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Updated 28 September 2020.

If you're unsure about travel arrangements in light of coronavirus or want to claim insurance for a cancelled trip, we've provided guidance below.

Students and staff should follow Government and Foreign & Commonwealth Office advice when planning international travel.

Overseas exchange programmes

The Global Opportunities Office and your Queen Mary School have sent out guidance to all students currently participating in overseas programmes or due to go abroad to participate in programmes during the 2020/21 academic year.

If you have any questions, please contact or your School Study Abroad Coordinator.

Modern Languages students from the School of Languages, Linguistics and Film should contact

International field trips to exempted countries

The ban on international field trips, introduced by Queen Mary at the start of the pandemic has now been lifted, and students are permitted to travel to countries no longer pose an unacceptably high risk for British travellers and which have been classified by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) as ‘exempted’.

Therefore, no restrictions against Travel apply to these destinations. The list of exempted countries can be found on the FCO's website at the link below:

Coronavirus (COVID-19): countries and territories exempt from advice against ‘all but essential’ international travel

International field trips to non-exempted countries

At the moment, the UK Government advises against all but ‘essential’ travel to countries not on the FCO's list of exempt countries and territories.

If an international trip is planned to a country or terrority not on this list, it will be the decision of a student’s Queen Mary School whether an activity (such as a work or study placement) is considered 'essential' and should therefore go ahead.

If your school/department deems the activity taking place overseas as ‘essential’, the placement can go ahead and Queen Mary insurance cover will be in place (note that all students would need to register for Queen Mary insurance and complete a risk assessment).

Travel policies are subject to change

Please note the information displayed on this page is subject to review and change by Queen Mary University of London. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to evolve and advice changes from sources such as Public Health England and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), Queen Mary University of London may need to change/update its policies in response. Travel policy changes may include but are not limited to further travel restrictions and/or measures such as a travel ban for specific countries or regions during the 2020/21 academic year.

Visa or immigration status

The Home Office has published updated visa guidance to provide greater certainty for international higher education students and staff in the UK currently unable to return home due to COVID-19.

Queen Mary's Advice and Counselling Service have published information for current Queen Mary students with Tier 4 immigration permission.

If you have concerns about your own immigration status in the UK, or that of a family member, please contact the Advice and Counselling Service for confidential advice.

If you are a member of staff and have concerns about your immigration status due to coronavirus, please contact

Travel guidance

In respect of the RSA Personal Accident and Travel Insurance please note:

  • For any trips booked to FCO Exempted Countries booked on or after 4 July 2020, full cover will apply as per the standard policy terms and conditions.
  • If Travel is approved by your School to any of the exempted countries, and during such time of a trip (or even prior to departure) the FCO advice is re-enforced “against all but essential travel” then the usual cover will apply. 
  • It may be worthwhile taking into consideration the booking of only Flexible and refundable tickets, but learning of any implications Airlines may have for further disruption in their own Cancellation Policies before doing so.  RSA strongly recommend seeking any refunds from Airlines and/or Travel Management Companies in the first instance should you need to cancel a trip.
  • It is advisable when considering travel applications, to review any local/foreign travel and border restrictions, as any delays/cancellations etc. resulting from Third Country conditions could fall under the exclusion of regulations made by any public authority or government or persons with the authority under legislation or licence to make regulations;’.

For any trips booked before 4 July, please be aware that as per the Policy wording terms and conditions, Cancellation/Curtailment cover will not apply as the risks were known at time of booking. Even though the restrictions have now been lifted, the policy operates on a basis of “trips booked”.


  • All travel insurance claims should be notified directly to RSA, providing you have registered on TravelCert in advance of your trip – the traveller can liaise directly with RSA using the claims email address: where claims are reviewed and considered.

For travel outside of the exempted countries, only essential travel is allowed. The FCO does not have a definition of what is essential or non-essential travel.  This is a decision for Queen Mary’s Schools to make, based on the risk and our duty of care for you and your individual degree/programme/placement. There may be significantly different risk profiles depending on the country you intend to visit.

Should you believe there is an essential need to travel, then please validate your request with your School and complete the relevant risk assessment form for studying/working overseas.

If an event is going ahead but the traveller decides not to travel, the insurers will not accept a travel insurance claim as this is considered 'disinclination to travel’. However, if the host cancels the trip, you may be able to claim.

Conferences and University-related trips

If the host cancels the trip but the Foreign & Commonwealth Office travel advice is that it is safe to travel, insurers will provide cover as the situation is beyond the control of the traveller or the University.

Registering for Queen Mary travel insurance

All students going overseas must register for the Queen Mary insurance using TravelCert and retain a copy of the insurance details/certificate provided.

Trips to high-risk areas

In the first instance, check with the airline or travel management company (Key Travel) for any refunds. If that fails, we can claim through RSA Travel Insurance.

Placements and study programmes

If you are on an overseas placement or study programme which is cancelled by the host, you can come home and claim the cost of rearranging your flights.

However, if Queen Mary has decided to cancel the trip and not the host, we are unfortunately unable to claim for flights or hotels through the insurers as this is considered 'disinclination to travel’.

Please check with the travel management company (Key Travel) whether any costs can be reimbursed.

How to make a travel insurance claim

You should notify the insurer (RSA) directly of any travel insurance claims by emailing them at

Send the following as attachments to your email:

  • a completed travel insurance claim form
  • a letter or email from the host organisation of cancellation of event due to coronavirus
  • evidence of flight invoice
  • hotel invoice
  • travel insurance cover note. 

Visit the Travel Insurance page for more details and to download a travel insurance claim form.

For any travel booked outside of the travel management company (Key Travel), a £50 excess will be deducted.

Due to the high number of claims, the process can take up to six to eight weeks.