Last updated: 1 April 2020

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) now advises people against all non-essential travel worldwide. This advice takes effect immediately and applies initially for a period of 30 days.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented international border closures and other restrictions. All countries may restrict travel without notice. 

If you now need to change or cancel your travel plans, follow these steps:

  • contact your airline, travel company, cruise line or other transport and accommodation providers
  • get in touch with your insurance provider
  • continue to follow the NHS coronavirus guidance

The FCO was already advising against all but essential travel or all travel to some areas or countries due to risks that do not relate to COVID-19. This advice remains in place. Check FCO travel advice pages for the latest information.

If you are a student and have further questions or need advice please raise these with your Academic Supervisor in the first instance. Similarly, if you are a member of staff, questions should be raised with your Line Manager.

Travel FAQs

Can I travel on University business for study or work?
The University follows UK Government policy with regards to travelling on University business at all times as advised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice.
The FCO currently advises against all travel at this time. This has the effect of suspending all international travel on University business, as no University travel is classed as ‘essential’.
It is not possible at this time to predict when the UK Government may lift the restriction on international travel but we expect it to be in force for some time to come.
If you believe this will have an impact on your work or studies then you should speak to you line manager (staff) or academic supervisor (students) in the first instance.
What should I do if I am planning to travel for holidays or leisure?
The University has stopped all travel on University business by its students and staff. Whilst the University is not responsible for you on personal trips, we strongly recommend that you also follow Government policy and do not travel at this time.


I am not a UK national. Do I still have to follow FCO guidance?

All Heriot-Watt students and staff must adhere to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) guidance at all times which currently recommends against all travel at this time. Non-UK nationals must also follow the advice of their home-governments should that differ from the UK Government advice.

What do I do if I begin to feel unwell while travelling?

All travellers must download the SafeZone app and can use this to request assistance. The University’s insurer and medical assistance helpline is available 24/7 on +44 (0)1489 868 888 where you should quote policy number 711483418.