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Coronavirus: Travelling between the UK and other countries

Photograph of Nick Renaud-Komiy
Written by Nick Renaud-Komiya , Personal finance specialist

14 July 2020

As the government eases international travel restrictions, here is a short guide to where you can travel and how quarantine rules will work for those travelling to the UK.

An illustration of a suitcase along with a passport, hat, camera, sunglasses and model aeroplane.

As things change rapidly during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, this guide will be updated regularly to reflect changes in rules and regulations.

In early March the government placed a blanket advisory against ‘all but essential travel’ abroad. This had a profound impact on our ability to go abroad for work, leisure and to visit loved ones.

This was followed last month by the introduction of rules forcing those travelling into the UK from abroad to quarantine for up to 2 weeks.

But from 3 July 2020, this blanket advisory against ‘all but essential travel’ was loosened to enable travellers from England to travel more freely.

Non-essential travel is now allowed from England to:

Europe

Austria; Azores (Portugal); Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France (including some overseas territories; Germany; Gibraltar; Greece; Hungary; Iceland; Ireland; Italy; Latvia; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Madeira (Portugal); Malta; Monaco; The Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Portugal; San Marino; Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; Switzerland; and Turkey.

(Note: Spain and mainland Portugal are not included)

The Americas

Antigua and Barbuda; Barbados; Bermuda; Canada; Cayman Islands; Dominica; Grenada; Jamaica; Martinique; South Georgia and The South Sandwich Islands; St Kitts and Nevis; St Lucia; St Pierre and Miquelon; St Vincent and The Grenadines; Trinidad and Tobago; and Turks and Caicos Islands.

Asia-Pacific region

Australia; Brunei; French Polynesia; Hong Kong; Japan; Macao; Malaysia; New Zealand; Taiwan; Thailand; Singapore; South Korea; Vietnam; Wallis and Futuna

African continent

Réunion Island

Update: On 25 July 2020, the Government changed its travel advice to warn UK residents against ‘all but essential’ travel to mainland Spain. This new advice was then extended on 27 July 2020 to advise against travel to the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands.  

Holiday makers who were in Spain when the new advice was issued can stay for the remainder of their trip, but they’ll have to self-isolate for 14 days when they return to the UK.  

On 6 August 2020, the Government changed its travel advice to warn against ‘all but essential’ travel to Belgium, the Bahamas and Andorra. Anyone returning from these destinations after 4am on 8 August will need to self-isolate for 14 days.

But before you book...

It’s important to note that while the UK government has loosened restrictions against traveling to these places, many of the countries and territories listed above still have restrictions for arriving UK visitors. 

For example, Austria requires UK visitors to self-isolate unless they test negative for Coronavirus on arrival, or have a recent medical certificate.

Elsewhere, New Zealand has banned almost all foreign travellers from entering the country. 

South Korea has imposed a 14-day quarantine for all international visitors coming into the country. 

For full details about local rules in any country you plan to visit, check the Gov.uk foreign travel advice for the country you plan to visit. You should do this before you try and book any travel or accommodation.

If you are able to travel, it’s really important to make sure you get suitable travel insurance. 

For more details on finding the right cover for you, and to compare quotes, read our comprehensive guide to travel insurance.

Rules in other parts of the UK

Decisions around quarantine and international travel are taken separately by each UK nation’s devolved governments.

The Scottish Government has not yet decided to ease quarantine restrictions for visitors coming to Scotland from overseas

Meanwhile, neither the Welsh government nor the Northern Ireland executive have yet changed quarantine rules in line with England. 

Arriving into the UK 

Travel Corridors

Those arriving into the UK will not be required to self-isolate if they’re coming from one of dozens of ‘travel corridor’ countries or territories. 

Update: On 26 July 2020 the UK Government introduced new rules requiring travellers arriving from Spain to self-isolate for 14 days. This includes those arriving from the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands.

On 6 August 2020, announced any travellers arriving from Belgium, the Bahamas and Andorra after 4am on 8 August will need to self-isolate for 14 days.

The rule applies to passengers coming from the following places into the UK:

Europe

Austria, The Azores (Portugal), Channel Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands; Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, San Marino, Switzerland; Turkey and Vatican City.

The Americas

Anguilla; Antigua & Barbuda; Aruba; Barbados; Bermuda; Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba; British Virgin Islands; Cayman Islands; Curaçao; Cayman Islands; Dominica; Falkland Islands; Gibraltar; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Jamaica; Martinique; Montserrat; The Seychelles; South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; St Barthelemy; St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha; St Kitts and Nevis; St Lucia; St Pierre and Miquelon; St Vincent and the Grenadines; Trinidad and Tobago; and Turks and Caicos Islands.

Asia-Pacific

Australia; British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT); Fiji; French Polynesia; Hong Kong; Japan; Macao; Malaysia; New Caledonia; New Zealand; Pitcairn Islands; Taiwan; South Korea and Vietnam.

African Continent

Réunion Island and Mauritius

Update: From 28 July 2020 you will also be exempt from having to self-isolate if you are travelling into the UK from Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

From 4am on 11 August 2020, passengers arriving to England from Malaysia and Brunei will no longer need to self-isolate, so long as they haven’t been in or transited through any other non-exempt countries in the 14 days preceding their arrival.

Note that if you have travelled to any place not on this list in the 14 days before your journey, you will still have to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival into the UK.

The government has said that the list will be kept under review and countries may be added or removed from this list over the coming days.

Notably the United States, and European nations Portugal and Sweden are not on the list. These countries are regarded as being too high risk to allow travellers coming from these places to come to England without self-isolating on arrival.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Office has also said that visitors from Canada will still need to self-isolate on their arrival in England. 

When you arrive

The government has also laid out rules that every person coming into the UK, including UK residents, will have to follow to help efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Before your arrival, you’ll have to fill out a Public Health ‘passenger locator’ form and hand a printed copy or show it on your phone to authorities at the border. 

You do not have to fill in a passenger locator form if you’re arriving into the UK from Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands.

The form asks for your contact details. This is so that authorities can contact you if somebody you have travelled with begins to display Coronavirus symptoms. 

If you need to quarantine on your arrival (For example, if you’re travelling from a country that is not on the ‘travel corridor’ list above) then the details you provide on the form will be used to check that you’re following the quarantine rules.

Update: Beware that you could be fined up to £1,000 if you do not self-isolate after travelling into the UK from areas not on the ‘travel corridor’ list. The maximum fine in Scotland is £480.  

Additionally, there can be fines of up to £5,000 for persistent offenders.