Guidelines may vary among the four UK countries
Headed to the UK for higher studies? Vaccinated or not, you must quarantine yourself on landing in the UK, especially since India is a red-listed country in terms of the pandemic. The UK has taken several measures to ensure that the vaccine is available to international students studying there, with support from its National Health Service (NHS) which provides world-class healthcare.
“According to the rules set in place by the UK government, it is not mandatory for international students entering the country to be vaccinated. We encourage all international students to receive a vaccine, either in their home country before arriving, or in the UK after their entry. Those entering the UK from red-listed countries will have to quarantine as per government guidelines, regardless of their vaccine status,” said Jonathan Kennedy, Director Arts India, British Council India.
Free vaccination for overseas students
All students arriving in the UK who are 18 years and above will receive free vaccination irrespective of their nationality and immigration status.
“Anybody aged 18 or over in the UK is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination for free, regardless of their nationality or immigration status. For more information on the UK’s vaccination programme, students can visit the NHS website. Students studying in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should refer to the relevant guidance by visiting the respective government websites,” Kennedy said.
‘Red list’ travel ban under review
India’s foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla had been on a two-day visit to the UK to take stock of Roadmap 2030 towards closer UK-India ties. Shringla said many big cities in India are now practically COVID-19 free, prompting the UK Foreign Office to reconsider the travel ban on visitors from India. But until that happens, students visiting the UK will have to abide by the travel bans for
arrival from “red-listed” countries. “The UK is following a ‘traffic light’ system for international travel. However, people with a valid student visa or with resident rights in the UK according to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) are exempted, though they will need to quarantine after arrival regardless of their vaccination status,” Kennedy said.
Travel and arrival advice
Universities are working hard to ensure that the students know what to expect before they travel and that they are welcomed and supported on arrival. “But it is important to note that the travel and arrival advice will vary between the UK’s four nations — Britain, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. All students travelling to the UK should refer to the UK governments’ official website to get updated information on rules and regulations to be followed,” Kennedy said.
There are some measures you would need to follow before and after arrival. You need to keep checking the latest rules and guidelines for the part of the UK you are travelling to. Also, you need to keep in constant touch with your university, which will let you know when teaching will resume for your chosen course.
“Universities in the UK are preparing to welcome students for the start of the new academic year in September 2021. They are preparing to deliver high-quality teaching, in line with government guidance that ensures that the health and safety of everyone remains a top priority,” Kennedy signed off.