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The information on this page was correct as of May 28, 2020 at 12:00 BST.
U.S. State Department – Global Health Advisory – Do Not Travel
(added Friday, March 20 at 09:00 GMT)
The Department of State has issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory advising U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.
Health Alert from the U.S. Embassy London, UK
added March 18, 2020 at 09:30 GMT Effective March 18, 2020, the U.S. Embassy in London and Consulates General in Edinburgh and Belfast have suspended routine consular services.
Visa Appointments Update
In response to significant worldwide challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of State has temporarily suspended routine visa services at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates. Embassies and consulates have canceled all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments as of March 20, 2020, but will continue to provide emergency and mission-critical visa services as resources and local conditions allow. We will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time. Please see these notices which contain detailed information about the current status of visa services worldwide and visa restrictions related to the COVID-19 global pandemic: COVID-19 – Visa Services and Restrictions at Travel.State.gov
If you have scheduled a visa interview appointment, the Visa Appointment Service will contact you if your appointment is being postponed. The MRV fee is valid and may be used for a visa application in the country where it was purchased within one year of the date of payment.
For the latest information and advice for travel to the United Kingdom with regards to COVID-19, please visit the U.K. Government’s webpage on Coronavirus (COVID-19): latest information and advice.
The U.S. Mission to the United Kingdom has suspended routine consular services. For emergency American Citizens Services, including emergency passports, please visit our website and our Information for American Citizens page for important information.
If your UK visa or leave to remain is due to expire, you can visit the UK government’s website for guidance.
Entry and Exit Requirements
UK Officials are carrying out enhanced monitoring of direct flights from these areas. Passengers will be told how to report any symptoms they develop during the flight, at the time of arrival, or after leaving the airport. For the most current advice from the UK government please visit UK Travel advice: coronavirus (COVID-19).
(UPDATED) UK to Impose 14-Day Self-Isolation for New Arrivals
From June 8, 2020, individuals arriving in the UK must self-isolate for 14 days and may be contacted to verify compliance. New arrivals will be required to provide UK officials with contact and travel information upon arrival. Anyone failing to complete the information form or adhere to the new policy may be denied UK entry or be subject to fines. Transit passengers who have onward travel outside of the UK and who do not pass border control are exempt from self-isolation requirements.
For complete details, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control
COVID19 UK Travel Information
UK Visas: Check if you need a UK visa: www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa
U.S. Travel: Visa restrictions under Presidential Proclamations still apply (see *Note, below)
Visit our Visa webpages for more information.
Travel restrictions to the U.S. apply to those transiting the UK. However, certain travelers are excepted from the Presidential Proclamation travel restrictions, but will need valid U.S. visas or travel documents in order to proceed.
Excepted travelers include: U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents (LPR), spouses of U.S. citizens and LPRs, and parents/legal guardians of minor, unmarried U.S. citizens and LPRs. Please go to https://travel.state.gov for full list.
Please note that the U.S. embassies and consulates in the UK are not able to accept new visa applications unless they are extreme, life or death situations. Depending on the traveler’s nationality and flight plan, they may need to obtain a UK visa before they attempt to transit the UK. Further details are available at GOV.UK
Commercial Flights Still Available from UK to USA
The U.S. government does not anticipate arranging repatriation flights from the UK at this time. U.S. citizens in the UK who wish to return to the United States should make commercial flight arrangements or be prepared to remain in the UK for an indefinite period.
Commercial flights are still available from multiple UK airports connecting to London Heathrow for direct flights to the United States. Trains from Scotland to London are also still available; however, this may change at any moment. Please check the airport and rail websites for the latest information
If symptomatic at an airport
- If a traveler is denied boarding because of potential COVID-19 symptoms, they might be directed to an airport self-isolation room while the traveler arranges their own transport to quarantine accommodations.
- Travelers exhibiting symptoms are required to find a location for self-isolation and quarantine
On Arrival – At London Heathrow Airport
Terminals: All flights at Heathrow are now operating from Terminals 2 and 5 following the temporary relocation of airlines from Terminals 3 and 4. All passengers should double-check their arrival and departure terminals, as they may change. Please check www.heathrow.com/whichterminal for more information.
Screening: There are currently no temperature checks at UK airports for arriving flights. Heathrow has created a dedicated, isolated, terminal pier area to be used by Public Health England (PHE) medical professionals while liaising with suspected cases.
Social distancing: Please do not come into the terminals at Heathrow unless you are traveling. It is important that those passengers who do come into the terminals for essential travel adhere to the UK Government’s two meter social distancing guidelines.
Departing passengers: It is not necessary to arrive at the airport early. Please arrive at the airport 2 hours before a European flight and 3 hours before a long-haul flight.
Airport Transit: Many local travel partners continue to operate services to and from Heathrow. See transport operator contact details. All National Express coach services are suspended. This includes services between Heathrow and Gatwick. Starting May 8, 2020, Piccadilly Tube and London Rail services will not operate to, or from, any Terminal 4 stations. Piccadilly line trains will serve Heathrow Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 5, and Transport for London Rail trains will serve Heathrow Terminals 2, 3, and 5.
More information: www.heathrow.com/coronavirus
On Arrival – At London Gatwick Airport
Terminals: The airport temporarily closed the North Terminal and remaining flights will arrive and depart from the South Terminal, although many flights are now being cancelled. All passengers should keep in contact with their airline for the latest information.
Screening: There are currently no temperature checks at UK airports for arriving flights, so you should not expect to see them when you land.
Airport Transit: Hotel shuttle bus operator, NSL, is operating a severely reduced service following the latest Government advice to avoid all but essential travel. National Express coach service is suspended.. See the National Express live updates webpage but a restricted timetable is currently scheduled to resume from Wednesday, July 1, 2020. Please note however, all services are subject to change depending on Government advice. While Southern Rail and Thameslink are still running to and from Gatwick Airport, the Gatwick Express service between London Victoria and Gatwick Airport has been suspended.
More Information: www.gatwickairport.com
On Arrival – At London Luton Airport
Terminals: London Luton Airport remains open for dedicated repatriation, medical and military flights, and general aviation. Wizz Air has resumed a select number of flights for those with an essential reason to travel.
Screening: There are enhanced monitoring procedures for flights arriving from affected countries and displays with the latest public health information across the terminal. There are no temperature checks.
Airport Transit: Until further notice, National Express has suspended all services to and from the airport. All other operators, including rail, are operating significantly reduced services.
More information: www.london-luton.co.uk
On Arrival – At London Stansted Airport
Terminals: Stansted’s terminal is open for business for those with essential travel, but most flights are subject to change and cancellation.
Screening: Enhanced monitoring procedures for flights are in place along with information leaflets and posters. Some limited temperature screening trials are being undertaken to test equipment. The results will not be communicated to passengers or used to influence whether a passenger can travel.
Social distancing: Stansted Airport is undertaking a pilot of measures working towards a new standard for safe international travel. Passengers travelling through the airport are required to cover their faces and wear gloves. Passengers are encouraged to bring their own gloves and face coverings/masks. However, in the early stages of the pilot, passengers arriving without these items will be provided with gloves and masks that can be worn throughout the passengers’ time at the airport.
Airport Transit: Travelers are advised not to travel on public transport unless the journey is absolutely essential.
More information www.stanstedairport.com/
On Arrival – At London City Airport
Terminals: City airport’s terminal is closed and all commercial operations are temporarily suspended into May.
More information: www.londoncityairport.com/
Food Services at Airports
Please note that food services and options at airports and hotels remain extremely limited. Some airports are not operating any stores or food services at all. Others may have only a pharmacy open for emergencies. Travelers should plan to travel with enough food to sustain them for the duration of their transit in the UK.
National Express Coach: National Express coach service is suspended. A restricted timetable is currently scheduled to resume from Wednesday, July 1, 2020. Please note however, all services are subject to change depending on Government advice.
See the National Express service update page for details.
National Rail Service: Currently, around half the usual number of trains are running compared to a normal weekday. Early morning and late evening services are being protected wherever possible. More information at www.nationalrail.co.uk
Transport for London (TfL): London public transit has been significantly reduced with a number of stations closed. Visit TFL Status Updates to check the status of individual stations.
If you must use public transport, passengers are asked to avoid the busiest times between 05:45-08.15 and 16:00-17:30. Passengers should wear a face covering when travelling, and keep 2 meters apart from others where possible.
Car and Rideshare Services: The following companies are still operating and may be able to provide airport transfer service:
- Addison Lee
- Green Tomato Cars
- Free Now
- Taxi Code
- TFL Find a Taxi or Minicab
Most hotels have closed until further notice. Currently, the following hotels are allowing new bookings for passengers in transit. Passengers may be required to show evidence of an onward flight, and stays may be limited to 24-48 hours. Bars and restaurants may be closed. Other services may be limited.
Hotels at Heathrow Airport
- Hilton Garden Inn Heathrow Airport – +44 20 8266 4664 (Call to book)
- Novotel London Heathrow Airport T1 T2 and T3 – +44-20891-71599 (Call to book). Hotel advises that many front-line staff are staying at this location and that maximum length of stay is one night.
- Sheraton Skyline (London Heathrow) (E-mail to book: email@example.com)
Hotels in Downtown London
- Karma Sanctum (SoHo) – +44 20 7292 6100 or www.sanctumsoho.com
- London Elizabeth Hotel (Paddington) – +44 79844 75359 or firstname.lastname@example.org or www.londonelizabethhotel.com
- St. David’s Hotel (Paddington) – +44 20 7723 3856 or www.stdavidshotels.com
- Tony’s House Hotel (Paddington) – +44 20 7402 4114 or aga-london-hotels.com Hotel is fully booked with key workers until April 30th.
Hotels in East London
- Aloft London Excel (E-mail or call to book: email@example.com or +44 20 3203 0700)
New Airbnb booking restrictions in the UK may impact travelers.
(NEW) If Travel Plans Have Been Cancelled
The Embassy is unable to assist with obtaining refunds for travel that has been cancelled. We recommend you contact the company or website from which you purchased your tickets or with whom you have reservations. You may also wish to contact your credit card company for their assistance.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission provides information on its website that directly addresses COVID-19 related travel at COVID-19 ruined my travel plans. Now what?
The U.S. Department of Transportation has mandated airlines to refund passengers in the event flights are canceled, significant schedule changes or made, or government restrictions prevent flying due to the coronavirus outbreak. More information is available at the U.S. Department of Transportation Refunds page.
For more information about rules and regulations about refunds for travel, we recommend you visit the below sites:
- In the United Kingdom, visit https://www.gov.uk/
- For the European Union, visit https://ec.europa.eu/
The UK Begins Easing Lockdown Restrictions
On May 10, UK Prime Minister Johnson addressed the public and announced a three-step plan to reopen society conditioned on the reproduction and infection rates of COVID-19.
Starting immediately, those who cannot work from home are able to go back to work, but should avoid public transportation if possible. Beginning May 13, the UK government is permitting unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise, allowing people to enjoy parks, drive to other destinations, and play sports – only with members of their own household. The PM warned that everyone must obey the rules on social-distancing as the UK government would enforce those rules and will increase fines for those who break them.
In step two, no earlier than June 1, the UK government may begin allowing some students back to school.
In step three, no earlier than July and subject to conditions and further scientific advice, the UK government may re-open at least some of the hospitality industry and other public places, provided they are safe and enforce social distancing. For more information: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus and if you have symptoms go to https://111.nhs.uk/service/covid-19
The Department of State encourages all U.S. citizens to enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security and health updates. Visit travel.state.gov to view individual Travel Advisories for the most urgent threats to safety and security.
U.S. Consulate General Edinburgh
+44 (0) 131 556-8315
U. S. Consulate General Belfast
+44 (0) 28 9038-6100
State Department – Consular Affairs
888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444
United Kingdom Country Information page.
For the latest information with regards to COVID-19, please visit the U.K. Government’s webpage on Coronavirus (COVID-19): latest information and advice. The following steps may help reduce the possible spread of infection.
- COVID-19 Stay At Home Guidance (via GOV.UK)
- stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with the flu
- do not use public transport or taxis
- ask friends, family members or delivery services to carry out errands
- try to avoid visitors to your home – it’s OK for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food
- Use the 111 Online Coronavirus service to find out what to do next
- Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
- In Scotland call your GP or NHS 24 on 111 out of hours
- In Wales call 111 (if available in your area) or 0845 46 47
- In Northern Ireland call 111.
- Please follow this advice even if your symptoms are minor.
U.S. Centers For Disease Control links
- Current Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019
- Department of State InfoCentral Coronavirus page
- How To Self-Isolate (via GOV.UK)
- Travel.state.gov – UK Country Information and Travel Advisory page for the UK
- U.S. Embassy London (this website)
- UK Travel Information following Coronavirus (COVID-19) Proclamation
- White House : Coronavirus Guidelines for America (PDF / 2 pages)