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Coronavirus (COVID-19) UK: Advice for essential travel

Coronavirus (COVID-19) UK: Travel Advice

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) is now a global pandemic. It has a foothold in the UK and to help prevent the growth and spread, we are advised against all non essential travel for the next 30 days.

As I write this, I am increasingly aware that new updates from across the globe come in every few minutes. Our government are updating steps and advice daily. However, at the time in which this article has gone live, our information and travel advice is correct and inline with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and World Health Organization (WHO).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) UK: FCO advise against all but essential travel for 30 days

The announcement was made by the FCO on the 17th March 2020. Effective immediately, this takes us to the 16th April. If you wish to move internationally, please get in touch as soon as possible. Please also be sure to keep up to date with the latest coronavirus developments. Below is the most recent and up to date information on our most popular destinations. We can help those wishing to return to the UK. However, you do need to take into account the fast-moving situation and act urgently. Please also allow extra time at airports incase further checks are put into place.


From 21.00 (Australia Eastern Daylight Time) on 20th March, all travellers will be stopped from entering Australia except from Australian citizens or permanent residents. British nationals who are permanent residents and are currently outside of Australia will be required to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival in Australia.


On the 19th March the country introduced a nationwide quarantine to last from midnight on the 19th to midnight on the 31st March. During this time, people will only be able to leave their homes for necessities such as food and medicine. Anyone found outside without justification will be charged with committing a public health crime. British nationals should comply with new restrictions or follow FCO encouragement to return to the UK to avoid future difficulties if flights out of the country and region become further restricted.


Extensive restrictions are in place throughout Austria, affecting everyday life and severely restricting travel between Austria and the UK or neighbouring countries. British nationals are advised to follow the advice of Austrian authorities. If you wish to leave the country, make arrangements as soon as possible.


The Brazilian Government have made a new announcement in their efforts to halt the spread of Coronavirus. From 00.00 Monday 23rd March, all foreign passengers from a variety of countries (UK included) will be denied entry. This is to last for a period of 30 days. Terrestrial borders with neighbouring countries have been closed for 15 days to all except Brazilian citizens and resident foreign nationals. International flights have reduced and may reduce further. Travel advice for those wishing to return home is to make arrangements as soon as possible.


Canadian authorities are now barring entry to most foreign nationals. The new travel restrictions are likely to affect commercial flight schedules between the UK and Canada. It is recommended that British travellers wishing to leave make appropriate arrangements as soon as is possible. All international flights are directed to only Toronto Pearson, Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Calgary International Airport and Vancouver International Airport to allow for enhanced Coronavirus screening.


Chinese authorities continue to impose various control and quarantine measures across the country. Since 31st January, some staff from the British Embassy and Consulates have been withdrawn. Essential staff remain to continue critical work. British Consulates-General in Shanghai and Guangzhou will – for the immediate future – continue to provide essential travel documentary services to British nationals wishing to leave China. Face to face assistance is currently limited and will be further limited if the situation deteriorates further. The FCO advise against ALL travel to Hubei Province. Note that international flights face disruption with increasingly vigilant Coronavirus screening. Any passengers failing health checks and those seated close to those who fail are required to undergo 14 days quarantine before any onward travel.


It is recommended that British nationals wishing to leave Denmark do so as soon as possible. There are currently limited commercial means of leaving Denmark by air to return to the UK. Advice is to seek assistance and guidance from a travel provider as soon as is possible.


The French Government announced new measures that took place from midday 17th March, restricting all travel except necessary journeys for food, exercise, medicine, urgent family reasons or to work where working from home is not possible. All journeys need to be declared for. The availability of transport from France to the UK is subject to change. Cross-channel trains and ferry services are operating a reducing service. Flights to the UK continue, however an increasing amount of airlines are announcing cancellations. The availability of transport may reduce further. Therefore advice is that British nationals in France who wish to return, make travel arrangements as soon as is possible.


Germany has intensified border controls at airports and land borders. Unless travellers are residents in Germany, can demonstrate a compelling reason for their travel to the country, or are border workers, entry will be refused. If you intend to travel to Germany, check with your travel provider and ensure you have enough justifiable documents to validate your reason for entry. British citizens may still be able to enter Germany in order to transit to the UK, but proof of onward travel will be essential. Note that the situation is changing quickly and border police in some regions may have a stricter approach. There are reduced commercial means of leaving Germany so if you are a British national wishing to leave please contact a travel provider immediately for guidance. Those remaining in the country must adhere to the Governments latest restrictions on movement and gatherings.


The Hong Kong SAR Government has implemented a range of Coronavirus quarantine measures. Exact arrangements of quarantine vary depending on where you have been to and when. From 12.01 local time on Thursday 19th March, measures will escalate further and include those travelling from the UK. Coronavirus measures will include a compulsory 14 day quarantine from which you will be unable to leave Hong Kong. 


In further restrictions to curb the spread of Coronavirus no international commercial flights are allowed to land in India from 22nd March for one week. Additionally, the Indian government have announced lockdowns in affected areas from the 23rd March for one week. This will cause disruption to transport and services and non essential travel is advised. If you are a British national in India, wishing to return home, you are strongly encouraged to get in touch with a travel provider to arrange a journey to the UK. Some flights have already been cancelled and significantly fewer flights between India and the UK are expected in the coming weeks. 


Italian authorities have advised against travel for tourism purposes throughout Italy. Tourists already in the country should limit their movements to those necessary. People arriving in Italy from abroad are obliged to self-isolate for 14 days, even if showing no symptoms. They should also report promptly to local health authorities. It is recommended that British nationals wishing to leave Italy contact a travel provider as soon as possible. Many carriers have now ceased operating flights between Italy and the UK, although there is some repatriation assistance. Review ‘FRANCE’ advice for those travelling back to the UK by land via the French border. Domestic and international trains and buses are operating reduced services, although some neighbouring countries are restricting people entering from Italy.


From 00.01 (Japan Standard Time) on 21st March, Japan will suspend the visa waiver system for anyone travelling on a British passport until the end of April, meaning you will not be able to enter Japan as a visitor without a visa. All passengers departing the UK after 15.01 GMT on 20th March en route to Japan are required to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival. Those who want to return to the UK soon should take into account the fast moving situation and plan accordingly.


The FCO advise against all but essential travel to certain areas of Kenya, these can be viewed here. Kenyan authorities are restricting non-citizens and resident permit holders from entering Kenya if they have come from countries affected by COVID-19, including the UK. These measures have been effective since the 17th March. Airline schedules between Nairobi and the UK have been under constant review. From the 25th March all international flights to and from Kenya will be suspended. British nationals should contact their travel provider for the latest information.


Dutch authorities announced further precautionary measures on the 15th March, and the situation is rapidly changing. It is recommended that UK nationals who wish to leave check the most recent updates with their travel provider.


From 23rd March at 23.59 local time, no short-term visitors from anywhere in the world will be able to enter or transit through Singapore. The number of international flights out of Singapore is likely to reduce in the coming weeks, possibly at short notice, due to the tightening of borders. Therefore those wishing to return to the UK may wish to make arrangements as soon as possible.


South African authorities are restricting entry to all foreign nationals travelling from various countries affected by the virus, including the UK. As of the 18th March, new measures mean that British nationals must apply for a visa prior to travel. Those currently in South Africa having received a stamp on arrival allowing them to stay for 90 days need not apply. British nationals wishing to leave the country are able to do so and should contact their travel provider as soon as they can.


Those wishing to leave Switzerland should contact their travel provider as soon as possible. ‘Extraordinary measures’ from the Swiss government are effective from the 17th March until at least the 19th April, meaning that only essential food stores, pharmacies, transport and health facilities remain open. Flights to Switzerland are subject to controls and inspections. Entry into Switzerland via flights from the UK, Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain and non-Schengen countries will only be possible for Swiss citizens, residents, cross border workers, those transiting with an onward ticket within the same day and those with ‘compelling reasons’. 


With effect from the 19th March, only UAE citizens will be able to enter the UAE. All UAE residents currently abroad will be unable to re-enter the UAE for a period of at least two weeks. This may be extended. Until further notice no visitors are allowed to enter the UAE. If you are transiting through the UAE to another destination, please check the latest updates with your provider before travelling. A reduced airline service to and from the UAE may be completely suspended at short notice.

▪️ USA

The US authorities announced on the 14th March that travel restrictions imposed previously on Schengen zone countries would now be extended to the UK. From 23.49 (Eastern Daylight Time) on the 16th March, it will not be possible for many British nationals to enter the USA. US citizens and permanent residents of the USA, their close family members and certain other limited categories of visa holders are exempt but may be asked to self-isolate for up to 14 days upon arrival.

Wish to return to the UK amid the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic? Act urgently!

Your Travel Corporate can help.  Contact us on    

☎️ 0203 805 4599     📧
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) UK: Travel Advice

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