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What Are the Latest UK Travel Restrictions?

on Friday, 22 January 2021.

Following concerns about new coronavirus (COVID-19) variants, the Government has made a series of changes to the measures they have put in place in relation to travellers to the UK.

As of 4am on Monday 18 January 2021 the following restrictions are in place:

  • all travel corridors have now been suspended
  • anyone who arrives in England from anywhere outside the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man will need to self-isolate for 10 days, including UK citizens
  • anyone travelling to England must have proof of a negative coronavirus test taken in the three days before the journey to England commenced
  • all travellers to the UK must have with them a completed passenger locator form

Travellers who do not have a valid negative test result may be prevented from travelling. Additionally, anyone who arrives in England without proof of a negative test result may be fined £500.

This is in addition to the travel ban in place for certain countries, including

  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Mauritius
  • Portugal
  • South Africa
  • Zimbabwe

People who have been in or transited through the list of banned countries in the 10 days before they are due to arrive in the UK will not be permitted to enter the UK. This exclusion does not include British and Irish Nationals, or anyone with residence rights in the UK, who will be able to enter the UK but will still be required to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival.

Coronavirus guidance employers


Some travellers to the UK are exempt from the requirements to take a coronavirus test or fill in a passenger locator form or self-isolate on arrival in the UK because of the jobs they do.

Jobs removed from the exemption list

The jobs listed below are no longer on the list of exempt jobs:

  • advertising productions
  • business directors bringing jobs and investment to the UK
  • journalists
  • National Lottery
  • performing arts professionals
  • television production
  • high-end television production and film
  • ornamental horticulture workers

Jobs on the exemption list

The list of jobs that continue to be exempt is extensive, but are mostly concerned with maintaining essential infrastructure and services in the UK. Even where a job is exempt, the traveller may still need to complete passenger locator forms or have a negative coronavirus test before travelling.

The current list of exemptions includes:

  • aircraft pilots and crew
  • elite sportspersons
  • people who live outside the UK but work in the UK and travel between their country of residence and the UK at least once a week
  • drivers of good vehicles

There are also some general exemptions from the requirement to provide a negative coronavirus test:

  • those travelling solely within the UK, Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey, from Ireland or from Ascension, Falkland Islands or St Helena
  • children under the age of 11
  • individuals travelling to the UK for urgent medical reasons
  • travellers from countries where they cannot access testing facilities

Employers should ensure that employees who are travelling are aware of the new restrictions and ensure that the correct steps are carried out before they start their journey to the UK.

For more information on how the Coronavirus pandemic is affecting the UK immigration system, please contact Tom Brett Young in our Immigration Law team on 07393 148 352 or complete the form below.

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