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Booking and staying in a quarantine hotel when you arrive in England

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How to book a place in a quarantine hotel and arrange coronavirus (COVID-19) tests if you’re travelling to England from a country on the banned travel list.

This guidance is for people arriving in England who have visited or passed through a country where travel to the UK is banned (sometimes called the ‘red list’) in the 10 days before their arrival.

You should follow separate guidance if you’re travelling from a country that is not on the list where travel to the UK is banned.

You cannot travel to the UK if you’ve visited or passed through a country where travel to the UK is banned in the last 10 days, unless you’re:

  • a British national
  • an Irish national
  • anyone with residence rights in the UK

From 15 February onwards, everyone allowed to enter England who has visited or passed through a country where travel to the UK is banned in the last 10 days must:

  • quarantine for 10 days in a managed quarantine hotel
  • take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 of quarantining
  • follow the national lockdown rules

Providing false or deliberately misleading information when filling out your passenger locator form is an offence punishable by imprisonment. You could be fined up to £10,000, imprisoned for up to 10 years, or both, if you do not provide accurate details about the countries you have visited in the 10 days before you arrived in the UK.

If you break the quarantine rules you may face a penalty of up to £10,000.

You should follow separate advice if you arrive in:

Hotel quarantine: what it is

Everyone who arrives into England must quarantine for 10 days from the point of their arrival. The day of arrival in England will be treated as day zero.

To stop the spread of potentially harmful variants into the UK, more stringent measures are in place for people who have travelled from or passed through a country on the list where travel to the UK is banned (the ‘red list’) in the last 10 days before arrival.

From 15 February, you must quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel if you’ve travelled from or passed through a country on the list where travel to the UK is banned.

Who has to go into hotel quarantine

If you are a British or Irish national, or third country national with residence rights in the UK and you have been in or passed through a red-list country in the 10 days before your arrival, you will need to quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel, unless you’re exempt.

Travellers from countries not on the ‘red list’ must follow the guidance set out here.

What you need to do before you arrive in England

Before you travel you must:

  • take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test and get a negative result during the 3 days before you travel. You must take the test in the 3 days before the service on which you will arrive in England departs. For example, if you travel directly to England on Friday, you must take the test on the Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday
  • book a managed quarantine hotel where you will quarantine. Your quarantine package will include your managed quarantine hotel, quarantine transport and your travel test package for COVID-19 tests on day 2 and day 8 of quarantine
  • complete a passenger locator form with details of where you will quarantine when you arrive. You must provide a quarantine package booking reference number to complete your passenger locator form

Due to a minor technical issue, the link to the booking portal in this guidance will not be available until later today. Please return to this page later if you wish to make a booking.

You will need to agree to pay for, and book, a quarantine package before you complete your passenger locator form (PLF) and board your return journey to the UK.

The package includes the costs of transport from the port of arrival to the designated hotel, food, accommodation, security, other essential services and testing.

Rate
Rate for 1 adult in 1 room for 10 days (11 nights) £1750
Additional rate for 1 adult (or child over 12) £650
Additional rate for a child aged 5–12 £325

For those facing significant financial hardship as a result of this charge, there will be an opportunity to apply for a deferred repayment plan when booking. This is only available for individuals who already receive income-related benefits, and you will be required to pay back your debt to the government in 12 monthly installments.

All package prices will be reviewed before the end of March and may change. While hotels normally set a zero fee for children aged under 3, we are setting this for children under 5 years old because they will not be tested. The proposed zero fee for children under 5 years old will mean that for the present the government will bear the costs of additional food and drinks consumed by arrivals aged between 3 and 5 years old.

You must not apply for deferred payment if you are not eligible. If you provide false information, or omit key information that has been asked for in your application, you will be committing fraud and liable for conviction.

If you have not arranged a quarantine package prior to your arrival in England, you face a penalty of up to £4,000 and will still have to pay for your quarantine package on arrival.

Where you can arrive

If you’re required to quarantine in a quarantine hotel you can only arrive in England at certain ports of entry. Currently these are:

  • Heathrow Airport
  • Gatwick Airport
  • London City Airport
  • Birmingham Airport
  • Farnborough Airfield

Other ports of entry may be added in the future.

If you have a pre-existing booking to a different port of entry on or after the 15 February it’s your responsibility to change it to one of the ports of entry specified above. After 15 February carriers will not be permitted to carry anyone who has been in a red list country in the previous 10 days to any other port of entry other than those specified.

If you’re required to quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel and do not arrive in England at one of the designated ports of entry, you may face a penalty of up to £10,000 and will be charged for the cost of transportation to the nearest designated port or entry.

Arriving and transporting to a managed quarantine hotel

When you arrive in England you will need to provide your completed passenger locator form to Border Force officers alongside your passport and negative COVID-19 test result.

You will be escorted through the airport with other passengers who need to quarantine at a managed quarantine hotel. Your ‘quarantine package’ includes transport to your quarantine hotel (and back to the airport at the end of your quarantine).

You must only travel to your managed quarantine hotel by the transport specified in your quarantine package and not by public or private transport.

At the end of the quarantine period you will be transported to the airport you were collected from when you arrived in England.

Quarantining in a managed quarantine hotel

When you arrive at the managed quarantine hotel you will be required to quarantine in your room for 10 days. The managed quarantine hotel will provide your meals.

It is not possible to select a particular room at the managed quarantine hotel or to seek a higher standard room upon arrival.

You can quarantine with the people you travelled with and hotels will prioritise allocating larger or connecting rooms to families.

If you’re the parent or guardian of an unaccompanied child arriving in England, you can join your child in quarantine.

You cannot have visitors in quarantine, including friends or family, unless they are providing:

  • emergency assistance
  • care or assistance, including personal care
  • medical assistance
  • veterinary services
  • certain critical public services

If you have items delivered to you during the quarantine period, they will be brought to the door of your room by the managed quarantine hotel staff. Staff will try to bring the items to you in a timely manner. However, given the need to maintain compliance with COVID guidelines, deliveries may not be able to be brought to your door immediately when they arrive at the hotel.

The hotels selected for managed quarantine are able to meet the vast majority of requirements.

You will be able to seek medical attention, including for repeat prescriptions and/or if you need to fill a prescription

You will only be allowed to leave your room in very limited circumstances including:

  • to travel directly to leave the Common Travel Area
  • to fulfil a legal obligation including attending court or satisfying bail conditions or to participate in legal proceedings
  • to exercise but only with special permission from hotel staff or security. This is not guaranteed
  • in exceptional circumstances, such as:
    • seeking medical assistance where this is required urgently or on the advice of a registered medical practitioner
    • to avoid injury, illness or escape a risk of harm (for example situations such as fire or flooding, or cases where domestic abuse occurs within a group quarantining together)
    • to access critical public services including social services or services provided to victims (for example critical access such as for a child to see their social worker)
    • to access veterinary services where required urgently or on the advice of a veterinary surgeon (no animals other than guide dogs would be in a hotel quarantine)

Testing

You will need to take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2. This first test is designed to help identify any potentially harmful variants of COVID-19 at the earliest opportunity. You will not be allowed to shorten your quarantine period if you receive a negative test result, as you may still develop COVID-19. Tests will be taken in your own accommodation.

If you receive a positive test result on day 2, you must quarantine until day 12. If you are in quarantine with people you have travelled with, they will also need to quarantine until day 12.

If you receive a positive result for your day 2 test, you will not be required to take any further tests.

You will also need to take a COVID-19 test on or after day 8. If you receive a positive test result on day 8 you will be required to quarantine until day 18.

You will not be able to end your managed quarantine early through the Test to Release scheme.

Children under 5 will not be required to take the day 2 or day 8 test

You should order a test here if you develop at least one of these 3 coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms at any point:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • you’ve lost your sense of smell or taste or it’s changed

If you’re in quarantine with people you have travelled with you will need to quarantine when you receive a positive test for 10 days. In a group quarantining together this could mean:

  • person A: receives a positive test result on day 2 so must quarantine to day 12 (no day 8 test)
  • person B: needs to quarantine until day 12 also as a close contact of person A. If they are negative on day 2 they are still required to take a day-8 test. Person B receives a positive test result on day 8 so they will need to quarantine to day 18
  • person C: Needs to quarantine until day 12 also as a close contact of person A. If negative on day-2 test, they are still required to take a day-8 test. They receive a negative day-8 test result. Person C still needs to quarantine to day 18 as they are a contact of person B as well as of person A

If someone tests positive other people in the same room should be moved into another room if there is space available in the hotel.

If you do not take the tests you may face a penalty of up to £2,000.

Leaving managed quarantine

You will be able to leave quarantine when you have received a negative result from your day 8 test and have quarantined for 10 full days.

If you receive a positive result from either of your tests, you will not be able to leave managed quarantine until 10 days have passed from the date of the test.

If, despite a negative test on day 8, you develop new coronavirus symptoms on day 9 or day 10, this would trigger a further test and extended quarantine for 10 days, if the new test is positive.

Exemptions

A very small proportion of people arriving in England who have visited or passed through a red-list country will not need to quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel or in private accommodation.

The full list of exemptions to managed quarantine is set out below.

Hauliers travelling from Portugal

Hauliers travelling from Portugal are permitted to travel to England and are exempt from managed quarantine.

You need to complete the passenger locator form before you travel to England.

You do not need to take a coronavirus test before you travel to England.

You’ll need to show that your travel is part of your job, for example a letter from your employer, a consignment note or your operator’s licence.

This applies to:

Drivers of goods vehicles and other employees of community licence holders for the international carriage of goods who have been in Portugal in the 10 days prior to their arrival in England.

Defence personnel, visiting forces and government contractors

You do not need to complete the passenger locator form or to quarantine – either in a managed quarantine hotel or in private accommodation. You will be exempt from the need to present a negative COVID-19 result test prior to departure, where it is impractical to get a test.

You’ll need to apply for a letter from the Ministry of Defence confirming you are exempt. You’ll need to show this letter to officials at border control on entry to England.

Applies to:

Defence personnel, visiting forces and government contractors who the Ministry of Defence has confirmed are required to deliver essential defence activities.

You’re required to follow all requirements when not conducting defence duties.

Border security duties – UK officials and contractors

You do not need to present a negative COVID-19 result test prior to departure.

You do not need to complete the passenger locator form or quarantine – either in a managed quarantine hotel or in private accommodation – if you’re either:

  • required to undertake essential government work related to the UK border in the UK during the period which, but for this exemption, you would need to self-isolate
  • undertaking essential government work related to the UK border outside of the UK but required to come back to England temporarily before departing the UK to again undertake essential government work related to the border

You should use your official photo identification to demonstrate your status.

Applies to:

UK officials and contractors required to work on essential border security duties.

Border security duties – non-UK officials and contractors

You do not need to present a negative COVID-19 result test prior to departure.

You do not need to complete the passenger locator form or quarantine – either in a managed quarantine hotel or in private accommodation – if you’re either:

  • an official or contractor of a foreign government, required to travel to England to undertake essential border security duties
  • in possession of a written notice signed by a senior member of your government confirming that you’re required to undertake essential border security duties in the UK during the period which, but for this exemption, you would need to self-isolate, and that that work cannot be undertaken while the person is complying with regulation 4
  • your deployment is pursuant to a standing bilateral or multilateral agreement with the UK government on the operation of the border controls within the UK

You should use your official photo identification to demonstrate your status.

Applies to:

Non-UK officials and contractors required to work on essential border security duties.

International escorts undertaking extradition work

You need to complete the passenger locator form before you travel to England.

You need to take a coronavirus test before you travel to England.

You do not need to quarantine – either in a managed quarantine hotel or in private accommodation.

Applies to:

Foreign police officers entering England in order to escort a surrendered person out of England.

Crown servants or government contractors

This exemption only applies to those certified by a department of the UK government as meeting the criteria set out below.

You’ll need to complete the passenger locator form before you travel to England.

You will not need to quarantine – either in a managed quarantine hotel or in private accommodation – if a relevant department of the UK government has certified that you are:

  • a crown servant or government contractor travelling to England for essential government work, or
  • returning from conducting essential state business outside of the England, or
  • returning to England where this is necessary to facilitate the functioning of a diplomatic mission or consular post of Her Majesty or of a military/other official posting on behalf of Her Majesty

The relevant department of the UK government will issue you with a letter certifying that you fall within one of the categories above and are not required to comply with the quarantine requirements. You should contact them directly for this and bring it with you to England.

If you’re working as part of a UK embassy, high commission, consulate or mission, the letter will normally be issued by the ambassador, high commissioner or their equivalent in the country you are travelling from (i.e. where you are working at post). You should contact them directly for this and bring it with you to England.

If you’re directly employed by the Ministry of Defence the letter will be issued through your chain of command in the country you are travelling from. You should contact them directly for this and bring it with you to England.

Exemption from coronavirus testing before entering England

You will be exempt from the need to present a negative COVID-19 result test prior to departure where you have been certified by a department of the UK government department as meeting the criteria set out below:

  • a crown servant or government contractor travelling to England for essential government work in the UK or is returning from conducting such work outside the UK
  • a person returning from conducting essential state business outside of the UK
  • a person returning from undertaking essential or emergency work outside of the UK, which has been certified by the relevant department as necessary to facilitate essential government work, or essential state business

The relevant department of the UK government will issue you with a letter certifying that you fall within one of the categories above and that you are not required to comply with the requirement. You should contact them directly for this before you depart and bring it with you to England. You may be refused boarding without this.

Possession of letters confirming exemption from the requirement to self-isolate for 10 days does not exempt the holder from presenting a negative COVID-19 result test prior to departure.

Diplomatic missions, international organisations and conferences

You need to take a coronavirus test before you travel to the UK.

Neither you nor your family members or others dependants need to complete the passenger locator form.

Neither you nor your family members or other dependants need to quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel.

You, your family members and other dependants will need to quarantine in private accommodation

Before you travel, your mission, international organisation or conference will need to notify the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), who will issue a letter confirming exemption from the requirement to fill in the passenger locator form to show at the border.

Applies to:

Members of diplomatic missions and consular posts in the UK, officers, servants or representatives of international organisations, representatives at an international or UK conference granted privileges and immunities, and their families or dependants.

Representatives of a foreign country or territory or British overseas territories

You do not need to complete the passenger locator form.

You do not need to quarantine – either in a managed quarantine hotel or in private accommodation – if it’s confirmed that you are travelling to England for official business that cannot be undertaken while in quarantine.

If your family members or other dependants travel with you, they will need to quarantine in private accommodation after they arrive in England.

Before you travel, your mission or a representative of your country or territory will need to notify the FCDO who will issue an exemption letter to show at the border.

Exemption from coronavirus testing before entering England

An exemption from the need to present a negative COVID-19 result test prior to departure applies, in exceptional circumstances, to:

Representatives of a foreign country or territory and representatives of the British overseas territories, travelling to England to undertake official business with the UK.

Before you travel, your mission or a relevant representative of your country or territory will need to notify the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. The FCDO will assess your circumstances on a case by case basis. If applicable, the FCDO will issue you an exemption letter to confirm it has received the necessary confirmation, that you are travelling to the UK to conduct official business with the UK and that you are not required to present a negative COVID-19 result test prior to departure.

Possession of letters confirming exemption from the requirement to complete the passenger locator form or the requirement to quarantine does not exempt the holder from presenting a negative COVID-19 test result prior to departure.

Circumstances not covered by this guidance

If you’re intending to travel to the UK in the next 7 days and facing a set of circumstances that are not covered by this guidance, please email you enquiry to dhsctesttrace.customerfeedbackteam@nhs.net.

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