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India is on the UK’s ‘red list’ — what does this mean for Indian students?

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Indian students can still travel to the UK. Source: Tauseef Mustafa/AFP

The UK has added India to a “red list” of countries from which most travel to the UK is banned over fears of a new COVID-19 variant. This does not include Indian students, who can still travel to the country.

UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock announced on Monday (April 19) that from 04:00 BST on April 23, most people who have travelled from India in the last 10 days will be refused entry. British or Irish passport holders, or people with UK residence rights, will be allowed in but must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days. So, what does this mean for Indian students?

According to The PIE News, the Home Office has confirmed that international students from India are exempt. Indian students coming to the UK must have a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), a document issued by the Home Office to confirm that holders can live and study in the UK. This means students can enter the country so long as they follow quarantine requirements.

“Indian students holding a student visa or a Tier 4 visa have residence rights in the UK, therefore the travel ban does not apply to them. However, they will be expected to complete a 10-day hotel quarantine at their own expense as per the UK government guidelines,” British Council South India director Janaka Pushpanathan told the portal. “It is important to note that the rules are different for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, so students need to check in advance of travelling to those locations.”

The British High Commission in India said in a tweet: “There is no flight ban in place between the UK and India, however we recommend that you contact your airline if you have a planned flight. If you are an Indian national without residency rights in the UK then we regret that you will not be permitted to enter England if you have departed from or transited through India in the previous 10 days.”

What Indian students should know about quarantining in England

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Indian students can expect to fork out £1,750 to quarantine. Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP

According to Gov.uk, those travelling from or passed through a “red list” country must:

  • Quarantine for 10 full days from the point of their arrival — the day of arrival in England will be treated as day 0
  • Must isolate in a managed quarantine facility

This would also apply to Indian students. Before arriving in England, travellers must take a COVID-19 test and get a negative result during the three days before their travel. “You must take the test in the three days before the service on which you will arrive in England departs. For example, if you travel directly to England on Friday, you must take the test on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday,” it said.

“You will need to agree to book and pay for a quarantine package before you complete your passenger locator form and board your return journey to the UK. The package includes the costs of transport from the port of arrival to the designated hotel, food, accommodation, security, other essential services and testing.” The rate for one adult in one room for 10 days (11 nights) is 1,750 pounds.