Coronavirus (COVID-19) Travel Advice and Information

University wide advice can be found at the following page

As is usual practice, all staff and students travelling on University business overseas (including placements and field trips) must/should have applied for University travel insurance as soon as the travel arrangements were known.

As of the 12th March 2020 the University has taken the decision to postpone or cancel all University-related international travel.

For students, this means that:
- all international field trips are cancelled
- all international travel for placements are cancelled
- all students already overseas are being advised that they can travel home if they wish with no detriment to their studies. However, this decision should be taken with reference to the local advice from the government where they are based.

For staff, this means that:
- all non-essential staff overseas travel is cancelled. All international trips must be approved by your Head of Department and signed off by the Faculty Vice-President

Essential travel overseas

For any members of staff whereby travel overseas is essential and approved and signed off by their Head of Department and the Faculty Vice-President travel will still need to be confirmed and agreed with insurers for the travel insurance policy to be in place.

Please email with the following information ahead of travel:

  • Travellers Name
  • Dates of Travel
  • Destinations
  • Nature of the trip
  • The travel itinerary
  • A copy of the risk assessment

I will then contact you further to confirm whether Travel Insurance will be in place.

Cancellation of travel or change of itinerary by the FCO or by an external organisation

Please note that we are able to submit claims to our travel insurers for cancellation if the area you were due to visit has been declared (after your original booking) by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) an area where the advice is against all but essential travel or advice against all travel.

If you were due to visit a conference or organisation that has taken the decision to cancel or close the arrangements and you have evidence of this then we may be able to claim any costs from insurers that cannot be refunded by the event organisers, airline or other providers.

If this is the case please complete the travel form here and forward to together with copies of the original flight and accommodation bookings, a letter/email of cancellation from the organisers and confirmation of any flight, accommodation or rail refunds (please contact the airline/providers for this separately) or confirmation that none will be issued. 

Please note that even if your flights are non-refundable you should still be able to reclaim the departure taxes, please contact them direct for this as insurers will need evidence of the refund.

Any claim will be dealt with on a case by case basis and will be subject to the policy excess of £100 per claim.

Cancellation of travel due to the University's decision to postpone or cancel travel 

To reclaim the costs of your travel expenses that cannot be refunded by the providers please complete the travel claim form here and forward to together with the following information:

  • Copies of your original bookings 
  • Copies of any refunds or confirmation that they are non-refundable after cancellation (please note that even if an airline booking states non refundable you should still be able to reclaim the departure taxes - please contact them for this

These claims will be dealt with on a case by case basis and may be subject to the policy excess of £100 per claim.

Claims for emergency return travel due to the advice of the FCO and University of Sheffield

To reclaim additional costs as you have had to return from a trip early please complete the travel claim form here and forward to together with the following information:

  • Copies of the original flight bookings for when you would have returned (you must have already had a return flight booked - if you didn't have a return booked already then we are not able to reclaim this as an additional cost as you would have had to pay for a return at some point.  If you believe you paid a lot more than usual to return and you can provide evidence of this then we may be able to claim the difference in cost from insurers subject to the usual policy excess.  Please foward documentation to support this with your claim form and advise that you wish to claim the difference in flight cost)
  • Copies of invoices/receipts for the reasonable additional costs you have incurred
  • Copies of any refunds for the original flights that will no longer be used or that it will be non-refundable (please contact the airline if not already done so)
  • If you are claiming for other costs such as accommodation paid upfront, please contact the landlord for a refund in the first instance and provide evidence of any refunds or that it is non-refundable

These claims will be dealt with on a case by case basis and may be subject to the policy excess of £100 per claim.

Travellers already overseas

Our travel insurance policy follows the guidance of the FCO. The FCO updated their advice to British travellers on 17 March. They now advise against all but essential travel worldwide.

We therefore strongly advise all students who are overseas to leave as soon as possible and return to the UK. As this is in line with FCO advice, you will be able to claim the reasonable costs of returning against the travel insurance policy.

Please follow the advice of local authorities and also contact the airline or travel company as soon as possible and keep up to date with the latest developments. If local regulations or transport prohibitions mean you are unable to leave, the University travel insurance will remain in place.

If there is transport available for you to leave and you choose not to do so, against the advice of the FCO, travel insurance will be invalidated.

To make a travel insurance claim for reasonable (i.e. standard class fares) costs incurred please complete a travel claim form here and forward to after seeking any refunds from previously booked flights, accommodation or transport.  Insurers will require evidence of any refunds or confirmation that there is none.  Even if flights are non-refundable please contact them to check, they should at least refund your departure taxes.

The University strongly recommends that you return. There will be no detriment to your studies by returning.

If you incur additional, reasonable costs that the travel insurance does not cover, the University will consider claims for financial support. Please contact

We realise there will be other circumstances for students to consider and non-UK students who may not be able to travel to their home country (non-UK nationals must check the advice from their own government). Our general advice for all students is as above but if you want advice on other individual circumstances please contact your local host University, your academic department or, if you are abroad under the Erasmus+ scheme or the Study Abroad Programme, the Global Opportunties team in Sheffield.

If you are returning to the UK and you have nowhere to live, need to self-isolate or you cannot stay with your family, the University has made some rooms available for students in university accommodation. Please contact Jon Merritt to make arrangements - or

On the 23rd March 2020 the Foreign Secretary advised all British travellers to return to the UK now.

All British tourists and short stay travellers currently abroad should return to the UK where commercial flights are still available.  You can view this press release here

International travel is becoming highly limited with the further closure of air routes, land borders and domestic restrictions introduced daily

British travellers should contact their tour operator or airline now. Commercial flight options are still available at present

If you are having difficulty in procuring a flight home please check with the local Embassy/Consulate in that country for any available help arranging flights. 

The advice from the FCO is as follows:

Consider a range of options: you may need to travel to another country to get back to the UK. Check travel advice pages for the latest information on any travel restrictions that could affect your travel plans

Keep up-to-date with our travel advice, and in particular the ‘Return to the UK’ guidance for each country. Sign-up to email alerts to be notified if the situation changes

Check our social media accounts for where you are