Travel: Grant Shapps issues warning on booking holidays
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New coronavirus rules will be coming into force next week which include a ban on anyone leaving the UK without a “reasonable excuse”. The new rules were published today, entitled Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021.
The document reads: “The Regulations also impose restrictions on leaving the United Kingdom without a reasonable excuse (regulation 8).”
According to the new law, no one can “leave England to travel to a destination outside the United Kingdom, or travel to, or be present at, an embarkation point for the purpose of travelling from there to a destination outside the United Kingdom” without a reasonable excuse.
The document also suggests that anyone caught flouting the rules could face a whopping £5,000 fine.
Currently, Britons who are looking to travel abroad – with a reasonable excuse – must fill in a travel declaration form.
Anyone who fails to do this could face a £200 fixed penalty notice, from next Monday.
The form will be a “legal requirement” if you begin a journey where you intend to leave the UK from March 29.
The travel ban will not apply to those travelling within the common travel area which includes the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and the Republic of Ireland – unless this is not your final destination.
From March 29, it will no longer be a requirement to stay at home.
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However, you will have to have a “reasonable excuse” to leave the UK.
The permitted reasons to leave the UK have been updated but are similar to what is currently in place.
Reasonable excuses include those needing to travel for work, study, for legal obligations or to vote, if they are moving, selling or renting property, for some childcare reasons or to be present at a birth, to visit a dying relative or close friend, to attend a funeral, for those getting married or to attend the wedding of a close relative, for medical appointments or to escape risk of harm.
The main changes from March 29 are for those attending weddings or civil partnership ceremonies, funerals, educational purposes or non-UK residents who have been in the UK temporarily.
From March 29, you will only be able to leave the UK to attend your own wedding or civil partnership or a family member’s wedding or civil partnership if one of both people getting married or entering into a civil partnership do not live in the UK.
You will still be able to travel abroad for a funeral but not for commemorative events or to visit a burial ground.
If you are enrolled on a course of study, at an institution outside the UK and you have to leave the UK to attend the course then you can.
The Government advice states: “You are permitted to travel abroad if you study in the UK but you are required to travel outside the UK to satisfy one or more requirements of your course of study.
“If you study in the UK but live abroad, you are permitted to travel outside the UK to return home for the purposes of a university vacation on one occasion before 29 April 2021.”
The rules will allow students to return home during the Easter holidays.
From March 29, if you do not permanently reside in the UK and are only in England temporarily, then you can leave the country.
The new regulations will be voted in Parliament on Thursday.
The declaration form for international travel from England from March 29 2021 can be found here.
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