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UK offers help to students who can’t afford to quarantine or test

Travelling to the uk
Travelling to the UK? Here’s what you should know about the UK’s hardship fund, and whether you’re eligible for it. Source: Oli Scarf/AFP

Are you an incoming international student to the UK? Depending on your vaccination status and where you’re coming from, you may have to quarantine and pay testing fees associated with travelling to the UK. The UK government, however, will help those unable to pay for managed quarantine or testing. Find out if you’re eligible for a hardship fund: 

Am I eligible for the hardship fund?

The hardship arrangements are only for those who are travelling to the UK for essential purposes. Gov.uk adds that hardship arrangements are only available to UK citizens or individuals with residency rights, including international students who possess a student visa.

“You should plan for — and meet — the managed quarantine and testing costs associated with your travel,” notes Gov.uk. “However, if you believe you will suffer severe financial hardship if you have to pay the full cost of your managed quarantine or testing fees before you travel, then hardship arrangements may be available to you.”

If you’re eligible for hardship arrangements, you may be offered a repayment plan (where you pay for the cost of managed quarantine in monthly instalments) for some or all of your fees. “In exceptionally limited circumstances, you may be eligible for a fee reduction or fee waiver. Hardship arrangements are only available if your travel is for essential purposes,” notes the website. Essential travel includes students coming to study in the UK.

Travelling to the uk

Under the new rules, fully vaccinated individuals will not need to take a pre-departure test, take a day eight COVID-19 test or quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days after arriving in England. Source: Adrian Dennis/AFP

Before applying for a hardship fund

If you’re thinking of applying for a hardship fund, it’s essential that you explore other methods to fund your testing and quarantining before applying. “This could include exploring whether you could get a loan, including from friends and family, using a credit card or your overdraft,” said Gov.uk. “You’ll be asked to provide evidence that you’ve explored these options when you apply.”

Eligibility for hardship arrangements before travelling to the UK

The hardship arrangements are only for those who do not already have existing hardship arrangements in place. “This means if you’re already on a deferred repayment plan for managed quarantine services or mandatory testing, or you’ve previously had your fees reduced or waived, you will not be able to apply again except in very limited circumstances (for example if you’re an international student who has to enter the UK more than once for essential purposes, or if you’re applying on behalf of a member of your immediate family who will not be travelling with you),” said Gov.uk. 

Travelling to the UK: What to know

From October 4, the rules for international travel to England will change from the red, amber, green traffic light system to a single red list of countries and simplified travel measures for arrivals from the rest of the world, said Gov.uk. 

“The rules for travel from countries and territories not on the red list will depend on your vaccination status,” it said. “If you arrive in England before October 4, you must follow the current rules. This means you must book and take any COVID-19 tests you need and follow the quarantine rules that are in place at the time you arrive in England.”

For more details on travelling to the UK, click here.