arriving in the UK - testing requirements, advice and assistance

arrival in the UK - our guide for boarding school students and parents

  • Read our UK Arrival Guide for UK entry requirements, quarantine advice, arrival testing procedures.

testing in your own country prior to arriving in the UK

person having a covid-19 test

As of 18 January 2021, all travellers to England must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to 3 days before they commence their journey. UK Entry requirements and pre-departure testing requirements are detailed on the UK Government website. This does not apply to students who are 10 years or younger.

arriving from red, amber and green countries

traffic light

Countries of origin are classified as either red, amber or green and entry, quarantine and testing rules differ for each.

arriving from a green list country - all ages

green traffic light

Students and their parents arriving from countries on the Green list will not be required to quarantine when they arrive but will still be required to complete the following steps:

Before travel to England

On arrival in England

You must take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 of your arrival. You do not need to quarantine unless the test result is positive.

arriving from an amber list country - boarding school students under 18

amber traffic light

UK boarding school students are classed as ordinarily resident in the UK as they are on a Child or Student Visa. This means that students from countries on the Amber list are NOT required quarantine on arrival in the UK.

Before travel to England

On arrival in England

You must take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 of your arrival. You do not need to quarantine unless the test result is positive. We advise that parents/students check directly with the airline about testing requirements before travel to ensure that the necessary tests are booked in advance.

Official guidance on UKGov for amber boarding school students

The Government has now issued travel and quarantine guidance outlining changes to the requirements for pupils travelling through or via amber countries. This confirms the exemption which allows pupils under the age of 18, who are 'Ordinarily resident,' to avoid quarantine with a Travel test still required on or before day 2. Click here to view.

arriving from an Amber list country - students 18 years plus

Amber traffic light

Over 18s arriving from Amber List countries (not in Europe or USA)

If you are over 18 and arriving from an Amber list country which is not in Europe of the USA, you will need to quarantine for 10 days on arrival and take the Day 2 and 8 tests. You can also use the Test to Release scheme.

Over 18s from USA and Europe

If you are coming to England from an Amber list country and have been fully vaccinated in the USA or Europe, you will not have to quarantine or take a day 8 test on arrival.

The European countries that this rule applies to are in the link below and also include

  • Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and the Vatican City.

Vaccination guidelines

You must be fully vaccinated with a vaccine authorised by the:

  • European Medicines Agency (EMA) for Europe
  • SwissMedic for Switzerland
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the USA

You must have had your final dose of the vaccine at least 14 days before you arrive in England.

You must still book and take a day 2 test.

Showing your vaccination status

You need to show the ferry, airline or train company proof that you’ve been vaccinated before you travel with:

  • an EU Digital COVID Certificate (EU DCC) for Europe
  • a US CDC card for the USA – you’ll also need to show proof of USA residency


arriving from a red list country

red traffic light

As of 15 February 2021, if you have been in or through any country on the travel ban red list in the previous 10 days, you will be refused entry to the UK unless you are a British or Irish National or if you have residence rights in the UK.

Students with the right to reside in the UK who are returning to the UK from a “red list” country are able to quarantine at their UK boarding school if they are under the age of 18. They must be ready to present; a copy of a letter from The Department for Education to the their school confirming that they are covered by an exception. They must also carry a letter from their school addressed to them which confirms that the school is able to meet requirements set out in the above DfE letter.

Students arriving from red list countries cannot use the Test to Release Scheme.

It may be possible for parents of Under-18s arriving from red list countries who are not able to quarantine at school to apply for a Visitor Visa so they can accompany them and enter hotel quarantine with them. Click here to view the full guidance

Scotland boarding school quarantine guidance

map of UK

The Government has issued a letter to all Boarding Schools in Scotland (16th August 2021), outlining changes to the requirements for returning pupils travelling internationally from Green, Amber, and Red List countries. 

Green list countries

Any students arriving from green countries are required to:

  • Complete a Passenger Locator Form (48hrs before departure)
  • Order Day 2 Test from the CTM online portal
  • Obtain a negative PCR test before flying (up to 72 hours before travel)
  • take the Day 2 test at school
  • No quarantine is required.

Amber list countries

Students arriving from amber countries who are under the age of 18 and double vaccinated students over the age of 18 must do as follows. Students must be fully vaccinated with a government approved vaccine.

  • Complete a Passenger Locator Form (48hrs before departure)
  • Order a Day 2 Test from the CTM online portal
  • Obtain a negative PCR test before flying (up to 72 hours before travel)
  • Take a test on or before Day 2
  • Students are required to quarantine until a negative result is received (between 24-48 hours, following the completed Day 2 Test)

As soon as a Day 2 negative result has been returned, students will be able to leave quarantine. Schools will then manage onward study independently. Bright World can assist our students and parents in seeking these different arrangements.

Red list Countries and unvaccinated over-18s arriving from amber countries

Students must:

  • Complete a Passenger Locator Form (48hrs before departure)
  • Order Day 2 and Day 8 Test packages from the CTM online portal
  • Obtain a negative PCR test before flying (up to 72 hours before travel)
  • Take the Day 2 test and Day 8 Test at school
  • Students are required to quarantine for the duration of the 10 days at school.

Wales

welsh flag with trainers and bag

For students arriving at schools in Wales please refer to the relevant guidance below;

Wales: https://gov.wales/rules-foreign-travel-and-wales-coronavirus-covid-19-html

some example questions and answers

see more FAQs about quarantine on our main quarantine page

questions

Quarantine and testing FAQs

  • Find all your answers here

more about the Travel Test Package

Covid-19 test tube

Arrivals from amber and red countries must also book and pay for a travel test package, which will include COVID-19 tests to be taken on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 of their quarantine at the cost of £210. Under 18s from Europe and The USA, fully vaccinated people and arrivals from Green listed countries must also book their travel test package but will only be required to complete a test on day 2 after their arrival. This will cost between £60-£150.

The travel test package booking reference number and a quarantine address of must be listed on their passenger locator form. This form must be completed prior to departure and before entering the UK. Use the link on the UK Government website below to find a company to book your Travel Test package with. There are over 400 to choose from. We have had positive experience with DNA Workplace. The Travel Test package will be sent by post, to the address of where your child is staying for their quarantine period. The Bright World team will be able to assist you with the taking of these tests.

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...

packed suitcase

Before you leave for the UK you will need to complete the following steps:

  • Provide a negative Covid-19 result in English taken within 72 hours prior to departure to the UK. You must be ready to show proof your result in English, French or Spanish. You can find out more about the testing requirements here.
  • Book and pay for a travel test package. Use the booking portal to book your travel test package
  • Your face mask and hand sanitiser.
  • 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.
  • Print off the letter that we have sent you to confirm the details of where your child will be completing their quarantine. This is to show on check in, during the flight and in the UK going through border control if necessary.
  • All travellers must complete a passenger locator form before they travel. If you are travelling with your child then you must complete your own passenger locator form.

Pupils with the right to reside in the UK who are returning to the UK from a “red list” country are able to quarantine at their UK Boarding School and must be ready to present; a copy of a letter from The Department for Education to the their school confirming that they are covered by an exception. They must also carry a letter from their school addressed to them which confirms that the school is able to meet requirements set out in the above DfE letter.

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.

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.

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 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

driver wearing a mask

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. 

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 Red 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 host families are informed about the testing requirements and help our students with tests 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 quarantining with a host family on arrival, we will make them fully aware of your estimated arrival time at school along with all the driver details.

more information

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

Question Mark

FAQ - Quarantine and Testing

  • All your questions answered.