UK government unveils 'Declaration to Travel' permits for outbound travellers

Suban Abdulla
·2 min read
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 15: A view inside a quiet Terminal 5 departure lounge at Heathrow Airport on April 15, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. The airport expects 90% fewer passengers compared to April last year, as governments continue to advise against non-essential travel due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Heathrow has prioritised cargo traffic and closed one of its two runways. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Those who fail to comply with the rules face a £200 ($277) to a maximum of £6,400 fine, the Department for Transport warned. Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Travellers from England face fines and being denied access to board flights under new travel rules coming into force from 8 March.

The UK government has unveiled a "Declaration to Travel" permit for anyone travelling abroad from England, requiring them to prove that they are allowed to travel.

The form states that outbound travellers from England can go overseas despite the lockdown and travel restrictions if they can prove they are doing so for legally exempt reasons including education and work purposes.

This means that those who enter "a port of departure to travel internationally" without the completed forms will be "committing a criminal offence," even if they are legally allowed to travel for work, education or medical reasons, the government said.

Those who fail to comply with the rules face a £200 ($277) to a maximum of £6,400 fine, the Department for Transport warned.

"You do not need to complete the form yourself if you are under the age of 18 or if you lack capacity to complete the form. If a responsible adult is travelling with you, they should complete a separate copy of the form on your behalf."

While those going overseas will have to fill in a form, travellers from England who are travelling within the UK, Ireland and Channel islands and the Island of Man do not need to complete a form.

Outbound England travellers have to fill in the three page form, which includes their personal details, address, passport number and destination, they also have to tick a box declaring that they are leaving the country.

It can be downloaded from the government's website, completed and signed before travel and people must carry a physical copy or download it onto a mobile phone.

Currently, all travel, whether in the UK or overseas, is not permitted under the "stay at home" order. The earliest possible date for international travel for leisure from England is 17 May.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: All businesses in England now able to get free COVID-19 rapid tests

Airlines will check travellers' forms before boarding or during check-in online or at the desk, and the government said that they are legally required to state on their website the requirement to fill out the form.

There are different rules for the devolved administrations and at present no declaration of travel forms are required in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Those arriving in the UK from abroad have to take two coronavirus tests while quarantining, some people are required to pay to self-isolate at a hotel upon return to the country.

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