Before you leave for the UK

What coronavirus (COVID-19) testing and quarantine rules you need to follow depends on where you have been in the 10 days before you arrive. Find out what to do if you’re:

You’re from an EEA country or Switzerland

You can enter the UK with either a passport or national identity card issued by an EEA country or Switzerland that should be valid for the whole of your stay.

Your passport or identity card must be registered on your UK Visas and Immigration account if any of the following are true:

From 1 October 2021, you will not be able to use an EEA or Swiss national identity card to enter the UK unless you:

  • have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
  • have an EU Settlement Scheme family permit
  • have a Frontier Worker permit
  • are an S2 Healthcare Visitor
  • are a Swiss Service Provider

Check if you need a visa to come to the UK after 1 January 2021.

If you haven’t applied for settled or pre-settled status but are planning to do apply, you must enter the UK with either:

You’re not from an EEA country

You must have a valid passport to enter the UK. It should be valid for the whole of your stay.

You may also need a visa, depending on which country you’re from.

Check if you need a visa to enter the UK.

You may also need a visa if you’re ‘transiting’ or travelling through the UK, for example you’re changing flights at a UK airport.

Applying for a visa

You must apply for your visa before you arrive in the UK.

Travelling with children

You may be asked at the border to prove the relationship between yourself and any children travelling with you, if you do not seem to be the parent, for example if you have a different surname.

You can prove this with:

  • a birth or adoption certificate showing your relationship with the child
  • divorce or marriage certificates if you’re the parent but have a different surname from the child
  • a letter from the child’s parent giving permission for the child to travel with you and providing contact details, if you’re not the parent

Before you board

Your ‘carrier’ (for example airline or transport provider) will check your passport and other travel documents. They’ll send this information electronically to Border Force.

You can ask to see the information about you that’s been sent by carriers.