Travelling to and from the UK
UK Citizens - International travel
Travelling internationally from England
You can only travel internationally where you have a legally permitted reason to do so, such as work.
Some jobs qualify for exemptions for certain travel related requirements, such as self isolation and testing. See guidance on which jobs qualify for travel exemptions.
You may not travel abroad to go on holiday.
If you do need to travel overseas (and are legally permitted to do so), you may be required to complete a mandatory outbound ‘Declaration to Travel’ form. You must state your reasons for travel on the form before leaving the UK.
In addition, you should consider the public health advice in the country you are visiting. You should look at the rules in place at your destination and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice. You should do this even if you are returning to a place you’ve visited before.
Travelling to England from outside the UK
All visitors to England are subject to the national lockdown rules.
All those planning to travel to England must follow the guidance on entering the UK. All arrivals will need to take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test on day 2 and day 8 of quarantining. Arrivals must book a travel test package. See the guidance on how to quarantine when you arrive in England.
You cannot travel to the UK if you’ve visited or passed through a country where travel to the UK is banned in the last 10 days, unless you’re:
a British national
an Irish national
anyone with residence rights in the UK
Everyone allowed to enter England who has visited or passed through a country where travel to the UK is banned in the last 10 days must:
quarantine for 10 days in a managed quarantine hotel
take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 of quarantining, the tests are included in the hotel package
follow the national lockdown rules
See the guidance on booking and staying in a quarantine hotel when you arrive in England.
Advice for visitors and foreign nationals in England
Foreign nationals are subject to the national lockdown rules.
If you are visiting the UK, you may return home. You should check whether there are any restrictions in place at your destination.
Permitted reasons for international travel (up to 29 March 2021)
Listed below are some of the reasonable excuses to be outside of your home including for international travel under stay at home restrictions. See the non-exhaustive list of reasonable excuses. These are recommended types of evidence, and there may be other evidence than the ones listed that are relevant to your situation.
Essential travel for business or official work purposes where it is not reasonably possible to complete that work from home.
This includes but is not limited to essential work or returning overseas having completed essential work, in relation to critical national infrastructure including the national rail network, national security or diplomatic purposes, and elite sports competitions.
Recommended evidence: employer’s letter, professional ID card, confirmation from sports body or evidence of participation, diplomatic mission letter, or other appropriate documentation.
Where it is not reasonably possible to volunteer from home.
Recommended evidence: letter from relevant organisation or other appropriate documentation.
For academic studies or professional qualifications where physical presence is required or where activities must be completed overseas. This includes international students returning home.
Recommended evidence: letter or proof of membership of an academic institution, or other appropriate documentation.
Medical or compassionate grounds
to visit someone who is dying or critically ill
maternity services, or to be with someone who is giving birth, or with a baby receiving neonatal critical care
medical treatment or emergency which cannot be reasonably received in the UK or to accompany a person where necessary
to avoid injury or illness or escape risk of harm (such as domestic abuse)
Recommended evidence: medical evidence describing the situation of the member of your household or close family member or a friend who is receiving treatment in hospital or whose condition is life-threatening, proof of scheduled treatment, letter from social services, proof of hospital admission, proof of family relationship, or other appropriate documentation.
Weddings, civil partnerships, funerals and related events
To attend a wedding or civil partnership of a family member, to attend a funeral or event related to death, to visit a burial ground or remembrance.
Recommended evidence: letter, invitation, death certificate, or other appropriate documentation.
If you do not pass through border control and enter England, you will have a reasonable excuse to travel out of the UK if you are passing through to another country or territory outside the common travel area.
If you do pass through border control and enter England, you will have a reasonable excuse to travel out of the UK if you are entering the UK for the sole purpose of continuing a journey to a country or territory outside the common travel area and you:
remain within your port of entry until your departure from England, or
travel directly from your port of entry to another port of departure in England
Recommended evidence: Travel itinerary and tickets, or other appropriate documentation.
Other permitted reasons
There are further reasonable excuses, for example:
to fulfil legal obligations
to carry out activities related to buying, selling, letting or renting a residential property
travel in order to exercise custody rights recognised by a court decision
order to present oneself to a judicial or administrative authority
Recommended evidence: proof of contract, court decision and proof of place of residence, order to present oneself to a judicial or administrative authority, expiring residence permit, dismissal notice, letter or appointment details from estate agent, relevant contract or letters detailing sales, or other appropriate documentation or other appropriate documentation.
Changes to reasonable excuses from 29 March 2021
On 29 March, the requirement to stay at home is due to end. From 29 March, subject to approval from Parliament, you must still have a reasonable excuse to leave the UK. The permitted reasons, set in the regulations, for travelling abroad from 29 March are similar to those currently in place. However, they will change so you should review the regulations and guidance before starting your journey. The main changes to the reasonable excuses include:
Weddings or civil partnership - From 29 March, you can only travel out of the UK to attend your wedding or civil partnership, or a family member’s wedding or civil partnership if one or both people getting married or entering into a civil partnership do not live in the UK.
Funerals - It is still a reasonable excuse to travel abroad for a funeral, but it will not be a reasonable excuse to travel for commemorative events, or to visit a burial ground.
Education - From 29 March, if you are enrolled in a course of study at an educational institution outside the UK and it is necessary for you to leave the UK to attend that course, you can do so.
You are permitted to travel abroad if you study in the UK but you are required to travel outside the UK to satisfy one or more requirements of your course of study.
If you study in the UK but live abroad, you are permitted to travel outside the UK to return home for the purposes of a university vacation on one occasion before 29 April 2021.
Non-UK resident who has been in UK temporarily- From 29 March, if you do not permanently reside in the UK and are in England temporarily, you would have a permitted reason to leave the UK.
Legislation – the legal requirement to carry the travel declaration form
It is a legal requirement to carry a completed copy of the travel declaration form if you travel abroad from England. From 29 March, it will be a legal requirement to carry the form when you begin a journey where you intend to leave the UK. Read the legislation that sets out this requirement.
Published 5 March 2021
From 15th February anyone travelling to the England from Cyprus (not on the list of countries with a travel ban to the UK) will require 3 PCRs. The first to be taken <72 hours before arrival, as per previous guidance and then 2 further PCR tests on days 2 and a further on day 8. The costs of the tests will be paid by the individual and should be booked via the online portal before travel. The online portal will go live on Thursday. All arrivals not from the countries on the banned list must self-isolate for 10 days on arrival, if however, any of the tests are positive they will need to self isolate for a further 10 days, from the date of the test.
For people travelling to Scotland anyone arriving in the UK, from outside the Common Travel Area must book and pay for managed isolation in quarantine hotels, at a cost of #1,750 per person
Press Release 5.2.21 - Government confirms mandatory hotel quarantine to be introduced from 15 February
From 15 February anyone travelling to the UK from a country on the UK’s travel ban list will be required to quarantine in a government-approved facility for 10 days.
Travelling to the UK
If you wish to travel to the UK, you need to take a PCR test <72 hours before arrival and complete the passenger locator form. Once in the UK you will need to self-isolate at home for 10 days and take further PCR tests on day 2 and day 8, these must be paid for in advance using the online system. Failure to comply with these requirements could result in a substantial fine. If you are travelling to Scotland you will also be required to quarantine in a government approved hotel for 10days.
More details about the requirements you need to meet are provided via the website links below:
Guidance on Coronavirus and the restrictions in place in the UK:
Passenger Locator Form
Before travelling to the UK all passengers must complete a passenger locator form, see link below:
Coronavirus testing before travel to the UK
England - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-for-people-travelling-to-england
Northern Ireland - https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/news/pre-departure-testing-all-international-arrivals-northern-ireland
Scotland - https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-public-health-checks-at-borders/pages/testing-for-people-travelling-to-scotland/
Wales - https://gov.wales/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-people-travelling-wales
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Test to Release for international travel
Pay for a COVID-19 test to find out if you can reduce your self-isolation period after international travel. This scheme is still operating following the new restrictions introduced on 15th February.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing before you travel to England
You must have proof of a negative COVID-19 test to travel to England from abroad.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer air travel for passengers
How to travel safely in airports and on aircraft during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Travel Bans to the UK guidance
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