Guidance

Travel abroad and coronavirus (COVID-19)

Guidance for British people travelling abroad during the coronavirus pandemic, if they are able to travel under current UK COVID-19 restrictions.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) travel

Follow current COVID-19 rules where you live: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

To prevent new COVID variants from entering the UK, you should not travel to amber or red list countries.

To understand the risks in a country follow FCDO Travel Advice.

When you return, follow the rules to enter the UK from abroad (except from Ireland).

FCDO travel advice during COVID

Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) travel advice sets out COVID-19 and other risks that you may face if you travel abroad.

We continue to advise against all non-essential international travel to some countries and territories. You should check the country page for your destination. We also currently advise against cruise ship travel.

We are monitoring the international situation closely and keeping our 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 COVID-19, this includes the incidence rate and the resilience of healthcare provision in each country. Find out more about how our travel advice works.

Plan for your travel

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect international travel. No travel is risk-free, and many countries have closed their borders or restricted entry to UK travellers. Any country may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant.

Read the guidance for your personal circumstances before deciding whether you should travel abroad. If you travel abroad, even if you are returning to a place you have visited before, follow this checklist:

1. Before you travel

From May 17 you no longer need to complete an international travel declaration form to travel abroad from England.

2. When you’re abroad

  • continue to follow updates to travel advice, as there may be changes for your destination
  • be prepared to comply with changing restrictions to manage local COVID-19 outbreaks, such as border closures, movement restrictions, testing and quarantine requirements
  • if you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to seek treatment where you are, and stay until you have recovered. If local authorities tell you to quarantine, you should expect to do that where you are
  • travel restrictions may unexpectedly delay your return home. Plan for possible delays. Make sure you have access to money and have made practical arrangements to be away for longer than planned
  • if delays occur, you should keep in contact with your travel company or airline for any changes to transport schedules
  • stay up-to-date with changes to the Red, amber and green list rules for entering England or for Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. The rules may change before you return
  • read our guidance if you are unable to return to the UK due to COVID-19

3. Prepare to return to the UK

Before you enter the UK you must:

4. When you arrive in the UK

Follow the rules that apply for the country or countries that you have visited, when you enter the UK from abroad, unless you are exempt.

If you’re arriving in England from a country on the amber list, you may be able to pay for a COVID-19 test under Test to Release, to find out if you can reduce your self-isolation period.

Consular help from the FCDO

We publish all our travel advice on GOV.UK. Our consular officers cannot provide additional information by phone. Read more about the consular support we provide.

If FCDO travel advice changes when you are abroad

Our travel advice may change while you are in a country to advise against all travel there, or all but essential travel, because of new COVID-19 risks.

If this happens, we do not advise you to return immediately to the UK. Instead, you should follow the local advice on any restrictions the local authorities are taking to control the virus before your return to the UK.

If you decide to shorten your stay abroad because of a change in travel advice, you should:

  1. contact your airline and travel company to discuss your options
  2. take the actions to prepare to return to the UK

If changes relating to a new COVID-19 variant mean you cannot return from travel abroad

If you’re travelling abroad and unable to return to the UK, contact your airline or travel provider for advice. You can also contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate for urgent assistance.

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 in quarantine abroad.

Read guidance on how to look after your wellbeing and mental health if you’re abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 health advice

Read the latest NHS guidance on COVID-19 for the current situation in the UK and abroad, and the latest government guidance on COVID-19.

The NaTHNaC provides general advice on preparing for foreign travel and how to reduce the spread of respiratory viruses.

If you live abroad permanently

If you live abroad permanently, follow the advice of local authorities where you live. Check our travel advice pages for information on COVID-19 restrictions in individual countries.

COVID-19 vaccines if you live abroad

Wherever possible British nationals should aim to be vaccinated in their country of residence. We will share information on other countries’ national COVID-19 vaccine programmes on our travel advice pages as they are announced. You can sign up to get email notifications when a country’s travel advice page is updated.

If you live overseas find out about COVID-19 vaccines available locally, and contact your healthcare provider for further advice. They can share the latest information about the national vaccination programme in the country where you live.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the UK authority responsible for assessing the safety, quality and efficacy of vaccines. It has authorised the Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines for temporary supply and use in the UK. Find out more about MHRA approval for these vaccines.

British nationals living overseas should seek medical advice from their local healthcare provider in the country where they reside. Information about COVID-19 vaccines used in other national programmes, including regulatory status, should be available from the local authorities. This list of Stringent Regulatory Authorities recognised by the World Health Organisation may also be a useful source of additional information.

Find out more about COVID-19 vaccines on the World Health Organisation website.

Published 4 February 2020
Last updated 20 May 2021 + show all updates
  1. New link added to the passenger COVID-19 charter

  2. Updated to reflect new rules for international travel from 17 May.

  3. New links to guidance that will apply from 17 May: Red, amber green list rules for entering England, and demonstrating your COVID-19 vaccination status to enter specific countries from England.

  4. Updated to reflect most current COVID-19 guidance

  5. New link to the declaration form for international travel (for England), from 8 March.

  6. Updated as new quarantine rules come into force, with new links to quarantine guidance for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

  7. Edited the checklist to provide further detail on requirements coming into effect from 15 February.

  8. New link to Scottish government quarantine hotels guidance, for when you arrive in Scotland from any foreign country except Ireland from 15 February onwards.

  9. From 15 February you will need to quarantine in a government-approved hotel if you arrive in the UK from countries on the travel ban list.

  10. UK government announced new rules on 27 January for outbound and inbound passengers. Top box updated: Under current UK COVID-19 restrictions, you must stay at home. You must not travel, including abroad, unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so. It is illegal to travel abroad for holidays and other leisure purposes.

  11. Updated with details of new requirements coming into effect from 4am on 18 January 2021.

  12. Updated with information on pre-departure testing for everyone travelling into England and Scotland.

  13. Updated to reflect latest UK restrictions

  14. Updated guidance to reflect changes relating to the new variant of the virus.

  15. Update to COVID-19 travel guidance

  16. New link to the guidance on getting a COVID-19 test to reduce self-isolation

  17. Updated to reflect the latest Tier-based COVID-19 rules for England

  18. Updated to include information on the new restrictions coming into force for England on 5 November

  19. Reviewed and updated to reflect current COVID-19 guidance

  20. Updated to reflect travel corridors coming into effect on 10 July. You may not have to self-isolate when you arrive in the UK from some countries and territories.

  21. Updated as the exemptions to the global advice against all non-essential travel come into effect

  22. Updated with a new checklist following the change in travel advice, where some countries will be exempted from the global advisory against non-essential international travel from 4 July.

  23. Added link to new guidance on safer air travel in the 'When you return to the UK' section

  24. Updated as the new rules for entering the UK (providing contact details and self-isolating) come into force

  25. Added link for how to get a test in the 'when you return to the UK' section

  26. Added information on new rules on entering or returning to the UK that will start on 8 June

  27. Updated to reflect coronavirus symptoms

  28. Updated to reflect new social distancing guidance

  29. New guidance link for wellbeing and mental health if you are abroad during the coronavirus pandemic

  30. New link to guidance on staying where you are if you cannot return to the UK

  31. New information on how government and airlines are helping bring British people travelling to return, including through special charter flights.

  32. Update for the latest travel advisory: return to the UK now if you’re travelling abroad

  33. Added link to new guidance on essential travel for international freight transport

  34. updated with latest advice against all non-essential travel worldwide

  35. Travel Checklist under "Before you go" sub-heading updated

  36. Addition of information about education trips overseas.

  37. Updated with latest guidance about planning for travel during the coronavirus outbreak

  38. Updated with latest advice for Italy and new guidance for people planning to travel abroad

  39. Updated to reflect new advice for the lockdown areas in northern Italy

  40. updated with latest travel advice for Cheongdo and Gyeongsan (South Korea), Public Health England advice on returning from Italy, and link to ABTA advice

  41. updated to reflect new advice against all travel to Daegu in South Korea

  42. Latest FCO travel advice on COVID-19.

  43. We have added additional travel advice on COVID-19

  44. 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. You may also need a negative coronavirus (COVID-19) test result or demonstrate your COVID-19 vaccination status 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