Covid-19 Updates

last updated 05 Apr 2021

United Kingdom Covid-19 Regulations

  1. Entry Restrictions

Travelers who have been to or transited through any of the following countries on the banned travel list in the past 10 days are not allowed to enter or transit the United Kingdom:

  • Angola, Argentina, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Congo (Dem. Rep.), Ecuador, Eswatini, Ethiopia, French Guyana, Guyana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Oman, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Qatar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Suriname, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia or Zimbabwe
  • It is expected that Bangladesh, Kenya, Pakistan and the Philippines will be added to the list on 9 April.

This entry ban does not apply to British nationals, Irish nationals and residents of the United Kingdom.

Travelers with a recent travel history to one or more of the countries on the banned travel list must arrive in the UK at one of the designated ports of entry in either England (Heathrow, Gatwick, London City Airport, Birmingham, Farnborough) and Scotland (Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen).

All travelers arriving in the United Kingdom from overseas, including passengers in transit, are required to complete the public health passenger locator form within 48 hours before they enter the UK, with the exception of passengers arriving from Ireland, the Isle of Man and Channel Islands (the Common Travel Area) who have only been in the Common Travel Area during the past 14 days. It is a criminal offence to provide false or deliberately misleading information when filling out the passenger locator form. Passengers could be fined up to £10,000, imprisoned for up to 10 years, or both, if they do not provide accurate details about the countries they have visited in the 10 days before arrival in the UK.

Passengers entering or transiting through the United Kingdom must possess a certificate showing a negative COVID-19 test taken within 3 days prior to the departure of the last direct flight to the UK. Accepted COVID-19 tests include antigen, LAMP, nucleic acid and PCR tests. The following travelers are exempt from the negative COVID-19 test requirement:

  • Children below the age of 11;
  • Passengers arriving from Ireland;
  • Merchant seamen

Flights to the UK from Ethiopia, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are currently suspended until further notice.

2. Quarantine/Self-Isolation Requirements

All passengers arriving in the UK are required to quarantine or self-isolate for a period of 10 days, with the exception of passengers arriving from within the Common Travel Area (including Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man). Passengers who are subject to the quarantine/self-isolation requirement must do so either at their home/accommodation of choice or a managed quarantine hotel. The location for the quarantine/self-isolation will depend on a passenger’s travel history to countries on the banned travel list as well as the destination in the UK.

For passengers arriving in England, only those who have either visited or transited through country that is on the banned travel list must quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel. These passengers must present a pre-booked quarantine package for 11 nights at a managed quarantine hotel. On the other hand, all passengers arriving directly in Scotland from outside the Common Travel Area must complete the quarantine at a managed quarantine hotel.

Additionally, all passengers are subject to two COVID-19 tests that need to be taken on Day 2 and Day 8 after arrival. The two mandatory, post-arrival COVID-19 tests must be booked prior to the departure to the UK. In addition to these two tests, passengers who are permitted to self-isolate may schedule a COVID-19 test after 5 days of their arrival in England under the Test to Release scheme, provided that they did not have a travel history to a country on the banned travel list (passengers may stop self-isolating as soon as the negative test result is returned). The Test to Release Scheme is not available to those travelling to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

There are limited exemptions from the quarantine and testing requirements, please see the relevant information for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Please note that managed quarantine and mandatory post-arrival testing for direct international arrivals into Northern Ireland are currently not available but will soon be introduced. Until then, anyone intending to travel directly, or via another country, to Northern Ireland from outside the Common Travel Area, including British and Irish nationals returning home, must:

  • provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to three days before departure
  • provide your journey and contact details by completing the public health passenger locator form
  • self-isolate for 10 days

3. Impact on Work/Residence Permit Processing

Employers are able to assign Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) for foreign employees or can request new CoS allocations from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). But please note that processing times of some requests submitted to the UKVI can be delayed.

The UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVACS) offices in the United Kingdom remain open and continue to issue new appointments each day 28 days in advance. Individuals who have previously submitted biometrics to the UKVI are able to submit their applications through the UKVI Identity Verification (IDV) app and will not need to schedule a separate appointment with an UKVACS office.

UK Visa Application Centers worldwide could be affected by local COVID-19 restrictions in the respective countries and could close to the public with little notice. Therefore, travelers who plan to submit their UK visa applications are strongly advised to ensure that their UK Visa Application Centers continues to accept visa applications. Travelers can find their UK visa application centers here.

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Robin Paulino


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