Updated on Travel Restrictions in England

What’s the latest UK Covid-19 travel restrictions? Read our latest update for information.

On 7 May 2021, the government gave an update on easing travel restrictions and announced that a traffic light system will be introduced from 17 May 2021 to regulate international travel to and from England.

Countries will be put on the Green, Amber or Red List and that will determine what travel rules you will need to follow. See here for a list of countries and their current allocations.


Green List

At 4am BST on 17 May 2021, the Green List will come into force. If you are travelling to or returning from a country on the Green List, you will need to follow these rules:

Leaving England

You will not need to complete a Declaration Form if you are travelling to a country on the Green List. However, you will need to check if there are any pre-travel rules at your destination which you need to comply with before you leave England. Not all the countries on the Green List are necessarily open to tourists from England.

Travelling to England

Before returning to England, you must complete a Passenger Locator Form, have evidence of a negative Covid-19 test taken in the 72 hours before your departure (this can be a lateral flow test), and book and pay for a Covid-19 test to take on day 2 after you arrive in the UK.

When you arrive in England, you will need to take your pre-booked Covid-19 test on day 2 but you will not need to quarantine unless the test is negative.


Amber List

Travel to countries on the Amber List is not recommended for leisure. If you are travelling to or have passed through a country on the Amber List in the 10 days preceding your arrival in England, you must follow these rules from 17 May 2021.

Leaving England:

If travelling before 17 May 2021, you will need to complete a Declaration Form, stating your legally permitted reason to travel. A list of legally permitted reasons for travel can be seen here, along with recommended evidence you should take with you. From 17 May 2021, you will no longer need to complete a Declaration Form before travelling to a country on the Amber List. However, travel for leisure purposes is not recommended.

Travelling

Before returning to England, you must complete a Passenger Locator Form, have evidence of a negative Covid-19 test taken in the 72 hours before your departure, and book and pay for a Covid-19 test to take on day 2 and day 8 after you arrive in the UK.

When you arrive in England, you will need to take your pre-booked Covid-19 test on day 2 and day 8 and you will need to quarantine in your home or the place you are staying for 10 days. You may be able to end your quarantine period earlier if you pay for a private Covid-19 test through the Test to Release Scheme.

See here for a list of countries which will be on the Amber List.


Red List

Travel to countries on the Red List is not recommended for leisure. If you are travelling to or have passed through a country on the Red List in the 10 days preceding your arrival in England you will be denied entry, unless you are a British or Irish national or have residency rights in the UK. If you are permitted entry to the UK, you must follow these rules:

Leaving England:

If travelling before 17 May 2021, you will need to complete a Declaration Form, stating your legally permitted reason to travel. From 17 May 2021, you will no longer need to complete a Declaration Form before travelling to a country on the Red List. However, travel for leisure purposes is not recommended.

Travelling

If you are a British or Irish national or have residency rights in the UK, before your return to England you must complete a Passenger Locator Form, have evidence of a negative Covid-19 test taken in the 72 hours before your departure, and book and pay for a Covid-19 test to take on day 2 and day 8 after you arrive in the England.

When you arrive in England, you will need to take your pre-booked Covid-19 test on day 2 and day 8 and you will need to quarantine at a government approved hotel for 10 days.


Exceptions

You may be exempt from some or all of the rules above depending on your job, or if there are medical / compassionate reasons for your travel. For example, aircraft pilots and crew are allowed to enter the UK from a Red List country, they are not required to complete a declaration form before travelling, they do not need to quarantine for 10 days, and only need to take a workplace lateral flow test after arriving in the UK. To check if there are any exemptions relevant to your job, see here.

If you are travelling for medical / compassionate reasons, you can apply to get an exemption from quarantining in a hotel if you have travelling through a Red List country. You must make an application at least 7 days ahead of travel by emailing [email protected]. You will need to provide evidence as part of your application and exemptions will only be granted in very limited circumstances. See here for further guidance.


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 May 10, 2021.