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 in June by the introduction of rules forcing those travelling into the UK from abroad to quarantine for up to 2 weeks.
From 3 July 2020, this blanket advisory against ‘all but essential travel’ was loosened to enable travellers from England to travel more freely.
Since this guide was published on 14 July 2020, the government has made changes to its travel advice to some countries. Please see below for a list of countries currently exempt from the Foreign Office’s advice against “all but essential travel”.
The government has also expanded the list of places from where travellers into the UK must quarantine on arrival.
Non-essential travel is now allowed from England to:
Cyprus; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; Germany; Gibraltar; Greece; Hungary; Iceland; Ireland; Italy; Latvia; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Norway; Poland; Portugal; San Marino; Slovakia; Slovenia and Turkey.
Antigua and Barbuda; Barbados; Bermuda; Canada; Cayman Islands; Cuba; Curaçao Dominica; The Falkland Islands; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Martinique; South Georgia and The South Sandwich Islands; St Kitts and Nevis; St Lucia; St Maarten; St Martin and St Barthélemy; St Pierre and Miquelon; and St Vincent and The Grenadines.
Australia; British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT); Brunei; Cambodia; The Cook Islands; Fiji; French Polynesia; Hong Kong; Japan; Laos; Macao; Malaysia; New Caledonia; New Zealand; Samoa; Singapore; South Korea; Sri Lanka; Taiwan; Thailand; Vietnam; and Wallis and Futuna.
Réunion Island, St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.
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, UK visitors arriving in Cyprus need to provide a negative Coronavirus test result from a test taken up to three days before travelling to the island.
Elsewhere, New Zealand has banned almost all foreign travellers from entering the country. South Korea requires all arrivals into the country to take a test and quarantine for 14 days.
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.
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.
The list of travel corridor countries is subject to frequent change at the moment, so while we aim to keep the list as up-to-date as possible, it’s always a good idea to check the GOV.UK site before you book a holiday or travel.
The exemption applies to passengers coming from the following places into the UK:
Channel Islands; Cyprus; Denmark; Estonia; Faroe Islands; Finland; Germany; Gibraltar; Greece; Greenland; Hungary; Iceland; Ireland; Isle of Man; Italy; Latvia; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Norway; Poland; Portugal; San Marino; Slovakia; Slovenia; Turkey and Vatican City.
Travellers from the Greek island of Zakynthos (Zante) arriving in Scotland and Wales are required to self-isolate for 14 days.
Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Barbados; Bermuda; Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba; British Virgin Islands; Cayman Islands; Cuba; Curaçao; Dominica; Falkland Islands; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Jamaica; 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; and Trinidad and Tobago.
Australia; British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT); Brunei; Fiji; French Polynesia; Hong Kong; Japan; Macao; Malaysia; New Caledonia; New Zealand; Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands; South Korea; Taiwan; and Vietnam.
Réunion Island and Mauritius
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 France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain 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 Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has also said that visitors from Canada will still need to self-isolate on their arrival in England.
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.