Travel advice

Updated 2 September 2020 at 3pm

For staff

Due to the rapidly evolving situation regarding coronavirus-affected countries, the University as a general rule is not permitting any travel, international or domestic, for staff or students on University business.

If you feel you have exceptional and business-critical reasons for travelling, you must contact the Executive Dean of your faculty directly who will consider your circumstances and escalate accordingly.

University travel restrictions

The University confirmed in March 2020 a decision to cancel all staff travel to all international destinations up to and including until 30 April. In April 2020 the University’s travel restrictions were extended, cancelling all travel, international and domestic, between 1 May and 30 June 2020. In the light of changing global conditions the University has now taken the decision to extend the cancellation period until 30 September 2020.

Key Travel are working on the University’s behalf to cancel all travel bookings and progress refund requests. New reporting capabilities are also being developed by Key travel to support the University in managing and allocating refunds that have been received irrespective of method, whether currency, credit or voucher.

If you have any questions about the proposed cancellation of your booking, please contact travel@leeds.ac.uk

Any questions about insurance should be addressed to insurance@leeds.ac.uk

Managing study abroad and work placements

International travel to countries the FCO has identified as exempt from advice against ‘all but essential’ travel is permitted. No travel is currently allowed to destinations where the FCO advises against ‘all but essential’ travel. Travel permissions are subject to change in line with FCO advice.

Planning to support taught students to take part in UK and overseas work placements as well as study abroad, can now begin:

  • The full risk management process, (including covid-19 risk assurance) for study abroad and work placements must be completed (and in the case of placements, the Tripartite Agreement too) before travel.
  • Risk Awareness Forms for Study Abroad and Risk Management Action Plans for Work Placements for all international travel must be reviewed by the Study Abroad Office and shared with the Study Abroad Coordinator, or Employability Manager respectively.
  • Travel also depends on the destination’s local rules and regulations and, due to the fast-changing global situation, may still be prevented at the last minute.
  • Travel plans (e.g. a flight) which don’t involve travel from the UK to an overseas location, will be considered on a case-by-case basis, depending on country-specific travel advice.
  • Where any study abroad or work placement activity is currently taking place the risk management awareness forms or actions plans must be reviewed to ensure they include covid-19 precautions.

Questions about insurance should be addressed to insurance@leeds.ac.uk.

Managing fieldwork

Fieldwork for research in the UK

Fieldwork activities for research (staff and PGRs) in England and mainland UK have now restarted. Planning for future fieldwork – both for research and teaching – can go ahead. A full fieldwork risk assessment (including covid-19 mitigation measures) will need to be approved before fieldwork in the UK can begin. More information is available on the wellbeing, safety and health website 

International fieldwork (research and teaching)

Planning for international fieldwork (both for research and for teaching) can now begin, although with so many unknowns, we recommend that wherever possible you plan for UK-based fieldwork instead. If international fieldwork is considered essential, please be aware that it can only go ahead from 2021 and must have followed stringent approval processes – including both the fieldwork risk assessment process and the Travel against FCO advice procedure. Of course, international travel may be prevented at the last minute, due to fast-changing government (and local) rules specific to each country.

Travelling overseas for personal/recreational reasons

Although the government restrictions regarding overseas travel were relaxed early in July with quarantine requirements being removed for some countries, its advice still remains that ‘the global coronavirus pandemic is ongoing, no travel is risk-free, and disruption is still possible’. It also makes it clear that government ‘advice will remain under constant review to take into account the latest situation in each country’, and the possibility of quarantine requirements being reintroduced if necessary is reinforced.

It is likely that many staff who have booked holidays abroad will have had them cancelled or have decided to stay in the UK, but if you are planning to travel outside of the UK for personal/recreational reasons, please understand and consider the risks of doing so, including the possibilities that (i) your travel insurance may be invalidated, (ii) UK quarantine rules may be introduced before or while you are away, (iii) local lockdown measures may be introduced in the place that you are visiting, and/or (iv) you or a member of your party may become ill while overseas.

Whether and where you decide to travel on holiday is your personal choice. However, it is important that you understand the implications from a work perspective of travelling overseas for personal/recreational reasons during this period of great uncertainty.  The increase in the rate of infections in a number of countries is highly likely to result in further travel restrictions and quarantine rules, hence the need to be clear about the implications for you in relation to work.

Travel from 1 August 2020

If you chose to travel overseas for personal /recreational reasons with an outbound journey from (and including) Saturday 1 August 2020 and you are required to quarantine on return or quarantine while overseas, even if quarantine rules were not in place at the time of your outbound journey,:

  • The University expects your contractual obligations relating to work to be met;
  • If it was anticipated that you would be working from home for the whole of the relevant quarantine period, then that will be supported;
  • If you were expected to be working on campus for all or part of the relevant quarantine period, we may be able to allocate work to you that can be delivered from home and we expect you to be flexible in your approach to work.  If remote working cannot be arranged, you will be required to take annual leave (from either the current or next year’s entitlement) or unpaid leave (but only if your current year leave entitlement is exhausted);
  •  If you become ill during the quarantine period, you will be eligible for sick pay according to normal rules;
  • You are advised to discuss your circumstances with your local HR Manager who will provide advice and, where circumstances are exceptional, will provide support.

Travel before 1 August 2020

If you travelled overseas before 1 August 2020 (an outbound journey date in July 2020) and are required to quarantine upon returning to the UK, you are advised to speak with your local HR manager at the earliest opportunity.

  • If it was anticipated that you would be working from home for the whole of the relevant quarantine period, then that will be supported;
  • If you were expected to be working on campus for all or part of the relevant quarantine period, we will do our utmost to allocate work to you that can be delivered from home and will expect you to be flexible in your approach to work.  If remote working cannot be arranged, your circumstances will be considered by your HR Manager and a combination of special paid leave (up to one week) and annual leave/unpaid leave will be required.

Reimbursement of travel costs

In light of the University’s decision to withdraw from all work related travel, it is inevitable that all costs may not be recoverable. Assuming the travel and activity was authorised and booked in line with University policy, directly related expenses will be reimbursed.

In some circumstances it may be possible to recover other costs through the University’s Travel Insurance. Non-recoverable costs will be absorbed by the University and any personal expenditure should be claimed through Employee Self Service in the usual way.

Contacts

Given the current situation, Key Travel is receiving an unusually large number of travel queries, this is likely to have some impact on waiting and response times. Your patience is appreciated.

If you have any questions about cancellations of your booking, please contact travel@leeds.ac.uk

Questions about insurance should be addressed to insurance@leeds.ac.uk

For students

If you are a Tier 4 student, please check the latest advice on our visas and travel page.

If you are currently booked to attend an international trip with the University please contact your event organiser or Head of School.

Study abroad and work placements

The University is now supporting taught students to plan and take part in:

  • UK-based work placements
  • Overseas work placements
  • Study Abroad

International travel to countries the FCO has identified as exempt from advice against ‘all but essential’ travel is permitted. No travel is currently allowed to destinations where the FCO advises against ‘all but essential’ travel. Travel permissions are subject to change in line with FCO advice.

Please keep your Placement/ Study Abroad Coordinator up to date with your plans and respond quickly to any requests for information.

Official travel advice to and from the UK is being regularly updated. Some countries may not currently have entry or exit restrictions, but given the rapidly evolving nature of the coronavirus situation, we strongly recommend considering the potential impact of travel restrictions changing once you have arrived at your destination.

It is also important to consider that advice on self-isolation might change for different geographical locations and this could affect you upon your return to the UK.

Fieldwork

The University is now supporting taught and PGR students to plan for fieldwork in the UK; you will need to complete, and have the full fieldwork risk assessment (including covid-19 mitigation measures) approved. More information is available on the wellbeing, safety and health website

Planning for international fieldwork (both for research and for taught courses) can now begin, although with so many unknowns, we recommend that you plan UK-based fieldwork instead wherever possible. If you still think your international fieldwork is essential, you would only be able to travel to international countries from 2021 and need to follow very stringent approval processes. Of course, international travel may be prevented at the last minute, due to fast-changing government (and local) rules.