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UK imposes new travel restriction for international arrivals

LIFESTYLE

Delightful Heathrow Airport via pixy.org

This Friday, for international arrivals to England, including UK nationals, it will be mandatory to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test carried out no more than 3 days before departure. This measure will apply from 4 am GMT on Friday 15 January for all inbound passengers to Englanand is in addition to already established travel protocols, including the completed 'Passenger locator form'. 

Passengers arriving by ship, plane or train will have to take a test up to 3 days before departure and provide evidence of a negative result before they travel.

This is an additional requirement that applies to passengers from all destinations, including those travelling from a ‘travel corridor’ country.

This measure is in addition to the need for you to complete a passenger locater form (link below) and to self-isolate for up to 10 days upon arrival. You may also be eligible for Test and Release, allowing you to leave self-isolation after 5 days if you test negative again for COVID-19.

The current advice for those across the UK is to stay at home and not travel abroad unless it is for a permitted exempt reason. The requirements apply equally to visitors from other states and British Nationals, and carriers may deny boarding if passengers are not in receipt of a qualifying negative test.

Further guidance will be provided on what to look for to assure tests and the results provided meet the standards required. We will share this information as soon as it is available. Transport operators will check that you have proof of a negative test before departure. Border Force will also conduct further checks upon arrival and fines of £500 may be imposed for noncompliance.

If British Nationals test positive for COVID-19 while abroad they should not travel and should follow the local relevant guidance on self-isolation.

Transport operators will be required to check that a passenger has proof of a negative test result before they board their flight, train or ferry, and may deny boarding where appropriate to reduce numbers of non-compliant individuals arriving in England. Border Force will also conduct further checks upon arrival.

If a passenger arrives in England without a pre-departure negative test result they will be fined. The International Travel Regulations will be altered so that fines, starting at £500, can also be levied on non-compliant passengers. Operators will also be fined for transporting non-compliant passengers.

Exemptions:

Passengers travelling to England from the Common Travel Area (the United Kingdom, Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey), will not be in the scope of the regulations.

Children under the age of 11 will be exempt from the new regulation, as will hauliers in order to maintain the movement of essential goods.

Certain limited reasonable excuses for not undergoing testing will also be permitted, for example, lack of testing infrastructure in the departure country. This will apply to 3 overseas territories – St Helena, Ascension Island and the Falklands.

These measures are likely to be in place until the end of the current lockdown, although a review will take place before the end of that period.

Useful links:

The full announcement of this new regulation here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/international-travel-update-11-january-2021

To complete a passenger locator form, see here:

https://www.gov.uk/provide-journey-contact-details-before-travel-uk

For full information on self-isolation upon arrival, see here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-how-to-self-isolate-when-you-travel-to-the-uk

For full information on Test and Release, see here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-test-to-release-for-international-travel