Guidance

Booking and staying in a quarantine facility when you arrive in England

How to book a place in a quarantine facility and arrange coronavirus (COVID-19) tests if you're travelling to England from a country on the banned travel list.

This guidance is for people arriving in England who have visited or passed through a country where travel to the UK is banned (sometimes called ‘red list’ countries in the 10 days before their arrival.

You cannot travel to the UK if you’ve visited or passed through a country where travel to the UK is banned in the last 10 days, unless you’re:

  • a British national
  • an Irish national
  • anyone with residence rights in the UK

Since 15 February, everyone allowed to enter England who has visited or passed through a country where travel to the UK is banned in the last 10 days must:

  • quarantine for 10 full days in a managed quarantine facility – the day of arrival in England counts as day 0
  • take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 of quarantining
  • follow the national restrictions

Providing false or deliberately misleading information when filling out your passenger locator form is an offence punishable by imprisonment.

You could be fined up to £10,000, imprisoned for up to 10 years, or both, if you do not provide accurate details about the countries you have visited in the 10 days before you arrived in the UK.

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

You should follow separate advice if you arrive in:

Travelling from a country that is not on the ‘red list’

You should follow separate guidance if you’re arriving in England and have not been in a ‘red list’ country in the last 10 days.

Managed quarantine in a hotel: what it is

Everyone who arrives into England must quarantine for 10 full days from the point of their arrival. The day of arrival in England will be treated as day 0.

To stop the spread of potentially harmful variants into the UK, more stringent measures are in place for people who have travelled from or passed through a country on the list where travel to the UK is banned (the ‘red list’) in the last 10 days before arrival.

You must quarantine in a managed quarantine facility if you’ve travelled from or passed through a country on the list where travel to the UK is banned.

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

Who has to go into managed quarantine

If you’re a British or Irish national, or third country national with residence rights in the UK and you’ve been in or passed through a ‘red list’ country in the 10 days before your arrival, you will need to quarantine in a managed quarantine facility, unless you’re exempt because of your job or have been granted an exemption for medical or compassionate reasons.

See the jobs with travel and testing exemptions to find out whether you qualify for an exemption and what that exemption covers. You may need to show evidence at the border of the work you will be doing.

Read more about who can apply for an exemption on medical or compassionate grounds.

Unaccompanied minors

Children arriving in England from a red list country should not be travelling alone. Arrangements should be made by the parent or guardian to travel with their child and to enter managed quarantine on arrival.

If it is not possible to travel with the child, the parent, guardian or appropriate adult is expected to join their child in managed quarantine on arrival.

You are asked to notify DHSC at um@dhsc.gov.uk when making a booking for your child to enter managed quarantine and to set out which appropriate adult will be accompanying your child at that time.

If you are the parent or guardian of an unaccompanied minor who is attending boarding school, they may be able to quarantine at their boarding school.

What you need to do before you arrive in England

Before you travel you must:

  • take a COVID-19 test and get a negative result during the 3 days before you travel. You must take the test in the 3 days before the service on which you will arrive in England departs. For example, if you travel directly to England on Friday, you must take the test on the Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday
  • book a managed quarantine facility where you will quarantine. Your quarantine package will include your managed quarantine facility, quarantine transport and your travel test package for COVID-19 tests on day 2 and day 8 of quarantine. You can only book your managed quarantine facility within a 14-day window before arrival. You cannot book it any further in advance
  • complete a passenger locator form (PLF) with details of where you will quarantine when you arrive. You must provide a quarantine package invoice number to complete your passenger locator form

Use the booking portal to book your quarantine hotel package (this is administered by CTM)

If you’re experiencing any difficulty booking through the booking portal, please phone +44 (0)1274 726 424.

You will need to agree to book and pay for a quarantine package before you complete your passenger locator form and board your return journey to the UK.

The package includes the costs of transport from the port of arrival to the designated hotel, food, accommodation, security, other essential services and testing.

How much you’ll need to pay

Rate
Rate for 1 adult in 1 room for 10 days (11 nights) £1,750
Additional rate for 1 adult (or child over 11) £650
Additional rate for a child aged 5 to 11 £325

For those facing significant financial hardship as a result of this charge, there will be an opportunity to apply for a deferred repayment plan when booking. You will be required to pay back your debt to the government in 12 monthly instalments.

There is no additional charge to your initial booking fee if you need to extend your stay as a result of positive tests at day 2 or day 8. We will keep package prices under review. While hotels normally set a zero fee for children aged under 3, we are setting this for children under 5 years old because they will not be tested. The proposed zero fee for children under 5 years old will mean that, for now, the government will bear the costs of additional food and drinks consumed by arrivals aged between 3 and 5 years old.

You must not apply for deferred payment if you are not eligible. If you provide false information, or omit key information that has been asked for in your application, you will be committing fraud and may be prosecuted.

If you have not arranged a quarantine package prior to your arrival in England, you face a penalty of up to £4,000 and will still have to pay for your quarantine package on arrival.

Where you can arrive

If you’re required to quarantine in a managed quarantine facility you can only arrive in England at certain ports of entry. Currently these are:

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

Other ports of entry may be added in the future.

Carriers are not permitted to carry anyone who has been in a red list country in the previous 10 days to any other port of entry than those specified.

If you are required to quarantine in a managed quarantine facility and do not arrive in England at one of the designated ports of entry, you may face a penalty of up to £10,000 and will be charged for the cost of transportation to the nearest designated port or entry.

Arriving and transport to a managed quarantine facility

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

You will be escorted through the airport with other passengers who need to quarantine at a managed quarantine facility . Your ‘quarantine package’ includes transport to your quarantine facility (and back to the airport at the end of your quarantine to reconnect to your travel plans). Please follow signs and instructions for the Managed Quarantine Service.

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.

Everyone will need to 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.

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

If you are a child arriving to attend boarding school and you are unaccompanied, separate arrangements will apply.

At the end of the quarantine period you will be transported to the airport you were collected from when you arrived in England.

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

If necessary, you may 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, but you must take precautions to prevent the risk of virus transmission. These include:

  • keeping your distance and observing social contact rules
  • washing or sanitising your hands regularly
  • wearing a face covering that covers your nose and mouth (this is required by law unless you’re exempt)
  • planning ahead and avoiding the busiest routes, as well as busy times like the rush hour
  • downloading the NHS COVID-19 app before you travel, if possible, and checking in on the app where you see official NHS COVID-19 QR code posters along your route (such as if you stop to buy food) and if you have to take a break – otherwise minimise all stops on your journey

Quarantining in a managed quarantine facility

When you arrive at the managed quarantine facility you will be required to quarantine in your room for 10 full days. The managed quarantine facility will provide your meals.

It is not possible to select a particular room at the managed quarantine facility or to seek a higher standard room when you arrive.

You can quarantine with the people you travelled with and hotels will prioritise allocating larger or connecting rooms to families.

Visitors

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

  • emergency assistance
  • care or assistance, including personal care
  • medical assistance
  • veterinary services
  • certain critical public services

Deliveries

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

Staff will try to bring the items to you as soon as possible. However, given the need to maintain compliance with COVID guidelines, deliveries may not be able to be brought to your door immediately when they arrive at the hotel.

Services available in your hotel

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

The hotels selected for managed quarantine 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 will be able to access NHS healthcare via 111 (or your normal GP) to seek medical attention, including for repeat prescriptions and/or if you need to fill a prescription. Please inform the medical staff at the hotel on arrival if you anticipate any 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 – you will be given instructions when leaving on how to reduce the risk of infection while you travel through the UK to leave, if you are not taken directly to the port of exit by the hotel transportation
  • to fulfil a legal obligation including attending court or satisfying bail conditions or to participate in legal proceedings
  • to exercise but only with special permission from security. This is not guaranteed
  • in exceptional circumstances, such as:
    • seeking medical assistance where this is required urgently or on the advice of a registered medical practitioner
    • to avoid injury, illness or escape a 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 where required 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 may request permission to leave quarantine for a limited period if a close family member or member of your household is dying. You may also request permission to leave quarantine to attend a funeral. This is limited to the day of the funeral, or in exceptional circumstances where it is not possible to travel to the funeral and back within one day, it may be possible (with restrictions) to stay overnight elsewhere if you cannot stay in a nearby managed quarantine facility

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 are permitted to leave to visit a close family member or member of your household who is dying, you should:

  • wear a face covering. In some specific circumstances this may need to be a surgical-grade Type IIR face mask
  • wash your hands regularly
  • maintain distance and follow social contact rules

It is recommended that visits are limited to a single visit on one day.

If you are permitted to leave 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. This includes:

  • advising the funeral venue manager and other mourners in advance that you are in your self-isolation period. It is a legal requirement for a venue manager to complete a risk assessment and take all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Other mourners need to be aware of this prior to attending
  • take extra care to keep your distance and avoid contact with another mourner who may be clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable
  • maintain a distance of at least 2 metres at all times between yourself and other mourners

Practise strict hand and respiratory hygiene by:

  • wearing a surgical-grade Type IIR face mask or higher grade, properly fitting, to minimise any risk of viral transmission from yourself to others. If a respirator mask is used (for example N95), this should be non-valved. Type IIR masks are widely available from pharmacies, supermarkets and online retailers. We advise you to provide your own face mask, but those organising the funeral may also want to ensure they have some in stock
  • washing your hands more often than usual with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or using a hand sanitiser
  • avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • covering your coughs or sneezes

If visiting a healthcare or residential setting, the healthcare or residential setting would need to be notified in advance and they should confirm they are content to the security staff in the hotel at the time of being given permission.

Testing in managed quarantine

Day-2 test

You will need to take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 of your quarantine. The day you arrive in the UK will be treated as day 0. This first test is designed to help identify any potentially harmful variants of COVID-19 at the earliest opportunity. You will not be allowed to shorten your quarantine period if you receive a negative test result, as you may still develop COVID-19. Tests will be taken in your room in your quarantine facility.

If you receive a positive result from your day-2 test, you must continue your quarantine period restarting the 10 days beginning the day after the test was taken. If you’re in quarantine with people you’ve travelled with, they will also need to quarantine for 10 further days beginning the day after the test.

If you receive a positive result from your day-2 test, you will not be required to take any further tests because you have been confirmed with infection and will isolate through the period when you may be infectious to others.

Day-8 test

You will need to take a COVID-19 test on or after day 8, unless you received a positive result from your day-2 test. If you receive a positive test result from your day-8 test, you will be required to continue your quarantine period restarting the 10-day count beginning the day after the test.

If you have quarantined for 10 full days and received a negative result to both your day-2 and day-8 tests and are well, you may leave the managed quarantine site. Your day of arrival in England counts as day 0 of your quarantine period.

Ending quarantine early

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

Children under 5

Children under 5 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 here if you develop at least one of these 3 COVID-19 symptoms at any point:

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

Groups

If you’re in quarantine with people you have travelled with, they will need to quarantine when you receive a positive test for 10 full days beginning the day after you took your test. In a group quarantining together this could mean:

  • Person A: receives a positive test result on day 2 so must immediately quarantine for 10 days starting from the day after they took their day-2 test and for the following 10 days (they do not need to take their day-8 test). The day of the test counts as day 0.
  • Person B: as they are a close contact of Person A, Person B needs to quarantine immediately and for 10 days starting counting from the day after person A received their test result. The day of the test counts as day 0. If Person B is negative on day 2, they are still required to take a day-8 test. Person B then receives a positive test result on day 8 so they will need to quarantine for 10 days starting from the day after they took their day-8 test
  • Person C: as they are a close contact of Person A, Person C needs to quarantine immediately for 10 days starting from the day after person A took their day-2 test. The day of the test counts as day 0. If Person B is negative on their day-2 test, they are still required to take a day-8 test. Person C receives a negative day-8 test result, however, as they are also a close contact of Person B, person C will still need to quarantine for 10 days starting counting from the day after person B took their day-8 test. Person C still needs to quarantine to day 19 as they are a contact of Person B as well as of Person A.

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. This is as a precaution to help reduce the risk that the other people in the room develop COVID-19.

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

Leaving managed quarantine

You will be able to leave quarantine when you have received a negative result from your day-8 test and have quarantined for 10 full days from the point of arrival (the day of arrival counts as day 0).

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

If, despite a negative test on day 8, you develop new COVID-19 symptoms on day 9 or day 10, this would trigger a further test and extended quarantine for 10 days, if the new test is positive.

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

People who do not need to quarantine

A very small proportion of people arriving in England who have visited or passed through a red list country will not need to quarantine in a managed quarantine facility or in private accommodation.

See the full list of job exemptions and information on exemptions from managed quarantine for medical or compassionate reasons.

The guidance on ordering a test if you develop symptoms still applies to exemptions.

Circumstances not covered by this guidance

If you’re intending to travel to the UK in the next 7 days and are facing a set of circumstances that are not covered by this guidance, please email you enquiry to dhsctesttrace.customerfeedbackteam@nhs.net.

Published 11 February 2021
Last updated 22 April 2021 + show all updates
  1. Added Bristol Airport to the list of approved ports of entry in 'Where you can arrive'.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

  5. 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.

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

  7. First published.

  1. Step 1 Plan your trip during coronavirus (COVID-19)

  2. Step 2 Get your passport 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
  3. and Check if you need a visa or permit

  4. and Check how to drive abroad

  5. and Check how to take your pet abroad

  6. Step 3 Get travel insurance and check if you need vaccinations or inoculations

  7. Step 4 Travel safely and check for travel disruption

  8. Step 5 Going through border control

    You may need to show paperwork such as your passport or visa, or a negative coronavirus test result at the point of entry.

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

  10. and If you are unable to return to the UK

  11. Step 7 Return to the UK

  12. and When you arrive in the UK