NEWS: Law published for travel in UK & abroad – what are the legal reasons for travel & what can open from 12 April?

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Although it has technically been illegal to travel since lockdown started in January, it has never explicitly said so in law. All it previously said was that you could only leave your home for an allowable excuse, of which going on holiday was not one of them! Now with the stay at home law ending on 29 March, the government have published specific legislation prohibiting travel.

I know people will disagree, but I do not think a free country should prevent its citizens from leaving. Put in all the quarantine and testing requirements you like, but don’t forbid people from leaving the country for nearly 5 months. Surely the issue is people returning, not leaving. And yet it is perfectly legal for non-residents of the UK from all but the red list countries to visit England!

The government have also put the completely pointless form that you have to fill in prior to travel within the legislation. You have to carry this piece of paper with you. It is not approved by anyone and so serves no purpose as it doesn’t prove your reason for travel – you could put anything on it!

It also says it’s illegal to travel to an airport with the purpose of travelling abroad – although, for those that enjoy plane spotting, it’s no longer illegal from 29 March just to go to the airport if you feel like it but aren’t flying!


What does the law say about leaving the country?

Restrictions on leaving the United Kingdom
8.—(1) No person may, without a reasonable excuse—
(a) leave England to travel to a destination outside the United Kingdom, or
(b) travel to, or be present at, an embarkation point for the purpose of travelling from there to
a destination outside the United Kingdom.

(4) A person who is travelling to, or present at, an embarkation point for the purpose of
travelling from there directly or indirectly to a destination outside the United Kingdom must have
with them a completed travel declaration form.

Further on in the legislation, it says that an official can stop you at the airport and force you to return home. 


What are the allowed reasons for leaving the UK from 29 March?

Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5C (satellite 2) 

Here is a summarised list of the reasons you will be allowed to leave the country:

  • Travel to the common travel area, this includes the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Ireland.
  • For the purposes of work, if it is not reasonably possible to work from a location within the United Kingdom.
  • Where it is reasonably necessary to leave the United Kingdom to provide voluntary or charitable services, where it is not reasonably possible for those services to be provided from a location within the United Kingdom.
  • For study
  • Elite sportspeople
  •  to fulfil a legal obligation or to participate in legal proceedings.
  • Activities in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property—
    (a) visiting estate or letting agents, developer sales offices or show homes;
    (b) viewing residential properties to look for a property to buy or to rent;
    (c) preparing a residential property to move in;
    (d) moving house;
    (e) to visit a residential property to undertake any activities required for the rental or sale of that property.
  • to seek medical assistance or to accompany someone getting medical assistance
  •  to visit a person receiving treatment in a hospital or staying in a hospice or care home
  • Where it is reasonably necessary to leave the United Kingdom—
    (a) to provide care and assistance to a vulnerable person,
    (b) to provide emergency assistance to any person,
    (c) to visit a person whom you reasonably believes is dying, – can be a friend or family member
    (d) to attend a funeral.
  • To attend a wedding or a civil partnership ceremony for you or a close family member and one or both of the people getting married lives outside the UK


What does the law say about self-catering accommodation from 12 April?

Chewton Glen Treehouse

Previously we looked at a few hotels that are planning to reopen on 12 April as they have self-contained accommodation and some luxury self catering options. 

Here are the premises that are allowed to open in Step 2 from 12 April (hopefully). It is worth noting that there will be no legal requirement to stop you being away from home overnight from Step 2, but you are prohibited from staying with an unlinked household or in a hotel in most circumstances.

  • in a campsite or caravan park, provided that the only shared facilities used by guests at the campsite or caravan park are washing facilities, toilets, water points and waste disposal points, 
  • in separate and self-contained premises with your own household/bubble
    (b) none of the following must be shared with the members of any other household—
    (i) kitchens,
    (ii) sleeping areas,
    (iii) bathrooms, or
    (iv) indoor communal areas –  a reception area is not treated as a shared facility but lifts and staircases are!

I do think this is a bit petty given that hotels limit the number of people in a lift and you have to wear a mask. This means that many hotels such as Citadines, Staybridge Suites etc will not be allowed to open because they have a lift despite the fact that they have self-contained accommodation for self-catering. 

If you have trouble sleeping, you can find all 94 pages of the law here!

14 Comments on "NEWS: Law published for travel in UK & abroad – what are the legal reasons for travel & what can open from 12 April?"

  1. Lynn orford | 22 March 2021 at 5:09 pm |

    How long are these restrictions in place for?

  2. I have damage that has occurred to a structural wall in my holiday home which I need to view and discuss with my agent prior to placing the property to sell or let. Where do I find the form to complete and carry?

  3. Couldn’t agree with you more. Absolutely disgraceful to be making leaving the country illegal. Like you say, the government should put in place the measures it feels are appropriate and necessary to stop the risk of virus spread when people return (quarantine/testing etc.) but a blanket ban is outright appalling. What has this country become! We have friends in Switzerland jetting off all over the place to make the most of some of the lowest holiday prices ever seen. The irony of the UK rules is we will no doubt still see Instagram “influencers” and celebs still holidaying for “work” purposes whilst the rest of us stay locked up at home.

  4. Roger Cormack | 23 March 2021 at 8:41 am |

    If we can travel for the purpose of “ viewing residential properties to look for a property to buy or to rent”, then presumably it is legal to travel to say, Barbados or Portugal, to find a holiday villa to rent but not actually stay in it??

  5. Roger Cormack | 23 March 2021 at 8:47 am |

    And we can stay in a caravan park with shared toilets but not accommodation with shared a staircase? Legislation must be logically intact if it is to be considered “fit for purpose” and the Government is to be considered credible.

  6. Moan all you like peasants. Just be sure to do it from inside your assigned residence or it’s off to the gulag for you.
    What are you going to do about it? NOTHING is the answer because you allowed your right to protest(about this or anything else) to be stripped from you MONTHS ago and like obedient sheep you looked on and asked us how we could control you more.

    None of us care how annoyed you Prols seem to be suddenly becoming about this thing or that as we randomly assign ourselves even more authoritarian powers at will without challenge because, simply put, we don’t have to care. YOU let us grant ourselves powers to lock you in your homes. To be honest we all find it hilarious that you’re complaining about your “holidays”. We’re just about to give ourselves another 6 months of unrestricted powers and by the time we’re done walking out the door without your papers will be illegal let alone you even thinking of fleeing to another country. Best part is, in 6 months from now we can roll out the “Just a few more weeks of lockdown to protect the NHS” coz you sheeple love that one don’t you, bless you.

    Signed – Your Overlords

    I will now sit back and laugh as a number of you describe the above as the ramblings of a ‘madman’/ ‘idiot’ /’anti-science’ /’anti-vax’ /’conspiracy theorist’ / ‘nutter’ ( in fact “insert jibe here”). Then i’ll ask you to slowly read it back and tell me what is factually wrong with any historical/ past tense statement made. What is factually wrong about what the Government’s ( and it’s non-opposition / supposed opposition supporters who help vote things through time after time) publicly stated aims are at present. Then I will slowly raise the mirror in my left hand so you may look at your own reflection and ask yourself who is the ‘madman’

  7. Totally agree, it is deeply concerning. What a turn towards authoritarianism. However does this mean MR can hit the road again once she’s vaccinated? As any travel is for work purposes for TLFL? New reviews will help get me through this period. I expect typical levels of service expectation, no quarter given!

  8. The worst thing is that the police are given the ability to issue a £5,000 (!) fixed penalty notice if they don’t believe your excuse is “reasonable.” That opens the door to bad mistakes, if not abuse, since reasonable excuse to travel won’t always be
    a bright line test like driving over the speed limit.

  9. I suspect the government has seen how well these rules seem to go down in Australia, done some polling and focus groups here and, presto, we have one of the “toughest border regimes in the world” on paper, but, of course, half-baked UK-style. What will be interesting is if they do decide to put Europe on the red-zone, quarantine-in-a-hotel, list, as some people are suggesting in the media – that would be really fun…

  10. Nice to see the ‘de Pfeffel’ defence allowing Boris’ dad to visit his gaff in Greece.
    As I understand the rules in Scotland, hotels will open on 26th April if there are no further changes to circumstances. I think I’m right that hotels in England will open 17th May. Sorry, I don’t know about Wales or NI.
    So get booking for Scotland 3 weeks earlier than here.

  11. I can’t believe I’m saying this but I am not surprised at what the Government are doing. My concern is where is it leading us, what will be the next “move” and how far are the government willing to go. The cynical part of me thinks the travel ban, using law to back it up, is a ploy by the Government to stop millions of UK citizens travelling abroad and spending money that the Government would prefer we spend at home. I read somewhere that (as an example) Spain, in 2019, received a total of 177 Billion Euros (yes, Billion) from tourism. Not all from the UK of course but seeing as around 18.1 million Brits visited Spain in 2019 thats a lot of cash, similar numbers for France as well. One would hope that eventually we should be in a place where the Government have no reason at all to ban travel because we have all been vaccinated, but lets wait and see………….

  12. Ed Cunningham | 23 March 2021 at 6:46 pm |

    Why do so many of you not get it???
    This is a killer disease and has taken over 126,000 of our fellow Brits and 2 million people globally.
    If there’s a fault, it’s letting people in from non-Red List companies and not checking if someone has diverted via a non-Red country to try and hid their Red country point of origin.
    In the last year I’ve cancelled leisure trips to Florida (twice, where we have a 2nd home), USVI, Mallorca, Marbella, Paris and not booked a planned trip to The Maldives; and my daughter has lost her job in Conferences and Events.
    Yes, I’m annoyed and disappointed. Yes, I see the delays and mistakes by the UK Govt. But I’ve now had my first jab and look forward to my second before the middle of May. But will I get on my next trip to Mallorca at end of June or Florida and Barbados in Sept/Oct? Who knows? But at least I’m reasonably healthy – and alive.
    Try and have some community responsibility. Too many people are constantly looking for loopholes. You are the incumbent disease risk.

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