Coronavirus (COVID-19): international travel advice

You should avoid travelling as much as possible in light of the continuing Coronavirus (COVID-19) threat. If you need to travel abroad, keep up-to-date with the latest advice for the country you plan travelling to. You will have to self-isolate on your return.

International travel

Under current Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, you must stay at home.

You must not travel outside the Common Travel Area (UK, Republic of Ireland (ROI), Isle of Man and Channel Islands), unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so.

If you have a permitted reason to travel you should keep up-to-date with the latest advice for the country you plan travelling to and the requirements for your return home.

The information on this page is specific to international travel. Guidance on travel within the Common Travel Area is available at:

Rules for entering or returning to Northern Ireland

The following rules for entering or returning to Northern Ireland (NI) are in place:

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 UK online Passenger Locator Form
  •  self-isolate for 10 days

Anyone not complying with the regulations may be refused boarding by the airline or carrier and/ or fined on arrival.

If you are travelling back to Northern Ireland from a country outside the Common Travel Area, via Great Britain or the Republic of Ireland, even if this is just to change flights in an airport, you must follow any requirements that have been introduced for that country.  You should be aware that this may include mandatory hotel quarantine and testing in that country.

Managed Isolation

During the week starting 12 April, passengers travelling directly to NI from red list countries will be required to enter managed isolation (quarantine in a hotel) for 10 days. Arrivals from non-red list countries must self-isolate at home for 10 days

Mandatory Testing

During the week starting 12 April, passengers travelling to NI, from a non-red list country, will be required to book and pay for a day 2 and day 8 test kit. 

As soon as the date of introduction is determined this page will be updated and will include information on how to book tests and/or managed isolation packages.

Travelling from a ‘red list’ country

If you have returned from a country that is subject to additional measures, known as a ‘red list’ country, associated with COVID-19 variants that may be considered a higher risk, you must isolate along with your whole household, even if they have not travelled. This is to reduce the risk of COVID-19 variants spreading within Northern Ireland.

Further information on the countries that are subject to additional measures (‘red list’ countries) is available at: 

Managed quarantine and mandatory COVID-19 testing has not yet been introduced for passengers arriving in Northern Ireland directly from an international destination.

When travelling to Northern Ireland, via Great Britain or the Republic of Ireland, you will be required to follow any new requirements for managed quarantine and additional testing that have been introduced in those regions.

International travellers to Northern Ireland, via Great Britain must comply with the managed quarantine and testing requirements of the region where you crossed the UK border to enter the UK.

Make sure you are aware of the requirements of that country on arrival.

If you intend to arrive in Northern Ireland, via the Republic of Ireland, after having been outside the Common Travel Area, you must complete a UK Passenger Locator Form.

This is in addition to travel information you may be required to provide to travel authorities in the Republic of Ireland.

Failure to do so incurs a fixed penalty notice of £500 with laddering for subsequent offences up to a maximum of £4,000.

Pre-departure testing

You will need proof of a negative coronavirus test before your departure.

Further information on pre-departure testing is available at:

Passenger Locator Form

You must complete a passenger locator form (PLF) that includes:

  • details of your journey
  • contact details 
  • the address where you will self-isolate

You must provide accurate information and submit the passenger locator form within 48 hours prior to your arrival into Northern Ireland (or your first point of entry into the UK/ ROI, if not direct into Northern Ireland).

Provision of false or misleading information on the passenger locator form is an offence and may be subject to enforcement under the Fraud Act 2006.

Fill in your passenger locator form

Self-isolation

Self-isolation for 10 days following international travel is a legal requirement and an important measure to reduce the risk of spreading Coronavirus (COVID-19) as it can take up to 10 days for coronavirus symptoms to appear, and you can spread Coronavirus (COVID-19) before you develop symptoms.

You must complete 10 days of self-isolation even if you had a negative pre-departure test, or a negative test during the isolation period, as it can take up to 10 days for the infection to develop.

Before you travel, you should consider if your trip is essential.

If you do travel, you should develop a self-isolation plan so that you know where and how you will self-isolate for 10 days after you have arrived into Northern Ireland.

You should self-isolate in one place for the full 10 days, where you can have food and other necessities delivered, and stay away from others.

You must self-isolate at the address you provided on the passenger locator form.

This can include:

  • your own home
  • staying with friends or family
  • a hotel or other temporary accommodation

You are not allowed to change the place where you are self-isolating except in very limited circumstances, such as:

  • a legal obligation requires you to change address, such as where you are a child whose parents live separately, and you need to move between homes as part of a shared custody agreement
  • it's necessary for you to stay overnight at accommodation before travelling to the place where you will be self-isolating for the remainder of the 10 days
  • there’s an emergency

If this happens, you should provide full details of each address where you will self-isolate on the passenger locator form.

If, in an exceptional circumstance, you cannot remain where you're staying, you must update the PLF as soon as possible.

If you cannot safely self-isolate, you should tell Border Force Officers when you arrive into Northern Ireland (or at the first point of entry if arriving into another area of the UK, if not arriving direct into Northern Ireland).

The people in your household will also have to self-isolate with you if you have travelled from, or transited through a country or territory that is subject to additional measures (‘red list’ countries) in the previous 10 days .

Self-isolation advice for returning travellers

If you’ve returned from travel and are required to self-isolate, to protect others, you should:

  • head straight home or to your accommodation
  • self-isolate in one place for the full 10 days
  • not go to work, school, or public areas
  • not go shopping
  • only use public transport if you've no other option (if you do use public transport, wear a face covering that covers your nose and mouth and stay two metres apart from other people)

If you need help buying groceries, other shopping, or picking up medication, you should ask friends or relatives to help you or you should order a delivery. 

If you are having difficulty getting food or other important items, contact the COVID-19 community helpline:

If you're travelling to Northern Ireland for less than 10 days you will be expected to self-isolate for the length of your stay.

Self-isolation and testing

You must complete the full 10 day self-isolation period. Even if you test negative for coronavirus during self-isolation you must continue to self-isolate until the full 10 day period is over.

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 during this period, however mild, you should book a test.

If your test is negative, you must continue to self-isolate until the full 10 day period is over. If your test is positive, you should add 10 days on to your self-isolation period from the day you first developed symptoms.

After self-isolating for 10 days

If you do not have any coronavirus symptoms after 10 days, you can stop self-isolating.

Permitted reasons for leaving self-isolation

During self-isolation, you must not leave the place where you are self-isolating except in certain circumstances.

Information on permitted reasons for leaving self-isolation is available at:

You should only leave self-isolation following international travel, particularly from a red list country, in an emergency. Ask friends or family to help if you need food or medication.

If you are having difficulty getting food or other important items, contact the COVID-19 community helpline:

Fines or further action

It is an offence if you do not comply with the above requirements.

Failure to complete the UK passenger locator form or provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test, incurs a fine of £500 with laddering for subsequent offences up to a maximum of £4,000.

Leaving the place where you are self-isolating, without a permitted reason incurs a fine of £1,000.

Sector-specific exemptions

A limited number of sector specific exemptions may apply when travelling to Northern Ireland.

If you think you meet the criteria for exemption it's important that you check the list of sector specific exemptions before you travel.

Travelling to another country

If you have any enquiries about COVID-19 and travel abroad, check the latest foreign travel advice.

You can also sign up for email alerts from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

There is also guidance if you're travelling or living abroad during the coronavirus pandemic.

Travel advice remains under constant review to make sure it reflects the latest assessment of risks.

If you must travel abroad for an essential reason you must make sure you’re aware of up-to-date requirements should the regulations change while you’re abroad.

If you are abroad

You must follow the advice of local authorities while abroad. Your safety and security is the responsibility of the local authority where you are.

If you need urgent consular assistance, phone:

 

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