Guidance for British people travelling overseas during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
COVID-19 travel guidance
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Travel to some countries and territories is currently exempted.
This advice is being kept under constant review. Travel disruption is still possible and national control measures may be brought in with little notice.
Plan for your travel: checklist
Developments in the coronavirus pandemic remain uncertain around the world. No travel is risk-free. If you are planning travel abroad in the weeks and months ahead, even if you are returning to a place you’ve visited before, follow this checklist:
Before you travel
find out about any entry restrictions, screening or quarantine requirements on arrival that might affect you. Check ‘entry requirements’ in our travel advice and contact the UK-based embassy of the country you’re travelling to for more information
- if you need to take a COVID-19 test to facilitate travelling to another country, you should not use the NHS testing service. Instead, you should arrange to take a private test
read the safer air travel guidance on sensible precautions and steps to take if you’re flying. Consider your own circumstances and health, and remember you will need to wear a face covering on flights in England and Scotland. See also the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) guidance
check with your accommodation provider for information about availability and the safety measures they have put in place
read the advice of local authorities and follow all local health measures in place during your journey and in your destination. Local measures and travel restrictions may change before you arrive or during your stay. Check the travel advice page for your destination and check with your transport provider for more information
get travel insurance, and make sure you are content with the level of cover it provides. If you already have travel insurance check it is valid and provides appropriate cover
check your cancellation rights. Speak to your tour operator, transport and accommodation providers if you have any questions
When you’re abroad
be prepared to comply with measures at your destination to manage a localised outbreak. If you test positive for coronavirus you are likely to need to get treatment locally and stay there until you have recovered. If you are required to quarantine or self-isolate by local authorities, you should expect to do so in the country. You may need to stay longer than you intended. Plan ahead for any delays to your return home and the financial implications or practical arrangements you may need to make
continue to follow any updates to our travel advice for your destination
if you will be returning to the UK, prepare for your return journey by completing the passenger locator form
When you return
- you will need to follow the rules for entering the UK. You must show proof of a completed passenger locator form at the UK border. You can complete it up to 48 hours before you enter the UK, and should do so before arrival. Failing to complete the form is a criminal offence
- you may not have to self-isolate when you arrive from some countries and territories known as ‘travel corridors’. View the latest guidance and list of travel corridors for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
- see the list of people who are exempt from the English border rules
Exemptions to the global advice against non-essential travel
View the list of exempted countries and territories that no longer pose a high risk for British travellers. The list is under constant review and updated when necessary.
We continue to advise against all non-essential international travel, except to countries and territories listed. We also currently advise against cruise ship travel.
We are monitoring the international situation very closely and keeping this advice under constant review so that it reflects our latest assessment of risks to British people. We take a range of factors into account. For coronavirus, this includes the incidence rate and the resilience of healthcare provision in each country. Find out more about how our travel advice works.
Returning to the UK because of a change in travel advice
Travel advice is under constant review and may change at short notice, if risks in a country change.
If you are travelling in a country that is removed from the travel advice exemptions list, we are not advising British travellers to return immediately to the UK. Instead you should follow the local advice on any measures the local authorities are taking to control the virus before your return to the UK.
If you decide you wish to shorten your stay abroad because of a change in travel advice you should:
- contact your airline and travel company to discuss your options
- check if you need to self-isolate on your return
- provide your journey and contact details before you travel using the passenger locator form
Quarantine while you are abroad
If the local authority where you are proposes to quarantine you for your own protection, you should follow their advice.
If there are suspected cases of coronavirus where you are, you may need to remain in your hotel room or accommodation for 14 days, move to quarantine facilities and take tests for coronavirus. If you test positive, in some cases, you may need to be hospitalised abroad.
You should also contact your airline or travel company, and your insurance provider as soon as you can. We only organise assisted departure in exceptional circumstances.
Looking after your mental wellbeing
Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Keep in regular contact with the people who usually support you: family, friends and colleagues, especially if you are self-isolating abroad.
Read guidance on how to look after your wellbeing and mental health if you’re abroad during the current coronavirus pandemic.
If you live abroad permanently
As a permanent resident overseas, you should follow the advice of the local authorities where you are. Further information on measures that countries have taken is available in our travel advice pages.
Latest health advice
The NaTHNaC provides general advice on preparing for foreign travel and how to reduce the spread of respiratory viruses.