As borders reopen following the temporary disruption caused by COVID-19, governments are seeking ways to welcome back travellers whilst minimising the possibility of further outbreaks.
The UK government recently announced new measures which will allow overseas visitors to enter the country once again. Travellers are now required to complete a new passenger contact form prior to departure and self-isolate for 14 days on arrival.
This means that, in addition to acquiring a UK tourist visa or other relevant permit, additional steps must be taken before heading to the United Kingdom.
Visitors can find out more about the new contact form below, including the information required, how the data will be used, plus advice regarding UK coronavirus quarantine rules.
What is the new public health contact locator form for?
The information provided on the contact locator form will be used by UK authorities, should they need to communicate health-related information to the traveller urgently.
Specifically, individuals will be contacted if someone they have travelled with develops coronavirus symptoms. The details may also be used to check that visitors are following the mandatory 14-day self-isolation period.
The form can be completed no sooner than 48 hours before the time of arrival in the UK. The contact details will only be used for health-related purposes.
The passenger public health form is being introduced to protect the health and safety of residents and visitors in the UK. In this way, the new form is similar to the eTA UK, which is expected to come into effect in 2021, the aim of which is also to boost safety and security.
Information required to complete the UK contact locator form
To successfully complete the new passenger locator form, travellers should have the following information to hand:
- Passport details
- Airline, train, or ferry company name
- Tour group name, if applicable
- Name of the port of entry
- Date of arrival in the UK
- Booking reference
- Flight, train, bus, or ferry number
- Address for the first 14 days of the UK visit
- Details of someone who can be contacted if necessary
If arriving by Eurostar or Eurotunnel, passengers should write this instead of the train number. These individuals should also provide their scheduled departure time.
Regarding groups of travellers, every person must complete a separate contact form online.
Where to complete the UK contact form
The form can be found on the UK government website. It is completed online and must be shown at the UK border on arrival, either on a mobile device or a printed copy, along with the relevant UK visa, if applicable.
Authorities have warned that refusal to provide the contact information will result in a £100 ($124.30 USD) fine.
A dedicated form and self-isolation hotline has been set up to help people with any difficulties or doubts. Assistance is available Monday to Friday between 9 am and 5 pm.
UK contact locator form exemptions
Visitors to the UK from one of the places listed below, or individuals who have spent the 14 days prior to arriving in the UK in one of these places, do not need to complete the contact locator form:
- The Isle of Man
- The Channel Islands
Other travellers and their families who are also exempt from submitting the form include:
- Members of diplomatic missions and consular posts in the UK
- Representatives of international organisations
- Representatives of a foreign country or territory and of British overseas territories on official business in the UK
- Defense personnel required for essential defense activities
- UK and non-UK officials for essential border security services
Do children need to complete the UK passenger locator form?
Anyone under the age of 18 does not need to fill in a form, providing that they will arrive and leave with the same adult and stay at the same address.
The details of the minor should be included on the adult’s contact locator form as indicated.
UK coronavirus quarantine rules
Since June 8th, travellers from all countries have been required to quarantine for 14 days on arrival in the UK. The self-isolation period is completed at the address given on the contact locator form.
However, talks are already underway to create ‘air bridges’ between the UK and low-risk countries, visitors from these nations will not be required to self-isolate. This is welcome news for foreign tourists hoping to spend time in Britain this summer.
Border Force, the police, and Public Health England will be responsible for ensuring that quarantine measures are being followed. The government has said that spot checks will be carried out.
What are the consequences of breaking UK quarantine?
It is expected that most people will follow the rules as part of a collective effort to control the coronavirus. Nevertheless, fixed £1,000 ($1,243) penalties are in place for anyone who fails to self-isolate on arrival.
Fines have been introduced to help ensure that the guidance is followed. Self-isolation is considered key to the UK’s recovery plan at this stage.
These measures are temporary and will be phased out gradually for low-risk countries, starting in July.