International travel

If you’re planning to travel internationally during the COVID-19 pandemic it’s important to check the rules of your destination country. You need to check whether travel is permitted, requirements for travel and arrival, and arrangements for tests and quarantine.

International students should consult the International Student Office's Travelling to the UK page, along with government guidance, before planning any travel to the UK. This page contains essential information about requirements for travel and arrival, and includes information about tests and quarantine.

A key thing to remember is that your College is here to help you. Please refer to information provided by your College, on your College website or, if you cannot find the information you need, contact your Tutor at your College.

Key information points in College:

  • Your Tutor
  • Porters’ Lodge
  • Tutorial Office

Each College employs a College Nurse who will have regular drop-in times for students who might need medical attention.

Additionally, you can get COVID-19 related guidance from the Covid Helpdesk.

Financial Hardship

If you experience financial hardship as a result of measures in place because of the pandemic, or for any other reason, you should contact your College Tutor as soon as possible. Your Tutor will be able to advise you about any support that might be available from your College or the University.


COVID-19 tests for international travel

University tests

The University is able to offer formal certification of COVID-19 test results obtained through the Asymptomatic COVID-19 Screening Programme and “Pre-departure tests”, to enable them to be used for overseas travel as evidence of a negative test result for entry. We can offer two certificates to students: one for negative pooled test results and one for negative or positive individual test results.  They may be used to certify test results notified via the testing database to Colleges, between 29 November and noon on 24 December. To obtain this certificate, ask your College.

Please note that you need to understand the requirements of your destination country and carrier before you travel, in respect of both the technical specifications and timing of tests. Entry requirements for travellers from the UK can be found on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.

Students whose travel plans mean they cannot use their University COVID-19 test to satisfy the authorities at their destination, for example, because a negative pooled test result is not acceptable, or their swab date falls too early in relation to their date of travel, will need to make arrangements, and pay for, for a private test.

Private tests

There are several places in Cambridge where it is possible to arrange a private test for COVID-19, including the ones listed. You should NOT, however, presume that these tests can be used for the purposes of international travel.

The Travel Clinic at 41 Hills Road - book online or by calling 0330 100 4200.
Lloyds Pharmacy

If you are travelling overseas or returning to the UK, there are specific lists of accredited providers specified by the UK government. See also the links below to pre-departure testing facilities at major ports of departure. 

University staff (and family members) who need to take a PCR test before traveling abroad may use the discount code uoc2021 to get a discount of £5.50 on full-price PCR tests from Excalibur Healthcare Services

Several airports and other points of departure have facilities for pre-departure testing on site, which may be more convenient than organising a test before leaving Cambridge:

Gatwick Airport

Heathrow Airport

London City Airport

Luton Airport

Stansted Airport

Eurostar - London St Pancras Terminal

Eurotunnel Terminal - Dover - Calais

I’m an international student returning to Cambridge. Can I take a test to release me from quarantine?

No. For regulatory reasons, it is not possible for test results from the University of Cambridge testing programmes to be used for this purpose.

Further information about travelling to the UK, including tests for COVID-19 and how to access them, are available on our International Students pages. In particular, please note that there is a restricted number of private providers able to offer ‘Test to release’.

Travelling on University business

If you are planning to travel on University business, please see the information on travel on our Coronavirus webpage.