Published on : Monday, March 8, 2021
The U.K. government has announced that all passengers travelling internationally from England, starting Monday will need to carry a new form that sets out their trip is permitted under the stay-at-home restrictions. The form must be downloaded and signed before travel and carried, or is downloaded onto a mobile phone. Carriers will be checking that the forms have been completed before boarding, either at check-in (online or at the check-in desk) or the departure gate.
Passengers who do not have a valid form may be denied access to their booked service. Carriers will also be legally obliged to set out on their website that the form must be completed before travelling. In recent weeks, police have also increased their presence at ports and airports to enforce the ever evolving travel restrictions in the country. Officers will now be conducting spot checks and will have the power to ask travellers to produce a completed form.
Any passengers who fail to produce a completed form will be considered to cause an offence and individuals could face a £200 fine. According to officials, stay-at-home rules are still in place across England, which means that it is illegal to travel abroad without a permitted reason, such as for education or work. The police will also undertake spot checks at U.K. ports across the country to ensure passengers are complying with domestic lockdown rules.
Passengers who are identified by police as attempting to travel internationally for reasons that are not currently permitted will be asked to return home and risk receiving a fixed penalty notice for breaking stay-at-home rules. These fines start at £200 and can go up to a maximum of £6,400. The Home Office has announced an additional £60 million for police in February including £2 million to cover the costs of extra activity by police at airports and ports which brought the total amount of funding available to forces since the start of the pandemic to nearly £200 million.