Navigating the new normal

Important update for incoming travellers: negative COVID-19 testing prior to departure


All content on this page is correct as of January 8, 2021

The UK government has announced it will next week impose a requirement on incoming travellers to present a negative test for COVID-19 if arriving by boat, plane or train. 

This is a marked change from previous requirements and will present an additional challenge for incoming travellers in addition to the self-isolation requirements on arrival.

The key points are as follows:

• All international arrivals to England will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test taken up to 72 hours prior to departure. This includes UK Nationals.

• Passengers will face an immediate fine of £500 if they fail to comply the new requirement.

• All passengers arriving from countries not on the Government’s travel corridor list will still be required to self-isolate for 10 days.

• All passengers will still need to fill in a passenger locator form and will still be subject to national lockdown restrictions.

There are limited exemptions to the self isolation requirements and more information can be found here.

It is possible to reduce your quarantine period on arrival to 5 days through the use of the government’s ‘Test to Release’ scheme and full details are available here. Please note that this currently does not apply to arrivals from South Africa.

It is important to check the latest guidance before travelling as this information is subject to change.

Bates Wells are monitoring the situation and will provide updates to clients as the situation changes and more information is released.


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 January 8, 2021.

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