Coronavirus Travel Advice

Travel Advice: Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Last updated 11th June 2020

Guidance for British people travelling overseas during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.


COVID-19 Exceptional Travel Advisory Notice

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. This advice is being kept under constant review.

Avoid non-essential international travel

You should not travel abroad unless it is essential. We are monitoring the international situation very closely and keeping this advice under continuous review so that it reflects our latest assessment of risks to British people. Find out more about how our travel advice works.

If you have travel plans in the immediate future, follow these steps:

  1. contact your airline, travel company, cruise line or other transport and accommodation providers
  2. get in touch with your insurance provider

If you plan to travel in the weeks and months ahead, keep up-to-date with our travel advice pages and sign up to email alerts for the latest information. You should also keep updated on information from your airline, accommodation provider or tour operator about your booking.

Essential travel

If your travel is essential, see our guidance on international travel.

International freight transport is an essential activity in the context of travel advice. Read the Department for Transport guidance for the freight transport industry.

The FCO was already advising against all but essential travel or all travel to some areas or countries due to risks that do not relate to coronavirus. This advice remains in place. Check FCO travel advice pages for the latest information.

Consular help

We publish all our Travel Advice on GOV.UK. Our consular officers cannot provide any additional information by phone. Read more about the consular support we provide.

If you’re travelling abroad

If you’re currently travelling abroad and you would like to return to the UK, you should:

  1. contact your airline or travel company now
  2. keep up-to-date with our travel advice pages. Our advice on returning to the UK from each country is being updated as information becomes available
  3. for real-time updates, follow our embassy or high commission’s social media for the country you’re in

Getting flights back to the UK

The government is working in partnership with the airline industry to help British people travelling abroad to return to the UK.

If you are in a country where UK-bound flights are still available, book or rebook your flight and return home as soon as possible. Airlines are responsible for getting their passengers with pre-booked tickets home from countries where commercial flights are still operating.

Where commercial flights are not available, you may be eligible for a special charter flight. You should check the ‘Return to the UK’ section of your country’s travel advice page to see if a flight is available. See also our general guide to the booking process for special charter flights.

If there are no commercial or special charter flights for the country you’re in, follow the guidance in the ‘Staying during coronavirus’ section of that country’s travel advice and see our guide to staying where you are if you cannot return home.

If you cannot afford the cost of a flight to return, and have exhausted all other funding options, you may be eligible to apply for an emergency loan from the government:

  • to apply for a loan for a commercial flight, find out who to contact about emergency loans

  • you can request a loan to pay for a special charter flights, when you are asked to pay. See the travel advice ‘Return to the UK’ section for the country you are in

You should also sign up for Travel Advice email alerts, to get our latest advice if the situation changes.

Return travel and your health

It is a personal decision whether to travel back to the UK. You should consider your individual circumstances and the range of information available to you, including travel advice, to decide what is right for you.

If you are concerned about risks to your health, for example you are following UK or local guidance to shield or self-isolate, you may wish to seek professional health advice locally or from your usual doctor in the UK.

Read further advice on avoiding infection during your journey home and preventive measures to take on your return.

When you return to the UK: protect yourself and others

Read the guidance on safer air travel for advice on how to stay safe before and during a flight.

Re-entering the UK

When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK. You must:

See also the list of people who are exempt from the English border rules.

Onward travel

Only use public transport if you have no other option. These pages may help you plan your onward travel:

If you start to have symptoms

For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness. However if you start to have any of these symptoms:

  • continuous cough
  • high temperature
  • loss of or change in your sense of taste or smell

follow the guidance NHS website and arrange to have a test to see if you have coronavirus.

Looking after your mental wellbeing

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Keep in regular contact with the people who usually support you: family, friends and colleagues, especially if you are self-isolating abroad.

Read guidance on how to look after your wellbeing and mental health if you’re abroad during the current coronavirus pandemic.

If you are waiting to return to the UK

If you cannot return to the UK at this time, you should:

  • follow the advice of local authorities, to help minimise your risk of exposure to coronavirus. Your safety and security is the responsibility of the local authority where you are
  • stay in accommodation that’s suitable for your needs and keep in regular contact with family and friends at home
  • keep up-to-date with our travel advice
  • contact your travel insurance provider: the Association of British Insurers says most providers will look to extend single trip cover for up to 60 days if you are making every effort to return home

Read more guidance if you are waiting to return to the UK.

If your visa is running out

Some countries have set up new processes to help foreign nationals extend their visas, and we have negotiated with local authorities in some countries to automatically extend visas if you cannot return. Check the ‘staying during coronavirus’ section of the travel advice for the country you are in and make sure you comply with the local requirements.

If you have immigration enquiries, you need to contact either the local immigration authorities in the country or their UK-based embassy.

Quarantine while you are abroad

If the local authority where you are proposes to quarantine you for your own protection, you should follow their advice.

If there are suspected cases of coronavirus where you are, you may need to remain in your hotel room or accommodation for 14 days, move to quarantine facilities, take tests for coronavirus and, if positive in some cases, be hospitalised abroad.

You should also contact your airline or travel company, and your insurance provider as soon as you can. We only organise assisted departure in exceptional circumstances.

If you live abroad permanently

As a permanent resident overseas, you should consider your own personal circumstances and take into account all of the information available:

  • if you stay, follow the advice of the local authorities where you are. Further information on measures that countries have taken is available in the ‘staying during coronavirus’ sections of our travel advice pages

  • if you wish to return to the UK, you should make arrangements to return now. This includes planning for where you will stay and how you will travel there

We are only advising British people travelling overseas to return because it may be more difficult for them if they cannot get back to the UK.

If you’re concerned about friends or family overseas

If you are concerned about a friend or family member who is currently overseas, you should read our country-specific travel advice and sign up for email alerts.

Latest health advice

See the latest NHS guidance on coronavirus for the current situation in the UK and abroad, and the latest government guidance on coronavirus.

The NaTHNaC provides general advice on preparing for foreign travel and how everyone can reduce the spread of respiratory viruses.