Guidance for British people travelling overseas during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, if they are legally permitted to travel internationally.
COVID-19 travel guidance
Travel in your area, including international travel, may be restricted because of domestic regulations. Different rules apply in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Follow all the rules that apply to you.
Other countries may close borders, restrict movement or bring in new quarantine rules with little warning. Check the travel advice for your destination and be prepared to stay overseas longer than planned.
Plan for your travel: checklist
Developments in the coronavirus pandemic remain uncertain around the world. No travel is risk-free. 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, including if they restrict international travel. 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 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
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 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
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
Our travel advice
Our travel advice pages explain that you must comply with the restrictions on travel, both domestic and international, that apply in each nation across the UK.
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
- 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.