International travel

Travel guidance for international students.



If you have not yet been informed that face-to-face teaching on your course is resuming you should remain where you are and continue your studies online.

In addition to those on courses where face-to-face teaching resumed from 8 March, we recognise that there may be exceptional circumstances where students need to travel to Sheffield before face-to-face teaching is re-introduced, for example if you need a study space or a reliable internet connection to continue your studies.

If you are returning to Sheffield, check the Covid-19 entry requirements before travelling to the UK. Do not travel if you have symptoms of Covid-19, or if you are currently self-isolating.

Update your study location

To help us ensure we provide you with the best teaching, services and support, we need you to keep us up to date on where you are studying from.

You can also update these details by logging into MUSE. Click ‘view all services’, then ‘study location’.

Travelling to the UK

If you are travelling from any country that is not listed as a red list travel ban country you must ensure you take the following steps.

Before travel you must:

  • take a coronavirus test and get a negative result during the three days before you travel and provide this to your travel provider
  • 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 your quarantine
  • complete a passenger locator form

You must book a Covid-19 travel test package before departing for the UK, and you should carry your invoice as evidence of booking. Booking a test at our Covid-19 Testing Centre on campus does not count towards this requirement.

After arriving in England you must self-isolate (quarantine) at your accommodation for 10 days.

You may choose to use the Test and Release Scheme. This allows you to get a test from a private provider after five days of self-isolation, with a negative result allowing you to stop self-isolating from day six. A list of approved Test and Release providers is available on the UK government website.

Please note that a test result from Our Covid-19 Testing Centre is not applicable to the Test and Release Scheme. However, all students are still welcome to book a test with us.

Travel from a red list country

If you are a British or Irish National, or you have residence rights in the UK, which includes holding a valid student visa, and you are travelling from or through one of the red list travel ban countries, you will be able to enter the UK – but you must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days.

Support for students travelling from a red list country

If you have been advised by your department that you should return to the UK for your studies, and you are required to quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days upon arrival, you can apply for the Covid-19 Support Fund to recover the costs incurred by you for this quarantine. The University may review this commitment in future depending on changes in government policy. 

Apply for the Covid-19 Support Fund

Easter travel guidance

The government has shared updated travel guidance for the Easter break. The guidance strongly advises that you remain in your term time accommodation over the Easter break in order to minimise the transmission risk within the wider community. This applies particularly to international students, because international travel restrictions could change while you’re overseas.

You are permitted to return home once before 29 April, however if you choose to travel you should book two tests at our Covid-19 Testing Centre before travel, and as soon as possible upon returning to Sheffield. 

You should also book a test before returning to Sheffield, where community testing facilities are available. Find out if your local area has a community testing programme.

If you test positive, you are legally required to self-isolate for 10 days and should not travel.

Covid-19 testing when you return to Sheffield

If you have returned to your home country

The University will continue to sponsor your Student or Tier 4 visa if you remain in contact with your department and engage with your studies.

This means that, if you are able to participate in online studies, submit your assignments, and you plan to return to the UK in the future, the University will not report your visa for cancellation.

Please note that the UK government may change their rules during this period and we will continue to monitor this closely.

Remember to keep the University up to date with your study location when you change from the UK to overseas, or from overseas to the UK. Complete the study location form. 

If you are unable to access online learning 

If your department advises that you cannot continue to study remotely, your visa may be affected.

If you are unable to access online teaching and submit assignments from home, you should consider taking a leave of absence during this period so that you are able to resume study once normal teaching resumes.


If you are confident that you can engage with your research while at home:

  • Discuss your proposal to continue your research at home with your supervisor, who will guide you on whether it would be practicable for you to continue your research from home. This will depend on a number of factors such as the point you are at with your research, your subject discipline, and whether you have ongoing laboratory or experimental work. You must also have the approval of your supervisor to continue your research project remotely.
  • Ensure that you have the resources available to continue your research from home.
  • Regularly keep in contact with your supervisor.

If your supervisor cannot support your proposal to continue your research from home, you may wish to consider taking either a short absence by using your annual leave or take a leave of absence. These options will mean that you will stop work on your research.

A leave of absence may have an impact on your Student or Tier 4 visa but this will be reviewed on a case by case basis. This will be dependent on the duration of the LOA and whether it will have an impact on your original submission date. You can read more information and use our self-help tools to check before applying for a LOA online

If you have previously registered with the police 

Police forces, including South Yorkshire Police have currently suspended all police registration appointments until further notice. If you have applied for your visa or had your change of circumstances, read our guidance.

If you are unable to leave the UK 

If your visa expires and you cannot leave the UK, and you’re still studying at the University, you may also be able to extend your Student visa in the UK. You can find out more online about how to extend your visa and request a new CAS from International Student Support.

If you cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self isolation related to Covid-19, and have no other grounds to extend your visa, you can request 'Exceptional Assurance from the Coronavirus Immigration Team’ (CIT).

If you are granted 'Exceptional Assurance' it will act as a short-term protection against any adverse action or consequences after your visa has expired. It will have an expiry date and will give you this protection until the date the assurance expires.

You are strongly advised to contact International Student Support before your visa expires for further assistance.

If you are eligible to submit a visa application in a different visa category, you can contact the Student Advice Centre for help.

Visa guidance

UKVI temporary guidance

There are a range of changes to immigration guidance from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as a result of Covid-19, and this is subject to change. For detailed guidance about UK Visa Applications, changes to your studies and conditions of your stay, expired travel vignettes, expired CAS, BRP collection: check our UKVI guidance page.

Expired vignette (sticker on your passport)

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) have confirmed that if you had already been issued with a 90 day entry clearance visa overseas, and this has expired or will expire before you travel, you will need to apply for a vignette transfer and pay an application fee of £154.

Government guidance on how to transfer your visa from your passport

The University may be able to reimburse the cost of your replacement vignette application through the Student Covid-19 Support Fund.

To apply to the fund, you'll need to provide a copy of your expired vignette as well as the receipt you receive when you submit the replacement vignette application.

Graduate Immigration Route

The Graduate Immigration Route is the post-study work visa for international students with a Student or Tier 4 visa. If you are completing your course in 2021, you may wish to apply for this visa.

Due to Covid-19, the government has put in place concessions for students unable to travel to the UK due to the pandemic, recognising the continued disruption many face in international travel.

To apply for the Graduate Immigration Route, you must apply while living in the UK.

If you are an undergraduate or postgraduate taught student currently living overseas, and you have not been advised to return by your department, you do not need to travel to the UK at this time. You should remain where you are currently living and continue to study online until your face-to-face teaching resumes. However, you will need to arrive by 21 June if you wish to be eligible for the Graduate Immigration Route.

For further information, check our Graduate Immigration Route web page and read the government Graduate Immigration Route fact sheet.

If you have a visa or immigration concern, please get in touch with our International Student Support team.

Cancelling pre-booked travel

If you need to cancel pre-booked travel to the University due to Covid-19, you should try to reschedule your ticket or ask for a refund. If you can't change your pre-booked travel or claim on insurance, the University can support you through the Student Covid-19 Support Fund.

Support – get in touch

Our extensive range of support services for students are all available online.