Are you exempt from quarantine upon arrival into the UK? - | Hudson McKenzie

Are you exempt from quarantine upon arrival into the UK?

As a means of reducing the rate of imported infection of COVID-19, the UK as well as many other EU countries chose to adopt quarantine rules for individuals seeking to travel to different countries during the pandemic. However, considering the falling death rates and cases of COVID-19, the UK has chosen to gradually lift the rigidity of the rules for certain countries; a move which has been rejoiced by most.

What are the quarantine rules in the UK?

At present, both UK and non-UK nationals travelling into the UK by means of plane, ferry or train must fill in a contact locator form upon arrival at the border. Individuals must isolate for a period of 14 days from the moment they touch UK soil. In the contact locator form, individuals must supply their accommodation address where they will self-isolate for the required duration and must comply with a series of obligations. This includes not having visitors and not going to public areas including the shops for essential items unless they simply cannot rely on anyone to do this for them.

What are the changes to the quarantine rules?

From 10th July 2020, travellers from specified countries will not be subjected to the quarantine rules. This means they will be able to enter the UK without having to abide by the requirement to self-isolate for 14 days.

On 6th July 2020, it was announced that the following countries will be exempt from the quarantine rules:

  • Andorra
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Aruba
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belgium
  • Bonaire
  • St Eustatius and Saba
  • Croatia
  • Curacao
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Dominica
  • Faroe Islands
  • Fiji
  • Finland
  • France
  • French Polynesia
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Greenland
  • Grenada
  • Guadeloupe
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Macao
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Monaco
  • The Netherlands
  • New Caledonia
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Reunion
  • San Marino
  • Serbia
  • Seychelles
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • St Barthelemy
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Pierre and Miquelon
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turkey
  • Vatican City State
  • Vietnam

Arrivals from the Common Travel Area (CTA) which includes Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are already exempt from the quarantine rules.

Another amendment to the current rules is that additional workers from specific categories will also be exempt from completing the contact locator form upon arrival at the border. This will now include certain transport workers who have not come into contact with other travellers on route to the UK, elite sportspersons and supporting staff either returning to England or participating in scheduled sporting events and individuals working in the British film and television industry who are required to work on upcoming productions and shows in the UK. 

The lifting of the rules for these workers will take effect from Tuesday 7th July 2020.

What is the reaction?

From the moment the quarantine rules were implemented in the UK in June 2020, Parliament had received complete and utter backlash from various airlines and UK businesses. Not only they made public declarations of their disgust on well-known news channels, declaring that this would “effectively kill off air travel” and would severely damage the industry despite the public health implications, they launched a legal challenge against the UK government’s policy.

Now, this ‘travel unrest’ has been settled. Airlines have now begun the process of restarting commercial flights, with the mandatory requirement of all cabin crew, flight staff and passengers to wear a facemask on the flight.

Should you wish to travel to the UK or require legal assistance with your visa application or entry into the UK, please get in touch with a legal professional at Hudson McKenzie via email at or by telephone +44(0)20 3318 5794.