Note: Last update of this article occurred on December 31st.
1. Can I travel to the UK?
After 1 January 2021, EU citizens can continue to travel to the United Kingdom for vacation or short stays of maximum 6 months without having to apply for a visa. The British Home Office made an announcement about that. Please note that this does not, in principle, apply to visits for work or study in the United Kingdom, for which a visa will be required. The British Home Office also made an announcement.
EU citizens can still travel to the UK with either a valid identity card or a valid passport. From 1 October 2021, the British government will only accept a valid passport for short stays in the UK.
The European Health Insurance Card will no longer be valid for travel after 31/12/2020. Therefore, we advise you to contact your health insurance fund first. Emergency hospitalization in the UK can, under certain conditions, be taken care of by your health insurance fund. Nonetheless, we also recommend you to take out private travel insurance.
Individuals already legally residing in the United Kingdom before the end of the transition period will be able to travel in and out of the country when in possession of a valid identity card or passport. For non-EU family members, a valid passport is required. See question 1 and question 2. With a “pre-settled status” or “settled status” you will have the right to enter and leave the United Kingdom provided you are in possession of a valid identity card or passport until 31 December 2025.
2. UK Tier system
The UK Government set out a local restriction tier system that came into place from Wednesday 2 December, including what you can and cannot do in each tier. Please check here to see what the regulations in each tier are and which tier is in place where you are travelling.
Quarantine: UK’s borders are open but quarantine measures have been put in place based on the country from which travellers arrive (see traveller corridor exempt list).
You will need to self-isolate if you visited or made a transit stop in a country or territory that is not on the travel corridor exempt list in the 10 days before you arrive (this applies to arrivals, by train, ferry, coach, air or any other route.)
3. Quarantine and the Test to Release for International Travel scheme for England
The Test to Release for International Travel scheme is for people who need to self-isolate on arrival in England. Under the scheme you can choose to pay for a private COVID-19 test. If the result is negative, you can stop self-isolating. The earliest you can take the test is 5 full days after you left a place not on the travel corridor list. The scheme is voluntary and applies to those self-isolating in England only.
If you do not want to opt into the Test to Release scheme, you will need to self-isolate until 10 full days have passed since were last in a place not on the travel corridors list.
4. Quarantine: Countries exempt
You DO NOT have to self-isolate when you arrive in the UK, if you are travelling from one of the countries or territories listed below because these countries and territories are either:
- covered by the travel corridor exemption
- within the common travel area – Ireland, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man
- British overseas territories
Travel corridor exempt list
- 🇦🇮 Anguilla
- 🇦🇬 Antigua and Barbuda
- 🇦🇼 Aruba
- 🇦🇺 Australia
- 🇵🇹 The Azores
- 🇧🇭 Bahrain
- 🇧🇧 Barbados
- 🇧🇲 Bermuda
- Bonaire/St Eustatius/Saba
- 🇧🇼 Botswana (arrivals before 4am 12 December need to self-isolate)
- 🇦🇶 British Antarctic Territory
- 🇮🇴 British Indian Ocean Territory
- 🇻🇬 British Virgin Islands
- 🇧🇳 Brunei
- 🇰🇭 Cambodia
- 🇰🇾 Cayman Islands
- 🇯🇪 🇬🇬 the Channel Islands
- 🇨🇱 Chile
- 🇨🇺 Cuba
- 🇩🇲 Dominica
- 🇫🇰 Falkland Islands
- 🇫🇴 Faroe Islands
- 🇫🇲Federated States of Micronesia
- 🇫🇯 Fiji
- 🇫🇮 Finland
- 🇬🇮 Gibraltar
- 🇬🇷 Greek islands: Corfu, Crete, Kos, Rhodes, Zakynthos
- 🇬🇱 Greenland
- 🇬🇩 Grenada
- 🇭🇰 Hong Kong
- 🇮🇸 Iceland
- 🇮🇪 Ireland
- 🇮🇲 the Isle of Man
- 🇮🇱Israel and Jerusalem
- 🇯🇵 Japan
- 🇱🇦 Laos
- 🇲🇴 Macao (Macau)
- 🇵🇹 Madeira (Portugal)
- 🇲🇾 Malaysia
- 🇲🇻 Maldives
- 🇲🇺 Mauritius
- 🇲🇸 Montserrat
- 🇳🇨 New Caledonia
- 🇳🇿 New Zealand
- 🇲🇵Northern Mariana Islands
- 🇳🇴 Norway
- 🇵🇳 Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands
- 🇶🇦 Qatar
- 🇸🇦Saudi Arabia (arrivals before 4am 12 December need to self-isolate)
- 🇸🇨 Seychelles
- 🇸🇬 Singapore
- 🇸🇧Solomon Islands
- 🇰🇷 South Korea
- 🇬🇸 South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
- 🇱🇰Sri Lanka
- 🇧🇱 St Barthélemy
- 🇬🇧 St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
- 🇰🇳 St Kitts and Nevis
- 🇱🇨 St Lucia
- 🇵🇲 St Pierre and Miquelon
- 🇻🇨 St Vincent and the Grenadines
- 🇹🇼 Taiwan
- 🇹🇭 Thailand
- 🇹🇨 Turks and Caicos Islands
- 🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates
- 🇻🇳 Vietnam
5. Territories removed from the travel corridor list
Namibia, Uruguay and US Virgin Islands were removed from the exempt list at 4am Saturday 19 December. If you arrive in England from Namibia, Uruguay or US Virgin Islands after 4am Saturday 19 December, you will need to self-isolate. If you arrived in England from Namibia, Uruguay or US Virgin Islands before 4am Saturday 19 December, you may not need to self-isolate. Read the rules about when you need to self-isolate and for how long.
The Canary Islands were removed from the exempt list at 4am Saturday 12 December. If you arrive in England from the Canary Islands after 4am Saturday 12 December, you will need to self-isolate. If you arrived in England from the Canary Islands before 4am Saturday 12 December, you may not need to self-isolate. Read the rules about when you need to self-isolate and for how long.
6. Territories added to the travel corridor list
Botswana and Saudi Arabia were added to the exempt list at 4am Saturday 12 December. If you arrive in England from Botswana or Saudi Arabia after 4am Saturday 12 December, you may not need to self-isolate. Read the rules about when you need to self-isolate and for how long. If you arrived in England from Botswana or Saudi Arabia before 4am Saturday 12 December, you will need to self-isolate.
The list may change over time. The most recent version can be found here
7. Passenger locator form
You should complete the form before you enter 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, territories and regions. It applies to UK residents and visitors. You can complete it any time in the 48 hour period before you are due to arrive in the UK.
Make sure you leave yourself enough time to complete it. If you do not complete the form before you arrive in the UK, it might take you longer to enter the UK. The form is an online form. You will need an internet connection and details of your journey to complete it. Failure to complete the form is a criminal offence.
People on domestic flights and people arriving from Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands don’t have to complete the form. There are also a small number of people who don’t have to complete the form because of the jobs they do.
8. Transit stops
A transit stop is a stop where passengers can get on or off. It can apply to coaches, ferries, trains or flights. Your ticket should show if a stop is a transit stop.
If your journey involves a transit stop in a country not on the list, you will need to self-isolate when you arrive in England if:
- new passengers get on
- you or other passengers get off the transport you are on and mix with other people, then get on again
You don’t need to self-isolate beyond normal timescales if, during your transit stop in a non-exempt country:
- no new passengers get on
- no-one on-board gets off and mixes with people outside
- passengers get off but do not get back on
9. Private vehicles
You don’t need to self-isolate if you travel through a non-exempt country and you don’t stop in the country.
If you do make a stop, you don’t need to self-isolate if:
- no new people get into the vehicle
- no-one in the vehicle gets out, mixes with other people, and gets in again
You do need to self-isolate if you make a stop and:
- new people get into the vehicle, or
- someone gets out of the vehicle, mixes with other people and gets in again