Travel abroad checklist
This is a summary of what you need to do to travel abroad from England. Read the guidance below for more information about each point in the checklist.
Arrange any COVID-19 tests you will need to enter the countries that you will travel to.
When will the health measures at the border be lifted?
- The International Travel Regulations remain under constant review and are subject to a formal review point at least every 28 days to ensure they remain necessary and proportionate in light of the latest developments and assessments of risk.
- Public health will always come first. The government will carefully assess the impact of these measures in the UK taking into account the other economic and social costs of the border measures, as appropriate.
What exemptions exist from hotel quarantine?
- The International Travel Regulations currently exempt a limited number of individuals from the requirement to self-isolate (“sector-specific exemptions”), for example, people travelling to maintain essential supply chains, key infrastructure or to contribute to the crisis response. Exemptions are kept under review.
- There are limited exemptions for those arriving from red list countries, and only where absolutely necessary for reasons of national importance. This is to maximise the public health benefits of managed quarantine.
How does the Government decide which countries are suitable for international travel?
- International travel gradually resumed from 17 May.
- Strict rules on testing and quarantine will remain in place to protect public health and our vaccination programme, while people should not travel to ‘red’ countries for leisure.
- Countries have been allocated according to the latest scientific data, so quarantine and testing requirements on return from those countries listed on the red list are appropriate to the risk of Covid-19 and variants of concern.
Is the test to release scheme working well?
- Health measures at the border, informed by the latest medical and scientific advice, help us in the battle to control the spread of Covid-19.
- A test taken on or after five full days after the traveller was last in a place that is not on the green list provides a strong level of protection against transmission of Covid-19 acquired abroad into the UK population. It also picks up a proportion of infected travellers who enter the country, preventing further spread, while at the same time allowing much more freedom for people seeking to travel.
- We will keep all our measures under constant review, and they will remain in place as long as is required in order to protect public health and reduce transmission of the virus and to reduce the risk of new variants.
What stops people from getting an NHS test for Test to Release?
- People should only take an NHS Test and Trace test if you have symptoms of Covid-19. A negative test provided by NHS Test and Trace will not permit someone to cease self-isolating early if they are self-isolating as an international arrival, and they will still be legally required to self-isolate.
- Breach of the self-isolation requirement is a criminal offence and people could be issued with a fixed penalty notice, starting at £1,000 for the first offence and increasing up to £10,000 for subsequent offences, if they fail to comply
Check the rules that apply to you in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. You should check the country page for more information. 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.