What do I need to know before I travel?
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COVID-19: Health Considerations for Travel

Introduction

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to impact international travel. Many countries continue to have border restrictions and entry requirements in place for international travellers in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and its variants.

  • Countries can lift or implement travel bans or quarantine measures to curtail the spread of COVID-19 at short notice and this may impact planned travel.
  • You must comply with local public health authority guidelines in the country that you are visiting.

Before booking your trip you should read all the information on this page and consider the steps you need to take before, during and after travelling abroad in relation to COVID-19.

For additional information, see the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Frequently Asked Questions page.

Before Travel

You should carefully review and follow all of the guidance below if you are planning to travel internationally.

  • be aware that guidance is updated regularly and can change between booking or planning your trip, and your departure

1. Read the FCDO foreign travel guidance

The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) provides the latest official travel information on the COVID-19 entry requirements for every country.

You must check the entry requirements section of the FCDO country page you are travelling to.

  • Some countries may refuse entry to travellers from the UK if the levels of COVID-19 are high in the UK.
  • The FCDO may advise you to avoid travel to a country if the level of COVID-19 there is high.

The FCDO country page will help you decide if you need to do any of the following to travel to that country:

  • provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test before you travel
    • you will need to use a private healthcare provider of coronavirus (COVID-19) testing
    • COVID-19 testing for the purposes of international travel is not available on the NHS
  • provide proof of recent or past COVID-19 infection
    • 'fit to fly' or 'COVID-19 clearance' certificates for international travel are not available on the NHS
    • further information is available in the FAQs
  • provide proof of your COVID-19 vaccination status 
  • quarantine on arrival at your destination
  • complete additional documentation prior to your arrival
  • provide evidence of having valid travel insurance

2. Check your Risk of Exposure to Coronavirus (COVID-19) at your destination

The 'Alerts' section of all fitfortravel country pages will highlight the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the country, including if this is a high risk. The 'News' section will highlight if there has been significant case increases or outbreaks and/or emerging or known variants of coronavirus (COVID-19) in a country. 

Prior to booking any travel:

3: Consider other health issues

To reduce your risk of requiring medical care abroad, ensure that you:

  • are up to date with any recommended travel vaccines
  • have antimalarial tablets if required
  • are in good health before you travel

You can review the relevant fitfortravel country page for up to date travel health recommendations, advice on health risks to be aware of at your destination, and to check if you may need to consider vaccines or antimalarial tablets before you travel.

You should not travel if you are feeling unwell. Even if your symptoms are not related to COVID-19, you will increase your risk of being denied boarding or being quarantined if your illness is detected at entry or exit screening at airports, during your flight, or when crossing borders.

4: Make sure your travel insurance will cover your trip

Travel insurance is essential. You should always check your policy for exclusions as some may not cover claims related to COVID-19.

  • If the FCDO advise against travel to a country and you continue with your trip, your travel insurance may become invalid.
  • Contact your travel insurance provider if you have specific questions around what your policy covers.

During Travel

Check with your travel agent or travel company ahead of planned travel what physical distancing and precautionary hygiene measures have been implemented, and consider how these will affect you.

  • Expect delays and allow extra time for travel.
  • Be prepared to queue or take different routes in and around stations and airports to comply with physical distancing measures.

Make sure you plan ahead for your trip and consider packing plenty of snacks, particularly if you are travelling with children, or have any medical conditions such as diabetes.

  • Shops and restaurants in airports and transport hubs may not be operating as normal, or may have restrictions in place.
  • Food and drinks may need to be pre-ordered or may be unavailable to purchase on board aircraft or other public transport during your trip.

After Travel

Review the guidance you will need to follow for when you return to the UK

Check the UK Border Force rules for entering the UK from abroad.

Check and follow the rules for the UK country which you arrive in, or live in if this is different.

UK COVID-19 restrictions

Once back in the UK, you should follow the latest local COVID-19 rules for Scotland, England, Northern Ireland or Wales.

If you develop any symptoms compatible with COVID-19 you should follow the latest guidance for Scotland, England, Wales or Northern Ireland.

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