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The information on this page was correct as of November 06, 2020 at 12:00 GMT.
In accordance with new restrictions announced for the United Kingdom on October 31, please see the below information for updated guidance on local and national restrictions and quarantine procedures. Keep reading for an update on consular services provided by the U.S. Embassy London, UK.
If you are a U.S. citizen who needs to return home to the United States, you may be permitted to travel under current UK regulations. In order to determine your eligibility to travel, you should consult directly with your airline AND follow all UK government guidelines when making travel arrangements. U.S. citizens should comply with the same guidance provided to British citizens here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus.
U.S. State Department – Level 3: Reconsider travel to the United Kingdom due to COVID-19 and exercise increased caution due to terrorism
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for the United Kingdom due to COVID-19. For information on what you can do to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19, please see the CDC’s latest recommendations. Please read the full text of the August 07, 2020, Travel Advisory.
If you are planning on traveling to the United States, it is important that you check quarantine regulations for the state you are visiting before you depart. You can find the most-up to date information on the CDC website and your state’s health department website. Please note you will still be required to quarantine as required by CDC and local guidelines even if you are an automatic exception to the current Presidential Proclamations or have received a national interest exception in order to travel directly to the United States.
Consular Operations from the U.S. Embassy London, UK
The U.S. Mission to the United Kingdom is providing emergency consular services. Please review the relevant service pages on our website for information on availability.
Passport and Citizenship Services Update
The U.S. Embassy in London and the Consulates in Belfast and Edinburgh are offering emergency appointment services only for passport and citizenship services that require an in-person appearance.
Most passport renewals for adults do not require an in-person appearance. Embassy London is still accepting routine adult passport renewal applications by mail for all citizens in the United Kingdom.
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.
Information on Travel to the U.K. and the U.S. Mission to the United Kingdom
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 Information for American Citizens page for important information.
UK COVID Restrictions
The UK response to COVID is updated frequently as the government monitors the situation. For the latest information, please go to the below websites.
- For England, visit: Local COVID alert levels: what you need to know – New national restrictions from 5 November
- For Northern Ireland, visit: NIDirect: Coronavirus – COVID-19
- For Scotland, visit: Coronavirus (COVID-19): Information for individuals and businesses in Scotland
- For Wales, visit: https://gov.wales/coronavirus
Entry and Exit Requirements:
- Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter? Yes
- Is a negative COVID-19 test required for entry? No
- Are health screening procedures in place at airports and other ports of entry? No
- If your UK visa or leave to remain is due to expire, you should visit the UK government’s website for guidance.
If you find that you are unable to travel due to illness or travel restrictions, please contact your airline for information about refunds. If they are unable to assist, we suggest you contact the financial institution through which you paid for the flights.
- Is a curfew in place? No
- Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel? Yes
Travel in and out of your local area is to be avoided. For information about when travel is permissible please see the websites for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland above. Please note that different parts of the United Kingdom have different restrictions.
Public Health Locator Form
New arrivals will be required to provide UK officials with contact and travel information prior to arrival by completing the Public Health Locator Form. This form must be completed by each member of your traveling party. You cannot submit the form until 48 hours before you are due to arrive in the UK.
- Are U.S. citizens required to quarantine? Yes
Travel Corridors, Mandatory 14-Day Self-Isolation for Arrivals to the UK
Individuals arriving in the UK from outside the current travel corridor (see below for each country’s rules) must self-isolate for 14 days and may be contacted to verify compliance. You will need to self-isolate if you visited or made a transit stop in a country or territory that is not on the travel corridor list in the 14 days before you arrive in the UK.
Passengers arriving to England by air, land, or sea from travel corridor countries do not need to self-isolate so long as they have only visited the listed countries in the past 14 days. Note that these rules apply to England only. You also do not need to self-isolate if you’re travelling to NI from within the Common Travel Area (CTA). For the list of designated travel corridor countries, visit: Countries and territories with no self-isolation requirement on arrival in England (GOV.UK).
Passenger locator forms are required even if you are arriving from a travel corridor country.
For Northern Ireland
Passengers arriving to Northern Ireland by air, land, or sea from travel corridor countries do not need to self-isolate so long as they have only visited the listed countries in the past 14 days. You also do not need to self-isolate if you’re travelling to NI from within the Common Travel Area (CTA).
Passengers arriving to Scotland by air, land, or sea from travel corridor countries do not need to self-isolate so long as they have only visited the listed countries in the past 14 days. Note that these rules apply to Scotland only.
Passengers arriving to Wales by air, land, or sea from travel corridor countries do not need to self-isolate so long as they have only visited the listed countries in the past 14 days. You also do not need to self-isolate if you’re travelling to Wales from within the Common Travel Area (CTA). For more information, visit: Travellers exempt from self-isolation: coronavirus (COVID-19).
Fines for Non-Compliance:
Fines for not following rules on meeting in larger groups range from £100 for the first offence up to £10,000.
Fines for failing to comply with rules for face-coverings range from £100 for the first offence up to £6,400.
You may be denied UK entry or fined £100 if you refuse to provide your contact details and £1,000 if you refuse to self-isolate, or you may face further action. For complete details on UK guidelines, visit: https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control
For Northern Ireland
If you refuse to provide passenger information you may be fined £60. If you are required to self-isolate and leave self-isolation within the 14-day period you may be fined £1,000. For complete details, visit: Coronavirus (COVID-19): travel advice (NIDIRECT.GOV.UK).
UK Border Force will carry out spot checks at the border and can impose a fine of £60 to those who refuse to provide passenger information. Those who fail to self-isolate can be fined £480. For complete details, visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) (via GOV.SCOT.UK).
You may be denied UK entry or fined £1,920 if you refuse to provide your contact details and £1,000 if you refuse to self-isolate, or you may face further action. For complete details on guidelines for Wales, visit: https://gov.wales/coronavirus
At this time COVID testing is not required to enter the United Kingdom. All travelers should abide by the quarantine requirements listed on this page. If you are not a part of the NHS, you will need to seek a private clinic for testing. Testing can cost anywhere from £250 – £500.
Some local laboratories are:
- Concepto Clinic
- The London General Practice
- The Private Harley Street Clinic
Please see https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.
For Transiting Travelers
If transiting airside with onward travel outside of the UK and not passing border control, you are exempt from self-isolation requirements. If transiting landside after entering the UK, you may travel directly between ports (such as Eurostar to Heathrow) without self-isolating. You can end self-isolation to go to the port you will leave the UK from, if you are leaving within 14 days. Travel straight to the port and avoid public transportation. All transiting persons will still be required to fill out the Public Health Passenger Locator Form.
For more information, visit: Travellers exempt from self-isolation: coronavirus (COVID-19).
All travelers 11 years and older must wear face covering on public transport and on aircrafts. Passengers using taxis and private hire vehicles should also use a face covering for the duration of their journey. Drivers may refuse to transport passengers who do not follow guidance for safe travel. Different regulations exist in different parts of the UK, for complete details, visit:: Face coverings: when to wear one and exemptions.
- Are commercial flights operating? Yes
- Is public transportation operating? Yes
Commercial Flights Available from UK to USA
U.S. citizens in the UK who wish to return to the United States should make commercial flight arrangements as they need to travel.
Commercial flights continue to be available from multiple UK airports connecting to London Heathrow for direct flights to the United States. Trains from Scotland to London are also available. Please check the airport and rail websites for the latest information.
Services at Airports and Hotels
Onward tickets should be purchased prior to traveling to the UK as ticketing counters may not accept cash. Please see individual airport and hotel websites for further information. It is highly recommended travelers check with their hotel prior to travel to confirm reservations.
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 Heathrow
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: Enhanced monitoring is in place for all flights. This includes the provision of advice leaflets, social distancing measures, increased hand sanitiser units, complimentary face coverings required for all passengers and colleagues, having Public Health England (PHE) colleagues and doctors on site, and trialing temperature screening in terminals.
Social distancing: Do not come into the terminals at Heathrow unless you are traveling. It is important that passengers who do come into the terminals for essential travel adhere to the UK Government’s social distancing guidelines. All passengers aged 11 and older are required to wear face coverings at all time within terminal buildings. There is no guarantee a mask will be available on arrival, please come prepared with your own face covering. www.heathrow.com/coronavirus
Shops and Restaurants: Open. See airport website for more information and times.
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. Bring your own face coverings.
Airport Transit: Many local travel partners continue to operate services to and from Heathrow. See transport operator contact details here: https://www.heathrow.com/transport-and-directions/operator-contacts
More information: https://www.heathrow.com/
On Arrival At Gatwick
Terminals: The North Terminal is open for flight arrivals and departures. Passengers should check which terminal their flight is departing from, as airlines may operate from a different terminal. All passengers should keep in contact with their airline for the latest information.
Screening: Currently there are no permanent temperature checks at Gatwick.
Social distancing: Persons aged 11 and older are required to wear a face covering while traveling through Gatwick. Signs have been installed to remind passengers to maintain social distancing and respect others around them as they travel through the airport. In addition, only family groups or people travelling in the same party can travel in lifts together, and some may also restrict the number of people at any one time. Staircases will also be segregated and designated either for up or down travel. https://www.gatwickairport.com/at-the-airport/passenger-services/coronavirus/
Shops and Restaurants: Reduced offerings. See airport website for more information and times.
Airport Transit: Gatwick Express services are suspended until further notice. Southern and Thameslink rail services are still running to and from Gatwick with reduced schedules as are coaches and other public transportation. https://www.gatwickairport.com/to-and-from/
More Information: https://www.gatwickairport.com/
On Arrival At Luton
Screening: There are enhanced monitoring procedures for flights arriving from affected countries and displays with the latest public health information across the terminal.
Social Distancing: Persons aged 11 and older are required to wear face coverings while in the airport. Face coverings should be removed if requested by police, border control or airport security. https://www.london-luton.co.uk/safer-travel
Shops and Restaurants: Reduced offerings. See airport website for more information and times.
Airport Transit: Reduced bus and rail services available to and from the airport. https://www.london-luton.co.uk/to-and-from-lla
More information: https://www.london-luton.co.uk/
On Arrival At Stansted
Terminals: Open, but flights are subject to change and cancellation. Currently, there is no overnight access to the terminal building. The building does not open until 0500.
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.
Social distancing: Persons 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. https://www.stanstedairport.com/coronavirus/
Airport Transit: Available. https://www.stanstedairport.com/getting-to-and-from/
More information: https://www.stanstedairport.com/
On Arrival At London City
Terminals: London City Airport has resumed domestic routes and is providing connections to cities and regions around the United Kingdom.
Screening: A range of screening measures are in place including non-contact, automatic temperature checking technology for rapid preliminary screening both on passenger departure and arrival.
Social Distancing: Passengers are asked to observe social distancing rules wherever possible in the terminal and the airport will deploy measures which will enable the detection of areas where there is a high concentration of passengers who will then be directed to quieter areas. https://www.londoncityairport.com/safe-careful-speedy-journeys
Airport Transit: Given the disruption caused by coronavirus, London City Airport recommends all passengers check the status and schedule for their preferred mode of transport before they travel. More transit information: https://www.londoncityairport.com/getting-here/DLR
More information: https://www.londoncityairport.com/
Car and Rideshare Services: The following companies are still operating and may be able to provide airport transfer service.
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 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 UK government’s webpage on Coronavirus (COVID-19): latest information and advice.
To find out more on what you can and can’t do in the UK, please visit the UK government’s webpage on Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can’t do.
- View U.S. Embassy London’s Most Recent Alerts
- Resources for Staying at Home During the COVID-19 Outbreak
- UK Government Gateway
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): UK government response
- NHS Coronavirus (COVID-19) page
U.S. Centers For Disease Control Resources
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control: Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Current Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019
- Department of State InfoCentral Coronavirus page
- How To Self-Isolate (via GOV.UK)
- state.gov – UK Country Information and Travel Advisory page for the UK
- U.S. Embassy London (this website)
- White House Coronavirus Website
The inclusion of a specific company or organization does not constitute a recommendation, and the Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability, reputation, or quality of services provided by the companies or organizations whose names appear on such lists.