Developments in the coronavirus pandemic remain uncertain around the world. No travel is risk-free. If you are planning travel abroad in the weeks and months ahead, even if you are returning to a place you’ve visited before, follow this checklist:
Before you travel
- follow the current guidance in the place where you live. See the guidance for England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland
- keep up-to-date with the latest developments for your destination before your trip. Sign up for travel advice email alerts and check the TravelHealthPro website for travel health guidance
- find out about any entry restrictions, screening or quarantine requirements on arrival that might affect you. Check travel advice and contact the UK-based embassy of the country you’re travelling to if you need more information
- read the safer air travel guidance on sensible precautions and steps to take during travel. 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 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
- be prepared to comply with measures at your destination to manage a localised outbreak. 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. Plan ahead for any delays to your return home and the financial implications or practical arrangements you may need to make
- continue to follow any updates to our travel advice for your destination
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. This applies to people entering the UK from all countries. You can complete it up to 48 hours before you enter the UK, and should do so before arrival. Failure to complete the form is a criminal offence and can lead to delays at the border.
- you may have to self-isolate for the first 14 days you’re in the UK. See the guidance on self-isolation for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. You may not have to self-isolate when you arrive from some countries and territories. See the travel corridors list for England, and the guidance for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland
- see the list of people who are exempt from the English border rules
Returning to the UK because of coronavirus
If you’re currently travelling abroad and intend to return to the UK because of coronavirus, you should:
- contact your airline or travel company now
- keep up-to-date with our travel advice pages. Our advice on returning to the UK from each country is being updated as information becomes available
- for real-time updates, follow our embassy or high commission’s social media for the country you’re in
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, take tests for coronavirus and, if positive in some cases, 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 everyone can reduce the spread of respiratory viruses.