The FCO is advising UK citizens to avoid non-essential travel for thirty days. Considering the present COVID pandemic, international travel ban and restrictions are elevating at an alarming rate globally.
The recent Foreign Office statement states that the advice is in reaction to the increasingly uncertain situation.
“Often there is little or no notice when countries take these steps and restrictions are also being imposed in areas where no cases of coronavirus have yet been reported. They are therefore very difficult to predict.
“British people who decide that they still need to travel abroad should be fully aware of the increased risks of doing so. That includes the risk that they may not be able to get home, if travel restrictions are put in place. Anyone still considering travel to be realistic about the level of disruption they are willing and able to endure, and to make decisions in light of the unprecedented conditions we face.”
Although, the Foreign Office is not enforcing citizens to immediately return to the country, they’ve warned people that flights may be cancelled at any time or additional travel bans or restrictions may be imposed by the foreign governments.
The COVID 19 outbreak has led to unusual travel restrictions. In fact, it is expected that all countries may impose travel ban without notice.
If you’re in the UK…
Follow these steps if you’re looking to adjust or cancel your current travel plans.
- Immediately get in touch with your airline/travel agency/cruise line
- Contact your insurance providers
- Read and follow the guidance provided by the NHS
As mentioned above, the Foreign Office advices British Citizens to avoid international travel due to border closures and travel ban imposed by numerous foreign countries. However, if you’re abroad, you must get in touch with the local authorities to discuss your case. Note that your safety is currently the responsibility of the state where you’re.
If you want to leave the country you’re currently in and wish to come back, get in touch with your travel company/airline/cruise service along with your insurance provider to discuss your case. As international travel may become more restricted and difficult in coming days, the departure may only be organized in certain emergency cases by the government.
Follow the Advice of Local Authorities
If you’ve been advised and requested to quarantine for your own safety, you must follow the advice of the local authorities. When you’re not in the UK, your protection and safety is the responsibility of the country where you are.
If there are positive or suspected cases of the COVID 19, you may have to isolate yourself for 14 days in your hotel room or accommodation. Make sure you get yourself tested and if positive, seek local medical assistance.
The Government of UK has clearly mentioned that the person abroad should contact their travel company, airline, and an insurance provider to settle things and the Government is not going to arrange any specialized departure unless extremely necessary.
If Your Travel is Unavoidable
If you have an urgent need to travel (on medical or humanitarian grounds), make sure you the go through the checklist given below:
- Get in touch with your airline/cruise service/travel company to ensure you can still travel
- Go through the details of your insurance coverage carefully and make sure you’re covered. Contact your insurance company if you’re not sure about the benefits that come with your policy. You may also consider applying for the Specialist policy
- Make every possible effort to ensure financial independency while traveling
- Follow the advice of the local authorities and be prepared for quarantine requirements if need be
- Don’t forget to bring all of your required medications (in ample supply)
- Arrange support for family or dependents if you’re not in the country for too long
- Go through the travel advice and regulations for your destination and take help from online resources and email alerts
- Check travel advice guidelines provided by the UK government on regular basis to keep yourself updated
Note if you’re immunocompromised or already have underlying medical conditions, you’re more likely to get severely affected by the virus. So, plan your travel accordingly.
All in all, if your travel is unavoidable, make sure you have proper travel insurance with extensive coverage. The Home office has also announced a few changes in various visa categories and extensions including Family Visa UK. So, make sure you seek help from an expert immigration lawyer to discuss your case if you’re planning to apply for any particular visa category.
For further guidance, make sure you check this link out to stay udated on the COVID 19 outbreak. Also, go through the general guidance issued by NaTHNac on preparing for international travel and how everyone can manage the risk of spreading respiratory infections.