our pre-departure advice for 2021 arrivals

latest update - 18 January 2021

Flights from the UK continue to be cancelled due to many countries imposing travel bans to and from the UK. In some cases, such as China, authorities have suspended all direct flights to and from the UK until further notice.

From 4am on 18 January, all travellers to England (including UK nationals returning home from travel abroad) must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to 3 days before their commence their journey. Pre-departure testing requirements are detailed on the UK Gov website. A passenger locator form must also be completed.

All Travel Corridors have been temporarily suspended until at least 15 February, meaning that all UK arrivals are required to self-isolate for 10 days. Read more about this requirement and the government's Test to Release scheme here.

As of 5th January, UK schools have been asked close until at least the end of the February half term and The UK has entered a nationwide lockdown.

The government has published advice specifically for UK Boarding Schools which allows overseas students who have already arrived before the announcement or those in transit to stay at school in the boarding houses. Many schools have, therefore, extended a warm welcome back to those students who will stay there and learn online. In some cases schools have informed parents that their boarding houses will close for all students and in these cases Bright World is placing students safely in host family accommodation or at The Relax & Revise programme residence at Cambridge Melchior College.

We are pleased to report that all students who remained in the UK during the Christmas break have been able to extend their stays with their Bright World Host Family or at our Relax & Revise programme.

Now our thoughts and work is turning towards, and for newly arriving students who may now be unable to arrive as planned at school.

Our team is also busy rebooking transfers back to school for a later date, or cancelling pre-booked plans and awaiting new instructions.

we are here to help

The message we want to send out to our guardianship students, parents, and our overseas partner agents is that we are here, and the office is working throughout the period of school closures and we are still accepting new guardianship enrolments.

We are here to help you rearrange your plans and assist you with your arrivals and accommodation.

when you are ready to fly and before you leave the house...

school boy getting on the plane

Firstly, please DO NOT leave the house if your child is feeling at all unwell. It is important for us to know that they have not been exposed to Covid-19 for at least 2 weeks before travel and that they are not showing any symptoms when they depart.

Then, all being well, apart from all the usual things you need to take with you on a journey to school overseas, here are a few pointers of extra things you will want to take with you for the journey and until arrival in the UK and passing through customs:

1. Proof of a negative Covid-19 result in English taken within 72 hours prior to departure to the UK. Find out more about the testing requirements here:


2. Your face mask and hand sanitiser.

3. A copy of the Bright World Transfer confirmation email that will be sent to you prior to your departure, if you are using our transport services.

4. If you are required to quarantine upon arrival, you can either quarantine for 10 days now instead of the 14 days or you might want to take part in the Test to Release Scheme.  This means that your isolation time will be cut from 10 days to a minimum of just 6-8 days, upon receiving a negative test result that you can take on day 5 of your arrival. You do need to book and pay for test prior to your departure and then opt in to the scheme on the Passenger l Locator Form you will complete prior to travel. You can find out more about this scheme, and booking a test here.

5. Print off the letter that we have sent you if you are on our Quarantine and Settling-In Programme. This is to show on check in, during the flight and in the UK going through border control if necessary.

6. All travellers must complete a form before they travel, even if they do not need to quarantine on arrival. https://www.gov.uk/provide-journey-contact-details-before-travel-uk

7. Make sure your child and you have the Bright World 24/7 telephone number to hand so you can contact us at any time if you need our help.


your journey - UK government advice

Online check-in

Where possible, check in online to avoid face-to-face contact at the airport.

You are strongly encouraged to check in baggage to the aircraft hold and minimise any hand baggage. This will speed up boarding and disembarking and minimise the risk of transmission.

Please make sure that any luggage which will be checked in does not contain any lithium batteries (in equipment such as laptops, or stand-alone batteries such as powerbanks), valuable or essential items (such as cash, credit cards, keys, medicines), or other prohibited items.

Arriving at the airport

Enter the airport on your own, if you are confident enough, unless you are flying with members of your household or support bubble, where relevant.

You must wear a face covering in enclosed areas of airports in England unless you are aged under 11 years or you have an illness or impairment which prohibits you from wearing your mask safely. You must wear a face covering in all areas of airports in Scotland. You may be asked to wear a face covering in airports in Northern Ireland and Wales.

Treat staff and other passengers with respect.

Follow instructions from airport and airline staff, which may include:

  • where to sit
  • how to queue at check-in, security or when boarding the aircraft
  • instructions on screens, barriers or floor markings
  • requests to move to less busy areas

At check-in

Where possible, avoid touching surfaces in the airport. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds after using self-service check-in, luggage trollies and other frequently touched surfaces.

Depending on the airport you fly from and where you are flying to, you may need to have your temperature checked before flying.

At the security checkpoint

Follow advice in the airport to prepare for security checks.

At the departure lounge/ terminal airside area/ arrival areas

Avoid walking around the airport and mixing with people that you do not normally meet.

In shops at the airport, wear a face covering, follow social distancing measures and, where possible, pay by contactless card.

On board the aircraft

Your airline will advise you on measures in place for your flight.

In England and Scotland passengers must wear a face covering on board aircraft unless you are exempt from this.

You can remove your face covering to:

  • communicate with someone who relies on lip reading
  • avoid harm or injury
  • take medication
  • eat or drink, if reasonably necessary

During the flight, you should:

  • remain seated as much as possible
  • follow instructions and guidance from the crew
  • use contactless payment where possible
  • be aware there is likely to be a reduced food and drink service
  • make the cabin crew aware if you become ill

On arrival in the UK

On arriving in the UK, you must comply with border and immigration requirements.

You will need to show the QR code received following the completion of your Passenger Locator form on arrival at the UK border, either by printing a copy, or showing it on your phone. You will also need to show proof of a negative Covid result.

Finding your driver

Please remember to switch your phone on and make sure it is charged up so we can contact you.

Leave the airport as quickly as possible. Access to the terminal is limited to passengers, crew members and staff. Your Bright World Driver will be waiting for you with a yellow Bright World board. Call their number if you can't find them and if they don't answer call the Bright World emergency number you will have with you.

arriving at the airport and your Bright World driver

Taxi driver with a mask on

As part of our six-point plan for Covid-Safe guardianship, we have been putting plans in place here at Bright World and with our partner transfer companies to ensure that taxi transfers will be as low-risk as possible. 

All our partner transfer companies have agreed to uphold our Covid-19 Driver and Passenger Safety Policy so we can reassure parents that Covid-safety as well as road-safety will be our drivers' top priority. 

When our students arrive at the airport, things will be slightly different to normal. Students will need to maintain their distance of at least 1 metre from the driver and drivers will be wearing masks, so it will be more important than ever for our students to look for our yellow Bright World name boards. We ask our students to also wear their own masks or face coverings at all times wherever possible, as this helps to protect others around them, as well, including their drivers. 

Drivers will still help students with heavy luggage if needed, but students will be asked to leave the airport as quickly as possible, to avoid unnecessary contact with others, and head to the car. Once at the car, both students and drivers should sanitize their hands before entering. 

Another point on our policy states that cars will be regularly cleaned during the shifts, with hard surfaces that could harbour the virus being wiped down regularly with anti-bacterial and anti-viral products, so parents and students can be fully satisfied that the car will be as clean as possible. 

In order to keep the cars clean and avoid infection risk, we do ask students to avoid eating in the car; if students need to stop for a comfort break or for food or drink this is fine, but we would again ask that these breaks are as short as possible to avoid unnecessary contact with other people. Each time the student and driver leave and re-enter the car they should sanitise their hands again. 

arriving for your Quarantine & Settling-In Programme in Cambridge

Cambridge Melchior College

Your driver will take you directly to school or, if you are booked onto the QSI Programme they will take you straight from the airport to Cambridge Melchior College.


Willingham House
CB24 5HT
T: +44 (0)1954 261020

The name of the responsible adult at Cambridge Melchior College is: Mr Michael Voice

 Tel: 01954 261020

 Mobile: 07480 135668

 Emergency: 07967 629606

When you arrive, there will be a sign on the door asking you to ring the doorbell. Please wait until someone comes to receive you. If no-one comes then call the numbers above. In the unlikely event that you still do not get a response then call the Bright World Emergency telephone number 01273 836060 and speak to our Duty Manager.

If you are quarantining with a Bright World host family, your driver will take you directly to the family address.

Test to Release- how we can help

Test to release chart

The UK Government has launched it's 'Test to Release Scheme' in a bid to cut the quarantine period for overseas arrivals in England.

As of 15th December visitors from countries not featured on the Travel Corridors list are able to significantly reduce their quarantine period. Travellers are now eligible for a private Covid test just 5 days after they enter England and can end self-isolation once a negative result is returned.

Bright World can assist you by providing a link to the government website that shows a choice of testing companies. Our Quarantine and Settling In programmes are designed with this scheme in mind, so that students can leave as soon as a negative test has been returned, or can stay for further quarantine if the test comes back as positive or inconclusive. You can find out more about this scheme by clicking the link below.

your final leg of the journey - onward to your school

girl wearing mask in taxi

If you are going straight from the airport to school and are using a Bright World driver, we will have sent your school all the details about your arrival. When you arrive at school then follow their joining instructions they will have sent to you beforehand.

If you are on the Bright World QSI Programme, or staying with a host family on arrival, we will have contacted your school throughout the programme to give them updates on your health and progress. We will also make them fully aware of your estimated arrival time at school along with all the driver details. We will let you know any specific instructions that they may give us.

more information


Bright World QSI Programme

  • Read more about our quarantine programme.

Bright World Student

Bright World's 6-Point Covid-19 Safe Plan

  • Read more about the extra things we are doing to keep our students safe.

Test to Release Scheme

  • Find out more