Guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): declaration form for international travel

Complete this form to confirm that you have a reasonable excuse to travel abroad from England.

From 17 May 2021 you will not need to complete a declaration form to travel abroad.

Travelling abroad during stay in UK restrictions

Whilst the stay in UK restrictions are in place, you are only allowed to leave the UK from England if you have a reasonable excuse.

This applies to holders of UK and non-UK passports.

It is illegal to travel abroad without a reasonable excuse. Travel abroad for holidays is not permitted.

Rules and exemptions

You must complete this form to declare the reason that you need to travel abroad, if you are travelling outside the UK from England.

Different rules apply for international travel if you are departing from Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales.

It is illegal to:

  • leave the UK from England without a reasonable excuse
  • be at an embarkation point where you can travel outside of the UK (including airports, ferry terminals and international rail hubs) for the purpose of travelling out of the UK without a reasonable excuse

You could be fined for leaving, or trying to leave, the UK without a reasonable excuse.

You may be required to show this declaration form at your port of departure, or on your way to your port of departure. You may carry evidence to support your reason for travel.

You do not need to complete the form yourself if you are under the age of 18 or if you lack capacity to complete the form. If a responsible adult is travelling with you, they must complete a separate copy of the form on your behalf.

Some people are exempt from completing the declaration form because of the job they do. Find out about which jobs are exempt and the conditions that apply.

Either print a copy of the form and carry it with you when you travel, or download it to your device. If you download it, make sure you can find it on your device so you can show it at your port of departure.

Complete the travel declaration form

Use this online service to complete the travel declaration form.

Start now

Reasonable excuses for travel abroad

This is an overview of reasonable excuses for international travel from the UK.

For a longer list, see the regulations. Note that the list in the regulations is non-exhaustive.

Work

Travel for business or work purposes where it is not reasonably possible to complete that work within the UK.

This includes but is not limited to essential work, in relation to critical national infrastructure including the national rail network, national security or diplomatic purposes.

Recommended evidence: employer’s letter, professional ID card, diplomatic mission letter, or other appropriate documentation.

Volunteering

To provide voluntary services, where it is not reasonably possible to provide those voluntary services from within the UK.

Recommended evidence: letter from relevant organisation or other appropriate documentation.

Education

For academic studies or professional qualifications where physical presence outside the UK is reasonably necessary or where activities must be completed overseas.

An international student studying in the UK can travel outside the UK to return home on one occasion before 29 April 2021 for the purposes of a vacation.

Recommended evidence: letter or proof of membership of an academic institution, or other appropriate documentation.

Medical or visits to provide care

This includes:

  • where it is reasonably necessary to leave the UK to access medical treatment or attend a clinical appointment
  • to accompany a person to a medical appointment where you are a member of their household, close family member or friend
  • to avoid injury or illness or escape risk of harm (such as domestic abuse)
  • to visit someone who is dying, critically ill, or receiving treatment in a hospital or hospice
  • to provide emergency assistance
  • to access maternity services, or to be with someone who is giving birth if the mother has requested you
  • to be with a baby receiving neonatal critical care, where you are a member of the baby’s household, a close family member or a friend
  • where it is reasonably necessary to provide care and assistance to a vulnerable person – this includes if the person is 70 or over, pregnant or has an underlying health condition

Recommended evidence: medical evidence describing the situation of the member of your household or close family member or a friend who is receiving treatment in hospital or whose condition is life-threatening, proof of scheduled treatment, letter from social services, proof of hospital admission, proof of family relationship, or other appropriate documentation.

Weddings or civil partnerships

You can only travel out of the UK to attend your wedding or civil partnership, or a close family member’s wedding or civil partnership. In both cases one or both people getting married or entering into a civil partnership must live outside the UK.

Recommended evidence: letter, invitation, or other appropriate documentation.

Funerals

It is still a reasonable excuse to travel abroad for a funeral, but it will not be a reasonable excuse to travel for commemorative events, or to visit a burial ground.

Recommended evidence: letter, invitation, death certificate, or other appropriate documentation

Non-UK resident who has been in UK temporarily, including transit passengers

If you do not permanently reside in the UK and are in England temporarily, you would have a permitted reason to leave the UK.

Recommended evidence: passport, identification card, drivers licence, travel itinerary and tickets, or other appropriate documentation.

Elite sports

It is a reasonable excuse to travel abroad if you are an elite sportsperson, a coach of an elite sportsperson, or a parent of an under 18 elite sportsperson, and it is necessary for training or competition for you to leave the UK.

Recommended evidence: Correspondence on training or competition, invite to competition, letter or correspondence from sport governing body or other appropriate documentation.

Children and dependents

If you have a reasonable excuse for travel and it is not possible for alternative arrangements to be made for your children or dependent’s care, then your child or dependent will have a reasonable excuse for travel.

Recommended evidence: evidence for your reason for travel, any correspondence showing why childcare could not be provided in UK or other appropriate documents.

Final destination is within the Common Travel Area

If you are travelling to Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man (the Common Travel Area) and that is your final destination, you have a reasonable excuse to leave the UK.

Recommended evidence: tickets, travel itinerary, proof of address in Common Travel Area or other appropriate documents.

Other reasonable excuses

There are further reasonable excuses, for example:

  • to fulfil legal obligations
  • to carry out activities related to buying, selling, letting or renting a residential property
  • travel in order to exercise custody rights
  • for the purposes of arrangements for contact between siblings where they do not live in the same country and one or more of them is in local authority care or equivalent from another country
  • to vote in a referendum or election held outside of the UK and it is not reasonably possible to vote in the UK
  • to present oneself to a judicial or administrative authority

Recommended evidence: proof of contract, court decision and proof of place of residence, order to present oneself to a judicial or administrative authority, expiring residence permit, dismissal notice, letter or appointment details from estate agent, relevant contract or letters detailing sales, or other appropriate documentation.

Alternative formats of the travel declaration form

From 17 May 2021 you will not need to complete a declaration form to travel abroad.

Copies of the travel declaration form in Adobe PDF and MS Word format.

You can use one of these if you are unable to complete the online version of the form, or if you want to print off a copy to fill in by hand.

Legislation – the legal requirement to carry the travel declaration form

It is a legal requirement to carry a completed copy of the travel declaration form from the start of your journey to leave the UK. Read the legislation that sets out this requirement.

Published 5 March 2021
Last updated 1 April 2021 + show all updates
  1. Clarification of reasonable excuses for international travel from the UK.

  2. Requirement to stay at home ended. People travelling abroad from England still need to complete the form.

  3. 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 and check for travel disruption

  5. 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
  6. Step 6 When you are abroad

  7. Step 7 Return to the UK

  8. and When you arrive in the UK