To date the Coronavirus pandemic has had little impact on people arriving to the UK, unlike other countries around the world that put in place quarantine measures and strict guidelines for those entering the country. But that may all be about to change following publication of the government's COVID-19 Recovery Strategy document. We have set out below what this all means and how it might impact you and will be updating this page with further guidance as it is published.

Covid-19 UK immigration update

Are quarantine restrictions in force for passengers arriving in the UK?

Current UK Government policy is not to check passengers' health nor impose quarantine upon arrival, nor impose checks upon departure from the UK. The UK Government does advise that passengers should follow guidance for safe travelling, go straight home from the airport and then only go outside for food, health reasons, daily exercise or work if they cannot work from home, and follow Government guidance on social distancing.

Will there be a 14-day quarantine for passengers arriving in the UK?

UK Prime Minister Johnson announced on 10 May 2020, that it will soon be the time to impose quarantine on people coming into the UK. UK Government guidance issued on 11 May 2020 confirmed that all people entering the UK, including British citizens, will be asked to supply their contact details and details of their accommodation, and to self-isolate in their accommodation for 14 days. Further details will be published in due course.

When would it start?

The Prime Minister stated that quarantine would be imposed once transmission rates were significantly lower in the UK, but set no specific timeframe. Airlines UK, the airline industry trade body, said that it had been told by government officials that the plan would be in place by the end of May or early June.

Will there be any exceptions?

The UK Government will publish a short list of those who are exempt in order to provide for continued security of supply into the UK and so as not to impede work supporting national security or critical infrastructure and to meet the UK's international obligations.

Passengers from the Channel Islands, Ireland and the Isle of Man will be exempt from the quarantine measures.

A joint statement by Prime Minister Johnson and President Macron of France published on 10 May 2020 confirmed that no quarantine measures would apply to passengers coming to the UK from France at this stage; any measures on either side would be taken in a concerted and reciprocal manner. This indicates that quarantine measures could be applied for those travelling between the UK and France in the future.

Are there other measures being imposed on passengers arriving in the UK?

Currently, no measures are being imposed on passengers arriving on commercial flights at the UK's major airports.

Heathrow airport announced that they intend to trial and eventually roll out screening for arriving passengers. Technologies under review include UV sanitation, facial recognition thermal screening technology and contactless security procedures.

Are there measures for passengers arriving on private aircrafts?

Some private airfields are imposing measures on arrivals from high risk areas. At present these include the requirements to:
  • Provide a disinfection certificate for the aircraft, in advance of arrival.
  • Provide written confirmation from the captain that all passengers are well and not displaying symptoms of Covid-19, in advance of arrival.
  • 10 miles before landing in the UK, reconfirm that passengers are well.

The measures are regularly updated do vary from airport to airport, so those with forthcoming travel plans are advised to check procedures prior to departure.

Please contact or if you require further information.

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The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.