Important COVID-19 Travel
Under current UK COVID-19 restrictions, you must stay at home. You must not travel, including abroad, unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so. It is illegal to travel abroad for holidays and other leisure purposes.
If you intend to travel to the UK from abroad, including UK nationals returning home, you must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to 3 days before departure. If you do not comply (and you do not have a valid exemption) your airline or carrier may refuse you boarding and/or you may be fined on arrival.
When you enter England from abroad (except Ireland), you must follow the new requirements for quarantining and taking additional COVID-19 tests. For those travelling from a country on the banned travel list you will be required to quarantine in a hotel. Different rules apply for arrivals into England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
If you are legally permitted to travel abroad, check our advice on your country of destination. Some other countries have closed borders, and may further restrict movement or bring in new rules including testing requirements with little warning.
The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the Embassy, High Commission or Consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)
Entry to the Netherlands
The Dutch Government has announced that from 1 January 2021, non-EU/EEA nationals and nationals of non-Schengen states, including UK nationals, will not be permitted entry to the Netherlands for non-essential purposes due to EU-wide COVID-19 restrictions. Visit the Dutch Government’s website for a list of exemptions. This measure does not apply to UK nationals who are legally resident in the Netherlands, who will be allowed to re-enter the country, but will need to demonstrate they have a residency permit, a certificate of application or a document with their address, and may be subject to questioning by Dutch border authorities when they arrive in the Netherlands.
In addition, as of 23 January 2021 a temporary travel ban is in effect for all passenger flights and passenger ferries from the United Kingdom. This means that no passengers will be allowed to travel to the Netherlands by aeroplane or ferry, apart from in exceptional circumstances such as travel for medical reasons, healthcare workers, seafarers and aviation workers. Visit the Dutch Government’s website for more information. The ban is due to remain in place until at least 4 March 2021.
The Dutch Government requires all international travellers aged 13 and above travelling by aeroplane, passenger ferry, train and coach to be in possession of a negative PCR COVID-19 test result and a completed test declaration. More information on these requirements can be found here. There are some limited exemptions to this requirement, listed on Dutch Government’s website.
In addition to the PCR test and declaration, the Dutch government requires travellers aged 13 and above arriving from the UK by aeroplane or ferry to provide proof of a negative rapid (antigen/LAMP) test, taken no more than 4 hours before boarding. For transport sector personnel, the rapid (antigen/LAMP) test must have been conducted no more than 24 hours prior to boarding. If you have a negative LAMP test, you do not also need to provide a negative PCR or rapid antigen test.
The Dutch government will not accept the results of self-administered tests. This applies to both the PCR and the rapid (antigen/LAMP) test requirements. There is an exemption for hauliers, for whom self-administered tests will be accepted.
Most travellers will be required to show proof of a negative rapid (antigen/LAMP) test, even if exempt from taking a PCR COVID-19 test. There are some limited exemptions. Travellers, including transit passengers, should check the Dutch Government’s website for comprehensive information on testing requirements and exemptions. Hauliers, for example, are not required to show proof of a negative PCR test result and a completed test declaration, but, if arriving from the UK, will need to show proof of a negative rapid (antigen/LAMP) test taken within the last 24 hours.
Passengers travelling via Eurostar or Eurotunnel should check our travel advice for France, as testing requirements and validity differ.
More details on the rapid (antigen/LAMP) test requirement, including exemptions, are available on the Dutch Government’s website.
You should not use the NHS testing service to get a COVID-19 test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test. A list of private providers of coronavirus testing is available here.
The test requirements do not replace the requirement to self-isolate for 10 days upon arrival (see below).
Testing/ screening on arrival
If you’re travelling to or from the Netherlands by air you must complete a health screening form and have it ready to show on request during your journey, whether you are at the departure airport, on the aircraft or at the arrival airport. This form is not required if travelling to the Netherlands by road or ferry.
You may be refused permission to travel based on your declaration.
On arrival in the Netherlands your declaration will be checked by public health and security authorities.
The Dutch Government has a colour-coded system of high-risk (orange) and lower risk (yellow) countries and regions. Travellers entering the Netherlands from high-risk (orange) regions or countries are required to self-isolate for 10 days upon arrival, unless stated otherwise in the Dutch travel advice.
Further information on self-isolation in the Netherlands can be found on the Dutch Government’s website (in English).
Local health authorities may use passenger data to carry out contact tracing for passengers arriving from high-risk (orange) countries.
Regular entry requirements
The rules for travelling or working in European countries changed on 1 January 2021:
you can travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. This applies if you travel as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training
if you are travelling to the Netherlands and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the 90-day limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel count towards your 90 days
to stay longer, to work or study, for business travel or for other reasons, you will need to meet the Dutch government’s entry requirements. Check with the Netherlands Embassy what type of visa and/or work permit you may need
if you stay in the Netherlands with a visa or permit, this does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit
Any time you spent in the Netherlands or other Schengen countries before 1 January 2021 does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit.
At Dutch border control, you may need to use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing. Your passport may be stamped on entry and exit. You may also need to:
- show a return or onward ticket
- show you have enough money for your stay
There are separate requirements for those who are resident in the Netherlands. If you are resident in the Netherlands, you should carry proof of residence as well as your valid passport when you travel. For further information on these requirements, see our Living in the Netherlands guide.
Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip, and renew your passport if you do not have enough time left on it.
You must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).
If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.
Before you travel, make sure your passport is in good condition. The Netherlands authorities often impound damaged passports and some travellers have had to get an emergency travel document to leave the country.
Travelling with children
Dutch border authorities have strengthened their precautions against child abduction. Parents (particularly fathers) travelling in sole charge of their children are regularly stopped for further checks at Schiphol airport and occasionally prevented from boarding flights.
You should carry a signed authorisation form for travelling abroad with a minor and associated documents (outlined in the above link). See also Get permission to take a child abroad.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from The Netherlands.
Moving to the Netherlands
If you intend to live in the Netherlands, you should get important documents (birth certificate and marriage certificates) officially certified (apostilled) at the FCDO Legalisation Office.