Guidance

Booking and staying in a quarantine hotel if you’ve been in a red list country

How to book a quarantine hotel and coronavirus (COVID-19) tests if you've been in a red list country in the 10 days before you arrive in England.

Applies to England

Red list update, Friday 26 November 2021

South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe moved onto the red list at 12.00 midday Friday 26 November.

There is a ban on all direct commercial and private flights from these countries from 12.00 midday Friday 26 November to 4am Sunday 28 November.

If you arrive in England between midday 26 November and 4am 28 November

If you have been in any of these countries and arrive in England between midday on Friday 26 November and 4am Sunday 28 November, you must quarantine at home or at alternative appropriate accommodation.

On arrival in the UK you must go immediately to a place where you can quarantine for 10 days, or the duration of your stay in the UK, whichever is shorter.

Quarantine applies to you and your household, or whoever you are staying with.

NHS Test and Trace services will contact you to issue your free COVID-19 PCR tests to be taken on day 2 and day 8.

Passenger locator form – before 28 November only

When you complete your passenger locator form you should:

  • enter the address where you will be quarantining instead of a hotel address
  • enter 9911529 in the Invoice Number field

If you have completed a passenger locator form before the country moved to the red list, you need to complete another form.

If you arrive in England after 4am 28 November

If you have been in any of these countries and arrive in England after 4am Sunday 28 November, you must quarantine in a managed hotel, following the guidance set out on this page. You must book a quarantine hotel package, including 2 COVID-19 tests before you arrive in England.

Read about the latest changes to the red list.

You should follow different guidance if you have not been in a country on the red list in the 10 days before you arrive in England.

Read the standard rules for entering England from abroad.

Who can enter England from a red list country

You cannot travel to the UK if you’ve been in a red list country in the previous 10 days unless you:

  • are a British or Irish national
  • have residence rights in the UK

Children arriving in England from a red list country should not be travelling alone unless they are students in boarding school, higher education or further education (for more details, see ‘Other types of managed quarantine’ and ‘Unaccompanied minors’ below).

What you must do – an overview

If you’ve been in a red list country in the 10 days before you arrive in England, once you arrive you must:

  • quarantine for 10 full days in a managed quarantine hotel (the day you arrive in England is day 0)
  • take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 of quarantining – these are included in your hotel package

You must follow these rules even if you’ve been fully vaccinated.

If you break the quarantine rules you may face a penalty of up to £10,000.

If you’re travelling directly to a country outside the Common Travel Area

If you enter England and are continuing your journey directly to a country outside of the Common Travel Area (UK, Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands), you do not need to book a quarantine package or enter managed quarantine.

If necessary, you can travel straight from your port of arrival to another port in England to catch a flight, train or ferry going outside of the Common Travel Area. You must follow guidance on staying safe and helping prevent the spread of COVID-19, and follow safer travel guidance.

How to book a quarantine package

You must book your managed quarantine package before you travel to England using the booking portal administered by Corporate Travel Management (CTM).

Book your quarantine hotel (through CTM)

If you’re having difficulty booking call +44 (0)20 7429 9732.

How much you’ll need to pay

Rate
1 adult in 1 room for 10 days (11 nights) £2,285
Additional rate for 1 adult (or child over 11) £1,430
Additional rate for a child aged 5 to 11 £325

You do not have to pay for children under 5. Prices are kept under review and may change.

If you have not arranged a quarantine package before arriving in England, you can be fined up to £4,000. You will still have to pay for your quarantine package on arrival.

What the prices includes

The price includes:

  • transport to and from your quarantine hotel
  • accommodation, food and drink for the whole of your stay
  • any COVID-19 tests you need to take while you quarantine

Hardship arrangements

If you believe you will suffer severe financial hardship if you have to pay the full cost of your managed quarantine or testing fees before you travel, then hardship arrangements may be available to you.

You can only apply for hardship arrangements if you believe you are eligible.

See more information on hardship arrangements including how to apply.

If you provide false information, or leave out key information when applying, you will be committing fraud and may be prosecuted.

If you need to extend your stay

You will not have to pay more if you need to extend your stay as a result of positive tests at day 2 or day 8.

Where you can arrive

You can only arrive in England at the following ports of entry – carriers are not allowed to take you to any other port of entry:

  • Heathrow Airport
  • Gatwick Airport
  • London City Airport
  • Birmingham Airport
  • Bristol Airport
  • Farnborough Airport
  • Biggin Hill Airport

Other ports of entry may be added in the future.

Direct flights from red list countries can only arrive at London Heathrow and Birmingham Airport.

If you have to quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel and do not arrive in England at one of the designated ports of entry, you could be fined up to £10,000 and will be charged for the cost of transportation to the nearest designated port of entry.

Getting to your managed quarantine hotel

Your quarantine package includes transport to your quarantine hotel. Currently, all quarantine hotels are located at Heathrow Airport.

You must only travel to your managed quarantine hotel by the transport included in your quarantine package and not by public or private transport.

When you arrive in England you’ll need to provide your completed passenger locator form to Border Force officers alongside your passport and negative COVID-19 test result.

You’ll be escorted through the airport with other passengers who need to stay in a quarantine hotel. Please follow signs and instructions for the Managed Quarantine Service.

You must wear face coverings at all times (unless you’re exempt).

A member of staff will make a note of where everyone is sitting on the bus, so that if someone later tests positive for COVID-19, NHS Test and Trace will be able to identify who has been in close contact.

If you have a car parked at the airport, you will need to extend your parking period and pay the additional charges. If you need assistance with this, you can ask for that once you get to your hotel.

Staying in a managed quarantine hotel

When you arrive at the managed quarantine hotel you must quarantine in your room for 10 full days. The managed quarantine hotel will provide your meals.

It’s not possible to select a particular room at the managed quarantine hotel or request a higher standard room when you arrive.

You can quarantine with the people you travelled with. Hotels will prioritise allocating larger or connected rooms to families.

See more information about what to expect if you’re going into hotel quarantine, including help and support.

Visitors

You cannot have visitors in quarantine, including friends or family, unless they’re providing:

  • emergency assistance
  • care or assistance, including personal care (for example, if you need a carer to support you)
  • medical assistance
  • veterinary services
  • certain critical public services, including social services or services provided to victims

Deliveries

If you have items delivered to you during the quarantine period (such as food deliveries), they’ll be brought to the door of your room by the managed quarantine hotel staff.

Staff will try to bring the items to you as soon as possible. However, it may not be possible for deliveries to be brought to your door immediately when they arrive at the hotel.

Services available in your hotel

The hotel will tell you about the services available, including food, laundry and free wifi.

Managed quarantine hotels are able to meet the vast majority of requirements and will be able to accommodate dietary requirements.

Medical care and prescriptions

You should bring your prescription medicines with you. You’ll be able to access NHS healthcare via 111 (or your normal GP), including for repeat prescriptions and/or if you need to fill a prescription. You should inform the medical staff at the hotel when you arrive if you anticipate any medical issues.

Leaving your room

You will only be allowed to leave your room in very limited circumstances including:

  • to travel directly to leave the Common Travel Area (UK, Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands) – you’ll be given instructions when you leave on how to travel safely to your port of exit, if you’re not taken directly there by the hotel transportation
  • to fulfil a legal obligation including attending court or satisfying bail conditions or to take part in legal proceedings
  • to exercise, but only with special permission from security – this is not guaranteed

You may also be allowed to leave your room in certain exceptional circumstances, such as:

  • getting medical assistance if you need it urgently, or on the advice of a registered medical practitioner
  • to avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (for example situations such as fire or flooding, or cases where domestic abuse occurs within a group quarantining together)
  • to access critical public services including social services or services provided to victims (for example critical access such as for a child to see their social worker)
  • to access veterinary services if it’s needed urgently or on the advice of a veterinary surgeon (only service animals, such as guide dogs, can accompany you to managed quarantine)

Visiting dying family members and funerals

You can request permission to leave quarantine for a limited period if a close family member or member of your household is dying.

You can also request permission to leave quarantine to attend a funeral. This is limited to the day of the funeral. In exceptional circumstances where it’s not possible to travel to the funeral and back in one day, it might be possible (with restrictions) to stay overnight elsewhere if you cannot stay in a nearby managed quarantine hotel.

You will need permission from security staff to ensure that arrangements minimise the public health risks. This will include agreeing a specific time with the hotel for returning to your room. You should not use public transport.

If you’re given permission to leave your quarantine hotel to visit a close family member or member of your household who is dying, you should:

Visits should be limited to a single visit on one day.

If you’re given permission to leave your quarantine hotel to attend the funeral of a close family member or member of your household, you should follow the guidance for attending a funeral during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you request permission to leave your quarantine hotel to visit a hospital (or other healthcare setting) or care home, you’ll need to ask hotel security staff to contact the place you’re visiting and confirm they’ve agreed you can visit.

Testing for COVID-19

Your quarantine package includes the COVID-19 tests you’ll need to take:

  • on or before day 2 for variant surveillance
  • on or after day 8 to check that you do not have COVID-19

The tests are taken in your quarantine hotel room.

If you get a positive result from your day 2 test, you do not need to take a test on day 8.

The day you arrive in England is day 0. The day after you arrive is day 1, and so on.

If you do not take the tests you may face a penalty of up to £2,000.

What happens if you test positive

If you get a positive result from your day 2 or day 8 test, you must quarantine for a further 10 days from the day after you took the test. If you’re in quarantine with people you’ve travelled with, they will also need to quarantine for 10 days from the day after the test.

If you get a positive result from your day 2 test, you will not need to take any further tests because you will quarantine through the period when you may be infectious to others.

Children aged 4 and under

Children aged 4 and under will not need to take the day 2 or day 8 test but they and their family or carers should only leave quarantine if they are well.

If you get symptoms

You should order a test if you develop at least one of these 3 COVID-19 symptoms, even if mild, at any point:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • you’ve lost your sense of smell or taste or it’s changed

Groups quarantining together

If you’re quarantining as a group with people you’ve travelled with, everyone in the group will need to quarantine for 10 full days if you (or anyone in the group) get a positive test. The day of the test is day 0.

If a second person tests positive while you’re quarantining, the quarantine period starts again, and everyone in the group must quarantine for 10 days from the day after the second positive test.

This will be the case for all positive tests for groups quarantining together.

If you have interconnecting rooms in a hotel, you are considered one household. If someone tests positive, other people in the same room should be moved into another room if there’s space available in the hotel.

Leaving managed quarantine

You’ll be able to leave the managed quarantine hotel when you’ve received a negative result from your day 8 test and have quarantined for 10 full days from the day you arrived in England (the day you arrived in England is day 0), and are well.

If you get a positive result from either of your tests, you will not be able to leave managed quarantine until 10 full days have passed from the day after the date of the test.

If you get a negative test result on day 8 but you develop new COVID-19 symptoms on day 9 or day 10, you must take a new test. If this is positive, you’ll have to extend your quarantine for another 10 days.

You will not be able to end your managed quarantine early through the Test to Release scheme.

Onward transport

At the end of the quarantine period you’ll be transported to the airport you were collected from when you arrived in England, where you can continue with your travel plans.

Other types of managed quarantine

Most people who need to stay in managed quarantine will stay in a government-approved quarantine hotel. Exceptions to this include:

Unaccompanied minors

A minor is someone who is under 18. In this guidance, we use the word ‘child’ when referring to an individual of any age under 18.

Children arriving in England from a red list country should not be travelling alone (unless they’re coming to attend boarding school or a higher or further educational institution).

A parent, guardian or appropriate adult must travel with them and go into managed quarantine with them on arrival.

An appropriate adult is either:

  • a parent
  • a person who has parental responsibility for the child (and can provide evidence of this)
  • a person that the child’s parent, or someone who has parental responsibility for the child, has confirmed in writing is a suitable person for the child to quarantine with

Applying for permission for a child to travel alone

Where it is not possible for a parent, guardian or appropriate adult to travel with the child, they will need to apply for permission for the child to travel alone.

If the responsible adult is already in England and therefore cannot travel with the child, the adult must enter managed quarantine with the child on arrival.

Applying for an exemption from managed quarantine

If it is not possible for a parent, guardian or appropriate adult to join the child in managed quarantine, they will need to apply for an exemption.

If an exemption is granted, the child will be expected to quarantine at their final destination for the full quarantine period. They will also be required to take polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests booked through Corporate Travel Management (CTM) on day 2 and day 8. The entire household must isolate with the child for the full quarantine period - for more details, see the separate guidance for people allowed to quarantine at home after entering England from a red list country.

If your request for an exemption is denied, you will need to book and pay for managed quarantine for the child and a parent, guardian or appropriate adult.

How to apply and what to expect

You need to apply for permission for a child to travel alone and/or a managed quarantine exemption at least 14 days before the child’s travel date.

To apply, email MQS_new_Exemptions@dhsc.gov.uk.

You will receive an automated response with a list of questions that you need to answer. Your responses are used to assess your application.

Permission for a child to travel alone and/or confirmation that a responsible adult is eligible for a managed quarantine exemption will only be granted in exceptional circumstances, for example:

  • if the responsible adult has other caring responsibilities that prevent them from entering managed quarantine
  • if the responsible adult has secured a medical or compassionate exemption from managed quarantine

Exemptions from managed quarantine

Some people may be exempt from the standard quarantine and testing rules if:

  • they are travelling for work and their job is on the list of exempt jobs
  • they qualify for an exemption for medical or compassionate reasons

Read the guidance on job exemptions and exemptions for medical reasons and compassionate reasons to see if these apply to you and what they involve.

Circumstances not covered by this guidance

If you’re intending to travel to the UK in the next 14 days and are facing a set of circumstances that are not covered by this guidance, use the following email addresses for enquiries relating to:

Published 11 February 2021
Last updated 26 November 2021 + show all updates
  1. Added content explaining that South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe moved onto the red list at midday on Friday 26 November. A temporary flight ban is now in place and all travellers who have been in these countries must quarantine and take tests.

  2. Removed Newcastle Airport from the list of approved ports of entry in 'Where you can arrive'.

  3. Added a line to the 'Getting to your managed quarantine hotel' section stating that all quarantine hotels are located at Heathrow Airport.

  4. Added Newcastle Airport to the list of approved ports of entry in 'Where you can arrive'.

  5. New rules for international travel to England - explained there will be no change to rules for red list arrivals, and added a link to find more information. Updated content on unaccompanied minors. Explained that if an appropriate adult cannot enter managed quarantine with the child, they must apply for an exemption from managed quarantine. Added information on applying for permission for a child to travel alone, where it is not possible for the appropriate adult to travel with the child. Added information on expectations for quarantining at home. Added definitions for ‘unaccompanied minor’ and ‘appropriate adult’.

  6. Update to costs to show current prices and what they cover.

  7. Updated information about unaccompanied minors.

  8. Update to reflect an increase in quarantine hotel costs from 4am on 12 August.

  9. Updated the contact email address you need to use to request an exemption allowing an unaccompanied child to travel to England alone if they've been in a red list country in the 10 days before arriving.

  10. Added updated contact details for email enquiries relating to international arrivals.

  11. Added Biggin Hill Airport to the list of permitted ports of entry for red list arrivals. Explained that direct flights from red list countries must land in dedicated terminals at London Heathrow or Birmingham Airport.

  12. Updated Unaccompanied minors section - new email address

  13. Updated number to call if you’re experiencing any difficulty booking through the booking portal.

  14. Updated to reflect new rules for amber and green list countries.

  15. Added a reference to the new rules on entering England after international travel from 17 May, including a link to the new guidance.

  16. Updated the 'Unaccompanied minors' section to reflect that if a parent or guardian cannot travel with their child, they will need to request a specific exemption from DHSC for the child to travel alone. Exemptions will only be provided in exceptional circumstances.

  17. Added Bristol Airport to the list of approved ports of entry in 'Where you can arrive'.

  18. Updated content to reflect the changes in national restrictions. Clarified length of quarantine periods. Removed cost of extra days in managed quarantine if you test positive. Added information on leaving managed quarantine to attend funerals. Removed content on unaccompanied minors (this is now covered by new guidance on medical and compassionate exemptions from managed quarantine). Removed references to limitations on eligibility for hardship support.

  19. Added information on unaccompanied minors. Updated information on getting medical care and prescriptions, and visiting dying family members and funerals. Clarified information on quarantine time periods.

  20. Added information on additional day rates if you have to quarantine for longer, car parking, funerals and visiting dying family members.

  21. Added a link under 'Who has to go into hotel quarantine' to information about what to expect if you are entering hotel quarantine, including help and support.

  22. Re-inserted link to booking platform as the service is live again.

  23. First published.

  1. Step 1 Plan your trip

  2. Step 2 Get your passport, visas and permits ready

    How much time you need on your passport depends on the country you're visiting. Check the entry requirements for the country you want to travel to.

    1. Check your passport has enough time left on it for the country you're visiting
    2. Renew or replace your passport
    3. Get a passport for your child

    You may also need a visa to enter some countries.

    1. Check if you need a visa or permit
  3. Step 3 Get travel insurance and check if you need vaccinations or inoculations

  4. Step 4 Travel safely during COVID-19

  5. Step 5 Going through border control

    You may need to show paperwork such as your passport or visa. You may also need a negative COVID-19 test result or to demonstrate your COVID-19 vaccination status at the point of entry.

    1. Check the entry requirements for the country you are travelling to or transiting through
  6. Step 6 When you're abroad

  7. Step 7 Before you return to the UK

  8. Step 8 After you arrive in the UK