Coronavirus information and guidance

Travel advice for students


Before you depart

12 January 2021 New Covid restrictions

International travel

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and increased lockdown restrictions in Scotland, as of Monday 15 February 2021, on entering Scotland from abroad, it will be essential to quarantine in a Government-appointed hotel. Please refer to the Scottish Government website for further information.

This is in addition to other measures to keep the country safe and does not replace PCR testing prior to travel, which remains in place. You will need to arrange this with your airline provider. If your airline provider has not made contact with you to date, we advise you contact them immediately.

Only travel if it is essential to do so. If you do intend to travel, please ensure you check your flight details and inform the Transport team of any changes.

The Scottish Government confirmed that universities must delay the return of students to campuses in Scotland. Following the update from the Principal earlier this week that teaching and assessment for the majority of our students must remain online only for the rest of this semester, please only travel back to St Andrews if it is essential to do so. There will be a small number of exceptions to the policy of online-only teaching and assessment.

You should not travel back to St Andrews, the only exceptions to this are:

  • students in the School of Medicine on the BSc Medicine and ScotGem programmes,
  • those who have concerns surrounding their health and/or wellbeing,
  • your home environment makes study impossible,
  • you lack access to the technology you need to learn.

If you can, you should stay at home and delay any travel until you are told by us that in-person teaching is due to resume on your course.

We know, however, that some international students travelling back to university from outside the UK have already returned, or booked and paid for travel to return to St Andrews.

At present, the Scottish Government say that international students may currently return as planned, and will not be asked to cancel existing travel bookings, but you must follow Government advice on travel and quarantine requirements.

International travellers should complete a locator form 48-hours prior to arrival in the UK. Students should expect there may be spot checks at the border by Border Force, who may impose fines on travellers who cannot produce this paperwork.

You must prepare by reading NHS travel guidance. We also suggest you check the TravelHealthPro website for additional travel advice and read the safer air travel guidance on sensible precautions and steps to take during travel. Consider your own circumstances and health, and remember you will need to wear a face covering on flights within the UK. It is recommended that you pack suitable face coverings in your hand luggage for use on your onwards travel to St Andrews. 

Please make sure you are familiar with the latest quarantine advice for travellers. This advice should be checked regularly, as government advice is kept under review and may be subject to change. Breaching self-isolation requirements could result in a fixed penalty notice of £480.

All international students must ensure they have a UK SIM for their mobile or they will not be able to access the NHS for healthcare on arrival.

The Directorate of the Chief Medical Officer and Public Health at the Scottish Government have requested that all entrant students under 25 years of age ensure that they have a Meningitis ACWY immunisation before arrival at University. In addition, you should also have had two doses of MMR vaccine to protect from Measles, Mumps and Rubella. If not then you should contact your health practitioner to arrange this before leaving to come to St Andrews.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition and are an international student, it is essential that you check with your health practitioner that any medication you are currently taking is available here in the UK. For general enquiries, please contact the Student Health Hub (studenthealth@st-andrews.ac.uk) or check out information on the student health web page

Remember to pack any library books due for return. Due dates have been extended until 30 September, but fines will be incurred after that date. The Library will be accepting books at the drop-off point.

If planning accompanied travel, please be aware that only one parent or family member will be allowed to accompany you into your hall of residence, and they must have independent accommodation arrangements. If a family member wishes to book overnight accommodation in a hotel or guest house at St Andrews in September we strongly advise you to book well in advance as accommodation is in very high demand.  

Do not travel if you are experiencing Coronavirus symptoms, or have been advised to self-isolate. Contact the St Andrews Covid Helpdesk on +44 (0)1334 46 4146 if you develop symptoms while travelling.


Arriving in the UK

Students arriving in the UK will be required to provide journey and contact details prior to travelling to the UK, and it will be essential to quarantine in a Government-appointed hotel. Please refer to the Scottish Government website for further information.

You should complete the UK government locator form 48 hours prior to your arrival. You should be prepared to show this documentation (printed or on your phone) when you arrive at the UK border.

The Government will use this information to contact you should you or someone you have travelled with develop symptoms.

You can also contact the University’s Covid Helpdesk for support on +44 (0)1334 46 4146

Call 0800 028 2816 to arrange to be tested if you develop symptoms. If the test is negative, you must complete the full isolation period because the virus may not be detectable yet.


Arriving in Scotland

The controls on Covid-19 in Scotland may differ from other parts of the UK. Please ensure you are familiar with the latest Scottish public health guidance. This centres around ‘FACTS’ as an acronym for:

  • Face coverings in enclosed spaces (including shops and public transport)
  • Avoid crowded places
  • Clean your hands and surfaces regularly
  • Two-metre physical distancing
  • Self-isolate and book a test if you develop coronavirus symptoms.

Transport to St Andrews

To ensure students can travel safely and securely, the University is providing free transport to all students arriving at Edinburgh airport, Glasgow airport, and Leuchars railway station. This offer is available for students arriving for Semester 1 and Semester 2. Book now.

By booking Semester 2 arrival travel, you agree that you are returning to St Andrews in accordance with Scottish Government and University rules and guidance in relation to travel restrictions in response to the Covid-19 pandemic both at the time of booking and travel. You acknowledge and agree that by providing travel to you, the University of St Andrews shall not be liable or responsible to you or any other party for any losses, damages, cost, inconvenience, fines, or other sanction if you are stopped, detained, fined, charged, or other by the police or any other relevant authority for activities that contravene government guidance or law.

Pick up

You will be collected by either a bus or taxi, depending on your arrival date and time. Exact pick-up instructions will be confirmed by email to you in advance of your arrival.

All vehicles will have been cleaned before you board, and passenger capacity on board will be limited in line with Scottish Government guidelines.

It is compulsory in Scotland for all passengers to wear a face covering when travelling. You will not be allowed to board the bus or taxi without a face covering.

Drop-off points

You will be taken directly to your University hall of residence or private accommodation.

If you are renting private accommodation out with St Andrews, the University will arrange transport directly to your home address. This may involve a change of transport (for example, bus to St Andrews and then taxi to home address).

The University will book your arrival slot at accommodation if you are staying in one of our halls of residence to ensure this coincides with your arrival time in St Andrews.

Journey information

  • Arrival at Edinburgh airport
    The journey from Edinburgh will take approximately one hour. Please see further information for passengers arriving at Edinburgh airport.

  • Arrival at Glasgow airport
    The journey from Glasgow will take approximately two hours. Please see further information for passengers arriving at Glasgow airport.

  • Arrival at Leuchars railway station
    The journey from Leuchars will take approximately 15 minutes. There are limited facilities available at Leuchars station, so we would advise you use the services on the train before arriving at Leuchars.

Coaches and cars will be unable to stop on route, so please ensure you have taken a comfort break, have water, food and any other items you require for the journey before boarding.

Travelling with others

If you are travelling with another passenger, such as a parent or guardian, the University will arrange transport for you and your passengers. There will be a small charge for any passengers.

If you will be travelling with more than two other passengers, please email the student transport team who will be able to assist you further (transport@st-andrews.ac.uk).

Passengers will also be taken directly to their accommodation.

Please be aware transport is only being arranged for the journey to St Andrews. Any passengers who will be returning home will require to book their own transport for the return journey. The student transport team can provide advice on how to arrange this. 

Book your transport

If you have any questions, please contact transport@st-andrews.ac.uk.


Arriving in St Andrews

Please have full consideration and respect for St Andrews residents and our surrounding community. The permanent population of St Andrews is approximately 8,000 people, and around 1,000 of these residents are over 80 years old.

The incidence of Covid-19 in Fife has been low. You can monitor daily Covid-19 positive cases by Health Board and Local Authority on the Public Health Scotland dashboard, which provides trend information for Health Board areas and local authorities.

We must remain conscious of the vulnerability of our elderly population, and take every opportunity to shield them and support their access to services.

All students must follow safety guidelines set out in our Covid Code:

  • Wear a face covering indoors. You should do this whenever you are in company other than your household, and always when instructed to do so. It is a legal requirement in shops and on public transport.
  • Observe guidance on physical distancing – keep two metres apart.
  • Do not attend or organise large social gatherings or parties. Socially, no more than 8 people may gather inside, no more than 15 outside, from no more than three households.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Pay attention to local guidance, including one-way systems in shops and requests that customers avoid shopping in groups.
  • Consider applying additional cleaning measures (such as using personal hand sanitizer, wipes, or gloves) when using public facilities and businesses.
  • You must self-isolate if you or a member of your household develops symptoms, or if you have travelled through a country not listed as a government exemption.
  • Familiarise yourself with Scottish Government guidance, NHS advice, and check University emails regularly. 

While you may wish to travel to St Andrews by private vehicle, please do not keep a car in St Andrews unless absolutely necessary (e.g. because you have a disability or are living in remote rented accommodation) to limit pressure in terms of access and parking. 

Support the local economy by shopping with local businesses where possible. The Love St Andrews Marketplace app provides a marketplace where our local businesses can offer delivery and click-and-collect services. 

Businesses and local facilities may be operating reduced services. Check in advance, and ensure you’re aware of any time slots reserved for elderly and vulnerable customers.  

Students can also check on elderly neighbours and be mindful that they may be isolating, and consider volunteering opportunities.

The University also recognises that social restrictions imposed by the Scottish Government may lead to an increase in outdoor gatherings in gardens and on beaches. We ask that you remain respectful to your neighbours at all times – ensuring noise pollution is limited, behaviour is respectful and that you clean up after yourselves.

It is the responsibility of absolutely everyone in our community to protect our own and others’ safety. You should follow all safety guidelines to the letter, including those concerned with physical distancing, face coverings, hygiene and limits on holding or attending events and gatherings. If you do not, you may be reported under the University’s Non-Academic Misconduct Policy. Reports can be made by anyone, including students, staff and members of the public. Alleged misconduct under the policy may occur anywhere, including private accommodation, not only on University premises. 

Cases of misconduct related to unsafe behaviour in the context of Covid-19 will be taken seriously and the penalties may be severe and could include suspension from the University.