Starting from today, Monday, 8 June 2020, most travellers coming to England will need to self-isolate for 14 days and complete a ‘Passenger Locator Form’ so that the government can contact you if anyone you travelled with falls ill with COVID-19.
The government says that it has introduced these new rules to reduce the chance of a ‘second wave’ of coronavirus in the UK.
These new restrictions apply to most people travelling to England from outside of the Common Travel Area (the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands). If you are traveling from within the Common Travel Area, but were outside of it within 14 days of arrival, these rules apply to you, too. They apply equally to British citizens and foreign nationals.
Within 48 hours of departure, travellers need to complete a Passenger Locator Form. The form asks for your personal and travel details as well as where you will be staying for the first 14 days in the UK and an emergency contact in case you fall ill. The form can be found here. Travellers should print off a completed copy of the form or have it accessible on their mobile phone to show the Border Officer on arrival. Failure to do so can lead to a £100 fine and you may be refused entry (if you are not a British citizen).
Once in England, arrivals must self-isolate for 14 days. The rules on this are very strict, and much stricter than the current government guidance for those who are already here. If you are required to self-isolate, you cannot go out in public, go to work or go to school. You cannot leave your home for exercise or to walk your dog. You should not go shopping, even for essentials, and instead should arrange for these to be delivered. There is no “reasonable excuse” exception, not even in situations regarding childcare.
The only exceptions are:
- If you are legally required to go somewhere (e.g. to take part in legal proceedings or a child moving between homes as part of a custody agreement);
- You require urgent medical care;
- To attend the funeral of a close relative;
- To access basic necessities or essential public services and there are exceptional circumstances why these could not be delivered to you;
- You needed to stay in safe overnight accommodation before travelling to the location where you would be self-isolating for the remainder of the 14 days; or
- There is an emergency
Failure to follow these rules can lead to fines of up to £1000, or even up to £3200 in some circumstances. Migrants should be aware that they would be required to disclose these fines in applications for leave to remain and could see an application for British citizenship refused if it is made within three years from the date of the fine.
There is a long list of people who are exempt from these rules, which can be found here. These exceptions would not apply to most people coming to England, but does include diplomats, foreign representatives and other consular staff, those employed by the military, those who are only transiting and do not leave the airport and those (either living in the UK or outside of the UK) who travel in and out of the country at least once a week for work.
Please note, these rules only apply to England, as the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish governments have control over their own public health measures. At the time of writing, there were no regulations in place requiring quarantine for those living in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
If you require immigration advice in relation to the issues above, we can help. Please contact us on 020 7401 6887 or by email at email@example.com