Navigating the new normal

FAQs on the UK Government’s coronavirus quarantine rules


All content on this page is correct as of October 26, 2020

Since 8 June 2020, many people arriving in the UK need to provide their contact details and self-isolate for the first 14 days of their entry to the UK.   There are separate regulations in place in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. More information about the different rules for each nation is available here.

Who does it apply to?

The rules apply to all UK residents and visitors travelling to the UK, unless they are travelling from Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands (i.e. the Common Travel Area or “CTA”).  This would include holiday makers returning from a short trip overseas. There are limited exemptions to these requirements, such as for road haulage/transport workers, transit passengers, certain urgent emergency workers and those arriving to attend pre-arranged medical treatment.

Those arriving from a country included on the “travel corridor” list must provide their details but do not have to self-isolate.

Those arriving from the CTA or a country on the travel corridor list may still have to self-isolate if they have been in, or made a ‘transit stop’ in, a country not on the list in the the 14 days before arrival. Further guidance about transit stops and when you must self-isolate is available here. The list of countries included on the travel corridor list is updated frequently, so if you are planning on travelling we recommend you keep a close eye on this.

What do I need to do?

Travellers to the UK need to provide their journey and contact details before they travel via an online form. This form may be checked at the UK border. Those who fail to complete the form risk being fined £3,200. Non-UK residents may also be refused entry to the UK. This applies to those arriving from countries on the “travel corridor” list, even though they will not be required to self-isolate. A small number of people are exempt from the requirement to complete the form – guidance on this is available here.

Once in the UK, those required to self-isolate will only be able to leave the place they are staying for the first 14 days for a limited number of reasons. Further guidance on self-isolation is available here.

If you are not planning on staying for a full 14 days, you must self-islolate for the duration of your stay, until you travel in order to leave the UK.

What if I am not staying in a private residence?

Those staying in a hotel or guest house must not use shared areas such as bars, restaurants, health clubs and sports facilities. They should also stay two metres away from all other guests and staff.

Those who are not able to safely self-isolate at the place they were planning to stay, should inform UK Border Force officers when they arrive in the UK. They’ll then be given details of a booking service which they can use to obtain accommodation and self-isolate in at their own expense.How will my details be used?

The government will use the journey and contact information provided to contact the individual if someone they’ve travelled with develops coronavirus symptoms.

The information will also be used to check compliance with the quarantine restrictions.

Individuals found to be breaching the quarantine restrictions can be fined £1,000.

What are the exemptions?

Aside from those arriving from countries on the “travel corridor” list, there are certain other categories of people  who are exempted, mostly due to their profession. Details of those exempt can be found here.

If you need any help or advice on any of the following, then please do get in touch with our immigration department who would be happy to help.


This information is necessarily of a general nature and doesn’t constitute legal advice. This is not a substitute for formal legal advice, given in the context of full information under an engagement with Bates Wells.

All content on this page is correct as of October 26, 2020.

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