All travel on University business should follow UK lockdown and FCDO international travel restrictions. Departments are reminded to keep abreast of these as they are subject to change.
Under current UK COVID-19 restrictions, international travel can only take place where there is a legally permitted reason, as set out in UK lockdown restrictions.
If travel is permitted the FCDO travel advice for the country to be visited should be checked; some countries have closed borders, and may further restrict movement or bring in new rules including testing requirements with little warning.
In addition, as from 18th January, any travellers to England must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to 3 days before departure . Travellers must also provide journey and contact details and self-isolate for 10 days upon arrival.
As of 15th February 2021 when entering the UK from a country with a travel ban to the UK, you must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days.
Guidelines on the implications of these new restrictions are under development and will be published on this website shortly.
Heads of Department must approve any international travel whilst FCDO global restrictions against all but essential travel apply. In doing so they need to satisfy themselves that the trip is essential and urgent, as well as balance the need for the travel against the risks involved.
Prior to approval by the Head of Department, risk assessments for international travel should also be sent to the Safety Office for review.
If these procedures are not followed then University travel insurance will be invalidated. Travellers are strongly advised to check terms and conditions on the travel insurance website
Travellers are advised to allow plenty of time for Safety Office review and should allow a lead in time of at least 6 weeks where referral to insurers is required. Please refer to the travel Insurance website.
In the event of an insurance claim the insurers may require evidence that the criteria for travel are met, departments are therefore advised to record their decision and rationale for approving travel.
Departments are also reminded to monitor the ongoing rapidly changing situation and the wellbeing of the traveller, as well as consider their contingency plans and protocols for dealing with repatriation or emergencies in country.
University policies on fieldwork and overseas travel should be followed. These require that all fieldwork and overseas travel are subject to a suitable and sufficient risk assessment and departmental approval. This risk assessment must include consideration of the COVID-19 risk. COVID-19 risk assessment templates are available for UK and Overseas travel/fieldwork to assist departments in assessing the unique risks posed by the virus. The COVID-19 risk assessment is to be completed alongside, and in addition to existing departmental travel/fieldwork risk assessment forms which cover other risks. Existing forms should be available from your department, if not please use the following: travel and fieldwork risk assessment template.
A key part of the planning process for any travel during the COVID-19 pandemic is consideration of whether plans can be adapted to incorporate COVID-19 safe alternatives such as remote and online methods which replace or reduce need for fieldwork or travel.
The approval process will be expedited where departments ensure risk assessments are suitable and sufficient, containing all relevant information, before submission to the Safety Office. Please see an example COVID-19 travel risk assessment which provides a good level of detail and evidences thorough, informed planning and arrangements.
Given the rapidly changing global context, it is particularly important to keep risk assessments up to date; changes in a country’s status must be addressed and any action taken in line with official advice.