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Human Resources

Please be aware that government guidance is updated frequently. Whilst the information contained in this webpage is updated regularly, staff and managers should refer to the government webpages for the latest information and actions required in relation to overseas travel. 
First published June 2020
Version history 5
Last updated 11 February 2020
Author HR Division
Key contacts HR School Teams (HR Advisory Service)Global Mobility Adviser 
Audience Heads of Institution, institutional administrators and staff planning overseas travel
Summary Details of requirements relating to travel overseas
Actions For action where relevent

Government public health measures for all UK arrivals first came into effect in June 2020and further updates have been made during the course of the pandemic. 

Under current UK COVID-19 restrictions individuals must not travel, including abroad, unless there is a legally permitted reason to do so. It is currently illegal to travel abroad for holidays and other leisure purposes. Where travel is legally permitted, individuals are required to: 

  1. Provide their journey and contact details to the government by way of an online form before they travel to the UK; and 
  2. Have valid proof of a negative coronavirus test to travel to England taken the test in the 3 days before the start of the journey; and 
  3. Remain in quarantine (also called self-isolation) in the place they are staying for the first 10 days they are in the UK. From 15 February 2021 the following also applies: 
  • Individuals arriving in England from a country on the travel ban list (sometimes called the ‘red list’) will be required to self-isolate in a quarantine hotel for at least 10 days. Before travel, individuals will be required to book and pay for the hotel room and two COVID-19 tests that will need to be taken during their stay. 
  • Individuals travelling from a country not on the banned travel list will need to self-isolate at home for 10 days * and take two private COVID-19 tests during this period. 

Test to release scheme 

* Under the government’s Test to Release for International Travel scheme individuals can choose to pay for a private COVID-19 test. The earliest they can take the test is 5 full days after they left their destination. If the result is negative, they can stop self-isolating. The scheme is voluntary and applies to those self-isolating in England only. 

Travel ban from certain countries 

Non-UK residents who have been in or transited through the countries listed on the government webpages in the previous 10 days will not be granted access to the UK, due to additional restrictions introduced by the government from 15 January 2021. This does not apply to British and Irish Nationals, or third country nationals with residence rights in the UK (which includes anyone holding ILR, pre-settled or settled status, a student or any type of work visa. This does not include visitors to the UK) who will be able to enter the UK but are required to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival, as set out above. Individuals impacted by the travel ban should contact their line manager in the first instance. Institutions should discuss any overseas working arrangements with the Global Mobility Adviser at the earliest opportunity. 

1. Staff Travelling Overseas 

If staff travel outside of the UK (where this is legally permissible in accordance with the government regulations in force), they will need to ensure that they have booked sufficient annual leave to cover any period of quarantine required on their return or, alternatively, consideration should be given as to whether they could work from home or the place they are staying during that period. They should also check whether their destination country has any restrictions in place and plan their leave accordingly. 

All staff that travel overseas at this time must be aware that government guidance can change with very short notice and should therefore plan accordingly. It is recognised that there may be extenuating circumstances where staff may be required to take leave from work at short notice outside of the UK, for example to attend the funeral of a close family member, in which allowances can be considered exceptionally. If there are specific circumstances please speak to your line manager or HR School team. All annual leave should be requested following the usual procedure. 

2. New Appointments from Overseas 

For new starters from overseas, line managers should discuss the best way forward with them. New starters should aim to arrive at least 10 days before their agreed start date, where they can, providing travel and visa restrictions allow, to accommodate the quarantine period. Where this is not possible, it may be the case that staff need to quarantine for some or all of the first 10 days of their contract, during which time they should work from home, or the place they are staying, if they can.  

Individuals choosing to access the government's Test to Release for International Travel scheme (where this is available) should discuss this with their line manager. Plans should be made on the expectation of a 10 day quarantine period. 

Alternatively, it may be more appropriate to agree that they either commence work overseas (if immigration rules permit), or agree a delayed start date as appropriate.   

3. Staff Returning from Overseas Assignments 

Where overseas assignments are due to end, staff will need to take account of these new rules when planning their return. Where possible, they should arrange to work from home, or the place they are staying, during the required period of quarantine.