Blogs > Useful Information / Life in the UK

How to Self-Isolate when you travel to the UK

  • August 12, 2020


When you arrive in the UK, you will not be allowed to leave the place where you’re staying for the first 14 days you’re in the UK unless you’re arriving from an exempt country. An exemption was originally put in place, at the beginning of June, which meant registered health and care professionals did not have to self-isolate when travelling to England from overseas. Following the reopening of travel routes, and as more people begin to holiday abroad, the government has removed this exemption.

You should self-isolate in one place for the full 14 days, where you can have food and other necessities delivered. You must self-isolate at the address you provided on the public health passenger locator form. This can include: your own home, staying with friends or family, a hotel or other temporary accommodation. You should not have visitors, including friends and family, unless they are providing emergency assistance. With this in mind, IMG’s can self-quarantine in shared accommodation and hotels providing they do not mix with others outside of the household. The people you’re staying with do not need to stay at home, unless they travelled with you.

Can I leave the house for any reason?

You cannot go out to work or school or visit public areas. You should not go shopping. If you require help buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication, you should ask friends or relatives or order a delivery. A common question we have been asked ‘Can I leave to get my BRP?’. No, wait until your self-isolation period is over before leaving the house for such tasks.

How to travel to the place where you are self-isolating

When you arrive in the UK, go straight to the place you’re staying. Only use public transport if you have no other option. If you do use public transport, wear something that covers your nose and mouth and stay 2 metres apart from other people. If you have acquired your NHS position through an agency, enquire with them if they can organize pre-booking private travel arrangements for you.

Can I change where I am self-isolating?

You are not allowed to change the place where you are self-isolating except in very limited circumstances, including where:

  • a legal obligation requires you to change address
  • it is necessary for you to stay overnight at accommodation before travelling to the place where you will be self-isolating for the remainder of the 14 days
  • there’s an emergency

What If I can’t make my own arrangements to isolate?

If you cannot safely self-isolate for 14 days, you should tell Border Force Officers when you pass through UK border controls. They will provide you with details of a booking service which you can use to obtain accommodation and self-isolate in at your own expense.

Finishing Isolating

If you do not have any coronavirus symptoms after 14 days, you can stop self-isolating. You will then need to follow the same rules as people who live in the UK. At this point you will be able to pick up your BRP and any other documentation. Once you’ve finished your 14 day self isolation you can then attend your first day at your new job!


GOV.UK. 2020. Health And Care Workers To Self-Isolate On Return To England From High-Risk Countries. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 11 August 2020].

GOV.UK. 2020. Coronavirus (COVID-19): How To Self-Isolate When You Travel To The UK. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 12 August 2020].


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