Coronavirus travel advice

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Coronavirus travel advice

With the latest UK Government announcements signalling the easing of travel restrictions from England (more on Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland below), our aim is to keep you up-to-date on the latest information so you can feel as confident as possible when travelling for business again, with the complete and unwavering support of your Corporate Travel Counsellor.

We have collated some frequently asked questions from our business travel clients, which together with the latest advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the hands-on support provided by your Travel Counsellor, aims to guide you through the announcements. We will keep these FAQs updated as the situation develops.

Please note Government guidance can change quickly, so please do stay close to your Travel Counsellor for the latest information, and download the myTC app.

The FCDO has also issued a handy step-by-step guide to travelling abroad, covering what to consider at every stage of your journey: https://www.gov.uk/travel-abroad

 

What is the current UK Government framework for the safe return to international travel?

The UK Government has confirmed that international travel can resume from England from 17 May. There’s a new traffic light system in place, with destinations categorised as ‘green’, ‘amber’ and ‘red’ outlining the entry requirements on return to the UK.

Destinations categorised as green mean that you do not have to self-isolate on return to England, however the traffic light system should always be used in conjunction with the latest travel advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

 

How does the UK Government’s traffic light system work?

Countries across the globe have been categorised as red, amber or green, and the categories will be reviewed every three weeks. Here are more details on what this means below:

  • Green: Arrivals to England will need to take a pre-departure test prior to returning to the UK, as well as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on or before day two of their arrival back into the country – but will not need to self-isolate on return (unless they receive a positive result), and do not need to take any additional tests. For the latest ‘Green’ countries, please see below.
  • Amber: Arrivals to England will need to self-isolate at home or a named address for a period of 10 days, take a pre-departure test prior to returning to the UK, as well as a PCR test on day two and day eight. There is an option to take an additional test on day five to end self-isolation early.
  • Red: Arrivals to England will be subject to restrictions currently in place for red list countries, which include a 10-day stay in a managed quarantine hotel, pre-departure testing and mandatory PCR testing on day two and eight.
  • The introduction of a ‘green watchlist’ will also help to identify countries most at risk of moving from green to amber, which should make last-minute trip planning easier.

 

2021 Travel Traffic Light Infographic

 

Which countries are currently categorised as green in the traffic light system?

For the complete list of countries currently categorised as ‘Green’ by the UK Government, please do check the latest FCDO advice here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/red-amber-and-green-list-rules-for-entering-england#green-list 

IMPORTANT: Whilst countries may be named ‘green’ in the traffic light system, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCDO) may still advise against all but essential travel to the country, and the destination may not be accepting travellers from the UK, so it’s really important to check the entry requirements and/or restrictions for UK travellers.

It’s also worth signing up for FCDO travel advice email alerts, so you automatically receive the latest travel advice updates and requirements for the destinations you need to know about.

 

What is the latest FCDO advice?

No matter where you’re planning to travel to, together with the expert guidance of your Travel Counsellor, it’s always worth checking the latest FCDO advice: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus

The guidance from the FCDO can differ from the framework provided by the traffic light system, and as the guidance can change quickly, your Travel Counsellor will always stay close to your booking and keep you informed of the latest advice for travel to your destination, plus any further changes to requirements on self-isolation, both in-location and back in the UK.

Here at Travel Counsellors, we will always be guided by the FCDO in all travel matters, ensuring that the health, safety and wellbeing of our travellers remains our number one priority.
For non-UK passport holders, do check the latest travel advice issued by the authorities in the country your passport was issued.

 

What do I need to do if I’m travelling back to the UK from a Green List country?

Before you return, the UK Government stipulates that you must:

  • complete a passenger locator form
  • take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure, and be able to show evidence of the result
  • book a day 2 COVID-19 test
  • On arrival back in England, you must take a COVID-19 test on or before day two after you arrive, and you do not need to self-isolate unless the test result is positive.

Please note different rules may apply for international travel if you are departing from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. When you return, follow the rules to enter the UK from abroad.

You do not need to take a COVID-19 test or self-isolate on arrival in England if you are travelling within the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, (the Common Travel Area), and you have not been outside of the Common Travel Area in the previous 10 days.

Some travellers are exempt from some or all of the requirements:

  • because of the job you do
  • for medical or compassionate reasons

See which jobs are exempt from requirements here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules

 

What do I need to do if I’m travelling back to the UK from an Amber List country?

Before you return, the UK Government stipulates that you must:

  • complete a passenger locator form
  • take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure, and be able to show evidence of the result
  • book a day 2 and day 8 COVID-19 test
  • On arrival back in England, you must self-isolate at home or at a named address for 10 days, take a COVID-19 test on or before day two after your arrival, and also on day eight.

It may also be possible to end self-isolation early if you decide to take a private Covid test through the test to release scheme.

Please note different rules may apply for international travel if you are departing from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. When you return, follow the rules to enter the UK from abroad.
You do not need to take a COVID-19 test or self-isolate on arrival in England if you are travelling within the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, (the Common Travel Area), and you have not been outside of the Common Travel Area in the previous 10 days.

 

What type of tests can I use to travel?

Outbound travel: If a destination requires you to have a negative COVID-19 test to enter the country, you should use a private test provider – a list of the UK Government approved test providers can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/list-of-private-providers-of-coronavirus-testing

Inbound travel: In line with the latest Government announcements on the traffic lights system for travel, before travelling back to England you must have proof of a negative coronavirus (COVID-19) test: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-for-people-travelling-to-england

Your test result can be provided as:

  • printed document
  • an email or text message you can show on your phone

To help with testing requirements on return to the UK, many accommodation providers now have pop-up sites in place, while an increasing number of European hotels are also converting rooms for testing.

It is the responsibility of the traveller to ensure the test meets the minimum standards for return travel to England. A reminder of the list of Government approved providers can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/list-of-private-providers-of-coronavirus-testing

What’s more, your Travel Counsellor can point you towards Government approved providers who are currently offering discounted rates on various testing options, including those that can be arranged pre-departure and verified virtually whilst overseas and in a clinical environment.

For the tests you need to take once you arrive home, there’s further guidance on this on the FDCO website.

 

I live in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland – does travelling abroad differ for me?

The Scottish Government has announced that they’re also following the UK Government’s traffic light system.

For the Welsh and Northern Irish Governments, please do check the government or executive websites for the latest information, and your Travel Counsellor will always be available for further guidance and support too.

England – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus

Wales - https://gov.wales/foreign-travel-and-returning-home

Scotland - https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-public-health-checks-at-borders/pages/exemptions/

Northern Ireland - https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/coronavirus-covid-19

 

What are the rules on domestic business trips?

Whist social distancing remains in place, self-contained accommodation has now reopened in England, Scotland and Wales, as have hotels. The executive in Northern Ireland has set May 24 as the reopening date for indoor hospitality.

 

What can I expect from the travel experience?

The next time you travel again may feel a little different to the trips you’ve made in the past, but the good news is that destinations and travel supplier partners, including airports, airlines and accommodation providers across the globe, are continuously accessing their health and safety measures to ensure that social distancing and hygiene standards are maintained throughout your journey and your stay.

Before you travel, check the FCDO’s Coronavirus travel advice, and remember your Travel Counsellor will personally liaise with all of the travel suppliers involved in your booking and will advise on the measures they’re taking to protect your health, safety and wellbeing throughout your trip.

You can travel safely through airports and on flights by following all of the advice here, which includes frequent hand washing, use of sanitisers and face coverings, plus what to expect at the airport, check-in and security, as well as on board the aircraft.

You’ll also notice social distancing and enhanced hygiene measures at your destination, as well as at your hotel or self-catered accommodation.

Some destinations are also requiring travellers to show evidence of negative Covid test results pre and post-travel. Your Travel Counsellor will advise you of any such requirements, and you can also check the latest information provided by the FCDO on entry requirements to countries here.

Please bear in mind that you may also need to comply with coronavirus requirements in the country you’re travelling to. This may include temperature checks, self-isolation or providing your details to local authorities. Check the latest travel advice in place for every country here before you go.

As you know, the guidance can change quickly, so your Travel Counsellor will always stay close to your booking and keep you informed of the latest advice for travel to your destination, plus any further changes to requirements on quarantine, both in-location and back in the UK.

Your Travel Counsellor can help to ensure you have everything in place to enjoy a safe trip, including up-to-date passports, visa/permits, authorisations for prescription medicines and driving licenses if required.

For non-UK passport holders do check the latest travel advice issued by the authorities in the country your passport was issued.

 

What happens if my business travel plans are affected?

If the Foreign & Commonwealth Office advises against travel to a destination and your business travel arrangements have been affected, your Travel Counsellor will always get in touch to advise you of the options available to you.

Given the increased risk of disruption at this time, it is even more important than ever to ensure that you have adequate travel insurance regardless of your destination – you should ensure that any policy properly covers you for disruption to travel plans and medical expenses, and you should carefully consider the scope of your policy and any restrictions on it.

Please rest assured that booking your travel through your Travel Counsellor means you have the backing of the company’s global support team, and a dedicated, 24/7 Duty Office should you need help and advice wherever you are in the world.

 

My passport is nearly six months away from its renewal deadline, should I renew it?

The FCDO has advised it’s taking longer than usual to process applications, and many destinations across the globe require at least six month’s validity on your passport, so it’s worth submitting your renewal for an adult or child passport sooner rather than later.

Please also check the latest travel advice for the country you’re travelling to, and in particular your country’s government guidance. For example, UK passport holders may be granted access to countries exempt from the ban on all but essential travel, but Irish passport holders may not, and vice versa. Your Travel Counsellor will always help you to ensure you have the correct documentation for travel.

 

Travel Counsellors puts the wellbeing of our corporate clients and customers at the centre of everything we do.

We are supporting our business travellers to follow the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), keeping traveller health and safety at the forefront. Our aim is to keep you up-to-date on the latest information so you can feel as informed and as confident as possible before you take to the roads, rails and skies again with the support of your Corporate Travel Counsellor.

Please remember we are here for you. Should your plans change for any reason, you can always rely on your Travel Counsellor to provide personal travel advice – whether that’s to amend a booking or ensure you return home quickly and safely when needed.

 

Useful information

As a business we would also advise you to use the latest guidance to assist employers and businesses, which provides advice to staff on:

  • The coronavirus, COVID-19
  • How to help prevent spread of all respiratory infections including COVID-19
  • What to do if someone with suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 has been in a workplace setting
  • What advice to give to individuals who have travelled to specific area
  • Advice for the certification of absence from work resulting from Covid-19

Travellers should always check the applicable country(s) travel advice before travel as this provides useful information for your trip, in addition to information on the COVID-19 virus outbreak. These can be found at www.gov.uk/foreign-travel‐advice, and can check the latest advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website travelhealthpro.org.uk.