Travel and insurance
Last updated on 26 November 2021
High level guidance on travel
- Guidance for international travel
- Guidance for resuming some types of research in the field and face-to-face
- I am travelling to an area of the UK with different restrictions to where I normally live and work. What should I do?
- Are car parks open and do charges still apply?
- Can I walk, run or cycle to campus and use the cycling facilities?
- What are my options for travelling on public transport to campus?
- I will have to use public transport to get to and from work – will the University provide me with a face covering?
- Do I need to wear a face covering on public transport?
- I am unable to return to Manchester due to travel restrictions, what should I do?
- Can I continue to work overseas, now that restrictions have eased?
- I am planning a trip abroad what should I do?
- I am worried about my visa status. What should I do?
- Should I make bookings for hotels and flights refundable or non-refundable?
- How do I book and make travel arrangements?
- Is there a travel ban in certain areas owing to the coronavirus?
- I've booked a trip to an affected area, what should I do?
- My flight has been cancelled with an alternate offer from the flight operator
- Do I have to self-isolate / quarantine if I return to the UK from international travel? If so, is this counted as paid sick leave or do I have to take unpaid leave?
- What should I do if I have questions about travel insurance?
I am travelling to an area of the UK with different restrictions to where I normally live and work. What should I do?
You should continue to plan ahead and travel safely if possible, and follow the government guidance on travel. You should check the restrictions in place where you intend to travel from before making arrangements to travel.
Are car parks open and do charges still apply?
University car park charges were suspended until September 2021. The launch of the car parking pay-as-you-go scheme, due to take place on 1 October 2021, has been delayed. From 1 October 2021, all car parking charges were due to be reinstated, in conjunction with some changes to car parking systems and how staff parking permits will work in the future. These changes are intended to offer more flexibility to car users and to support our approach to hybrid working in the future. They are also intended to support our ambitions to encourage more sustainable forms of transport.
The pay-as-you-go scheme will now launch in January 2022 - you can read more about this and how it will work on StaffNet.
If you park at Cecil Street, Dilworth Street, Charles Street or Booth Street West car parks, and your permit is currently active you will be automatically switched over to the new system.
If you have any issues with access when you return please take a ticket and call into the office (G.002 Beyer Building) between 8.30am-12.30pm/1.30pm-3.00pm, Monday to Friday.
Can I walk, run or cycle to campus and use the cycling facilities?
Main campus is located on a popular cycleway – this provides safe cycle lanes separated from car and bus traffic from the top of Oxford Road to Didsbury. For details of other permanent cycle routes, have a look at TfGM’s cycling maps.
There are over 3,900 cycle parking spaces on campus, and cycle shelters, showers, pumps and maintenance stands that staff and postgraduate students can use. If your ID card is already activated to open these shelters, you can still use them. While we do our best to ensure the security of these facilities, you leave bikes and other items at your own risk.
Additional cycle storage is available on the MECD site close to the Aquatics Centre. Anyone wishing to access cycle storage should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are my options for travelling on public transport to campus?
Our campus has excellent links to bus, tram and train services - you can plan your journey on the Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) website.
If you can’t walk, cycle or drive to work, it is recognised that you may have concerns about using public transport, however this would not preclude you from returning to work on campus. TfGM has published extensive guidance on travelling safely for people who need to use public transport. You may wish to discuss staggered work times with your manager to help avoid busy times on buses, trams and trains.
I will have to use public transport to get to and from work – will the University provide me with a face covering?
Yes, the University will continue to provide disposable surgical face masks (IIR type) and these will be available from your Faculty or School, and building entrances.
Do I need to wear a face covering on public transport?
From 19 July 2021, the legal requirement to wear face coverings was lifted, but the Government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport.
- You can find out about what measures will be maintained locally on the Mayor of Greater Manchester's website.
There are no longer any restrictions on leaving England to travel internationally, however you should check the current UK Government advice. If you have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccination, you may be able to demonstrate your vaccination status depending on your travel destination.
The current pre-travel requirements for overseas travel are as below:
- Continue to work on the basis of “virtual” as a first considered option, and, if this is not possible, it must be essential business travel only.
- Where travel is essential, explore the route and means of travel, or combine multiple trips into one where possible, to reduce the carbon footprint.
For UK business travel, such as conferences, meetings and events:
- Read a generic risk assessment for low risk business travel, or adapt a generic risk assessment with consideration of additional hazards or circumstances.
- Follow local approval procedures
To return to ‘normal’ pre-travel approval for overseas business travel, as below:
Travel to a country of moderate / low risk:
- Review / adapt a generic risk assessment for overseas business travel with additional consideration of personal health risk, local COVID risks, health care infrastructure as well as restrictions for entry in country
- Follow local approval procedures and make line manager aware of the trip
Travel to a country on the list of high risk countries:
- Prepare a specific risk assessment for high risk countries with additional consideration of personal health risk, local Covid risks, health care infrastructure as well as restrictions for entry in country
- Seek specific approval from the Head of School/Directorate or their delegate.
Travel to areas where the FCDO has advised ‘against all travel’ or ‘against all but essential travel’
- Prepare a specific risk assessment for high risk countries with additional consideration of personal health risk, local Covid risks, health care infrastructure as well as restrictions for entry in country;
- Seek specific approval from the Faculty Dean via the Head of School.
For fieldwork activities, travellers and organisers must follow the University health and safety requirements.
- For fieldwork in the UK, use a generic risk assessment for low/moderate risk fieldwork in the UK.
- For low risk fieldwork outside the UK, use a generic fieldwork risk assessment outside of the UK.
- For high risk fieldwork outside the UK, use a specific risk assessment for high risk countries.
The approval process is summarised on the Travel Flowchart.
For full details, please visit:
I am unable to return to Manchester due to travel restrictions, what should I do?
If you are currently in an affected area, but unable to return to Manchester for any reason, please contact your School or Faculty Support Office/Postgraduate Research Office, Academic Advisor/Supervisor (or line manager for staff) to let them know of your situation and ask for advice on best next steps.
Can I continue to work overseas now that restrictions have been eased?
A recent audit has been conducted to identify staff members who have been working overseas for personal reasons or due to travel restrictions caused by the pandemic. The University expects that staff members working overseas for these reasons will be actively making arrangements and returning to the UK now travel is permitted, especially from green or amber list designated countries. Where a country is designated as red, please discuss arrangements for return with you line manager.
Whilst based overseas, it’s important to note there may be income tax and social security consequences within your host country for both the individual and possibly the department. Therefore it is advised that for the period that you are working overseas for the University, you should submit a tax return to your local tax office declaring this income. If you are taxed in the UK and overseas on the same income, it may be possible to claim for double taxation relief on your tax returns.
If you are doing certain types of research or online teaching from overseas, or you are sharing information with a colleague who is currently based overseas, export controls may apply. For further information, visit our Export Controls page.
Any arrangements involving work overseas must be assessed in advance, and explicit agreement given. For staff members seeking to work overseas, complete the Staff Working Abroad Form and submit to your line manager and relevant HR Partner.
I am planning a trip abroad what should I do?
As we resume many of our usual activities, you may be thinking about travel within the UK or overseas.
We have revised our guidance on travel, but we’d like to remind colleagues who are thinking of travelling to consider sustainable options where possible, and to follow our approval process.
I am worried about my visa status. What should I do?
You can check the advice for your particular circumstances on the UK Government website.
A helpline has been set up by the Home Office for international higher education staff and students if they have immigration queries related to coronavirus.
The helpline can only speak to the visa holder or applicant about individual cases. If a third party wishes to speak on their behalf, they must have the visa holder’s permission.
Telephone: 0800 678 1767 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm)
Calls are free of charge
Should I make bookings for hotels and flights refundable or non-refundable?
For any permitted bookings, you are advised to book refundable fares for all flights and hotels.
How do I book and make travel arrangements?
Travel must be booked from Key Travel:
Is there a travel ban in certain areas owing to the coronavirus?
Please visit the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) for the most up-to-date travel advice.
We recognise however that exceptionally a number of projects will need to continue (subject to appropriate risk assessment) and these must be agreed with your Head of School.
- Please consult our Travel Flowchart for further guidance.
I've booked a trip to an affected area, what should I do?
Wait until close to the travel date, if you cannot travel, you will need to cancel the trip on Key Travel (this is still possible) if by that stage the airline has not already cancelled the flight.
My flight has been cancelled with an alternate offer from the flight operator
If your pre-booked flight is cancelled, and instead of a full refund, the flight operator offers you a free replacement flight – even if it is with a different airline – or a free replacement flight at a later date, you cannot make a claim.
Do I have to self-isolate / quarantine if I return to the UK from international travel? If so, is this counted as paid sick leave or do I have to take unpaid leave?
Please visit the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) for the most up-to-date travel advice. You should check the country page for your destination.
The UK government has announced that South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe will move onto the red list at midday on Friday, 26 November. Check the COVID-19 testing and quarantine rules for countries and territories on the red list for international travel to England.
The red list will be reviewed every three weeks – this means that territories may be added to it at any time. It is therefore recommended that you check carefully the most up to date Government guidance before travelling.
If you were travelling on University business and need to quarantine/self-isolate on your return to the UK either because you have tested positive for COVID-19 on your return, you are not fully vaccinated or you have travelled to or through a red list country in the 10 days before you arrive in the UK: If you are able to work from home during your required period of quarantine then you should do so. If you are not able to work from home during your period of quarantine then you should use coronavirus special leave. If you have already used some or all of your coronavirus special leave and don’t have enough left to cover the period of self-isolation you should speak to your line manager about taking paid leave, over and above your usual annual leave allowance. If you develop coronavirus and are ill and cannot work you should report your absence to your line manager and you will receive full pay during this absence and it will not be counted for the purpose of monitoring against trigger points under the Sickness Absence Policy and Procedures.
If you were travelling for personal reasons and need to quarantine/self-isolate on your return to the UK either because you have tested positive for COVID-19 on your return, you are not fully vaccinated, or you have travelled to or through a red list country in the 10 days before returning to the UK: If you are able to work from home during your required period of quarantine then you should do so.
If you chose to go a red list country and/or you are not fully vaccinated and you are not able to work from home during your period of required quarantine then you should speak to your line manager about taking additional annual leave or applying for unpaid leave.
If you have tested positive for COVID-19 on your return to the UK and are able to work from home during your period of self-isolation then you should do so. If you are ill with coronavirus and cannot work you should report your absence to your line manager and you will receive full pay during this absence and it will not be counted for the purpose of monitoring against trigger points under the Sickness Absence Policy and Procedures.
If you have travelled on a combination of University business and personal reasons (e.g. you have decided to extend a University business trip to take a holiday or visit family) you should discuss with your line manager what proportion of any self-isolation period will be made up of working from home, coronavirus special leave, special leave, annual leave, paid leave or unpaid leave. From an insurance point of view, the personal travel element of any combined University business/personal travel trip should be no more than 50% of the business period (or a maximum of seven days), otherwise you would have to make your own travel insurance arrangements.
Prior to travelling, it is recommended that you discuss with your line manager your travel plans so that they are aware of any possible periods of self-isolation which may be required on your return. There is no obligation for you to do this, but it may be useful to clarify expectations of any possible self-isolation period.
What should I do if I have questions about travel insurance?
If you are insured under our University business travel policy, please visit our travel insurance page for the latest advice.
We also strongly recommend that you download the AIG TravelGuard app and sign up for their travel alerts if you are intending to travel.