Guidance for British people travelling abroad during the coronavirus pandemic, if they are legally permitted to travel under current UK COVID-19 restrictions.
Before You Travel
- you need a legally-permitted reason to travel abroad:
- if you live in England, you must complete a declaration form for international travel, except for travel within the Common Travel Area, which includes Ireland
- follow the current COVID-19 rules for where you live, in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
- subscribe to travel advice email alerts for your destination, and countries you will transit through, so you’ll know if we update our advice with new and important information
- check for entry restrictions, testing, or quarantine requirements in the Government’s travel advice or contact the UK-based embassy for your destination country
- if you need a negative COVID-19 test to enter a country, you should use a private test provider. The NHS Test and Trace service cannot provide the documents you need
- if you’re flying, read the safer air travel guidance
- you must wear a face covering on flights in England and Scotland
- read National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) guidance
- ask your accommodation provider about their COVID-19 safety measures
- read the advice of local authorities and follow local health requirements during your journey and at your destination. Both local and travel restrictions may change before or during your stay
- get travel insurance with the appropriate level of cover
- check your cancellation rights. Contact your tour operator, transport and accommodation providers if you have questions
- use the travel abroad step-by-step guidance to make sure you’re fully prepared
When You’re Abroad
- continue to follow updates to travel advice, as there may be changes for your destination
- be prepared to comply with changing restrictions to manage local COVID-19 outbreaks, such as border closures, movement restrictions, testing and quarantine requirements
- if you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to seek treatment where you are, and stay until you have recovered. If local authorities tell you to quarantine, you should expect to do that where you are
- travel restrictions may unexpectedly delay your return home. Plan for possible delays. Make sure you have access to money and have made practical arrangements to be away for longer than planned
- if delays occur, you should keep in contact with your travel company or airline for any changes to transport schedules
- read this guidance if you are unable to return to the UK due to COVID-19
Prepare to Return to the UK
Before you enter the UK you must:
- take a COVID-19 test up to 3 days before departure. You will need to show a negative test result when you arrive in the UK, including if you are returning home. Read further information on testing for travel to England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland from abroad
- fill in your passenger locator form up to 48 hours before you enter the UK
- to prepare for quarantine:
- if you’re arriving in England from a country on the banned travel list ‘red list’, or you have transited through one in the past 10 days, you must book to stay in a managed quarantine hotel
- if you’re arriving in England, travelling from any other foreign country (except Ireland), you must book COVID tests under the quarantine rules for arriving into England
- check the list of people who are exempt from the UK border restrictions
- different requirements apply for arriving into Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
When you arrive in the UK
- you must quarantine and take further COVID-19 tests when you enter the UK from abroad (except Ireland), unless you are exempt
- if you’re arriving in England, and you are not travelling from a country on the red list, you may be able to pay for a COVID-19 test under Test to Release, to find out if you can reduce your self-isolation period
Consular help from the FCDO
Consular officers cannot provide additional information by phone. Read more about the consular support provided.
If FCDO travel advice changes when you are abroad
Travel advice may change while you are in a country to advise against all travel there, or all but essential travel, because of new COVID-19 risks.
If this happens, you should not return immediately to the UK. Instead, you should follow the local advice on any restrictions the local authorities are taking to control the virus before your return to the UK.
If you decide to shorten your stay abroad because of a change in travel advice, you should:
- contact your airline and travel company to discuss your options
- take the actions to prepare to return to the UK
If changes relating to a new COVID-19 variant mean you cannot return from travel abroad
If you’re travelling abroad and unable to return to the UK, contact your airline or travel provider for advice. You can also contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate for urgent assistance.
Your mental wellbeing
Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Keep in regular contact with the people who usually support you: family, friends and colleagues, especially if you are in quarantine abroad.
Read guidance on how to look after your wellbeing and mental health if you’re abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 health advice
The NaTHNaC provides general advice on preparing for foreign travel and how to reduce the spread of respiratory viruses.
If you live abroad permanently
If you live abroad permanently, follow the advice of local authorities where you live. Check the travel advice pages for information on COVID-19 restrictions in individual countries.