Travel updates and guidance

Approval deadlines

SWAY approval deadlines for mandatory and optional study/work abroad activities.

Mandatory placements

Students on mandatory activities should first review whether they are able to travel to their host country on the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) website.

If the FCDO advises, “against all but essential travel” to their host country, students may still be able to travel, as mandatory study or work abroad activities are considered as essential travel. However, SWAY will be unable to authorise travel to non-European countries that are currently in lockdown, in a state-of-emergency, or any countries where there are other significant risks. 

 If the country is not considered high-risk (i.e. not in lockdown, in a state-of-emergency, or subject to other significant risks) students should proceed with their risk assessment as soon as possible after receiving the necessary documentation from SWAY.  This information is likely to be provided by the end of May.

Students will be asked to submit two risk assessments. The first (stage 1 risk assessment) will ask students to detail their activity and their host country’s entry requirements. Students should submit their risk assessments as soon as possible, or at least one month before their activity start date at the very latest.   

Once students have received confirmation from SWAY that their stage 1 risk assessment has been approved and University insurance cover is in place, they can go ahead and make travel/accommodation arrangements. They will then asked to submit a second risk assessment (stage 2 risk assessment) and should submit this at least 1 week before their travel date.  

Optional placements

Students on optional activities should first review whether they are able to travel to their host country on the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) website and also the international travel regulations from the country they are departing from. For example, in Scotland, international travel for non-essential purposes is currently prohibited so students with optional placements travelling from Scotland would not permitted to travel.  

Travelling to destinations where the FCDO is advising “against all but essential travel” 

Students should not proceed with their risk assessment as they will not be authorised to travel. 

Students planning to go on exchange should keep checking FCDO guidance for their host country and only submit a stage 1 risk assessment if there is a change in the travel advisory for their host country before their activity date.

Students who are conducting work placements should submit a stage 1 risk assessment if the guidance changes before their activity start date (if the placement can only be conducted in-person). The student would need dispensation from their University placement coordinator on whether they can travel to their placement in-person if their placement has started remotely, and should only submit a risk assessment once they have this approval.  

Travelling to destinations where the FCDO is not advising against “all but essential travel”  

Students will be asked to submit stage 1 and stage 2 risk assessments. Students should submit their stage 1 risk assessments by the deadlines that are based on their activity start date (see table below).

The stage 1 risk assessment will ask students to detail their activity and the host country’s entry requirements. Once SWAY has approved a student’s stage 1 risk assessment, the student will automatically receive University insurance cover. Students can then make travel/accommodation arrangements.

Students will then need to complete a stage 2 risk assessment confirming their accommodation and travel plans. Students should submit this as soon as possible or a week before they are set to travel at the very latest.    

Review dates and deadlines for risk assessment submission

Depending on when a student is set to depart for their activity, they should review if travel to the country is possible, and submit their stage 1 risk assessments by the following dates.  

SWAY will also use these dates to review FCDO guidance to confirm whether or not optional activities may be proceed.

Intended departure date range for activity   

Stage 1 risk assessment submission deadline  

1 – 30  June 2021  

Thursday 29 April 2021  

1 – 31 July 2021 

Thursday 27 May 2021 

1 – 31 August  2021 

Thursday 17 June 2021 

1 - 30 September 2021 

Thursday 15 July 2021  

1 - 31 October 2021 

Monday 16 August 2021 

1 - 30 November 2021 

Thursday 23 September 2021 

1 - 30 December 2021  

Thursday 21 October 2021 

1 - 31 January 2022 

Thursday 9 December 2021 

1 - 28 February 2022 

Thursday 9 December 2021 

1 - 31 March 2022 

Thursday 6 January 2022 

1 - 30 April 2022 

Thursday 6 January 2022 

1 - 31 May 2022 

Thursday 24 March 2022 

1 – 30  June 2022 

Thursday 28 April 2022 

1 – 31 July 2022 

Thursday 26 May 2022 

1 – 31 August 2022 

Thursday 16 June 2022 

 

These deadlines are set to provide sufficient time for students to make travel and accommodation arrangements in the host country if permitted to travel. 

If the FCDO guidance does not allow students to travel, the deadline also provides students enough time to secure accommodation in Edinburgh and enrol on University of Edinburgh courses.  

Study exchange students should also consider any deadlines set by their host institutions, e.g. accommodation deadlines, which may require earlier submissiong of the risk assessment.  

In most cases, the deadlines for risk assessments has been placed on a Thursday of a given week, as the FCDO website usually updates its country travel guidance on Wednesdays. This will allow students to check for any last-minute changes to their country guidance before submitting their risk assessment on a Thursday (if the FCDO does not advise that they cannot travel to their host country).