What to do when you need to quarantine at home or in the place you're staying after you arrive in England from abroad.
Applies to England
Change to self-isolation rules from 17 January for fully vaccinated arrivals with COVID-19
From Monday 17 January, if you are fully vaccinated and test positive for COVID-19 in your day 2 test, you can stop self-isolating on day 6 of your self-isolation period if you take rapid lateral flow tests on days 5 and 6, and:
- both test results are negative
- you did both tests at least 24 hours apart
- you do not have a high temperature
What you must do when you enter England from abroad depends on whether you’re fully vaccinated under an approved vaccination programme. Some people qualify for fully vaccinated rules for different reasons.
Who this guidance is for
This guidance is for people who:
- have not been in a country on the red list in the 10 days before arriving in England
- must quarantine at home or in the place they’re staying after international travel, or self-isolate following a positive day 2 test result
If you are fully vaccinated
If you’re fully vaccinated you do not need to quarantine after you arrive in England.
You must take a COVID-19 test after you arrive, before the end of day 2 at the latest (the day you arrive is day 0). This can be a lateral flow test or a PCR test.
If your test result is positive, you must self-isolate – follow the rules set out in ‘How to quarantine or self-isolate’ further down this page.
Positive lateral flow test
If your day 2 lateral flow test result is positive you must:
- self-isolate immediately
- take a follow-up free PCR test – if the result is negative, you can stop self-isolating; if it’s positive or unclear, follow the rules below
Positive PCR test
If your day 2 PCR test result is positive, you must self-isolate immediately. The standard self-isolation period is 10 full days. The day you took the test is day 0.
You can stop self-isolating on day 6 if you do a rapid lateral flow test on days 5 and 6 of your self-isolation period and:
- both tests are negative
- you did both tests at least 24 hours apart
- you do not have a high temperature
If you do a rapid lateral flow test on day 5 and test positive, wait 24 hours before you do the next test.
For further information, read the NHS guidance on how long to self-isolate.
If your PCR test result is unclear, you must self-isolate for 10 full days. The day you took the test is day 0.
If your PCR test result is unclear, you can choose to take another private test. If the result of that test is negative, you can stop self-isolating.
If you are not fully vaccinated
You must quarantine for 10 full days.
The quarantine period is continuous from the day you arrive in England and lasts for the next 10 full days after the day you arrived until 11:59pm on day 10. This period is necessary because it can take up to 10 days for COVID-19 symptoms to appear.
To count the days:
- the day you arrive in England is day 0
- the day after you arrive is day 1, and so on
If you’re travelling to England for less than 10 days, you will need to quarantine for the whole of your stay. You must still book and pay for your day 2 and day 8 travel tests, even if you will no longer be in England on the dates of the tests. You only need to take the tests if you’re still in England on those dates.
Where to quarantine
You must quarantine at the address you provided on the passenger locator form. This can include staying:
- in your own home
- with friends or family
- in a standard hotel or other temporary accommodation
You do not have to quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel – these are only for people arriving from countries on the red list.
You must quarantine in one place for the full quarantine period, where you can have food and other necessities delivered.
How to travel to the place where you’re quarantining
When you arrive in England, go straight to the place you’re staying to quarantine. Only use public transport if you have no other option, and make sure you follow safer travel guidance for passengers.
If you have or develop COVID-19 symptoms
If you have COVID-19 symptoms, it’s important that you do not travel by public transport.
If you develop COVID-19 symptoms when you’re travelling to England, you should tell one of the crew on your plane, boat, train or bus. They’ll let staff in the airport, port or station know, so they can tell you what you should do next when you arrive.
Long journeys to your quarantine accommodation
If you have a long journey within the UK to arrive at the place where you’ll be quarantining, you may be able to stop overnight in accommodation where you can quarantine yourself from others before continuing your journey.
You must follow the guidance on how to stay safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19. You must quarantine and provide the address of your overnight stop on your passenger locator form in addition to your declared accommodation address.
How to quarantine or self-isolate
The following rules apply on what you can and cannot do if you have to quarantine after international travel or self-isolate after testing positive in your day 2 test.
You should, as far as possible, avoid contact with other people in the place where you’re quarantining to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
You should stay in a well ventilated room with an outside window that can be opened, separate from other people in your home.
If you’re staying in a hotel or guest house, you must stay away from others who did not travel with you. You must not use shared areas such as bars, restaurants, health clubs and sports facilities.
Stay 2 metres apart from other people staying there at all times.
You are not allowed to change the place where you’re quarantining except in very limited circumstances, including where:
- a legal obligation requires you to change address, such as when you’re a child whose parents live separately, and you need to move between homes as part of a shared custody agreement
- it’s necessary and permissible for you to stay overnight at accommodation before travelling to the place where you will be quarantining for the remaining period
If you have to quarantine after international travel because you are not fully vaccinated, you must provide full details of each address where you will quarantine on the passenger locator form. If, in exceptional circumstances, you cannot remain where you’re staying, you can move to a new place to quarantine and you must complete a new passenger locator form as soon as possible.
You cannot have visitors, including friends and family, unless they’re providing:
- emergency assistance
- care or assistance, including personal care
- medical assistance
- veterinary services
- certain critical public services
Unless you’re at risk of harm, you cannot leave the premises. You must only exercise inside the place where you’re quarantining or self-isolating, or in the garden. You cannot leave to walk your dog. You will need to ask friends or relatives to help you with this.
If you’re at risk of harm
If you’re at risk of harm (for example, in cases of domestic abuse), you can leave the place where you’re quarantining or self-isolating.
You must not go shopping. If you need help buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication, you should ask friends or relatives or order a delivery or ask for help from NHS Volunteer Responders.
Getting or posting your tests
Where your testing provider conducts the day 2 and day 8 tests at a test site you can leave the house for your test. Where your tests are delivered and self-administered, if there is no one in your household or bubble who can post the test for processing, you can leave the premises to post your test.
If you have to leave the premises, you should follow safer travel guidance and avoid public transport if possible.
You can leave your accommodation in certain exceptional circumstances. This includes needing to:
- get basic urgent necessities like food and medicines where you cannot arrange for these to be delivered
- travel to a COVID-19 testing site
- access critical public services including social services and services provided to victims (such as victims of crime)
- move to a different place where you can no longer remain where you are
There may be other exceptional circumstances that allow you to leave your place of quarantine or self-isolation.
You can get advice from a medical or other professional to help decide whether your circumstances are exceptional and require you to leave your place of quarantine or self-isolation.
What to do if you get COVID-19 symptoms
You should order a test 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
Rules for the people you’re staying with
The people you’re staying with do not need to quarantine or self-isolate, unless they are unvaccinated and:
- they travelled with you
- you or someone in the place where you’re staying develop symptoms of COVID-19
- you get a positive test result for your day 2 or day 8 test
If any of these things apply, they must quarantine or self-isolate with you, following the same rules and for the same length of time as you.
Getting help and support
Quarantining or self-isolating may be difficult, frustrating or lonely. NHS Volunteer Responders are available if:
- you need help collecting shopping or medication
- you’d like a friendly chat
Call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm) to arrange support. You can arrange one-off support, or schedule more regular help while you’re quarantining.
You can also get help looking after your mental health.
There are different rules on when you can stop self-isolating if you are fully vaccinated – see ‘If you are fully vaccinated’ above.
If you are not fully vaccinated, you can end your quarantine after 10 full days (where day 0 is the day you took the test or had symptoms). You must:
- have received a negative result to both your day 2 and day 8 tests
- not have any COVID-19 symptoms
Ending quarantine early using Test to Release
Under the Test to Release scheme you can choose to pay for a private COVID-19 test on day 5. If the result is negative (and the result of your day 2 test was negative or inconclusive), you can end your quarantine.
You do not have to do this – it’s a voluntary test.
You must still book and take your mandatory day 2 and day 8 travel tests, even if your Test to Release result is negative.
Find out more about Test to Release, including a link to providers offering this test.
Checks to make sure you’re following quarantine rules
While you quarantine, NHS Test and Trace will contact you daily to confirm you’re following quarantine rules. You may also be visited by staff carrying out in-person checks on behalf of Test and Trace to make sure you’re complying with your legal duty to quarantine. Read more about the checks carried out to make sure you’re following quarantine rules.
If you break the quarantine rules, you may face a penalty of up to £10,000.
Circumstances not covered by this guidance
If you’re intending to travel to the UK in the next 7 days and facing a set of circumstances that are not covered by this guidance, email your enquiry to email@example.com.
Make sure you include your date of travel.