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Coronavirus - if you enter the UK from abroad

Mae’r cyngor hwn yn berthnasol i Cymru

The government have made rules to reduce the chance of people bringing coronavirus into the UK. You have to follow the rules if you arrive in the UK or if you’re coming back to the UK after spending time abroad.

Some rules might not apply to you if you’re travelling for work - check if you have to follow the special rules if you’re travelling for work on the Welsh government website.

You won't have to follow the coronavirus rules if you’re coming to the UK from Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man unless you travelled from somewhere else in the last 10 days.

Check which rules you have to follow

The rules you have to follow depend on whether you’ve been in any countries on the government’s ‘red list’ in the last 10 days. Check which countries are on the red list on GOV.UK.

If you haven’t been to any countries on the red list, the rules you have to follow also depend on whether you’re fully vaccinated.

You’re fully vaccinated if you’ve had 2 doses of a coronavirus vaccine and at least 14 days have passed since you got the second dose. If you had any doses outside the UK, check if you count as fully vaccinated on GOV.UK.

If you’re under 18

You’re should follow the rules for fully vaccinated people if you live in either:

  • the UK

You’ll need an official document to prove you’re fully vaccinated, for example:

  • a British Overseas Territories government letter saying you’ve been fully vaccinated
  • an EU COVID Certificate 
  • a CDC Vaccination Record Card - you’ll also need proof you live in the United States, for example a passport, visa or Green Card

If you’ve got a different type of document, check the rules about how to prove you’re fully vaccinated on GOV.UK.

If you haven't been to any countries on the red list

If you’re fully vaccinated, you must do both of the following:

  • fill in a form on GOV.UK with details of where you’ll stay in the UK for 10 days after you arrive
  • book a coronavirus test to take on day 2 after you arrive - children under 5 years old don’t need to take a test

If you’re not fully vaccinated

You must do all of the following:

  • fill in a form on GOV.UK with details of where you’ll stay in the UK for 10 days after you arrive
  • get tested for coronavirus in the 3 days before you start your journey to the UK - children under 11 years old don’t need to take a test
  • book coronavirus tests to take on days 2 and 8 after you arrive - children under 5 years old don’t need to take the tests
  • stay at the address you put on the form for 10 days after you arrive - this is called 'self-isolating' or 'quarantine'

If you’ve been to a country on the red list

You can only enter the UK if you normally live here. You’ll only be allowed to arrive at certain airports in England and Scotland. The rules are the same whether you’re vaccinated or not.

You can:

If you’re allowed to enter the UK

You must do all of the following: 

  • fill in a form on GOV.UK
  • get tested for coronavirus in the 3 days before you start your journey to the UK - children under 11 years old don’t need to take a test
  • book coronavirus tests to take on days 2 and 8 after you arrive - children under 5 years old don’t need to take the tests
  • stay in a hotel for 10 days after you arrive - this is called 'quarantine'

Filling in the form 

You must fill in the form on GOV.UK with details of the address where you’ll be staying in the UK. Fill in the form before you travel – you can fill it in a maximum of 48 hours before you arrive in the UK. 

If you’re an adult you must fill in your own form but you can fill it in for a child.

When you complete the form you’ll get an email confirmation to print or show on your phone. You’ll need to show the confirmation to both:

  • your travel provider 
  • immigration officials when you arrive in the UK

If you don’t fill in the form, you might get a fine of up to £100 – the fine can be up to £3,200 if you give the wrong address. If you’re not a British or Irish citizen, you might not be allowed into the UK.

If you give the wrong information about where you've travelled

You could go to prison for up to 10 years if you don't mention you've been to a red list country. 

Getting tested before you start your journey

You must get tested for coronavirus in the 3 days before you start your journey to the UK if either:

  • you’ve been in a country on the red list in the last 10 days
  • you’re not fully vaccinated

The test can be a PCR or lateral flow test. You can check the difference between a PCR test and a lateral flow test on the NHS website

Any test you take must meet the minimum standard set by the government. You can check what coronavirus tests are allowed on GOV.UK.

Some people don’t have to take a coronavirus test before entering the UK - for example children under 11 years old. You can check if you don’t need to take a coronavirus test on the Welsh government website.

You must show your negative test certificate both when: 

  • you board a flight, boat or train to the UK
  • you first arrive in the UK 

Your test result can be in paper form or digital form - for example, on your mobile phone.

Booking tests for when you arrive in the UK

Before you travel to the UK, you’ll need to book a test for day 2 after you arrive in the UK.

You’ll also need to book a second test for day 8 after you arrive in the UK if either:

  • you’ve been in a country on the red list in the last 10 days
  • you’re not fully vaccinated

Children under 5 years old don’t need to take any tests.

If a test shows you have coronavirus you’ll have to quarantine until 10 days after your positive test. 

You can find organisations you can book tests with on GOV.UK.

If you don’t follow the rules about testing, you might be fined and not be allowed to enter the UK.

If you’ll be in the UK for less than 10 days

You must still book your coronavirus tests, even if the date of your tests is later than the date you're planning to leave the UK. You'll only need to take the tests if you stay longer in the UK and you're here for the date of your tests.

If you recently had coronavirus

If you don’t have any coronavirus symptoms you should use a lateral flow test instead of a PCR test. Lateral flow tests are less likely to give a positive result if you’ve recently had coronavirus.

Going into quarantine for 10 days

You’ll need to go into quarantine if one of the following applies:

  • you’ve been in a country on the red list in the last 10 days
  • you’re not fully vaccinated
  • you test positive for coronavirus in the 10 days after you arrive in the UK

If you’ll be in the UK for less than 10 days, you’ll need to follow the quarantine rules for the whole of your stay.

If you’ve been in a country on the red list, you’ll normally have to stay at a quarantine hotel for 10 days after you arrive. This is sometimes called ‘managed quarantine’. You can find out more about staying in a quarantine hotel on GOV.UK.

If you haven't been in a country on the red list, you'll have to stay at the address you put on the form. You’ll have to stay inside for 10 days after you either:

  • arrive in the UK
  • test positive

If you have to stay at the address you put on the form

When you arrive in the UK you should go straight to the place you’re staying to quarantine. You can use public transport if you have no other way of getting there. 

You can only leave for certain reasons, including:

  • getting basic things like food, medicine or pet supplies – if you can’t get them delivered
  • taking or posting a coronavirus test
  • getting medical help – if it’s urgent or your doctor has told you to get help
  • going to the funeral of a close relative
  • if there’s an emergency – for example if it’s not safe to stay inside

You must not meet anyone except the people you’re staying with.

The people you’re staying with don’t need to quarantine, unless:

  • they travelled with you
  • you or someone you’re staying with have coronavirus symptoms
  • you get a positive coronavirus test result while you’re in quarantine

If any of these things apply, the people staying with you must quarantine with you. They have to follow the same rules for the same length of time as you.

You might get phone calls from the NHS to check you’re following quarantine rules. They might also visit your address. You can find out more about quarantine checks on GOV.UK.

If you don’t self-isolate, you might get a £1,000 fine.

If you need to move to a different address in the 10 days, you must fill in a new form on GOV.UK.

You can check the rules on self-isolation on the Welsh government.

Reducing your self-isolation period to 5 days

If you haven't been to any countries on the red list and you have to self-isolate, you can stop after 5 days if you pay for a private test to show you don't have coronavirus. The test has to be from a provider that's approved by the government.

You can find out how to get a test to reduce your self-isolation period on GOV.UK.

If you’re struggling to pay

You might be able to get help from the government to pay for:

  • tests
  • staying in a hotel - this is sometimes called ‘managed quarantine’

You can only get help if your travel was essential - for example if it was for work or to visit a family member who was very ill.

Check if you can get help to pay and how to apply on GOV.UK.

If you can’t go to work because of quarantine

If you’re self-employed, you might be able to get a payment from the government – check what help you can get if you’re self-employed.

If you’re employed, talk to your employer about what you can do while you're in quarantine. Ask them if you can:

  • work from home
  • take annual or unpaid leave

If you have to take unpaid leave, check if you can get Employment and Support Allowance

You can’t get statutory sick pay or a self-isolation payment for being in quarantine. You might be able to get them for other reasons – for example if you test positive for coronavirus and have to self isolate.

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