Travelers must now download the travel declaration form.

By Alison Fox
March 09, 2021
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Heathrow
Credit: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Passengers traveling abroad from the United Kingdom now need a new form before boarding a flight to prove their trip is allowed under the country's stay-at-home restrictions.

Travelers must download the travel declaration form online, which went into effect on Monday, sign it before their flight, and bring either a paper or electronic copy with them. The airline will check the forms at the check-in counter or before boarding and can turn passengers away who don't have the proper paperwork.

Passengers have to include the reason for their trip — which must be legally permitted — like work, education, medical, weddings, or funerals. Those who are caught without the form could face a £200 fine (about $277).

"Police have been stepping up their presence at ports and airports in recent weeks," the government wrote in its announcement of the new policy. "Officers will be conducting spot checks and have the power to ask travellers to produce a completed form."

Those flying into the UK from abroad are also required to either get tested prior to arrival and quarantine for several days before getting tested twice again, or quarantine in a hotel, depending on where they are coming from. Those who are subject to a hotel quarantine face up to 10 years in prison and a fine if they lie to get out of it.

While the UK laid out a step-by-step plan to slowly lift the country's lockdown last month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said international travel won't resume until at least May 17. As it currently stands, outdoor dining at restaurants and pubs is expected to resume in April.

The UK entered its latest lockdown in January amid a COVID-19 surge as a new variant was detected there.

It may be awhile before the UK opens its borders for tourism again, but the country is pushing for an internationally-recognized vaccine passport to be developed in an effort to help boost a beleaguered travel industry when restrictions are lifted. Additionally, the government has appointed a taskforce to issue recommendations by April on resuming international travel.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.