This option is only available in England, and the test is not available through the National Health Service and can cost between £65 and £120.

Find out when your university will resume face-to-face teaching.


Students will be able to return to university on different dates in January depending on their course, and the dates fall into two categories. However, you should check with your university before booking flights.

4-18 January

Medical students, those on placements or practical courses with a need for in-person teaching should return in line with their planned start dates between 4-18 Jan. Students on other courses will be taught online.

25 January – 7 February

Students from all other courses can start arriving on campus from 25th Jan, and all students should have returned to their term-time address by 7th Feb.

Arrange a bank account before you leave.

It is strongly advised you arrange a UK bank account before you leave because due to Covid-19 the UK can go into national or local lockdown, which means you will not be able to leave your home and most amenities, such as banks will be closed.

The advantage of arranging a bank account pre-arrival is that a UK debit card will be posted to you within 48 hours of your arrival in the UK. That means you will be able to shop easily online and make payments via direct debit.

Arrange a UK SIM before you leave.

Arrange a UK telephone number and SIM to be delivered to you for free before leaving your country. This means you will have access to the internet and be able to arrange things online, including your groceries during your period of self-isolation.

Arrange food to be delivered to you when you arrive.

To help you get settled quickly without going out shopping, order things like a duvet, bedding, kitchen essentials, and food to be delivered to you. And use the promo code GBMAG10 to get a 10% discount.

Familiarise yourself with Covid-19 restrictions in the UK.

stu mask

Cities regularly move from tier to tier so sign-up for alerts via the Government website.

Tiers Level Level Restrictions
Tier 1 Medium Rule of six applies indoors and outdoors. Pubs and restaurants close at 10 pm.
Tier 2 High Households must not mix indoors, or in private gardens. Rule of six applies in outdoor spaces, including parks. Pubs and bars which don't serve meals will be closed.
Tier 3 Very high Households must not mix indoors in any setting, including pubs and restaurants. Rule of six applies outdoors
Tier 4 Stay at home Stay at Home People must not leave their home or garden, and only essential businesses are open such as supermarkets and pharmacies.

Familiarise yourself with the self-isolation rules.

There are strict rules and penalties if you do not follow the self-isolation rules, which include.

• When you arrive in the UK, you must travel directly to the place you are staying ideally by private transport. If this is not possible, you can use public transport but observe all travel guidelines, such as wearing a mask, maintaining a 2-metre distance from other commuters, washing and sanitising hands often.

• If you have a long onward journey from the airport to your accommodation. You can stop overnight in accommodation in which you can isolate yourself from others before continuing your journey. Before doing so, check that is permitted under the local restrictions.

• You should self-isolate in one place for the full self-isolation period and it must be the address you put on the passenger locator form.

• You should not socialise with people you live with and not leave the property for any reason. If you do not have anyone that can help you buy essentials you can contact NHS Volunteer Responders on 0808 196 3646 (8 am to 8 pm) who can help you with things like food shopping or picking up medication

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