Entering and returning to the UK from 8 June 2020

Returning to the UK

From 8 June 2020, if you are returning to the UK as a resident or a visitor, you have to adhere to new rules. These rules are implemented to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

  1. You have to provide your journey and contact details.
  2. You have to go into self-isolation for 14 days at the place you are staying in the UK. You can read more about the exact rules on how to self-isolate at this link.

Journey and Contact details

Travellers must complete the journey and contact details form before they arrive in the UK. This form cannot be provided more than 48 hours before you travel. You will need to show the completed form when you arrive in the UK. It can be a printed or copy, or one can show it to the Border Control on your phone.

The UK Government will use this form to contact travellers if someone they have travelled with develops Covid-19 symptoms. They will also use the details to do spot checks to make sure that travellers are self-isolating for the first 14 days after arrival in the UK. 

What happens if you break the new rules for Entering and Returning to the UK?

If you refuse to provide your contact details, you will get a fine of £100.

If you refuse to self-isolate, you may be fined up to £1,000 or face further action or fines up to £3,200.

The fines and self-isolation rules are slightly different for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. However, they all require the completion of the journey and contact details form, and self-isolation for 14 days after arrival in the UK. You can read more about the different rules at the following link.

Exceptions to the new rules

Persons who arrive from the Common Travel Area, and have been in the CTA for the last 14 days before entering the UK, do not need to adhere to the new rules.

The Common Travel Area is Ireland, The Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man.

There is an extensive list of other persons who are exempted. This list is however mostly applicable to diplomatic personnel and persons delivering essential services in the UK, and not applicable to normal travellers.

The list of exemptions among other things includes the following persons:

  • Members of diplomatic missions and consular posts in the UK, officers, servants or representatives of international organisations, representatives at an international or UK conference granted privileges and immunities, and their families or dependents.
  • Representatives of a foreign country or territory and representatives of the British overseas territories, along with their families or dependents travelling to the UK to undertake official business with the UK
  • Defence personnel, visiting forces and government contractors who the Ministry of Defence has confirmed are required to deliver essential defence activities
  • Workers engaged in essential or emergency works, related to water supplies and sewerage services

You can find the full list here.

Entering and returning to the UK with children

Persons who return or enter the UK with children may be asked to prove the relationship between themselves and the children travelling with them if the child has a different surname. 

You may prove the relationship with a birth or adoption certificate. If you are the parent but with a different surname, you may also confirm this with a divorce or marriage certificate. You can also show a letter from the child’s parent that gives permission for the child to travel with you, and that provides their contact details.

Other Rules for Entering and returning to the UK

Most other standard rules will still apply that one can expect at the Border Control. E.g.;

  • Your passport or identity card will be checked.
  • Make sure that you have to have a valid visa if you need one to enter the UK.
  • You have to make the usual declarations to UK Customs, depending on where you are travelling from.
  • You must co-operate if you are stopped and asked about your baggage.

The future of travel to the UK

Breytenbachs foresee that international travel to the UK will slowly start to open over the coming months. Travellers can expect that the above measures will stay in place for the immediate future. Breytenbachs will update clients as new rules come in place. In the meantime, if you need more information, please feel free to contact us.