How to travel to the UK safely during Covid-19

How to travel to the UK safely during Covid-19

This article was updated by the Great British Mag editorial team on 3 March 2021.

If you intend to travel to the UK you will need to self-isolate and follow a host of strict travel restrictions. In this article we explain what they are and how best to navigate them. 

Do your research

Be aware that the rules vary in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England and you should familiarise yourself with the local rules as well as any national restrictions, the best way to do this is to get the most up to date information from the UK Government website.

Keep up to date with travel restrictions

If you intend to travel to the UK from abroad you must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to 3 days before departure. If you do not comply (and you do not have a valid exemption) your airline or carrier may refuse you boarding and/or you may be fined on arrival.

Before you enter the UK you must provide your journey and contact details. You must self-isolate when you enter the UK from any foreign country except Ireland, unless you have a valid exemption.

When you enter England from abroad (except Ireland), you must follow the  requirements for quarantining and taking additional COVID-19 tests. 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.

You will be able to take a private Covid-19 test to see if you can end self-isolation early under the test to release scheme.

This option is only available in England after you have self-isolated for six days. The test costs between £65 and £120 and results will be back within 24 to 48 hours. If the results are negative you can stop self-isolating.

How to get to your accommodation safely

You must travel straight to the place you will be self-isolating and if possible avoid public transport. If you are travelling from one of the countries on the banned travel list you must quarantine in a hotel.  If you have to use public transport wear a face mask (unless you are exempt for health reasons) and stay 2 metres apart from other people.

If you have a long onward journey from the airport to your accommodation. You can stop overnight in accommodation that allows you to self-isolate, such as a hotel. If you do stay in a hotel then you need to add this onto the passenger locator form and you will need to check that your stopover is permitted under the local restrictions.

How to self-isolate correctly

You should self-isolate in one place for the full self-isolation period and it must be the address you put on the passenger locator form. You should not socialise with people you are living with and not leave the property for any reason, including buying food, for exercise or to walk a dog.

If you do not have anyone that can help you. Contact the NHS Volunteer Responders on 0808 196 3646, between 8am to 8pm. They will be able to help you with things like food shopping, picking up medication or taking your dog for a walk.

What to do if you develop symptoms of Covid-19 after arriving in the UK

If you develop symptoms after arriving in the UK get tested as soon as possible. You might be able to get a test posted to you, through your university or by visiting a test centre free of charge.

If the test is positive you will need to self-isolate for 10 days and follow all instructions given to you and inform your university as well as people you have been in contact with. You may also be contacted by the National Health Service (NHS) who will want to know who you have been in contact with and ask you about your symptoms.

What can happen if you do not self-isolate

Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England all have different rules. For example in England if you do not self-isolate, you can receive a fixed penalty notice of £1,000 for a first offence, £2,000 for a second offence, £4,000 for a third offence and then £10,000 for each repeat offence.

You can also be fined up to £3,200 if you move from the accommodation where you’re self-isolating to another place to continue self-isolating and do not update your passenger contact form.

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