Coming to the UK for seasonal agricultural work on English farms

Advice for seasonal agricultural workers coming to England to pick fruit and vegetables on farms, and their employers.

This is national guidance for England.

You cannot travel if you have been in or through any of the countries from which travel to the UK is banned.

If you’re coming to England to work on a farm as a seasonal agricultural worker under the Seasonal Workers Pilot, or as an EU worker with settled or pre-settled status, you and your employer must follow this guidance.

Before you travel to the UK you must take a test 48 to 72 hours before your departure date that certifies a negative result for COVID-19.

You will not be allowed to enter the UK if you receive a positive test result.

Before you travel, you must fill in the Passenger Locator Form with your journey, contact details and the address at the farm where you’ll work and live. You must provide these details up to 48 hours before you arrive in England.

You’ll need to prove at UK border controls that you’re a seasonal agricultural worker.

Read guidance on what you’ll need to show when you arrive at the UK border.

You should pack and carry with you sufficient essential supplies (including clothing, medicine and cigarettes) to cover the time from the start of your travel and the 10 day isolation period.

Travelling to the farm

You must not travel if you have coronavirus symptoms.

When you arrive in England, you must go straight to the farm where you’ll be working and living. Someone you’ll be staying with at the farm should collect you from the airport, port or station.

If you need to use public transport during your stay, you must wear a face covering on all public transport and in transport hubs, unless you have a face covering exemption because of your age, health or another condition. Read guidance on making and wearing a face covering.

You should consider that wearing a face covering may inhibit communication with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound.

Stay 2 metres apart from other people where possible, or one metre with risk mitigation where 2 metres is not viable.

If you develop coronavirus symptoms when you’re travelling to England, you must tell one of the crew on your plane, boat or train, or the driver if you’re travelling by bus or coach. They’ll let staff in the airport, port or station know, so they can tell you what you must do next when you arrive.

At the farm accommodation

You must stay at the farm address you provided when you arrived at the border.

If you do not live on the farm you:

Your first 10 days in England

During your first 10 days in England, you can work on the farm as long as you’re living on the farm. You must:

You must not leave the farm during the first 10 days unless there’s an emergency or you need:

  • urgent medical assistance (or where your doctor has advised you to get medical assistance)
  • to access critical public services such as social services and victim support services
  • to go to the funeral of a close relative
  • to fulfil a legal obligation such as participate in legal proceedings

If you need help buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication you should ask your employers and colleagues to help or order a delivery.

While on the farm and working, you must follow guidance on safer working.

During your first 10 days in England, your employer should place you into a ‘household’ or cohort group that you primarily live and work with. Read more about this in the industry best practice guidance on social distancing.

If you get coronavirus symptoms

You should look for any of the following symptoms:

  • new continuous cough
  • high temperature
  • loss of or change to your sense of smell or taste

If you develop symptoms you must self-isolate for both of the following:

  • at least 10 days from the date you arrived in England
  • at least 10 days from when your symptoms started and until you are better and no longer have a high temperature

If you have a high temperature you must continue to self-isolate even if:

  • you have had and recovered from coronavirus symptoms in this time
  • you get a negative test result for coronavirus

You must apply for a coronavirus test as soon as you develop symptoms. You can call NHS 119 to arrange for a test if you do not have access to the internet.

If you’re not experiencing symptoms but have tested positive for COVID-19 you must self-isolate for 10 days starting from the day the test was taken.

If you have tested positive whilst not experiencing symptoms but develop symptoms during the isolation period, you must restart the 10 day isolation period from the day you develop symptoms.

If your test for coronavirus is positive you’ll be asked to share your contacts with the NHS test and trace service. Your contact detail declaration may be used to alert people who travelled to the UK alongside you.

Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus (COVID-19) service, or call NHS 111 if you do not have internet access, if:

  • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms
  • your condition gets worse
  • your symptoms do not get better after 7 days

For a medical emergency dial 999.

Others in your household or cohort group

If you’re staying with others on the farm and you develop symptoms, the household or group (cohort) that you are staying and working with will need to begin self-isolating.

After your first 10 days in England

If you do not have any coronavirus symptoms during or after 10 days, you’ll then need to follow the same rules as people who live in England.

Check the rules for England.

You must wear a face covering in some public places unless you have a face covering exemption because of your age, health or another condition.

Employing seasonal workers from overseas

Follow this guidance if you’re a grower, labour provider or agency bringing workers from overseas to work on farms in England.

You must make sure that workers have documentary evidence to confirm that they are travelling to your farm to carry out seasonal agricultural work. Workers must have these documents before they travel.

Within 2 hours of workers arriving at the farm, you must give them:

You must ask workers to give written confirmation that they have received and understood this information. If necessary, there should be translation facilities available.

For the first 10 days you must put workers into groups and strictly limit contact with others outside of those groups.

The size of these groups will depend on the practicalities of self-isolating groups of workers on your farm should they subsequently develop disease. The group must be made up of workers arriving on the farm within 24 hours of each other.

When working, ensure that your operations follow industry best practice on social distancing

If anyone in the group develops coronavirus symptoms, follow guidance on what to do if an individual gets coronavirus symptoms.

At the end of 10 days self-isolation on farm

After 10 days of arrival from a non-exempt country, if no-one in the group tests positive or has any coronavirus symptoms, or 10 days after the group is isolated due to a positive test, employers should make sure that workers are aware of:

  • guidance on dealing with suspected cases of coronavirus
  • current guidance on staying alert and safe (social distancing), both on and off the farm
Published 3 June 2020
Last updated 10 February 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated with a link to the countries from which travel to the UK is banned.

  2. Updated guidance with new rules on what you need to do before travelling to the UK

  3. Updated to reflect that the self-isolation period is now 10 days instead of 14 with day zero being the day of contact.

  4. Updated with a link to guidance on COVID-19 alert levels.

  5. Updated Russian, Ukrainian and Belarussian translations.

  6. Updated Bulgarian translation.

  7. Updated the Polish and Romanian versions.

  8. Updated guidance under the 'Travelling from an exempt country' heading.

  9. Updated with guidance for travellers coming from countries that are exempt from quarantine rules.

  10. First published.