Covid-19 student FAQs

This page answers questions in relation to your studies from September, regular testing, arriving in the UK and on campus. This information is important for both new and returning students.

Read the FAQs for:


All the latest guidance will be posted on the news section of the student intranet (which is also shared via the MyUoB app), or check our social media channels (@unibirmingham). We will also email important updates so please keep checking your inboxes.

Teaching and learning

What will teaching be like this academic year?

Lectures will go ahead in person, these sessions will be recorded (where appropriate) so they are available to you even if, for example, you are self-isolating or unable to travel. For international students who may face travel restrictions for extended periods of time, we will make live remote access available to many of the large group lectures, to ensure you do not miss out.

Small group teaching such as seminars, labs and skills sessions will go ahead in-person. We will also run additional online sessions for those students who are unable to be here in person, and/or run hybrid sessions with you accessing the session simultaneously in person and online. Every student has a Personal Academic Tutor and in addition to the opportunity to meet with your tutor individually, you will have regular academic support with our Online Group Tutorials

I am an international student unable to arrive in the UK for face-to-face teaching, what resources will I have for online learning?

Yes, we will have a range of resources available for students who will still need to do teaching online. These resources will include a wide range of online learning materials as appropriate to your programme including: digital/online resources to prepare for lectures, high-quality recordings of lectures and other teaching, regular face-to-face tutorial sessions, group-work sessions (subject to timetables/time zones), and online discussion forums. You will be supported to access and make the most of other learning and support resources online.

Will I be able to use the Library and study spaces?

Our Library and study spaces will be open for you to access PCs, laptops and other resources for your learning and to provide you with space to study in an airy, safe environment. More information can be found on the Library and study spaces pages.

Returning to campus

What do I do if I am an international student arriving in the UK?

If you are planning to travel to the UK it's important you are aware of the latest Government travel guidelines, particularly if you are travelling from a red or amber list country. Read the latest information on travelling to the UK

I am an international student currently studying online in semester, do I have to return in semester 2?

If you studied the first semester online, we expect all students to try and arrive to the UK for semester two, no later than 31 January. 

If you are unable to arrive in the UK for January 2022 owing to exceptional reasons, then we will consider an application to continue to study online for the remainder of Semester 2 (including the period of assessment and examinations).

This option is not available to all students on all courses: some courses require in-person attendance to meet essential learning objectives; to acquire practical skills or professional accreditation requirements; or for assessment and examinations.  Complete the form here. Read the full update for international students (18 November). 

If you have any queries regarding your studies in semester two, contact your school/department directly

Will everything be back open on campus when I return/arrive?

As restricrions have lifted, facilities on campus will be fully opened and operating as normal, these include the library and study spaces, UB Sport and Fitness, Winterbourne House and Garden and catering on campus and the Vale Village. You can see the full range of facilities on campus and their opening hours on the intranet campus pages

How can I help stop the spread of Covid-19 on campus?

Althrough restrictions have lifted, you can still play your part in helping to stop the spread of Covid-19 by wearing a face covering in busy areas on campus, carry out social distancing when possible, get vaccinated, take regular lateral flow tests, and wash and sanitise your hands regularly. More information can be found on the keeping covid safe page

How can I stay up to date on the latest infection rates on campus? 

 For the latest figures visit the Test, Trace and Protect page.

Information about Covid-19 vaccinations

Do I have to have the vaccine?

Although the vaccine is not compulsory for students, you are strongly encouraged to have the covid vaccine to protect yourself and others and help stop the spread of Covid-19. You can book your Covid-19 vaccine through the NHS website. 

I am an international student, do I need the vaccine before I arrive in the UK?

As an international student you will not be required to be vaccinated before arriving in the UK, however you will need to have a negative covid test. More information on travelling to the UK can be found on the website

I am an international student, will I be able to have my vaccine in the UK? 

International students who live in the UK will need to register with a GP (General Practitioner) as soon as they arrive to access the vaccine, which is offered free of charge. Please see our Covid-19 vaccine FAQs for more information.

The vaccination programme in my home country isn't accpeted in the UK, what should I do? 

If you have been vaccinated in your home country, you do not need to be vaccinated again in the UK.  If you are unsure then you should register with a GP as soon as possible and contact them for advice.

Information about testing

Am I required to get tested?

You should plan to take two lateral flow tests a week. You can order tests via and will be able to pick some up from collection points on campus.  You don’t need to book but please have your student ID with you. Self-testing kits contain seven tests (enough for almost a month) with results showing within 30 minutes. If you test postive you will need to report it via the Covid reporting tool

Why should I get tested?

Lateral flow testing is designed to detect the level of virus in individuals who do not experience or show any symptoms (they are asymptomatic), but who could still be infectious and pass the virus to others. By taking a test you will help to stop the spread of the virus, protect other people and save lives.

Please do not book to attend if you have symptoms of Covid-19 (a cough, loss of taste or smell, or a high temperature). Book a PCR test via the NHS instead. 

Where can I collect a home testing kit?

 You  can collect a free home test kit from various locations across campus and the Vale Village.

Can anyone collect a test?

All students can come onto campus and collect a free home testing kit (please ensure you are not displaying any Covid-19 symptoms) . 

Do I have to have the test?

No, this is entirely voluntary but to help stop the spread of Covid you are strongly advised to continue getting tested.  We are offering these tests to all students, specifically those without symptoms, because we know some people have Covid-19 without any symptoms at all.  By taking a test you will be helping minimise the potential for virus transmission on campus.

What if I have symptoms?

If you have any Coronavirus symptoms you should not visit campus and you should self-isolate immediately and apply for a test at your nearest testing centre. 

What does the test involve?

The test involves a swab from your nose and throat that you take yourself.  You will then mix the swab with a solution provided to give a positive or negative result. Full instructions are provided in home testing kit. 

Does it hurt?

The test might be a little uncomfortable, but is not painful and is very quick to do.

What is lateral flow testing and how accurate is it?

A lateral flow device (LFD) is a clinically validated swab antigen test that does not require a laboratory for processing and can turnaround rapid results within 30 minutes. 

Lateral flow tests (LFT) are validated technology, they are safe and the results are trusted. These tests have undergone rigorous testing and evaluation including at Public Health England’s research laboratories to ensure they are verified for use.

Lateral flow tests are highly specific, which means that only a very small proportion of people who do not have coronavirus will receive a positive result (false positive). Although they give a result much more quickly, LFT tests are not as sensitive as tests offered through other channels (e.g. PCR tests available in other channels like Local Testing Sites). Sensitivity measures how likely a test will return a positive result when that person is infected. This also means that if you test positive on a LFT test, it is likely that you are infectious at that moment, whereas people testing positive on more sensitive tests could be in the less infectious early or late stages of disease.

However, in mass testing, because so many people without symptoms are being tested there is still the possibility of getting a false positive result. Therefore, everyone who tests positive will need to have a confirmatory test to make sure the result is correct.

LFTs are included in home testing kits. 

What happens if I test positive?

Anyone whose test returns a positive outcome must:

  • Self-isolate immediately, in accordance with Government guidance and do not travel.
  • Follow the advice to arrange a second, confirmatory, PCR test.

You will receive further information on what to do along with your test positive result.

Who will see my results?

A copy of your result will be sent to you and your GP. If you have tested positive, a notification will be sent to Public Health England (in England), Public Health Wales (in Wales), Health Protection Scotland (in Scotland), or the Public Health Agency (in Northern Ireland).

Anyone testing positive for the virus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help them track their contacts. This will help people to identify who they may have been in close contact with, protecting others from further transmission. Close contacts of those testing positive will also hear from NHS Test and Trace, asking them to stay at home for 14 days to prevent them from unknowingly spreading the virus.

The University does not hold any of the test results and we have no access to your personal health data. 

If a close contact tests positive, do I have to self-isolate?

Please check the latest NHS advice, you may be required to self-isolate for up to 10 days. 

If I test positive what support will the University provide while I am isolating?

You will need to notify us that you have tested positive using our test and trace process. 

If you are in University or partner accommodation, you can access support if you are self-isolating, including an essentials food parcel. Students in private accommodation can access support from their College through student wellbeing teams.

All of our wellbeing support services will also continue to be available.

International students: Test to Release

What is the Test to Release scheme?

Test to Release is for all travellers who would be required to self-isolate (also known as “quarantine”) on arrival for a period of 10 days in their own accommodation.

Under the scheme people returning to England who need to self-isolate will be able to take a Covid test with a private test provider to see if they can end their self-isolation early.

Full details from the UK Government 

Where can I find more advice on travelling for international students?

The latest information and advice can be found on the travel advice for international students webpage

Information about travel 

I am an international student and my airline requires a negative test before I travel. Can I use a negative lateral flow test result for this purpose?

No. Students should get advice from their travel provider and destination airport. If students do travel overseas, they should consider the restrictions on entry to the country in question, such as whether they would need to undertake a period of self-isolation in that country, and whether they would need to self-isolate when they return.

What is the risk of catching coronavirus on public transport?

Risks of travelling on public transport are reduced significantly by wearing a mask, observing good hand hygiene and social distancing. Full guidance on safely travelling on public transport.

Are there any restrictions when being collected from or returning to halls of residence?

Although no restrictions, it is strongly advised that students and members of their family assisting them with moving in, take a negative test beforehand. 



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