Studying in the UK and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Guidance for Hong Kong Students

If you are an international student interested in UK study and need advice and support throughout this unprecedented period, please read below for the latest information.

SI-UK are closely monitoring local conditions and government advice in the UK, as well as across all our global offices. If you need to speak to someone, please reach out to our team and arrange a free online consultation with SI-UK Hong Kong today.

Study UK and Coronavirus Updates

  • Last update: 19th July, 2021.

- International Student Vaccine Priority in the UK

International and EU students in the UK will be able to access the various vaccinations available as they are rolled out across the country, meaning you may receive the vaccine quicker in the UK than your home country and will be protected when returning home.

Full guidance released by NHS England confirmed that the COVID-19 vaccination is now being offered to everyone aged 18 or over in the UK for free, regardless of their nationality or immigration status. Once you have registered with a local GP in the UK, you can book your COVID-19 vaccination.

- UK Universities to Cover Quarantine Costs

For international students who need to complete a period of quarantine in managed hotel accommodation, a number of UK universities have announced they will reimburse the 10-day hotel quarantine and testing fees, up to the total value of £1,750. See below for further details or speak to an SI-UK Hong Kong consultant to learn more.

- UK Vaccine Rollout

The COVID-19 vaccine roll-out is amongst the best in the world and the UK is expected to be one of the first countries in the world to be fully vaccinated.

- September 2021 Entry

The UK government published its COVID-19 roadmap in February 2021 and, ahead of the next main student intake in September 2021, UK universities are processing international UCAS applications as normal and traditional study and learning is expected to return.

UK universities are working towards a full return to face-to-face teaching from the start of Autumn Term in September 2021 and students are expected to have full access to all campuses and facilities. In line with UK Government guidance, institutions will continue to provide a safe campus for students.

Please speak to an SI-UK consultant for university specific measures.

- UK Restrictions Lifted

On July 19th the UK government removed almost all COVID-19 restrictions in England, meaning an end to social distancing measures and caps on the numbers of people allowed to meet. Scotland is expected to announce a similar lifting of restrictions on August 9th, with Wales and Northern Ireland still to be confirmed.

- Traffic Light System for International Travel

The UK government has announced details of new travel rules that allow safe travel from several countries to the UK.

Travellers from countries rated green will not need to isolate on arrival to the UK; they will simply need to take a COVID-19 test before and after their trip. Arrivals from amber countries will need to quarantine on arrival to the UK, while the strictest rules apply to the red-list countries.

- Travelling to and Entering the UK

To enter the UK you must have proof of a negative COVID-19 test (wherever you travel from), fill in a passenger locator form, and submit it within 48 hours before their arrival in the country.

The test must be taken no more than three days before your departure and will need to be shown at the border as a printed document, an email or a text on your device. 

- Online Consultations

If you would like to discuss your current application with one of our consultants, or have any questions about COVID-19 and its implications for UK study, we welcome one-to-one Skype/Zoom calls with our team who will be happy to help.

UK Universities Covering Quarantine Costs

To help support new international students joining UK universities from September 2021, a number of institutions are offering an extensive COVID-19 support package which will cover the cost of testing and quarantining.

The University will help with the costs of coronavirus testing and quarantine where required.

  • Green: If you are arriving from or have travelled through: a green list country, Bristol will cover the cost of the test package you need
  • Amber: Bristol will cover the cost of the test package you need
  • Red: Bristol will reimburse you for the cost of this hotel stay (currently £1,750)

To help remove any concerns you might have about the quarantine costs when you first arrive in the UK, Cranfield are proud to launch the Cranfield International Arrivals Bursary. This bursary will:


  • Cover the cost of any COVID testing that you are required to take on arrival in the UK, in line with Government guidance.
  • Provide you with accommodation on the Cranfield campus and all of your meals, both free of charge, for the period that you need to quarantine on your arrival. If you are required to stay in a Government quarantine hotel, this cost will be covered.
  • Provide you with free travel organised by the University to the Cranfield campus from the following airports – London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Stansted, London Luton, London City and London Southend.

The Cranfield International Arrivals bursary is automatically available to students who meet all three criteria: you are an international student travelling to the UK from overseas; you will be studying full-time on a taught or research programme; you are commencing your studies between 1 June 2021 and 31 October 2021.

Leeds understands that many students will be facing unforeseen costs as a result of their country being on the UK government's red list for travel. If students are required to enter managed quarantine in hotels, the University will provide the full government set cost of £1,750 for each self-financing student travelling from a home address in a red-list country. This will be paid through a tuition fee reduction after students arrive in Leeds.


Further details of eligibility for this support and how to claim the fee reduction will be available before students begin their journey to Leeds.

Red List: To help support students who have travelled from, or through, a Red List country, the University of Lincoln will reimburse the cost of the managed quarantine hotel (£1,750) after enrolment. The University will also provide a free transfer service from the quarantine hotel to Lincoln.


Amber List: To help support students arriving from Amber List countries, the University of Lincoln will reimburse the cost of the COVID-19 test package. The University will also provide a free airport transfer service to Lincoln.


If you have chosen and arranged University of Lincoln managed accommodation for the duration of your studies, you will be entitled to 10-days of free accommodation during the quarantine period. Please note that this option is only available to students who arrive prior to the programme start date and are travelling from an Amber List country.


Students who are staying in University of Lincoln managed accommodation throughout the 10-day quarantine period will be provided with a free welcome pack consisting of bedding, towels and toiletries, and kitchen equipment, including a rice cooker. Students will also receive a free welcome pack of dry food ingredients and a £60 supermarket voucher to help order groceries. International Students who are staying in privately managed accommodation will also be entitled to receive a £60 supermarket voucher to help order groceries.


Green List: To help support students arriving from Green List countries, the University of Lincoln will reimburse the cost of the COVID-19 test after you have enrolled. The University will also provide a free airport transfer service.

If you are a new student travelling to join the University for the first time and are required to pay the cost of quarantine, Oxford Brookes will provide you with a tuition fee discount for up to £1,750. This amount will be discounted from the second semester of your tuition fees.

Prospective students from red list countries can apply for a package of up to £3,010​, which may include:

  • Hotel quarantine costs: £1,750
  • Cost of PCR tests: £210​
  • Flight supplement: up to £1,000​ Collection from quarantine accommodation to London address: £50​

Prospective students from amber list countries can apply for a package of up to £860, which may include:

  • Hamper package (includes cleaning goods): £50​
  • Cost of PCR tests: £210​
  • Flight supplement: up to £500​
  • Collection from airport to quarantine at a London address: £100​

Prospective students from green list countries can apply for a package of up to £560, which may include:

  • Hamper package (including cleaning goods): £50​
  • Cost of PCR tests: £210​
  • Flight supplement: up to £300​

In response to the revised travel guidance, the University has updated its financial support for international students coming to York for the first time.

  • Managed quarantine hotel accommodation (£1,750 + any additional days, 'Red' arrivals only) - Managed quarantine hotel accommodation is only required for students who travel from, or through, a country on the Government banned travel list ('red list'). York will only refund the cost for the student, not for any partners, spouses or dependents.
  • Test to Release test (variable price, typically £80-£150, optional for 'Amber' arrivals only)
  • Travel Test Package (variable price, typically £210, 'Green' and 'Amber' arrivals only) You can now use a variety of providers for obtaining your Travel Test Package and the cost is variable. York will only refund the Travel Test Package up to the value of £210, so please choose your provider carefully. If you choose a Travel Test Package that is more expensive, York will not refund the excess above £210. 'Amber' arrivals need to book a two test package, to be taken on day 2 and 8 of their quarantine period, while 'Green' arrivals only need to book one test that is taken on or before day 2 of their arrival in the UK.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ

The below list of questions and answers will be updated when new information is released from the UK government and UK universities.

Students that have been issued a visa and decide not to travel, must inform the institution they are due to attend so their visa status can be updated. Should students wish to defer their studies, they would need to apply for a new visa as their current visa would not cover the full period of study for the next course.

All UK universities are currently making plans that will cover various potential scenarios for the 2021 academic year. Many campuses will be open, but hybrid learning will continue to take place, with face-to-face tuition and digital lectures and seminars allowing social distancing guidelines to be followed.

UK universities and SI-UK are accepting applications as normal in preparation for the September 2021 intake.

There will be no changes to how scholarships are allocated and many UK universities are currently finalising revised scholarship plans for 2021 entry.

Studying in the UK

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