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Traveling abroad from the UK - declaration form and reasonable excuses to travel

Traveling abroad from the UK – declaration form and reasonable excuses to travel

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, UK has implemented some restrictions when it comes to traveling outside of the country. People are allowed to leave the UK only if they have a reasonable excuse. Travel abroad for holidays is not permitted. Moreover, traveling abroad without a reasonable excuse is illegal and subject to a fine.

Besides having a reasonable excuse for traveling British citizens must fill out a declaration form for international travel which can be found on the UK government’s website. Keep in mind that different rules apply for international travel if you are departing from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. You may be required to show the declaration form at your port of departure, or on your way to your port of departure. You may need to carry evidence to support your reason for travel.

Below you will find a short list of the reasonable excuses for international travel from the UK. For a full list and additional information visit GOV.UK. 

Travel for work or business purposes is considered a reasonable excuse for travel. For evidence, you might need to carry employer’s letter, professional ID card, confirmation from sports body or evidence of participation, diplomatic mission letter, or other appropriate documentation.

Travel for educational purposes is also considered a reasonable excuse. It is recommended to have a letter or proof of membership of an academic institution, or other appropriate documentation with you.

Traveling on medical or compassionate grounds is also allowed. They include visiting someone who is dying or critically ill; maternity services, or to be with someone who is giving birth, or with a baby receiving neonatal critical care; medical treatment or emergency which cannot be reasonably received in the UK or to accompany a person where necessary; to avoid injury or illness or escape risk of harm (such as domestic abuse). It is recommended to provide medical evidence or other appropriate documentation.

Weddings, funerals and volunteering also fall into the possible reasonable excuses for travel.

There are further reasonable excuses, for example:
– to carry out activities related to buying, selling, letting or renting a residential property
– travel in order to exercise custody rights
– order to present oneself to a judicial or administrative authority
– to fulfill legal obligations

If you are a non-UK resident who has been in the UK temporarily, including transit passengers, you would have a permitted reason to leave the UK.

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