Airport transfers

Information about our airport transfers for international and EU students joining UWE Bristol.

Airport transfers

To assist with your journey to UWE Bristol, we are offering an airport transfer service from London Heathrow Airport to Bristol for January 2022 entry.

The airport transfers are free on Thursday 13 January, Friday 14 January and Saturday 15 January 2022.

Outside of these dates, you can book an airport transfer for a £50 fee between Thursday 6 January and Sunday 26 January 2022. You'll be greeted at London Heathrow Airport and this transfer will take you directly to your accommodation in Bristol.

It is important that you let the University know when you are arriving. You can do that by filling in our arrival form (you do not need to fill in this form if you are booking an airport transfer).

We have a friendly team of advisers who can provide essential arrival support, and will be able to answer any queries you might have. Please email globalstudents@uwe.ac.uk if you have any queries.

Student looking at a departure board in the airport

Before you travel

What are the new rules for international arrivals into the UK?

Targeted measures will be introduced from Tuesday 30 November 2021 as a precaution:

  • All international arrivals must take a Day 2 PCR test and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.
  • All contacts of suspected Omicron cases must self-isolate, regardless of their vaccination status. They will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
  • Face coverings will be made compulsory in shops and on public transport as well as around the university. All hospitality settings will be exempt.

The rules for travel from countries and territories not on the red list will depend on your vaccination status. All of the information about what you need to do to enter the UK, including what vaccines are accepted can be found on the official guidance on travel to the UK.

Recent changes to the red list

Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia were added to the UK red list at 4am Sunday 28 November.

South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe were added to the UK red list at midday Friday 26 November.

Read government information about the latest changes to the red list.

You should follow different guidance if you have not been in a country on the red list in the 10 days before you arrive in England.

Read the standard rules for entering England from abroad.

Before you travel to England, you must:

When you arrive in England, you must quarantine in a managed hotel, including 2 COVID-19 tests.

The red list will be reviewed every three weeks and whenever concerning evidence means the government may need to act faster to protect public health.

What are the rules for face masks or face coverings?

Currently you are required by law to wear face covering in enclosed spaces such as shops, banks, airports, public transport. In addition, face masks are required in all indoor spaces at UWE Bristol unless you are exempt.

Remember that wearing a face covering can not only help protect others and yourself from coronavirus, but they can also help reduce the spread of colds and flu, helping you stay fit and healthy.

You will also be required to wear a face mask/covering on the UWE Bristol airport service.

Please check the UK government website for the most up to date information as the rules might change.

What other things should I consider before arriving in the UK?

Further information about arriving, living and studying in the UK can be found on UWE Bristol webpages. 

Booking travel

How can I book my airport transfer?

You can now book your airport transfer. The booking will be made with Hosts International.

When you complete the booking form:

  • under ‘College’ please type UWE Bristol
  • under 'Airport transfer cost' please state free (if on 13, 14 or 15 January 2022) or GBP £50.00 (if you are travelling between 9 January to 26 January 2022).

Register your arrival date

Even if you are not using our airport transfer service, it is important to let us know when you are going to arrive. 

We have a friendly team of advisers who will be in contact with any student who needs to self-isolate when they arrive. It is really important that you tell us when you are going to get here so we can make sure you have all you need and help with any queries you might have.

Please email globalstudents@uwe.ac.uk for support and travel guidance.

Change of service departure time

Transfer departure times may change if we can reduce waiting time. If it affects your transfer, you will be notified.

Change to your booking/flights

If anything changes after you have booked your transfer (visa, flight changes) contact both Hosts International and the Global Student Support team, email globalstudents@uwe.ac.uk as soon as possible (type URGENT and your arrival date in the subject line).

Arriving outside airport pick up

If you are concerned about this or need help contact us at globalstudents@uwe.ac.uk.

Is there any support for the cost of the Managed Quarantine Hotel

If you are a new student for September 2021 intake and are travelling from a red list country you will have to quarantine in a government quarantine hotel. We will be providing all eligible new international students a £500 contribution as a tuition fee discount to help with the cost of this mandatory requirement. We will write to offer holders impacted by this giving further information about the support and eligibility requirements.

Affected students will also be eligible to book a free airport transfer to collect you from the hotel and take you to your address in Bristol. Use the airport transfer booking form and follow the advice in the "how can I book my airport transfer" section.

What time will my transfer depart?

Once we receive your flight details we will aim to email you detailed instructions about your transfer five days before your chosen transfer date. This will include what time your transfer will leave London Heathrow Airport. You may need to wait for this transfer but this wait should not be too long. We will inform you of any changes to your departure time.

Who can book for the free airport transfer?

The airport transfer is for new international and European students who start their course in January 2022. If you are a returning student or a family member, please contact us at globalstudents@uwe.ac.uk and we will assist you with travel information and answer your questions about onward travel to Bristol.

Can I request a transfer before booking my flight ticket?

No, please book your flight tickets first as we will need your flight details.

Can I book an airport transfer from my quarantine hotel?

If you are travelling from a red list country and have to quarantine in a government quarantine hotel you will be eligible to book a free airport transfer to collect you from the hotel and drop you to your address in Bristol. Use the airport transfer booking form and follow the advice in the how can I book my airport transfer section. 

I would like to make my own way to UWE Bristol

You can make your own arrangements to travel to UWE Bristol by main national bus companies (National Express and Megabus). Rail services are also in operation. It is important to familiarise yourself with the UK government’s advice on travelling safely in the UK. Details about UWE Bristol’s campus locations and travel options in Bristol are also available.

Please let us know when you plan to arrive by filling in our arrival form.

Travel cost reimbursement

If you travel independently (not via Hosts International) you can apply for up to £20 of reimbursement towards your travel costs. Please email futurestudents.admin@uwe.ac.uk to request a reimbursement application.

You will not be reimbursed if you travel on the free transfer dates below:

  • Thursday 9 September 2021
  • Thursday 16 September 2021
  • Thursday 30 September 2021
  • Thursday 14 October 2021
  • Thursday 13 January 2022
  • Friday 14th January 2022
  • Saturday 15th January 2022

The deadline to submit your claim is Friday 4 February 2022.

Do I need to book accommodation before booking for the free airport transfer service?

Yes, please make sure that you arrange your accommodation in advance. It is very important that you find accommodation before arriving in the UK, as the University cannot offer you a room while you search. Please arrange temporary accommodation if needed.

It is your responsibility to let your accommodation provider know when you are arriving, and that you have made arrangements with them to collect your keys and access your room. If you know you will be delayed in collecting your keys, it is your responsibility to inform your accommodation provider.

If you need advice about UWE managed accommodation, please contact accommodation@uwe.ac.uk. Please check your email regularly for most up to date information.

For private accommodation information please contact advice@uwe.ac.uk and read guidance on the SU Advice website.

Where will my transfer meeting point be?

You will receive meeting instructions with your booking confirmation.

What if I cannot find the transfer staff member?

After booking your transfer, you will receive contact details and a telephone number that you will be able to call if you need support.

How much luggage can I bring?

You can to bring either:

two medium suitcases and hand luggage (this must not include a carry on sized suitcase)

or

one large suitcase and hand luggage (this can include one carry on sized suitcase).

Airport, transport and UWE Bristol staff members won’t be able to help you carry your luggage. Please make sure that you can carry and lift your luggage independently while you travel and move from the transfer vehicle to your accommodation. Please note that you can pre-order and buy essential items online in the UK.

You will asked how much luggage you plan to bring on the booking form. You will be charged for any additional luggage that you bring. This applies even if you are on a free transfer. This payment will be made directly to the airport transfer driver with either a card that works in the UK or with cash.

Are there any extra charges?

If you bring more luggage than stated above then you will have to pay for any additional luggage. This will be paid direct to the transfer driver by either card (please ensure that this works in the UK) or cash.

The transfer company will check your flight details and can track any delays. However, if you become aware of any delays upon arrival in the UK (such as long delays in customs) then you must send a message to the WhatsApp number that you will be provided with before your departure informing them of your delay. There is free Wi-Fi available in Heathrow to enable you to do this. If you do not inform us of any additional delays then you will be charged for the airport transfer waiting times. This will be paid direct to the transfer driver by either card (please ensure that this works in the UK) or cash.

Will I be able to travel with any medication?

It might be useful to pack painkillers in your suitcase, ideally a painkiller that will help to reduce a temperature if required. Please be aware if you need to travel with any other prescribed medication, you will need to prove it has been prescribed to you. Please refer to Gov.uk regarding travelling with medication for further information.

Other arrival options

If you would like to make your own way to Bristol please see below for information on alternative transport options.

On arrival

How can I make sure I’ll be able to use my phone when I arrive in the UK?

Before you leave your home country, check with your existing provider that you’ll be able to use your phone in the UK and that it won’t be ‘locked’ to your home network. Check the costs of using your phone in the UK on your existing network (known as ‘roaming’) – if it’s expensive, make sure you switch off roaming on arrival to avoid a big bill.

It may be more cost-effective for you to buy a UK Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) SIM card than to use roaming on your existing network. Popular UK phone networks include EE, Three, O2, Vodaphone, LycaMobile, and Giffgaff. If you plan to make international calls (rather than call home using an internet-based app such as Whatsapp), LycaMobile and Giffgaff offer cheap international calling. For a comparison of the various UK PAYG SIM deals, visit a UK comparison website.

The cheapest way to buy a PAYG SIM card is online or at a local convenience store or supermarket. If you want to get connected quickly, you can also buy SIM cards at the airport on arrival. If you want to use the SIM card immediately, make sure the card includes some pre-paid credit (known as a pre-paid PAYG SIM).

If you are arriving at Heathrow, you might be able to buy a SIM card at the following places:

  • WH Smiths (Terminals 2,4, and 5)
  • Sim Local (Terminal 2, 3, and 5; and underground in Terminal 2)
  • WeKnow tourist information (Terminals 2,3,4 and 5)
  • From a Prepaid Tourist SIM vending machine.

If you want to contact your family to let them know of your safe arrival, it might be possible to use the airport wifi to do so, but note that airports are likely to ask arrivals to exit the airport quickly as part of their coronavirus safety plans.

UWE Bristol does not endorse any particular service.

How can I access money on arrival?

It’s important that you have some money for your first few weeks in the UK as a combination of cash and access to a credit, debit or pre-paid card. This is so that you can pay for anything you may have to buy (for example food, drink, travel tickets and taxis). Please note: we do not advise you to bring cash for your tuition fee payment. You can find ways to pay tuition fees, or contact the Income Office team by email: cash.office@uwe.ac.uk.

If you are bringing cash from your home country and exchanging it at the airport on arrival or prior to departure be careful as to not exceed any currency limits set by your home country and to declare any cash exceeding EUR10,000 (including in other currencies) at UK customs. Note that the exchange rates offered by airport Bureau de Change are not particularly competitive.

As well as cash, you will also need access to a debit, credit, or pre-paid card. Card payments will be required for online purchases, and most payments in shops (many shops have been moving towards card-only as for payments as a result of coronavirus). 

If you choose not to bring cash from your home country, you can withdraw £ Sterling (GBP) by using your debit, credit, or pre-paid card at an ATM (known in the UK as a ‘cashpoint’ or ‘cash machine’) inside the airport terminal.

Check with your bank in your home country to make sure that your credit or debit card will work in the UK (both at ATMs and in shops) and what fees there will be (if any). Consider opening a pre-paid travel card with a bank in your home country before you depart, or opening a digital app-based bank account.

Note that opening a bank account can take a few weeks and requires you to have proof of a UK address. You can learn more about opening a bank account in the UK on the UWE’s Banking and finance webpage.

Note that traditional taxis usually only accept payment in cash. Taxis ordered through apps such as Uber are paid for using a debit or credit card connected to app.

UWE Bristol does not endorse any particular service.

I cannot find answer to my question. Who shall I contact?

Please email globalstudents@uwe.ac.uk with any questions.

Who can I contact for COVID testing or any related queries?

You can get in touch with our COVID-19 support team by phone on +44 (0)117 32 87000 from 09:00 to 19:00 every day. Or you can report your symptoms online (InfoHub login required) and a member of the team will contact you.

Whether you have coronavirus symptoms or not, we have a team ready to help you manage your self-isolation.

Further external support

  • Any COVID-19 symptoms or have contracted COVID-19, please refer to NHS COVID-19 guidance, use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service, or call NHS 111.
  • Call 119 (free from mobiles and landlines) for guidance and how to book a courier collection for the COVID test package.
  • For a medical emergency dial 999.

Arriving and living in the UK

Advice to help you adjust to life in the UK and at UWE Bristol.

Starting Block

To help you get settled into university-level education, we’ve developed Starting Block – a series of activities for you to get to know your teaching team and your coursemates.

Accommodation information

I need to self isolate from an amber list country and I am isolating in private accommodation, how do I request a food box?

Please send your request to globalstudents@uwe.ac.uk. Please ensure you include the following information

  • Name
  • Address details
  • Contact telephone number

Please be aware orders received by midday will be delivered on the same day and any orders received after this will be delivered on the next working day.

What happens if I need to self-isolate or feel unwell?

All students arriving outside of the UK need to self-isolate for 10 days when they arrive. Please check:

All people entering from all countries are required by law to complete a passenger location form before they travel. This provides the government with details of your journey and, where necessary, the address where you will self-isolate. Please check the details on the government website closer to your departure date and complete it.

If you are at the airport and experiencing the symptoms of a cough, fever or shortness of breath please report to the nearest airport staff member who will be able to support you.

Please make sure that you also inform globalstudents@uwe.ac.uk and the transfer provider if you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms at the airport or during your journey.

If you are travelling independently and feel unwell, please check your symptoms and follow NHS advice. 

We want to do all we can to support you when you arrive, so have put together advice for students living in UWE accommodation. It is important to self-isolate and follow UK government rules about self-isolation. We have put together lots of information on how you complete some of those important things in your to do list in our International and European student arrival guide. If you will be living in private accommodation, please read the Student Union's accommodation advice.

Latest guidance

If you are self-isolating and need groceries and other necessities supply, please see the information below.

Where and how can I buy groceries and basic household items?

You have the opportunity to order groceries and other necessities from online shops and supermarkets. Please ensure that you have a suitable pre-paid card or bank account to make online purchases.  

You also might find it useful to pre-order a kitchen, bedding, cleaning, bathroom starter packs. This option is available for all students both living in university-managed and private accommodation. Take a look at the pack you might need.

We also encourage you to ask your flatmates, friends and family for support. More information about support and services on the campus will be provided closer to the date.

There are many ways people can get food or essentials delivered you below are some links you may find useful. You also have the possibility of ordering groceries and other necessities online.

Supermarkets that offer contactless deliveries are as follows: 

Most restaurants offer contactless deliveries, which can be ordered through the following apps: 

The catering and hospitality department at UWE Bristol deliver essential grocery and fresh produce to your door:

How can I buy food or medicine if I need to self-isolate?

You can order groceries and other necessities from online shops and supermarkets. Please see the section above.

Student food boxes

The catering and hospitality department at UWE Bristol are delivering essential grocery and fresh produce to your door.

If you are a new international student staying in UWE Bristol managed accommodation, you will receive a welcome student food box on arrival in your accommodation. Our Accommodation Services team will have this arranged for you. New international students staying in private accommodation should order food boxes if required via the UWE Bristol online shop either in advance or when you arrive. 

Student food boxes provide a safe and convenient way of getting your groceries and essentials, with next day delivery on all orders placed by 16:00.

More information about student food boxes

Alternative services

If you live in private accommodation, we encourage you to do online shopping and ask flatmates and family for support. If that is not possible you might be able to get help with shopping, deliveries, and ready meals from national and local government schemes and charities.

Bristol International Student Centre 

Bristol International Student Centre (BISC) is working in partnership with a local charity and churches to provide food parcels to international students living in private accommodation who need to self-isolate on arrival to Bristol.

The starter pack will provide basic food supplies and suggestions for meals. It will be delivered to you by a BISC volunteer. Deliveries are made on Monday - Friday only. Please note there is limited capacity of food parcels, so please book as soon as possible.

BISC is also offering the opportunity to have a phone call with a local volunteer if you need help or advice about living in Bristol. 

NHS Volunteer Responders

This is a national scheme providing help with shopping for food and essential items, and to collect and deliver prescriptions from a pharmacy.

Tel: +44 (0)808 196 3646

Bristol City Council Volunteer Support

Local volunteer scheme available to those who are self-isolating. Support involves free help with shopping for food and medicine delivery. There is also an option to pay for prepared meal delivery.

Tel: +44 (0)800 694 0184

For further guidance on self-isolation when arriving in the UK, please read our advice on self-isolation in accommodation.