Coronavirus: Employer’s resource centre — live guidance available here

COVID -19 Travel Restrictions

BY Jenny Brunton
Employment Law & HR

Resident or visitor traveling to the UK

As of Monday 8th of June, residents and visitors entering the UK are subject to new measures due to COVID-19. Under these rules you will need to provide your journey and contact details when you travel to the UK and you will not be allowed to leave the place you are staying for the first 14 days you’re in the UK, except in very limited situations (known as ‘self-isolating’). Different self-isolation rules apply in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.


Travellers exempt from border rules in the UK

A small number of people travelling to the UK in very limited circumstances will not need to self-isolate and/or complete contact detail declarations. These exemptions include: when a person is travelling to maintain essential supply chains, critical national infrastructure or to contribute to crisis response or other essential government work. A full list of the exemptions can be found here.

Differences in Scotland

For those traveling to Scotland there are some differences from the exemptions in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. These are:

  • Registered health or care professionals travelling to the UK to provide essential healthcare, including where this is not related to coronavirus – will need to self-isolate for 14 days if they are staying in Scotland; and
  • Frequent travellers for work: if you live in the UK but work in another country and travel between the UK and country of work at least once a week; and/or you live outside the UK but work in the UK and travel between your country of residence and the UK at least once a week – you will need to self-isolate for 14 days if you are staying in Scotland.

Traveling within the Common Travel Area

If you have arrived from the Common Travel Area (UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) and spent less than 14 days there, you need to complete the form and self-isolate for 14 days. If you have spent longer than 14 days in the CTA immediately before your travel, you do not need to complete the form or self-isolate.

Employees returning from holiday

At present the Foreign & Commonwealth Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. However, some flights are still operational, so employees may decide to take the risk of travelling abroad. In such cases employers should inform their employees of the government requirements on returning to the UK.  If the employee is not able to work from home on their return, you will need to decide what will happen on their return to the UK. Options may include a period of unpaid leave, or a period of extended annual leave to cover the self-isolation period. It is unlikely that the employee will be able to claim SSP although further guidance is awaited. Travel corridors and “air-bridges” are also being mooted in the press, which may open up some leisure travel, but further guidance is awaited.

In England and Wales breaching the quarantine may result in a fine of up to £1,000 ad possible removal from the UK for overseas nationals. Enforcement measures in Scotland and Northern Ireland have not yet been announced. 

For further guidance, visit


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