Travel advice: coronavirus (COVID-19)

COVID-19 Exceptional Travel Advisory Notice

As countries respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice. If you live in the UK and are currently travelling abroad, you are strongly advised to return now, where and while there are still commercial routes available. Many airlines have suspended flights and many airports are closed, preventing flights from leaving.

Local transport information and advice

The travel situation is changing from day-to-day in response to government advice and shifting passenger demand so always check before you travel.

Stay at home

  • only go outside for food or health reasons or travelling to and from work but only where you cannot work from home
  • when outside, stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from other people
  • wash your hands as soon as you get home

Anyone can spread coronavirus.

Full guidance on staying at home and away from others

You must stay at home. You should only leave home for very limited purposes.

This is to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives.

Public transport – buses, rail, underground, trams, ferries

Only use public transport if you have to. When travelling by public transport:

  • avoid rush hours and busy times if you can
  • cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the bin
  • follow advice on staying away from others
  • wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • if soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser

Do not use public transport if:

Keep up to date about reduced services and closed stations:

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

Latest update: special charter flights

The government is working in a new partnership with the airline industry to help British people travelling abroad to return to the UK.

Where commercial routes remain feasible airlines, including Virgin, Jet2 and Titan Airways, will be responsible for getting their passengers with pre-booked tickets home. Where commercial routes do not exist, the government will provide up to £75 million to enable special charter flights to priority countries to bring back UK residents.

  • if you are in a country where UK-bound flights are still available, book or rebook your flight and return home as soon as possible

  • to find out if a special charter flight is available where you are, see the ‘Return to the UK’ section of for the country’s travel advice page. This page will also explain who is eligible and how to book a ticket

  • if there are no commercial or special charter flights for the country you’re in, follow the guidance in the ‘Return to the UK’ section of that country’s travel advice

You should also sign up for email alerts, to get our latest advice if the situation changes.

Exceptional travel advisory notices

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office has issued 2 global travel advisory notices:

1. Return to the UK now if you’re travelling abroad

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises British people travelling abroad to return to the UK now, if commercial flights are still available.

If you’re travelling abroad, you should:

  1. contact your airline or travel company now
  2. keep up-to-date with our travel advice pages. We are updating information on returning from the country you’re in as quickly as we can
  3. for real-time updates, follow our embassy or high commission’s social media for the country you’re in

2. Do not travel abroad unless it’s essential

The FCO advised British people against all non-essential travel worldwide. This applies for an indefinite period due to unprecedented international border closures and other restrictions. All countries may restrict travel without notice. 

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

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 your travel is essential, see our guidance on international travel.

International freight transport is an essential activity in the context of travel advice. Read the Department for Transport guidance for the freight transport industry.