Guidance

Unaccompanied higher and further education students under 18 arriving from a red list country

Where you can quarantine if you are an unaccompanied student under the age of 18 arriving in England from a red list country.

Applies to England

Everyone who has been in or travelled through a country on the red list in the 10 days before arriving in England must quarantine for 10 days on arrival. For the majority of travellers, this means staying in a managed quarantine hotel.

Unaccompanied minors arriving from a red list country to attend a higher education (HE) or further education (FE) institution in England or Wales may be able to quarantine in accommodation provided by their education institution. A minor is someone who is under the age of 18.

This guidance is for students who are minors (under 18), and their families. Students aged 18 or above must follow the standard quarantine rules for red list arrivals.

You can read more about under 18s travelling alone from red list countries in the ‘Unaccompanied minors’ section of the detailed guidance for red list arrivals.

Quarantining in HE or FE accommodation

Unaccompanied minors arriving from a red list country to attend a HE or FE institution in England or Wales may be able to quarantine in accommodation provided by their education institution.

Before travelling

If the HE or FE institution is able to provide accommodation for the student to quarantine, they will provide the student, and where appropriate the student’s parent, guardian or appropriate adult, with information on quarantine arrangements and outline steps they must take to arrange their travel to the UK.

The student must take a COVID-19 test and get a negative result during the 3 days before they travel.

In addition, the student or an adult responsible for the student must:

  • book and pay for a travel test package through Corporate Travel Management (CTM) – the package will include COVID-19 tests to be taken on day 2 and day 8 of their quarantine
  • complete a passenger locator form with details of where they will quarantine, when they will arrive and the travel test package booking reference number

On arrival in England

The HE or FE institution will provide the student with 2 letters to present to UK Border Force officials on arrival.

One will be a copy of a letter from the Department for Education to the institution confirming that students are covered by an exemption. This means they do not need to stay in a managed quarantine hotel.

The second will be a letter from the institution to the student.

A representative of the HE or FE institution will meet the student at their port of entry and transport them directly to the quarantine accommodation provided by the institution.

The terms of the higher or further education quarantine are legal requirements, and students quarantining there must follow the rules set out by their institution.

Other types of quarantine for HE and FE students under 18

Quarantining with a host family

Students under the age of 18 may also be able to quarantine with a host family in their home. The entire household must isolate with the student for the full quarantine period – for more details, see the separate guidance for people allowed to quarantine at home after entering England from a red list country.

Quarantining in a managed quarantine hotel

If it is not possible for the student to quarantine in HE or FE accommodation or with a host family, they must quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel (unless they have a compassionate or medical exemption).

To get permission to book an under-18 student into managed quarantine, the student, or an adult responsible for the student, should email MQS_new_Exemptions@dhsc.gov.uk. They will receive an automated response with a list of questions that they need to answer.

Once permission to book managed quarantine has been granted, the student or adult responsible for the student will be directed to contact CTM to book managed quarantine.

Read the guidance on booking and staying in a managed quarantine hotel.

Published 17 September 2021
Last updated 28 November 2021 + show all updates
  1. Added content about changes to restrictions as a result of the SARS-COV-2 OMCIRON variant. Four more countries have been added to the red list.

  2. Added content explaining that South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe moved onto the red list at midday on Friday 26 November. A temporary flight ban is now in place and all travellers who have been in these countries must quarantine and take tests.

  3. Added content stating that if an unaccompanied student under 18 quarantines with a host family after arriving in England from a red list country, the entire household must isolate with the student.

  4. First published.