Passengers travelling internationally from the UK from today, 8 March, will need to carry a new form stating that their trip is permitted under the stay at home restrictions, the government said. The simple form must be downloaded, signed before travel, and carried or downloaded onto a mobile phone.
Carriers will be checking the forms have been completed before boarding, either at check-in (online or at the check-in desk) or the departure gate. Passengers who do not have a valid form may be denied access to their booked service. Carriers will also be legally obliged to set out on their website that the form must be completed before travelling.
Police have been stepping up their presence at ports and airports in recent weeks. Officers will be conducting spot checks and have the power to ask travellers to produce a completed form. It will be an offence to fail to produce a completed form and individuals could face a £200 fine.
Stay-at-home rules are still in place, which means it is illegal to travel abroad without a permitted reason, such as for education or work. The police will undertake spot checks at UK ports across the country to ensure passengers are complying with domestic lockdown rules. Passengers who are identified by police as attempting to travel internationally for reasons that are not currently permitted will be asked to return home and risk receiving a fixed penalty notice for breaking stay-at-home rules.
These fines start at GBP 200 (USD 276.80) and ladder up to a maximum of GBP 6,400 (USD 8857.59).
The Home Office announced an additional GBP 60 million for police in February – including GBP 2 million (USD 2.77 million) to cover the costs of extra activity by police at airports and ports – which brought the total amount of funding available to forces since the start of the pandemic to nearly GBP 200 million (USD 276.80 million).
The government has already put in place a range of tough measures to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission at the border, including the:
- Introduction of pre-departure testing for all international arrivals
- Requirement for those travelling back to the UK from a ‘red list’ country to self-isolate in a government-approved facility for a period of 10 days while there is a heightened risk of transmission from these areas
- All international arrivals must also take a Covid-19 test on both day 2 and day 8 of their self-isolation period – with genome sequencing included within the cost of the testing bundle.