COVID-19 and the UK’s 14 day self-isolation immigration policy explained

New immigration rules came into effect yesterday (Monday 8th, June 2020) which require all travellers to the UK to self-isolate for 14 days from the date of entry in the hope that this will reduce the spread of COVID-19.

What does self-isolation mean?

When asked to self-isolate, you must find a place to stay for a duration of 14 days. Moreover, you should not have any visitors, and you should only leave your place of residence in a limited capacity if you need urgent medical attention, social services support, food, medicine, you need to attend a funeral of a close relative or have an emergency. 

Do I have to self-isolate when entering the UK?

The new self-isolation policy applies to all travellers whether you are a British passport holder, a UK resident or a visitor entering the borders of the United Kingdom from abroad. 

If you are planning to come to the UK for less than 14 days for whatever reason, as current things stand, you will have to self-isolate for the entire length of your stay. 

Who does not need to self-isolate when entering the UK?

If you are travelling from within the UK’s Common Travel Area (CTA) which includes the Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, this policy does not apply to you, and you will not have to self-isolate (unless you have been outside of these places within the last two weeks).

What procedures are in place in the UK to enforce these new rules?

All those who are travelling to the United Kingdom will be required to fill out the following public health passenger locator form, which can be completed 48 hours before you start your travel. 

The form is pretty self-explanatory in nature. It asks for general details surrounding your travel to the UK where you will be required to declare:

  • The details of your journey;
  • Your passport details;
  • Your contact details; and
  • The address of where you will self-isolate

You will also have to declare information related to your travel route including:

  • The name of your carrier, i.e. the airline, train (Eurostar) or ferry company you are travelling with 
  • The name of the airport, port or station you will be arriving at;
  • Your date of arrival;
  • Your flight, train, bus or ferry number and booking reference
  • The details of the company that is organising your trip (if you are travelling as part of a tour group);
  • The contact details of someone in the UK who can be contacted if you fall ill on your visit. 

If you are travelling with other people and will be staying with them, each person in the group will have to complete a separate form.

If a traveller is under the age of 18, they will not have to complete this form if they:

  • Will arrive with you and leave with you;
  • Will stay and self-isolate at the same UK address.

The UK government will use the above information to contact you only if it is found that you came into contact with someone who had COVID-19 symptoms or to spot check on you to see if you are isolating for 14 days if you are supposed to. 

Who is exempt from the self-isolation rules?

Besides those who are travelling from within the UK’s CTA (explained above), there are some additional exemptions to this rule for specific groups which include: 

  • Diplomats;
  • Visiting military forces;
  • Key workers – transport workers and those who work in agriculture.

For a full list of exemptions, please click here or ask one of our immigration lawyers London.

What happens if you do not respect the rules?

If you are caught breaking the 14-day self-isolation policy, and you do not self-isolate, you could be fined £1,000. 

If you do not provide your correct contact details or do not update your contact details if you need to move to another place to self-isolate you could be fined up to £3,200.

When will the self-isolation rules end in the UK?

The current rules regarding the self-isolation of travellers into the UK to prevent the spread of COVID-19 could change at any time, and our team of immigration experts will keep you up to date in our news and blogs section. So please do not forget to visit our site frequently to stay up to date.

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