UK Government lifts ban on foreign travel from next week

Updated 23 November: The British Government has announced in its Winter Plan that the national restrictions, and so the ban on foreign travel from England, will be ended on 2 December. The full document is HERE and in terms of travel abroad says:

It is also important to manage the number of cases seeded from abroad. The Government has introduced public health measures at the border including a 14-day isolation period for international arrivals, and introduced the travel corridors system to limit these requirements to those countries with higher prevalence. The Government wants to enable people to travel internationally, both for business and leisure, so following extensive work undertaken by the Global Travel Taskforce over the last month, the Government will announce next steps shortly. The Government will also set out the broader measures recommended by the Taskforce to support the safe recovery of international travel. The Government will continue to work with international partners to deliver a shared global understanding of how to integrate a range of measures to support international travel.

Given the Government’s comment HERE that all travel is restricted “from 5 November to 2 December”, it’s not clear to me whether the 2nd is the last day of restrictions or the first of freedom, so we wait for “next steps” to be announced shortly which will perhaps confirm, but we now know that foreign travel from the UK will be allowed from next week. My reading, though, is that a fortnight’s isolation may be required for anyone going home depending on the status of the country they’re returning from.

Updated 4 November: The House of Commons has passed its new lockdown regulations, the New National Restrictions, by 516-38, a huge majority despite a threatened rebellion of some (especially new) Conservative MPs. In the end the majority was 478, so this effectively has complete Parliamentary support. The rules come into force at midnight tonight, so from the start of Thursday 5 November and MPs will be able to review them on 2 December – that is the date on which, technically, they could be lifted but it seems increasingly possible that instead the lockdown will be extended, which will take it up to or over Christmas. As far as English travellers to Tenerife are concerned, they won’t be coming whether or not they have a test, or whether there’s a travel corridor or not.

Updated 3 November: HERE are the new rules for England which the Government is calling New National Restrictions, presumably to avoid using the triggering word lockdown. They will be voted on in Parliament tomorrow and, assuming they are passed, will be in effect from Thursday 5 November. The only thing that matters from Tenerife’s perspective is that foreign travel is not one of the exceptions for which one may leave one’s house.

Original post 31 October: So, the Canarian Government is requiring tests for all visitors to tourist accommodation from 14 November (see HERE), and from next Thursday 5 November travel abroad from England is ruled out until at least Wednesday 2 December when the restrictions will be reviewed and perhaps extended. The ban on foreign travel is part of a new lockdown which the Government is calling New National Restrictions, presumably in an attempt to avoid using the word lockdown because it triggers opposition in some. Please see HERE for full details about the lockdown, which includes the following concerning travel abroad specifically:

The Government says:

Overnight stays and holidays away from primary residences will not be allowed- including holidays in the UK and abroad. This includes staying in a second home, if you own one, or staying with anyone you do not live with or are in a support bubble with. There are specific exceptions, for example if you need to stay away from home (including in a second home) for work purposes. [It also advises that] If you do need to travel abroad before 2 December (and are legally permitted to do so, for example, because it is for work), even if you are returning to a place you’ve visited before, you should look at the rules in place at your destination, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice and the current travel corridor list.

It says “will not be allowed” because it has yet to be approved by Parliament: the debate and vote are on 4 November but there seems little doubt that it will be passed, and then it will be law, not “advice”.


  1. Thank you Janet.

  2. Hi Janet,

    What does this mean for tourists already scheduled to be away before the 5th November?


  3. Author

    well the ban is from 5 November so it means nothing to anyone coming before 5 November!

  4. Thank you Janet for the amazing job you are doing to keep us informed!!!

  5. Thank you for all the information you provide. Very helpful.

  6. Hi, do you know what you need to do if you are travelling for work? I’m due to fly to Dubai for a job interview on Saturday the 7th.
    But I’m not sure what documentation I need to provide
    Thank you

  7. Author

    Please look HERE. I do not know that a job interview will be considered “work” even though it’s obviously “work related” but you need to ask the UK Government whose rules these are.

  8. Hi Janet, I’m due to fly back to Tenerife on the 8th, I am a resident of Tenerife, do I wait for my flight company to say they are not flying that day or do I book another flight to come back before the lockdown happens?

  9. Author

    I’m afraid I have no idea. The UK has not even passed this law yet but assuming it does travellers will know on the 4th that they are prohibited from flying from the 5th. That is all I can say, I’m afraid. I don’t know what view airlines will take or what your rights will be. Apologies.

    edit: I’ve just seen THIS – Ryanair – which says they won’t refund any flights passengers can’t take but will allow them to reschedule without a fee. All heart, O’Leary …

  10. Hello. We have a place of our own in a residential complex in los christionos. Do you know if we have to be covid tested on leaving to go on a flight back to uk. We are very worried as we do not trust the covid tests at all to be correct and have a 2 year old and to quarantine for 2 weeks if positive would be crazy.

  11. Author

    You do not need a covid test to leave Spain or enter the UK. Anyone testing positive anywhere has to isolate but you do not need to go into quarantine when arriving in the UK any more because the no-fly advice was lifted recently. See HERE. Do be aware though that from Thursday the UK is reintroducing a lockdown which they’re calling New National Restrictions, see HERE.

  12. Hi Janet
    I was in Tenerife in March at the first lockdown and found the information you supplied invaluable. I live in Scotland and I am due to travel to Tenerife late November. My flight has been cancelled by easy jet. I know this will sound ridiculous but I cannot find the guidelines anywhere regarding travelling from Scotland. I have accepted it won’t be possible but would like it confirmed. I do realise if I travelled I would need to supply a negative covid test. Can you confirm whether or not travel from Scotland is permitted

  13. Author

    I’m not aware of any travel ban imposed by the Scottish Government, James. The UK Government’s New National Restrictions apply only to England despite their name.

  14. hi. … i am due to fly to Liverpool next week frim Spain 13th november Ryanair said flughts are still going … i was to stay with my Son… i know i have to quarantine but i am only there for wkend… am i allowed to travel into the country and will i be able to leave again..

  15. Author

    You don’t have to quarantine, that is not required since 25 October as I explained HERE. There are no restrictions on flying into the UK and assuming flights aren’t cancelled you’ll be able to leave again because “going home” is one of the reasons people are allowed to leave home under the lockdown in England which started last night.

  16. It’s only coming the from Canaries that you don’t need to quarantine when entering the UK. You would need to from any other part of Spain.

  17. Author

    Good point. I had assumed the question on this site referred to departure from the Canaries but you are quite right, and looking at the IP it seems to be mainland!

  18. Thinking about it I don’t think you would be allowed to stay with relatives in England during lock down even if you quarantined on your own for two weeks first.

    People living in England can’t visit relatives unless they in a support bubble. I.e. people that live on their own can bubble with one other household.

  19. Hello Janet…could you please list as far as you know all the exceptions for leaving the UK during the 5/11 to december….

    i hold a UK passport and have not lived in the UK for 21 years…now i am going to live permanently in another country *not the same as where i lived for 21 years.. so i dont have permanent residency yet in the new country..

    – I have a one way ticket from UK
    – i dont jhave any official work (i am self employed)

    i was wondering if i should try the “i am going home for work” lines to the personal in Heathrow…

    its very vague what i need to have if i do have any “work” abroad…
    what can i take to show them? going to the airport and asking there could be too late to get any papers arranged…

    please share any advise as i am going in the morning again to Heathrow…..
    second time lucky i hope as i was there yesterday but turned down as USA is not allowing UK person who have been here more than 14 days into usa…

    so now i will try and get to Latin america via Spain….

  20. Author

    Please have a look at yesterday’s update above where there’s a link to them. That’s the Government’s own Bill and I have no more information than that.

  21. I thought there was quite a bit of activity in the sky today so I checked on arrivals/departures for the south airport – so much for lockdown in England – no travel inland or overseas – so how come today between 1200 – 1400 we have flights arrived/arriving from Gatwick x 2, Leeds, Bournemouth, East Midlands x 2, Manchester x 2, Luton, Stansted and Doncaster with many others due to land this afternoon. If that’s “stay at home” as ordered by Boris I’m a ‘monkey’s ****’ Lots of others also for Scotland, Ulster and Wales.

  22. Author

    Could be coming to collect people they brought a fortnight ago I suppose … :/

  23. Hi Theresa, Its because the flights arent being cancelled. I was due to fly on Monday but wont be now becuase of the new rules in the UK. However my flight will still be going as I presume there are people who want bringing back. So unless you know how many people are actually on those flights its bit of a mute point.

  24. Airlines will probably still fly from England to collect holiday makers who arrived in the last couple of weeks, and then again to collect the holiday makers who arrived before the lockdown in England came into force. And of course they will continue to fly here to bring people home to their primary residence… There have been a number of travellers who brought forward flights in the hope of missing the new restrictions in England and skipping the new Covid test rules here, so obviously the airline’s will need to come collect them again…

  25. I have since heard from people who came in on 3 of those flights today, obviously not too many passengers on board. 2 couples are owners and live here but the other pair just here for 6/8 weeks (also owners) but I’m not anticipating meeting up with any of then for a week or two (they can quarantine before I risk it!!) Obviously the scheduled flight have to continue, even with empty aircraft, otherwise they risk losing their designated slots in UK as well as out here.
    They all said very few due to fly home on those ‘planes this afternoon/evening. Not that many English tourists here at present then?

  26. They don’t lose slots if they don’t fly but they will have a fair number of people here that came out once the quarantine requirements were lifted.

    They will run services to get those back but expect cancellations after next week. Our BA flight scheduled for Nov 22 was cancelled yesterday

    Expect services to return to some level of normality after Dec 2 if lockdown lifted

  27. After 2nd December 2020 are we going to be allowed to fly away (abroad) as lm trying to reschedule my flight to Cape Town SA?

  28. Author

    The UK Government will make that announcement in due course. I have no more information on that subject at present.

  29. Merry afternoon your MBE-ship!
    This is how I see your first email question of the day…
    “Dear Janet.
    If I’m walking on the ice cream at 5 ounces a toaster and my bicycle loses a sock, how much gravy will I need to repaint my hamster?
    Thanking you for your help in advance…”

    (My thanks to a friend who sent this to me at a perfect time!)

  30. Author

    To be honest, that is not the kind of question which poses a problem, because you can just refer them to the Admiral of the Swiss Navy. The questions which are stressful tend to come just after Janet has made a statement, say, “Scientists determine there are exactly 12 inches in a foot” on which comes the question: “I’m confused – you seem to suggest there are 12 inches in a foot – can you clarify?”. These are stressful because there is no way of replying without Anglo-Saxon, and then you get accused of being something not very nice, also in Anglo-Saxon.

  31. Keep up Mencey. We went maetric decades ago so it must be 10 inches in one foot. Duh! 😁

  32. This cannot be! I am looking at a foot now and I assure you, according to Mabel off Bookface, some of the inches are shorter and only count as a part-foot because I’ve just done my nails, so neither you nor Ray can be correct.
    As for going metric Ray, less than 14% of the cattle resident in my valley voted for shoelaces!

    I shall now retire….. again.

  33. Author

    Well, we are all inching towards metrification ….

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