UK Foreign Office Issues Travel Advice Against Non-Essential Travel Worldwide


Wednesday, March 18,  2020 /09:31 AM / By UK Government / Header Image Credit: Foreign Office Blogs

Travel advice: coronavirus (COVID-19)

Guidance for British people travelling and living overseas during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Exceptional travel advisory notice

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) now advises British people against all non-essential travel worldwide. This advice takes effect immediately and applies initially for a period of 30 days.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented international border closures and other restrictions. All countries may restrict travel without notice.

If you now need to change or cancel your travel plans, follow these steps:

1.   contact your airline, travel company, cruise line or other transport and accommodation providers

2.      get in touch with your insurance provider

3.      continue to follow the NHS coronavirus guidance


The FCO was already advising against all but essential travel or all travel to some areas or countries due to risks that do not relate to COVID-19. This advice remains in place. Check FCO travel advice pages for the latest information.

If you're abroad

Our travel advice has changed

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises British people against all but essential travel worldwide due to unprecedented international border closures and other restrictions.

We will continue to update our Travel Advice pages with relevant information if you are currently abroad. Check our travel advice for your location regularly and sign-up to email alerts.

You must follow the advice of local authorities. Your safety and security is the responsibility of the local authority where you are.

If you wish to leave the country you are in, contact your airline or travel company and your insurance provider as soon as you are able, and keep up to date with the latest developments. International travel may become more difficult. We only organise assisted departure in exceptional circumstances.

Quarantine while you are abroad

If the local authority where you are proposes to quarantine you for your own protection, you should follow their advice. When you are abroad, your safety and security is their responsibility.

If there are suspected cases of coronavirus where you are, you may need to remain in your hotel room or accommodation for 14 days, move to quarantine facilities, take tests for coronavirus and, if positive in some cases, be hospitalised abroad.

You should also contact your airline or travel company, and your insurance provider as soon as you can. We only organise assisted departure in exceptional circumstances.

If your travel is essential

Prepare for your travel

If your travel is essential, follow our checklist before you travel:

  • contact your airline, travel company, cruise line or other transport and accommodation providers to make sure you can still travel
  • read the details of your travel insurance carefully, and check that you are covered, and contact your insurer if you are uncertain. You may need to consider a specialist policy
  • make sure you can access money to cover emergencies and unexpected delays. Take more than one means of payment with you
  • be prepared to follow the advice of local authorities abroad. Be ready to comply with local isolation or quarantine requirements, and to rely on the local health system
  • make sure you have enough medication with you in case you are abroad longer than planned
  • be prepared for logistical and financial disruption to your travel
  • arrange extra support for family members, dependants or pets who may need care if you are abroad longer than planned
  • check travel advice for your destination regularly and sign-up to email alerts
  • visit this page regularly as it is constantly updated given the evolving situation overseas

If you are older, or if you have pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease), you are more likely to become severely ill if you catch the virus. Check the NHS guidance before you travel.

Get travel insurance

If your travel is essential, make sure you have appropriate insurance for overseas travel, and purchase it as soon as you book your travel. You should check the detail of your travel insurance to see what it covers, and contact your insurance provider if you have any questions.

You may need to consider a specialist policy. It's your responsibility to make sure you're covered. Read our guidance on purchasing insurance.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has published information on the travel insurance implications of coronavirus.

Entry restrictions

Many countries and territories have introduced screening measures (temperature checks, health/travel questions, quarantine) and entry restrictions at border crossings and transport hubs.

If you have recently been in a country affected by the virus you may need to be quarantined, or you may not be allowed to enter or travel through a third country. If you decide to travel, contact the local immigration authorities or the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country you're travelling to.

Travel advice and consular support

Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice

Foreign & Commonwealth Office travel advice is constantly under review, so that it reflects our latest assessment of risks to British people. Find out more about how our travel advice works.

Consular help

We publish all our Travel Advice on GOV.UK. Our consular officers cannot provide any additional information by phone. Read more about the consular support we provide.

International cruises

If you are planning to go on a cruise, be aware a COVID-19 outbreak on board is possible, and your travel may be disrupted.

If you are aged 70 and over, or if you have underlying health conditions, we advise you against cruise ship travel at this time. Find out more in our cruise ship travel guidance.

The Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) has adopted an enhanced member health policy which all CLIA ocean member cruise lines must follow. It includes guidance on who should be permitted to board cruise ships. If you are due to travel on an international cruise, contact your travel company for the latest information.

International education trips

The government advises against all overseas education trips for children under 18 until further notice. Read the Department for Education guidance.

Latest health advice

See the latest NHS guidance on coronavirus for the current situation in the UK and abroad.


The National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) has also produced general advice on preparing for foreign travel and how everyone can reduce the spread of respiratory viruses.

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