Can you avoid the new £5,000 fine for leaving the UK from today?
Holidaymakers from England and Wales who try and leave the country without an essential reason will be fined up to £5,000 from today (Monday), under a new travel ban which technically lasts until June 30th under new Covid regulations, which was approved by MPs in parliament last week, and applies to England and Wales. Separate rules will apply to Scotland who have yet to outline their own regulations.
Under the new laws, UK residents need a valid reason in order to travel abroad, of which there are a number of approved reasons. Foreign breaks were already banned, but as the country was under a stay at home ‘lockdown’ order, it was covered under those laws instead. This message is lifted today also, and is replaced with a ‘Stay Local’ slogan instead.
The Covid regulations will last until June 30th but a decision could be made to lift travel restrictions earlier if the UK Government sees possible due to the evolution of the virus in their country. Ministers are set to make a final call on holidays on April 5th or April 12th, the PM said yesterday, with the next announcements scheduled for the 12th, including about international travel, which will not be allowed before May 17th.
Under the new Covid laws, people across the country will be officially banned from leaving the country without a reasonable excuse. You can however, legally leave the UK for these reasons:
- Where it’s necessary for work.
- For study in a foreign institution outside the UK.
- If you study in the UK and you need to go abroad for part of your course.
- For volunteer or charity work that cannot be done from the UK.
- Elite sports people – for training or competition.
- To fulfil a legal obligation.
- To seek medical assistance or appointments.
- For the purpose of buying, selling, letting or renting a property, or to move house.
- To be at the birth of a child at the mum’s request.
- To visit someone in a hospice or care home – but only close friends and family.
- To visit someone who is dying – close friends and family only.
- To attend a funeral.
- For childcare purposes.
- If you are getting married outside the UK.
- Contact with siblings for children in care.
- If you don’t live in the UK permanently and are going home.
Overseas holidays are not included in the list of reasons, but from tomorrow, March 30th, Spain has lifted the UK travel ban, meaning that people can enter Spain, the Balearic, and the Canary Islands for these reasons without a Spanish passport or residency. A negative PCR test result within 72 hours is still needed to enter Spanish territory regardless of vaccination.
In todays Oficial Boletin of Spain (BOE), Spain has extended its restrictions on non-essential journeys from countries outside the EU and Schengen Area to April 30th, but UK residents can still enter for the above reasons as the UK travel ban was an additional measure due to the 'British variant' B117 of the coronavirus.