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Updated UK COVID-19 travel restrictions and implications for businesses and employers

By 1st March 2021 March 12th, 2021 No Comments

The UK is still in Lockdown

The UK is still in a national lockdown, and many businesses and employers have been advising their employees to work from home where possible. However, allowing employees to work from other countries while employed in the UK could bring potential employment, tax, and social security issues. Under certain circumstances, employees are still required to travel to the UK for work reasons. Therefore, it is critical everyone follows the latest UK government’s COVID-19 travel advice.

From 15 February 2021, all international passengers must follow the new COVID-19 travel restrictions when entering the UK.

Entering the UK

Here is a summary of what you need to note before travelling to England. Please check the government’s travel advice if you are entering Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland, as different restrictions will apply.

Depending on the place of your departure, you must either quarantine at your accommodation or a government-managed hotel.

covid-19 travel ban infomatic

Before you travel:

  1. Take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours before your departure time. You will need to show evidence of your negative COVID-19 test result upon your arrival to England and likely before you board your plane or train. This rule applies to everyone travelling to England, regardless of your nationality and the country you are travelling through or from.
  2. Book and pay for a travel test package. The cost is £210 for two COVID-19 tests and you will be sent instructions for both tests to your home address or your quarantine address. You need to take the first test on or before day two and send the test by the package provided. You will get live updates to your phone and email address. If you are tested negative, take the second test on or after day eight of your arrival. The travel test package is included in your hotel quarantine package for people who need to stay in a government-managed hotel.
  3. Fill in a passenger locator form up to 48 hours before your arrival. You will need to show the completed form at the UK border and, under some circumstances, before you board your plane or train. It is important to complete the passenger locator form before you check-in, as some airlines may refuse to board if passengers cannot present a completed form. You will need to include on the form a booking reference number for your travel test package and/or (if required your hotel quarantine booking.

Upon your arrival

Quarantine for the first 10 days after you enter the UK, unless you travel from Ireland or if you have a valid exemption.

If you are travelling from/through a ‘red list’ country, you must stay at a government-managed hotel.

  • Book and pay for your quarantine hotel package.
  • The cost of a quarantine hotel package is:
    • £1,750 for one adult in 1 room; and
    • Plus £650 for one adult or child aged over 12; and
    • Plus £325 for a child aged 5-12.
  • The package includes two COVID-19 tests, transportation from airports to hotels and food & beverages.

If you are not travelling from/through a ‘red list’ country, you can stay in a safe accommodation to finish your quarantine. This rule applies even if you tested negative before you arrive to England.

  • Take your booked two COVID-19 tests on day two and day eight;
  • You could shorten the quarantine period by taking part in the Test to Release scheme. After five days of your quarantine, you can book a COVID-19 test with one of the private test providers and stop quarantining if your test result is negative. You will still need to compete the second test on day eight from the travel test kit.

Leaving the UK

England is still in a national lockdown; you must stay home and leave only permitted by law. From 8 March 2021, some of the national lockdown restrictions will be changing, but international travel will continue to be restricted unless you have a legally permitted reason to travel. Legally permitted reasons include but not limited to:

  • Work, where it is unreasonable for you to do your job from home;
  • Education, childcare and caring responsibilities;
  • Medical reasons; and
  • Animal welfare reasons.

Before departing from the UK, you must complete an outbound declaration of travel form. You should also check the rules in place at your destination. You need to also check the government guidance on restrictions for entering the UK from that country before your travel to make sure you are following the rules when returning to the UK.

The UK government updates its guidance on COVID-19 travel and national restrictions regularly. We strongly suggest anyone who must travel for legally permitted reasons to check the government’s latest travel advice before your journey.

How can we help?

Taylor Hampton’s immigration solicitors have assisted numerous clients in securing their UK visas. If you need legal assistance with your applications or wish to know more about travel advice to the UK, please contact Taylor Hampton’s immigration today on 020 7427 5972 or submit an enquiry HERE.

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