arriving in the UK - testing requirements, advice and assistance

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

Bright World UK arrival guide
  • Read our UK Arrival Guide for UK entry requirements, advice and arrival testing procedures.

changes to international travel rules from 7th January 2022

person having a covid-19 test

From 4am on Friday, 7th January, arrival rules in terms of pre-departure testing, arrival testing and quarantine are changing.

If you qualify as fully vaccinated (you are under 18 or fully vaccinated with a recognised provider) for travel to England, and you will arrive in England after 4am, Friday 7th January, you do NOT need to:

  • take a COVID-19 test before you travel to England
  • quarantine when you arrive in England

From 4am on Sunday 9th January, if you qualify as fully vaccinated for travel to England, and you will arrive in England after 4am, Sunday 9th January, you can choose to take a Lateral Flow Test instead of a PCR test after you arrive in England and before the end of day 2. Please note that your arrival day in the UK is day 0.

If you take a lateral flow test and test positive, you will need to self-isolate and take a free confirmatory PCR test.

You must book the test before you travel to England. You can book lateral flow tests from 4am Friday 7 January. See below for more details.

lateral flow testing - where and when?

From 4am on 9th January 2022, UK arrivals can take a Lateral Flow Antigen Test within 2 days of arrival. 

You should book your Lateral Flow test prior to departure so you can register this on your Passenger Locator Form.  There is a list of recognised providers on the UK Government Website here.   Please note that NHS free Lateral Flow Tests cannot be used for arrival testing. 

When do I take my test?

You can take your arrival Lateral Flow Test any time from your time of arrival until midnight on Day 2. Please note that your arrival day is classed as Day 0.

Bright World Policy on where testing should take place 

Bright World does not allow, as policy, students to test anywhere where they cannot stay and isolate if their test is positive. This means we do not allow testing in the airport or in a taxi where the result will be presented when they are not in a safe place where they can remain. 

At school

Our first preference, and that of our students and parents, is that they can have the test delivered to their boarding school, test at school and isolate there should their test be postiive or join classes as soon as they receive a negative result. 

At a Bright World Host Family - mini-quarantine

If it is not possible as the school is not open or the school only accepts students back with a negative test result, then Bright World can help but we do insist that in order to protect our host families from risk of infection, that students undertake a mini-quarantine and testing at a Bright World host family. 

They should arrive, socially distance from our host family, go to their room and take the test. The host family will assist socially distanced if they need help. If the test result is negative on the device then the student can come out of their room and mix with the family normally. They can then register their result on the Test Provider’s App and once this is verified they can return to school. Depending on flight arrival times this may necessitate an overnight stay in our host family. 

booking my Day 2 Lateral Flow test - how does it work?

You can find the list of recognised companies by following this process:

1. Go to the UK Government Website testing providers section

  • Test Types - Select Day 2 rapid lateral flow
  • Testing Method - Select Self-test at your location 
  • Test Location - Select your location (the region to post the test to) or ALL if you are unsure
  • Delivery Method - Select Post your location 

 When booking please use the selectors in the image below. 

2. Choose your company

3. Book and pay online and give your flight details and other data requested including the          address to post the tests to. The test should be delivered the next day. 

4. Make sure the person testing downloads the company app or has access to their portal. 

Testing companies 

We cannot guarantee or formally endorse these companies but their websites seem straightforward and their prices are fair: 

Testing for All  - cost £17 Once you upload the photo of your lateral flow test to them, they aim to validate your test and issue a certificate within 4 hours. Tests validation will only be conducted during their working hours, which are Mon-Thurs 9am-6pm and Fri-Sun 9am-5pm

Randox £21.50 Home delivery within 24 hours of order. Aim to verify results within 3 hours

Easy to use App required (Randox CertiFly)

Chronomics  £18.99 Use this test as Day 2 test (vaccinated England arrivals) Quick results within minutes. Easy online registration and downloadable certificates 

C19 Testing – £22 Approved tests by ACON or Healgen, Booking reference for your PLF, Next-day delivery (order before 8pm weekdays & 6pm weekends) (exceptions apply), International payments accepted (UK shipping), Simple online portal to upload result, Result verified by their team and emailed within 12 hours

pre-departure advice for our students

girl with laptop travel

The following rules applu as of 4am on 7th January all travellers who are have fully vaccinated status (this means all our students who are under 18 or those 18 plus who are fully vaccinated with an approved provider :

Before travel to England

On arrival in England

If you are arriving on 7th or 8th January, you must take a COVID-19 PCR test on or before day 2 of your arrival. You do not need to isolate until you receive your result. Check with your school if they will allow you to enter the school before your result has come out or if they need Bright World to place you in a host family pending the result.

If you are arriving on or after 9th January 2022 then you have the option taking a Lateral Flow test instead of a PCR test. This cannot be a free NHS test but should be purchased online before you travel and registered in your Passenger Locator Form.

arriving from a red list country

red traffic light

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.

See our travel checklist below, for students arriving from our via red list countries.

Before travel to England

On arrival in England

  • take a COVID-19 PCR test on or before day 2 and on or before day 8 of your arrival.
  • quarantine for 11 days at school or in a managed government hotel. Under-18s must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Students cannot access the Test to Release Scheme

fully vaccinated students arriving from the rest of the world

covid vaccine bottle

Over-18s must be vaccinated in one of the listed countries or territories with approved vaccination programmes below, in order to avoid longer periods of quarantine.

Students will qualify as fully vaccinated if they are vaccinated either:

Showing your vaccination status

You must be able to prove that you have been fully vaccinated (plus 14 days) with a document (digital or paper-based) from a national or state-level public health body that includes, as a minimum:

  • forename and surname(s)
  • date of birth
  • vaccine brand and manufacturer
  • date of vaccination for every dose
  • country or territory of vaccination and/or certificate issuer

If your document from a public health body does not include all of these, you must follow the non-vaccinated rules. If not, you may be denied boarding. If you are fully vaccinated in the USA, you will also need to prove that you are a resident of the USA.

unvaccinated over-18s arriving from the rest of the world

Over-18s arriving into England from countries not on the red list, are required to quarantine for 10 days if they are not vaccinated as part of a recognised vaccination programme.

Before travel to England

On arrival in England

  •  take a COVID-19 PCR test on or before day 2 and on or before day 8 of your arrival.
  • quarantine for 10 days at school or with a Bright World host family. You can access the Test to Release Scheme

Scotland boarding school quarantine guidance

map of UK

The government in Scotland has announced the end of the current traffic light system and its replacement with a single red list and simplified travel arrangements for everyone else.


welsh flag with trainers and bag

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


some example questions and answers

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 to help.

We can help you rearrange your plans and assist you with arrivals, testing and mini quarantine if needed.

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:

  • 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 arriving in 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

Bright World plane

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 may also need to show proof of a negative Covid test, depending on where you have travelled from.

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 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. 

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 or at one of our residential quarantine locations until your test result comes back negative 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.