Coronavirus (COVID-19): travelling to Northern Ireland from a red list country
This page is under constant review and countries and territories can be added to the red list at any time, you should check regularly to make sure you’re aware of the rules when planning and before booking international travel.
Travelling from red list countries
The information on this page is for international travel from red list countries only.
All red list arrivals must follow these rules, even if you are fully vaccinated.
If you have been in a country or territory on the red list of countries at any time in the last 10 days, you will only be allowed to enter the UK if you are a British or Irish national or you have residency rights in the UK.
To find out what measures are in place for travelling to Northern Ireland from non-red list countries, or from within the Common Travel Area, see:
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): travelling from a non-red list country
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): travelling within the Common Travel Area
Red list countries (subject to additional measures)
There are currently no countries on the red list.
This information will be reviewed regularly and is subject to change at short notice.
Requirements for travelling to NI from a red list country
If you arrived in Northern Ireland from any country on the red list, you must:
- complete a UK Passenger Locator Form in the 48 hours before arrival in Northern Ireland
- provide proof of a negative pre-departure PCR or LFD COVID-19 test taken in the two days before you travel to Northern Ireland
- book a 10-day managed isolation package (managed hotel quarantine), which includes your day two and day eight PCR tests
After you arrive in Northern Ireland, you must travel directly from your port of arrival to your managed quarantine hotel to begin your period of managed isolation (hotel quarantine).
All those aged 12 years and over must take a pre-departure PCR or LFD COVID-19 test, taken in the two days before you travel to Northern Ireland.
For example, if you travel on Friday, you must take a test on the Wednesday or Thursday.
If you have one or more connecting flights to the UK (a multi-leg journey), you must take the test in the two days before the start of the first leg. However, where possible, you should get a test within two days of your final departure point to Northern Ireland.
You will need to present valid proof of your negative test before you board to travel to Northern Ireland. If you don’t, you may not be permitted to board.
If you arrive in Northern Ireland without proof of a negative test result, you could be fined £500, as this is a criminal offence. You can also be fined if the test doesn’t meet the required standards or contain all of the necessary information (see below).
You can choose to take a test:
- in the place where you start your journey
- in another country on your way to Northern Ireland
If you plan to take a test on your way to Northern Ireland, you must make sure that this is possible before you set out.
Some countries have entry restrictions in place, which mean you may not be able to get tested there.
Test providers and type of test
You will need to find a test provider.
You must make sure that the test provider can meet the standards for pre-departure testing.
The test must:
- meet performance standards of greater than or equal to 97 per cent specificity, greater than or equal to 80 per cent sensitivity at viral loads above 100,000 copies/ml
- this could include tests such as:
- a nucleic acid test, including a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test or derivative technologies, including loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) tests
- an antigen test, such as a test from a lateral flow device (LFD)
It is your responsibility to make sure the test meets the minimum standards for sensitivity, specificity and viral load details, so you must check with your test provider that it meets those standards.
You may not be able to travel if the test does not meet these standards.
If you have recently had COVID
If you have recently recovered from COVID but are no longer infectious, you should use a lateral flow device (LFD) test.
LFD tests have a lower sensitivity than PCR or LAMP tests, so they are less likely to return a positive result from a historic infection.
The LFD test must meet the minimum performance standards as set out above.
Where information about providers of tests is available locally, FCDO travel advice pages will be updated with this information.
If you need consular assistance you should contact the nearest consulate, embassy or high commission.
If you take your test in the UK, ahead of a return journey of less than three days, you must use a private test provider. You cannot use an NHS or HSC Test and Trace test.
Information that the test result must include
Your test result must be in either English, French or Spanish. Translations will not be accepted, and you must provide the original test result certificate.
It must include the following information:
- your name, which should match the name on your travel documents
- your date of birth or age
- the result of the test
- the date the test sample was collected or received by the test provider
- the name of the test provider and their contact details
- confirmation of the device used for the test, or that the test was a PCR test
If the test result does not include this information you may not be able to board, and may not be able to travel to Northern Ireland.
Your test result can be provided as a physical, printed document, or by email or text message, which you can show on your phone. Make sure that your device is charged.
Positive test results
If your test result is positive, you must not travel. You must follow local rules and guidance for positive coronavirus cases.
If the result is inconclusive, you must take another test.
Exemptions - people who don’t need to take a test
You do not need to take a test if you are travelling to the UK:
- for urgent medical treatment or are accompanying someone who is travelling for urgent medical treatment, and it is not reasonably practicable for you to obtain a negative COVID-19 test in the three days before departure
- if you have a medical condition which means you cannot take a test – you must present a note from a medical practitioner at check in and to Border Force staff on arrival in Northern Ireland
Passenger locator form
You must fill in and submit a UK passenger locator form in the 48 hours prior to your arrival in Northern Ireland (or your first point of entry into the UK or Republic of Ireland, if not direct into Northern Ireland) that includes:
- details of your journey
- contact details
- booking references for managed isolation (hotel quarantine) and testing
You must provide accurate information and submit the passenger locator form in the 48 hours prior to your arrival in Northern Ireland (or your first point of entry into the UK/ Republic of Ireland, if not direct into Northern Ireland).
Providing false or deliberately misleading information when filling out your passenger locator form is an offence.
You could be fined up to £10,000, imprisoned for up to 10 years or both if you do not provide accurate details about the countries you have visited in the 10 days before you arrived in the UK.
If you're travelling to NI via the Republic of Ireland and are experiencing difficulties completing the UK form due to port of entry issues, you should select ‘Belfast’ as your port of arrival into the UK.
Managed isolation (hotel quarantine)
To stop the spread of potentially harmful variants into NI, more stringent measures are in place for people who have travelled from, or passed through, a country on the list where travel to the UK is banned (the red list) in the last 10 days before arrival.
Everyone who arrives in Northern Ireland from a red list country must book and enter managed isolation (hotel quarantine) for 10 full days from the point of their arrival, unless they are exempt.
The day of arrival in Northern Ireland will be treated as day zero.
You will need to book and pay for a managed isolation package (hotel quarantine) before you complete your passenger locator form and make your journey to NI.
The package includes the costs of transport from the port of arrival to the designated hotel, food, accommodation, security, other essential services and post-arrival testing.
How much you’ll need to pay
The current rates for booking are:
- rate for one adult in one room for 10 days (11 nights) - £2,285
- additional rate for one adult (or child over 12) - £1,430
- additional rate for child aged five to 12 - £325
There is no charge for children under five years of age.
If you believe you will suffer severe financial hardship if you have to pay the full cost of your managed quarantine or testing fees before you travel, then hardship arrangements may be available to you.
You can only apply for hardship arrangements if you believe you are eligible.
Details of hardship rules and processes, including eligibility, can be found at the following link:
Travellers to Northern Ireland should apply for hardship using the form given at the following link:
If you have not booked and paid for a quarantine or testing package before arriving in Northern Ireland, and have not been granted a hardship arrangement, you may be fined up to £10,000.
If you provide false information, or leave out key information when applying, you will be committing fraud and may be prosecuted.
Children arriving in Northern Ireland from a ‘red list’ country should not be travelling alone.
Arrangements should be made by the parent or guardian to travel with their child and to enter managed isolation on arrival.
If it is not possible to travel with the child, the parent, guardian or appropriate adult is expected to join their child in managed isolation on arrival.
Unaccompanied children travelling to attend boarding school may be able to quarantine at their boarding school. Guidance on this is available at this link:
Where you can arrive
If you travel directly to Northern Ireland from a red list country, you can only arrive into certain designated ports. Currently these are:
- Belfast International Airport
- Belfast City Airport
- any military airfield or port
The main airport space, and not the general aviation locations within the Belfast airports, have been designated for 'red list' country arrivals.
All arrivals must go to the designated immigration control area within the main terminals at each of these airports.
If you're travelling directly to Northern Ireland and have a pre-existing booking to a different airport, it’s your responsibility to change it to one of the airports specified above.
Airlines will not be permitted to carry anyone who has been in a ‘red list’ country in the previous 10 days to any airport other than those specified.
If you travel back to Northern Ireland via the land border, and were not required to enter managed hotel isolation in ROI, you are still required to enter managed hotel isolation in Northern Ireland and must make your way to the managed isolation hotel within two hours of your arrival into Northern Ireland.
Arriving and transport to a managed isolation hotel
When you arrive in Northern Ireland you will need to provide your completed passenger locator form to Border Force officers, along with your passport and negative COVID-19 test result.
You will be escorted through the airport with other passengers who need to quarantine at a managed isolation hotel.
Your managed isolation package includes transport to your quarantine hotel (and back to the airport at the end of your quarantine to reconnect to your travel plans).
If you have a car parked at the airport, you will need to extend your parking period and pay the additional charges. If you need help with this, you can ask for that once you get to your hotel.
You will need to wear a face covering at all times (unless you’re exempt).
A member of staff will make a note of where everyone is sitting on the bus, so that if someone later tests positive for coronavirus PHA’s Contact Tracing service will be able to identify who has been in close contact.
You must only travel to your managed isolation hotel by the transport specified in your quarantine package and not by public or private transport.
At the end of the quarantine period you will be transported to the airport you were collected from when you arrived in Northern Ireland.
Arriving at the managed isolation hotel
When you arrive at the managed isolation hotel you will be required to quarantine in your room for 10 full days.
The managed isolation hotel will provide your meals.
It's not possible to select a particular room at the hotel or to seek a higher standard room when you arrive.
You can quarantine with the people you travelled with and hotels will prioritise allocating larger or connecting rooms to families.
If you’re the parent or guardian of an unaccompanied child arriving in Northern Ireland, you should join your child in managed isolation.
You cannot have visitors in managed isolation, including friends or family, unless they’re providing:
- emergency assistance
- care or assistance (including personal care)
- medical assistance
- veterinary services
- certain critical public services
If you have items delivered to you during the quarantine period (such as food deliveries), they will be brought to the door of your room by the managed isolation hotel staff.
Staff will try to bring the items to you as soon as possible. However, given the need to maintain compliance with COVID guidelines, deliveries may not be able to be brought to your door immediately when they arrive at the hotel.
Services available in your hotel
The hotel will provide you with information about the services available, including food, laundry and free wifi.
The hotels selected for managed isolation are able to meet the vast majority of requirements and will be able to accommodate dietary requirements.
Medical care and prescriptions
You should bring your prescription medicines with you.
You will be able to contact your normal GP to seek medical attention, including for repeat prescriptions and/ or if you need to order a prescription.
Leaving your room
You will only be allowed to leave your room in very limited circumstances, including:
- to travel directly to leave the Common Travel Area – you will be given instructions when leaving
- to fulfil a legal obligation, including attending court or satisfying bail conditions or to participate in legal proceedings
- to exercise, but only with special permission from security - this is not guaranteed
You will also be allowed to leave your room in exceptional circumstances, such as:
- seeking medical assistance where this is required urgently or on the advice of a registered medical practitioner
- to avoid injury, illness or escape a risk of harm (for example situations such as fire or flooding, or cases where domestic abuse occurs within a group quarantining together)
- to access critical public services including social services or services provided to victims (for example critical access such as for a child to see their social worker)
- to access veterinary services where required urgently or on the advice of a veterinary surgeon (only service animals, such as guide dogs, can accompany you to managed isolation)
Visiting dying family members and funerals
You may request permission to leave managed isolation for a limited period if a close family member or member of your household is dying.
You may also request permission to leave quarantine to attend a family funeral.
This is limited to the day of the funeral, or in exceptional circumstances where it is not possible to travel to the funeral and back within one day, it may be possible (with restrictions) to stay overnight elsewhere if you cannot stay in a nearby managed quarantine facility
You will need permission from security staff to make sure that arrangements minimise the public health risks. This will include agreeing a specific time with the hotel for returning to your room.
You should not use public transport.
If you are permitted to leave to visit a close family member or member of your household who is dying, you should:
- wear a face covering - in some specific circumstances this may need to be a surgical-grade Type IIR face mask
- wash your hands regularly
- maintain distance and follow social contact rules
It is recommended that visits are limited to a single visit on one day.
You should not leave if you have tested positive for COVID-19 during your quarantine period.
If you are permitted to leave to attend the funeral of a close family member or member of your household, you should follow the guidance for attending a funeral during the coronavirus pandemic. This includes:
- advising the funeral venue manager and other mourners in advance that you are in your quarantine period
- taking extra care to maintain distance and follow social contact rules
- wearing a surgical-grade Type IIR face mask to minimise any risk of viral transmission from yourself to others
If visiting a healthcare or residential setting, the healthcare or residential setting would need to be notified in advance and they should confirm they are content to the security staff in the hotel at the time of being given permission
Testing in managed isolation
Day two PCR test
You will need to take a COVID-19 PCR test on or before day two of your managed isolation. The day you arrive will be treated as day zero.
Tests will be taken in your room in your quarantine hotel.
If you receive a positive result from your day two test, you must continue your quarantine period restarting the 10 days beginning the day after the test was taken.
If you’re in quarantine with people you’ve travelled with, they will also need to quarantine for 10 further days beginning the day after the test.
If you receive a positive result from your day two test, you will not be required to take any further tests because you have been confirmed with infection and will isolate through the period when you may be infectious to others.
Day eight PCR test
You will need to take a COVID-19 PCR test on or after day eight, unless you received a positive result from your day two test.
If you receive a positive test result from your day eight test, you will be required to continue your quarantine period restarting the 10-day count beginning the day after the test.
If you have quarantined for 10 days and received a negative result to both your day two and day eight tests and are well, you may leave the managed isolation hotel.
Children aged under five
Children aged under five will not need to take the day two or day eight test but they and their family or carers should only leave managed isolation if they are well.
If you get symptoms
You should order a test if you develop at least one of these symptoms at any point:
- a high temperature
- a new, continuous cough
- you’ve lost your sense of smell or taste or it’s changed
If you’re in quarantine with people you have travelled with, they will need to quarantine when you receive a positive test for 10 full days.
In a group quarantining together this could mean:
Person A receives a positive test result on day two so must quarantine for 10 days starting from the day after they took their day two test (they do not need to take their day eight test)
As they are a close contact of Person A, Person B needs to quarantine for 10 days starting counting from the day after person A received their day two test result.
If Person B is negative on day two, they are still required to take a day eight test.
Person B then receives a positive test result on day eight so they will need to quarantine for 10 days starting from the day after they took their day eight test
As they are a close contact of Person A, Person C needs to quarantine for 10 days starting from the day after person A took their day two test.
If Person B is negative on their day two test, they are still required to take a day eight test.
Person C receives a negative day eight test result, however, as they are also a close contact of Person B, Person C will still need to quarantine for 10 days starting from the day after Person B took their day eight test.
Person C still needs to quarantine to Day 19 as they are a contact of Person B as well as of Person A.
If someone tests positive, other people in the same room should be moved into another room if there’s space available in the hotel. This is as a precaution to help reduce the risk that the other people in the room would develop COVID-19.
If you do not take the tests you may face a penalty of up to £2,000.
Leaving managed isolation (hotel quarantine)
You will be able to leave managed isolation when you have received a negative result from your day eight test and have quarantined for 10 full days from the point of arrival (the day of arrival counts as day zero).
If you get a positive result from either of your tests, you will not be able to leave managed isolation until 10 days have passed from the day after the date of the test.
If, despite a negative test on day eight, you develop new coronavirus symptoms on day nine or day 10, this would trigger a further test and extended quarantine for 10 days, if the new test is positive.
Exemptions for work, medical or compassionate reasons
You may be exempt from some or all of the travel and entry rules:
If you do not comply with the managed isolation rules, you may face a penalty of up to £10,000.
If you do not arrive into Northern Ireland at one of the designated airports, you may face a penalty of up to £10,000 and will be charged for the cost of transportation to the nearest designated airport.
Travelling to Northern Ireland via Great Britain
If you are travelling back to Northern Ireland from a red list country, via Great Britain, even if this is just to change flights in an airport, you will be required to enter managed isolation there, before travelling on to Northern Ireland.
Further information by country is at:
- England: Travel advice: coronavirus (COVID-19) and how to quarantine when you arrive in England
- Scotland: Coronavirus (COVID-19): international travel and managed isolation (quarantine)
- Wales: How to isolate when you travel to Wales
Travelling to Northern Ireland via the Republic of Ireland
If you travel to Northern Ireland from a red list country, via the Republic of Ireland, you must follow the travel requirements for the Republic of Ireland in the first instance, which may include testing and self-isolation.
Further information on travel requirements for the Republic of Ireland can be found:
If you are not required to enter managed hotel isolation in the Republic of Ireland, if you travel from a red list country, you are still required to enter managed hotel isolation in Northern Ireland and must make your way to the managed isolation hotel within two hours of your arrival in Northern Ireland.
As well as complying with the requirements in the Republic of Ireland, you must also complete a UK passenger locator form.
You will need to book and pay for a managed isolation package before you complete your UK passenger locator form and make your journey to Northern Ireland. More detailed advice and links can be found above.
Failure to complete the UK passenger locator form, when travelling via the Republic of Ireland, incurs a fixed penalty notice of £500 with laddering for subsequent offences up to a maximum of £4,000.