Traveling abroad checklist
- You must complete a Declaration to Travel form
- You must show proof of a negative test in the 3 days before departure
- You must complete a passenger locator form 2 days before arriving in the UK
- You will be checked again by frontline airport staff and Border Force upon arrival – passengers arriving without a completed form and negative test face a £500
- If you have been to a red list country in the past 10 days you will be denied entry into the UK unless you have a residency right
- You must then self-isolate in the place you are staying for 10 days after you arrive and have a test on days 2 and 8 of your self-isolation
You can only travel internationally – or within the UK – where you first have a legally permitted reason to leave home. In addition, you should consider the public health advice in the country you are visiting.You should not travel abroad unless it is permitted, this means you must not go on holiday.
Legally Permitted Reasons for International Travel
Declaration to Travel Form
Whilst the stay in UK restrictions are in place, you are only allowed to leave the UK if you have a reasonable excuse.
What are reasonable excuses for travel?
The regulations set out exactly what is permitted in terms of reasonable excuses for international travel.
It is illegal to travel abroad without a reasonable excuse. Travel abroad for holidays is not permitted.
You could be fined for leaving, or trying to leave, the UK without a reasonable excuse.
Essential travel for business or official work purposes where it is not reasonably possible to complete that work from home.
Recommended evidence: employer’s letter, professional ID card, confirmation from sports body or evidence of participation, diplomatic mission letter, etc.
Where it is not reasonably possible to volunteer from home.
Recommended evidence: letter from relevant organisation.
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.
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/close family member/a friend who is receiving treatment in hospital or whose condition is life-threatening, proof of scheduled treatment, death certificate, letter from social services, proof of hospital admission, proof of family relationship.
Weddings, funerals and related events
To attend a wedding of a family member, to attend a funeral or event related to death, to visit a burial ground or remembrance.
Recommended evidence: letter, invitation.
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, etc.
Returning to the UK
If you are returning to the UK from abroad you must show proof of a negative coronavirus test taken up to 3 days before you board your flight. Failure to provide this means you will be denied entry into the UK and will be fined £500.
You must complete the passenger locator form up to 2 days before your arrival in the UK.
From 15 February, upon your arrival you will be required to self-isolate at the place you are staying for 10 days, and under the new rules you must take a COVID-19 test on days 2 and 8 of your self-isolation. Test to Release will continue to be in operation – however, arrivals will still be required to purchase the 2-testing package.
If you are visiting the UK, you may return home. You should check whether there are any restrictions in place at your destination.
If you are planning to visit another country you should check their rules for visitors either by checking the government foreign travel advice or by contacting their embassy as many countries have rules over quarantining new arrivals.
Traveling from 'Red List' Countries
People who have been in or transited through the countries in this list will not be granted access to the UK. This does not include UK or Irish nationals, or third-country nationals with permanent residence in the UK.
From 15 February, anyone who has been in or through any of the 'red list' countries in the previous 10 days will be required to purchase a quarantine package. Bookings will be made through an online portal and will include:
- assigned government transportation
- food and drinks
- accommodation in a government-approved facility
The charge for a single adult will be less than £1,750.
To ensure compliance, fines will be issued and will range from £5,000 rising to £10,000 for arrivals who fail to quarantine in a designated hotel. A £1,000 penalty will also be given to any international arrival who fails to take a mandatory test, followed by a £2,000 penalty to any international arrival who fails to take the second mandatory test. This will be accompanied by an automatic extension of the quarantine period to 14 days.
Passenger locator forms will now not only detail their travel journey but also their quarantine and testing package. Anyone attempting to conceal that they have travelled in a ‘red list’ country on their form could face a £10,000 fine or prosecution and up to 10 years in prison.
Passenger locator form
If you travel abroad you will have to complete a passenger locator form and self-isolate on arrival for 10 days upon return. All travel corridors have been suspended.
To complete the form you need:
- your passport details
- your travel details, including times and dates
- the address where you will stay in the UK (if applicable)
- a booking reference number and the name of the test provider, if you’re using Test to Release to find out if you can end self-isolation early
You can submit the form any time in the 48 hours before you arrive in the UK.
You can include multiple journeys in your form if you’ll enter the UK more than once in a 48-hour period.
Test to release for international travel scheme
The Test to Release scheme starts 15 December, and it is for people who need to self-isolate on arrival in England.
How to take part in the scheme:
- You must book a test with a private test provider, you will need to pay for this
- Choose to opt into the scheme on the passenger locator form
- You should book your test before you travel to England. This is so you can enter details of the test when you opt into the scheme on the passenger locator form
- If you decide to take part in the scheme after you have arrived in England, you will need to complete another passenger locator form.
- You will have to pay the private test provider for your test. You will need to book an individual test for each person opting into Test to Release, including children.
- The test provider will either send a test to your address or you can attend a testing site. You may leave your house to post your test or to travel directly to and from the testing site.
- If you test negative, you can stop self-isolating
- If you test positive, you will need to isolate for another 10 days, and count the 10 days as starting when you took the test, or when you first had symptoms, if that is earlier.
- If you are told to self-isolate by the NHS Test & Trace app, you must do so even if you have tested positive.
- If you are told to self-isolate by the NHS Test & Trace app before you take the test, you must cancel your test and continue to isolate for 10 days from when you were last in contact with the person who tested positive
Traveling within the UK
Staying away from home overnight
You should not stay overnight in a second home, caravan or boat, if that is not your primary residence, unless it is necessary to do so. For example, for work, moving home, to attend a medical appointment, or to avoid injury, illness or harm (including domestic abuse). You should not be going on holiday at this stage.
You must not stay overnight with anyone who you don’t live with or have formed a support bubble with (where eligible) unless a legal exemption applies.
Guest accommodation providers such as hotels, B&Bs and caravan parks may only remain open for the specific reasons set out in law.
You must not stay overnight away from your home in holiday accommodation such as a hotel unless you:
- are unable to return to your main residence
- need accommodation while moving house
- need accommodation to attend a funeral or related commemorative event, or following a bereavement of a close family member or friend
- need accommodation to attend a medical appointment or receive treatment
- need accommodation for work purposes or to provide voluntary services, or attend education
- are a child requiring accommodation for school or care
- are homeless, seeking asylum, a vulnerable person seeking refuge, or if escaping harm (including domestic abuse)
- are an elite athlete or their support staff or parent provided the athlete is under 18 and it is necessary to be outside of the home in order to take part in training or a competition
A full list of reasons can be found in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England.
Travelling within England
You should minimise travel where possible. This means you should:
- avoid making unnecessary trips
- combine trips where possible
You should not stay away from home overnight for a holiday.
If you need to travel:
- walk or cycle where possible
- avoid car sharing with anyone from outside your household or your support bubble
- plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport
- regularly wash or sanitise your hands
- wear a face covering on public transport, unless exempt
- stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors)
There is additional guidance on safer travel, including on the safe use of public transport.
Travelling to England
You can enter England from other parts of the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. This is sometimes known as the Common Travel Area. However, there may be restrictions in place in the area you intend to travel from which prevent you from travelling. For example, if you are in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, there may be a requirement to stay at home or “Stay Local” where you live, which means you cannot travel to England.
You should check the restrictions in place where you intend to travel from before making arrangements to travel. If you do travel to England, you must follow the restrictions on what you can and cannot do.
Travelling from England
You may leave England to travel to other parts of the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man. However, there may be restrictions in place in the area you intend to travel to which prevent you from travelling. You may only be able to travel for certain reasons, such as work. You should check the restrictions in place at your intended destination before making arrangements to travel.