Guidance for British people travelling abroad during the coronavirus pandemic, if they are legally permitted to travel under current UK COVID-19 restrictions.
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.
If you intend to travel to the UK from abroad, including UK nationals returning home, you must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to 3 days before departure. If you do not comply (and you do not have a valid exemption) your airline or carrier may refuse you boarding and/or you may be fined on arrival.
Before you enter the UK you must provide your journey and contact details. You must self-isolate (or quarantine) when you enter the UK from any foreign country except Ireland, unless you have a valid exemption.
When you enter England from abroad (except Ireland), you must follow the new requirements for quarantining and taking additional COVID-19 tests. If you are travelling from a country on the banned travel list you must quarantine in a hotel. Different rules apply for arrivals into England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
If you are legally permitted to travel abroad, check our advice on your country of destination. Some other countries have closed borders, and may further restrict movement or bring in new rules including testing requirements with little warning.
Plan for your travel: checklist
Developments in the coronavirus pandemic remain uncertain around the world. No travel is risk-free, and many countries have closed their borders to UK travellers due to the new variant of the virus.
If you are in the UK you should not travel abroad. 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.
You should check the guidance for your personal circumstances before deciding whether you can travel internationally.
If you are legally permitted to travel abroad and are planning travel in the future, even if you are returning to a place you’ve visited before, follow this checklist.
Before you travel
follow all the current rules for where you live. You need a legally permitted reason to leave your home, including to travel abroad. In the UK, there are different restrictions in place in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
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 proof of a negative coronavirus test to enter another country, you must use a private test provider. The NHS Test and Trace testing service cannot provide the documents you will need for travel
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. Contact your tour operator, transport and accommodation providers if you have any questions
When you’re abroad
continue to follow any updates to our travel advice for your destination
be prepared to comply with measures to manage localised outbreaks such as border closures, movement restrictions, testing requirements or quarantine rules. These could be brought in at short notice
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
you should liaise closely with your travel company or airline to ensure you are aware of any changes to schedules. Plan for the risks of disruption and local domestic measures affecting your travel when arranging your return to the UK
if you will be returning to the UK, prepare for your return journey by completing the passenger locator form
to travel to England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland from abroad, including UK nationals returning home, you must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to 3 days before departure. If you do not comply (and you do not have a valid exemption) your airline or carrier may refuse you boarding and/or you may be fined on arrival
you must self-isolate (or quarantine) when you enter the UK from any foreign country except Ireland, unless you have a valid exemption:
- when you enter England, follow the quarantine and additional COVID-19 testing requirements: if you are travelling from a country on the banned travel list you must quarantine in a hotel. If you are travelling from any other foreign country (except Ireland), follow the quarantine rules for arriving into England
- different rules apply for arriving into Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
When you return
You will need to follow the rules for entering the UK:
to travel to England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland from abroad, including UK nationals returning home, you must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to 3 days before departure. If you do not comply (and you do not have a valid exemption) your airline or carrier may refuse you boarding and/or you may be fined on arrival.
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 must self-isolate (or quarantine) when you enter the UK from any foreign country except Ireland, unless you have a valid exemption. Check the list of people who are exempt from the English border rules, and see guidance for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
- when you enter UK from abroad (except Ireland), follow the quarantine and additional COVID-19 testing requirements:
- if you are arriving in England from a country on the banned travel list you must quarantine in a hotel
- if you are arriving in England, travelling from any other foreign country (except Ireland), follow the quarantine rules for arriving into England
- different rules apply for arriving into Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
- if you are arriving in England, and you are not travelling from a country on the banned travel list, you may be able to pay for a COVID-19 test under the Test to Release scheme to find out if you can reduce your self-isolation period
FCDO travel advice
Our travel advice explains that you must comply with the restrictions on travel, both domestic and international, that apply in each nation across the UK. You must not leave home or travel, including abroad, unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so.
It sets out the risks that you may face if you go to another country, including non-COVID risks, if you are able to 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 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.
If FCDO travel advice changes when you are abroad
Travel advice is under constant review and may change at short notice, if risks in a country change.
Our travel advice may change while you are in a country to advise against all travel, or all but essential travel, because of COVID risks. If this happens, we do not advise you 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
- you must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to 3 days before departure
- provide your journey and contact details before you travel using the passenger locator form
- check how you need to self-isolate or quarantine when you enter the UK on your return
If changes relating to the new COVID-19 variant mean you cannot return from travel abroad
If you are 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.
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 COVID-19 measures that countries have taken is available in our travel advice pages.
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 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 the vaccines available locally, and contact your healthcare provider for further advice. They can share the latest information about the national COVID-19 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 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.
Latest health advice
The NaTHNaC provides general advice on preparing for foreign travel and how to reduce the spread of respiratory viruses.