Coronavirus - Foreign Office Travel Advice

Updated 23rd March 2020, 22:32. For the latest medical advice, visit

If you're travelling abroad at the moment, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises people to return to the UK now, if commercial flights are still available. International travel is becoming very limited, and new restrictions are being put in place. 

If you're travelling abroad, you should: 

1. Contact your airline or travel company now

2. Keep up to date with the Foreign Office travel advice pages by clicking here. 

The Foreign Office is working with airlines to keep routes open, and calling for international action to keep routes open to enable British people to return home on a commercial flight. They are also working around the clock to support British travellers who are finding difficulties getting back to the UK. 

If you are a permanent resident overseas, you should stay and follow the advice of the local authorities in the country you live in.

Do not travel abroad unless essential. 

The Foreign Office advises British people against all non-essential travel worldwide. This advice took effect from 17th March and applies initially for 30 days. The Coronavirus pandemic has led to unprecedented international border closures and other restrictions. All countries may restrict your 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
  3. continue to follow the NHS coronavirus guidance

The Foreign Office 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 travel advice and sign up for email alerts for your destination

If your travel it essential, it is your responsibility to make sure you check travel advice before travelling. Use the link above to check advice and sign up for email alerts. You should: 

  • Make sure you have the appropriate travel insurance. If you have concerns about coronavirus, contact your travel provider to check what will be covered should you become sick or are required to self-isolate or quarantine by the local authorities. 
  • Check with your airline, tour operator, cruise line, or other transport and accommodation providers for any coronavirus-related changes. 
  • Plan ahead for any potential disruption. 
  • If you are older, or have pre-existing medical conditions, you are likely to become severely ill if you catch coronavirus. You should check NHS guidance before travelling. 

Planning your trip

Travel Insurance

Make sure you have appropriate travel insurance for overseas travel, and purchase it as soon as you book your holiday. Read the Foreign Office guidance on purchasing insurance for more information. 

Early restrictions

Many countries and territories have introduced screening measures such as temperature checks and health/travel questions, and entry restrictions at border crossing and transport hubs. 

If you have recently been in a country affected by the virus, you may need to be quarantined, or may not be allowed to enter or travel through a third country. Make sure you check the travel advice for all the countries you are planning to visit or travel through. 

Air Travel

As governments and local authorities bring in measures to control the spread of coronavirus, some airlines are changing their schedules or suspending flights for some destinations. If you're due to travel to an area affected by coronavirus, make sure you check the latest information with your travel company or airline. 

International cruises

If you are planning to go on a cruise, be aware that a coronavirus outbreak on board is possible, and your travel may be disrupted. 

If you are aged 70 or over, or have underlying health conditions, the Foreign Office advise you against cruise ship travel at this time.

If you are due to go on a cruise, check with your travel company for the latest information. 

International education trips

If you are planning a trip overseas, you should read the Department for Education guidance. The government advises against all overseas education trips for children under 18 until further notice. 

When you’re abroad

If travel advice changes when you are abroad

If Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice changes, you are advised to follow the advice of the local authorities. Your safety and security is the responsibility of the local authority where you are. 

If you are abroad when the advice changes, contact your airline or travel company, and your insurance provider as soon as you are able to.

You should also keep checking Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice. If they advise people to leave a company they will say so, but only organise assisted departures in exceptional circumstances. 

Quarantine while you are abroad

If the local authority where you are proposes to quarantine you for your own protection, you should follow their advice. When you are abroad, your safety and security is their responsibility.

If there are suspected cases of coronavirus where you are, you may need to remain in your hotel room or accommodation for 14 days, move to quarantine facilities, take tests for coronavirus and, if positive in some cases, be hospitalised abroad.

You should also contact your airline or travel company, and your insurance provider as soon as you can. We only organise assisted departure in exceptional circumstances.

Consular help

If you require consular assistance, you can contact them at any time by calling your nearest British embassy, high commission, or consulate.