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Coronavirus - if you enter the UK from abroad

This advice applies to England

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 GOV.UK.

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

  • the UK

If you’ve been in a country on the red list in the last 10 days

You’ll have to stay in a hotel for 10 days after you arrive - this is called a ‘quarantine hotel’. You won’t be allowed to leave the quarantine hotel for your whole stay.  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

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

If you're not fully vaccinated, you’ll also need to book a second test for day 8 after you arrive in the UK.

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

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’re fully vaccinated

You must:

  • 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
  • self-isolate until you get a negative coronavirus test result

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

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

  • an NHS COVID Pass - check how to get an NHS COVID Pass on GOV.UK
  • 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’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 
  • self-isolate for 10 days after you arrive 

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 GOV.UK.

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.

Check if you have to self-isolate

You’ll need to self-isolate at the address you put on the form until you get a negative test result - it doesn’t matter if you’re vaccinated or not.

You’ll need to self-isolate for longer if:

  • you’re not fully vaccinated - you’ll need to quarantine for 10 days after you arrive in the UK
  • you test positive for coronavirus in the 10 days after you arrive in the UK - you’ll need to quarantine for 10 days after you test positive

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.

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 GOV.UK.

Reducing your self-isolation period to 5 days

You can stop self-isolating 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 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

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’re struggling to pay for tests

You might be able to get help from the government.

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.

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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