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The guidance gives accommodation providers an overview of the isolation requirements for international students travelling to Wales to attend university who and are not exempt from the required isolation period (see below).

The guidance is non-statutory guidance. It aims to give accommodation providers an overview of the relevant legal requirements of students who are legally required to self-isolate when they arrive in Wales. It should not be taken as a complete outline of the legal position.

The principal legislation governing quarantine (referred to as “isolating”) for persons arriving in Wales is the Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (Wales) Regulations 2020. The legal requirements explained in this guidance stem from that legislation unless otherwise indicated. The Regulations are referred to in the guidance as “the International Travel Regulations”.

Students who are legally required to self-isolate should do so as a single person household. The only exception to this is if students are from the same household in their usual non-UK residence, e.g. couples, relatives etc. who have travelled together[footnote 1].

Exemption from isolation

Exemption from the required self-isolation period on arrival into the UK only applies to individuals who meet the following criteria:

Fully vaccinated means that you have had your final dose of an approved vaccine at least 14 whole days before the date you arrive in Wales. The day you have your final dose of the vaccine does not count as one of the 14 days.

Passengers seeking to rely on an exemption will need to possess (and may be required to produce) evidence that they are eligible for the exemption.

Such as:

  • the NHS COVID pass, or equivalent from NHS Scotland, NHS Wales or the Department of Health in Northern Ireland
  • the EU Digital COVID certificate
  • the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention vaccination card

An exempt person will still be required to undertake a ‘day 2’ PCR test following arrival and would, in the event of a positive test, need to isolate.

[footnote 1] Transit through a red list country by ship or aircraft does not constitute having been in that country provided that the person travelling does not disembark from the aircraft or ship while in that country and no other passenger embarks on the aircraft or ship while it is in that country - see Regulation 2(4) of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (Wales) Regulations 2020.

Overview of travel to and from Wales

To reduce transmission of COVID-19 when arriving from overseas, international arrivals must follow border rules depending on where they have travelled from.

Travellers arriving in Wales from elsewhere within the UK and the Common Travel Area (CTA)

People arriving in Wales from within the UK (England, Scotland or Northern Ireland) and have not been outside the Common Travel Area (Ireland, Isle of Man or the Channel Islands) in the 10 days before entering Wales, do not need to complete a passenger locator form to provide journey or contact details and will not need to self-isolate.

Arrivals from the CTA can show details of recent travel into the CTA, such as a boarding pass or itinerary, to help confirm when they entered the CTA and how long they have spent in the CTA in total.

International arrivals

This guidance relates to international arrivals (excluding red-list countries) who are not exempt from self-isolation on arrival in Wales.

Please note: different rules apply for students from Red-list countries, who are under the age of 18, staying in ‘Boarding’ accommodation in schools, colleges, and universities. Although the guidance refers to ‘Boarding schools’, it applies equally to colleges and universities hosting students under 18.

Travellers arriving in Wales

For the up to date travel list of countries and territories, please visit: rules for foreign travel to and from Wales: coronavirus (COVID-19).

This guidance applies to countries and territories that are not in the common travel area, nor the red-list.

If a person arrives in Wales from a country or territory not on the Red-list, and has not been in a Red-list country or territory at any time in the 10 days prior to arrival in Wales and the fully vaccinated exemption does not apply, they must:

  • provide journey and contact details by completing a passenger locator form (this can be done electronically prior to arriving in Wales and arrivals may be requested to present these details at your point of arrival)
  • provide proof of a negative coronavirus (COVID-19) test for all arrivals aged 11 or above, taken no more than 72 hours before departure (Pre Departure Test: PDT)
  • pre-book a testing package (quarantine hotel bookings) for all arrivals aged 5 and above for COVID-19 testing at Day 2 and Day 8 following arrival
  • isolate for at least 10 days on arrival in Wales[footnote 2]

This applies to both visitors and UK residents.

If arriving in Wales from elsewhere in the UK, after arriving from an international country (excluding Red-list countries)in the last 10 days, arrivals are not required to submit another passenger locator form when arriving in Wales as this will have already been submitted before arrival in the UK.

Should address or contact details change whilst in Wales then arrivals must update this as and when required by submitting a new passenger locator form (on GOV.UK).

Self-isolation period

The requirements for isolation, how long you must isolate for and what you must do whilst you are in isolation is explained in this guidance.

[footnote 2] This period may be extended in the event of a positive or inconclusive coronavirus test result

Supporting students to self-isolate

The Welsh Government, working in partnership with Public Health Wales and local authorities, want to ensure international students are welcome and safe when they travel to Wales, so we have agreed a 'Student Protect' policy as part of our Test, Trace, Protect strategy to ensure international students can isolate safely and securely for the required isolation period.

Accommodation providers are strongly recommended to support international students during the required period of isolation to reduce the risk of spreading the virus and to keep our communities safe.

The risk comes from joining a shared household. Any international arrival joining a household with other people places risk on others living in a shared household, as we know the easiest way to catch COVID-19 is from the people you live with. This also creates a risk of onward transmission to the people their housemates subsequently meet.

International arrivals may also pose a risk where they are unaware of the rules in place or feel they have no option but to leave their home to access food and supplies due to a lack of awareness of how to order these supplies online.

To help reduce this risk we are strongly recommending that accommodation providers provide all students arriving from overseas with support before and on arrival in the UK. This aligns with the support package in place for students staying in accommodation owned by higher education institutions.

We have identified the following risks:

  • socialising and mixing with housemates
  • leaving home to access food and supplies
  • leaving home to visit their university campus
  • leaving home for tourism and socialisation

We strongly recommend that accommodation providers contact their tenants before they intend to travel to Wales to provide information about the support available during the required period of self-isolation on arrival.

Why isolation is important

When your student tenant/s arrive in Wales and are required to isolate, it is very important that they stay in their accommodation for the time they are required to isolate. It can take up to 10 days to develop coronavirus symptoms after catching the virus and in this time it can be passed on to others. Isolating will reduce the chance of the transmission of coronavirus in Wales and help prevent family, friends and the community from contracting coronavirus, as well as helping to protect the NHS in Wales.

How to travel safely to accommodation

All arrivals in Wales, who are not exempt from self-isolation, must travel directly to their accommodation and must stay there until the end of the last day of their isolation.

Arrivals must only use public transport if they have no other option and are not symptomatic.

Universities will have lists of transport providers that they can share with their international students, so if any student asks you about transport, you can suggest they speak to their university or visit the international student pages on the university website.

How to isolate in accommodation

Arrivals should isolate in one place for the full period of usually 10 days, where food and other necessities should be delivered, and isolating individuals must stay away from others. Arrivals must isolate at the address they specified on the Passenger Locator Form, completed before arrival in the UK; it is important that individuals have accommodation before they arrive in the UK.

  • Arrivals cannot go out to work or to go to university or to visit public places.
  • Arrivals cannot go outside of their place of isolation to take exercise, unless they have a private garden.

Arrivals should not have visitors, including friends and family, unless they are providing essential care. The only friends and family who they can have contact with are those who travelled with them if they are isolating together.

Arrivals living in houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) should not mix with their housemates, unless they travelled and are isolating together. In the event of having shared facilities such as kitchens or bathrooms, isolating arrivals should use these spaces alone and clean the area they used thoroughly after use. They should not socialise with their housemates during their 10 day isolation period.

What you must do whilst in isolation is explained further in this guidance.

Supporting international arrivals

Isolating in an unfamiliar environment, in a new country for 10 days, can be difficult, frustrating, and lonely.

We know that it will be challenging for arrivals to isolate, particularly if they are living with housemates with whom they wish to socialise. However, it is essential that we minimise the need for arrivals to have in person contact with others by providing information and access to the essentials they will need during their isolation period.

This is why we are asking accommodation providers to support international arrivals by providing access to the following:

  • Wifi access or information about how to set up wifi
  • information on how to order essentials, such as grocery and food delivery services, including Welsh Government guidance on accessing food and essential supplies. Please remember low cost options in any recommendations. You could also direct students to any local community groups that are able to deliver to people who are self-isolating
  • information on pharmacy delivery services
  • information about essential services, such as public services, mental health and wellbeing support that can be accessed online
  • your contact details
  • emergency service contact details (for example 999)
  • local authority website and contact details
  • Welsh Government guidance on finding support during the Coronavirus pandemic
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