Guidance

Travel advice: coronavirus (COVID-19)

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

Coronavirus (COVID-19) travel

It is illegal to travel abroad for holidays. Follow current COVID-19 rules where you live: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In England, you must have a permitted reason to travel abroad and complete a declaration form.

Some countries have closed borders, and any country may further restrict travel or bring in new social distancing rules with little warning. Check our advice for all the countries you will visit or transit through.

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.

If you are in the UK you should not travel abroad unless you have a permitted reason to do so. It is illegal to travel abroad for holidays.

You should read the guidance for your personal circumstances before deciding whether you are legally permitted to 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

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
  • 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

  • you must quarantine and take further COVID-19 tests when you enter the UK from abroad (except Ireland), unless you are exempt
  • if you’re arriving in England, and you are not travelling from a country on the banned travel list (‘red 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.

If you are in England temporarily and do not permanently reside in the UK, check the permitted reasons to travel abroad before you travel to where you reside.

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 26 March 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated to reflect most current COVID-19 guidance

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

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

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

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

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

  10. Updated to reflect latest UK restrictions

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

  12. Update to COVID-19 travel guidance

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

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

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

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

  17. 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.

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

  19. 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.

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

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

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

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

  24. Updated to reflect coronavirus symptoms

  25. Updated to reflect new social distancing guidance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  33. Addition of information about education trips overseas.

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

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

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

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

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

  39. Latest FCO travel advice on COVID-19.

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

  41. 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