Sanwar Ali: UK visa and Coronavirus Travel Corridor Update

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By Sanwar Ali:

If you wish to travel out of the UK on business or pleasure you need to think very carefully about possible self-isolation requirements both in the UK and abroad.  If you need to self-isolate for two weeks in one country that is likely to be inconvenient.  If you have to self-isolate in two different countries then that is likely to mean a self-isolation requirement of about a month!  People travelling abroad have to accept the risk that, even if there is no self-quarantine requirement now, this could change by the time they come back. 

Also when travelling back to the UK, if possible, you should make sure that you do not travel via a country on the quarantine list.  We include a list of countries on the travel corridor list at the end of this report.  If a country is on the UK travel corridor list then, generally speaking, you will not need to self-isolate when you come back to the UK.  For up to date information you should check the UK Government website regularly.

Unfortunately, with the coronavirus COVID-19 situation becoming worse in certain countries the UK has recently removed a number of countries from the “travel corridor” list.  The number of countries removed from the travel corridor list greatly exceeds the number of countries added to the list.  This also means that more visa applicants applying for entry clearance to the UK from abroad will need to self-isolate when they enter the UK.  Countries not on the travel corridor list include the US, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.  Many immigrants in the UK come from one of these countries.

Countries or territories removed from travel corridor list:

You need to self-isolate for fourteen days if you have been in any of these countries any time in the last fourteen days before entry to the UK.

4am, Saturday 22 August 2020:


4am, Saturday 15 August 2020:

  • Aruba
  • France
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • the Netherlands
  • Turks and Caicos Islands


4am, Saturday 8 August 2020:

  • Andorra
  • The Bahamas
  • Belgium


Countries or territories added to the travel corridor list

These are new countries where you no longer need to self-isolate if you have been in these countries in the last fourteen days.

4am, Saturday 22 August 2020:


  • Portugal 


4am on Tuesday 11 August 2020:

  • Brunei
  • Malaysia


Huge increase in demand for holidays in Portugal:

Since Portugal was added to the travel corridor list on 22 August there has been a massive increase in demand.   A Portuguese resort has seen an increase in demand of about 300 percent mainly from Brits who wish to take a holiday in Portugal.  In addition, the commercial director of Bónus Seguros (insurance company) that offers Covid-oriented travel cover for foreigners visiting Portugal says his company has been ‘absolutely overwhelmed’ by demand mainly from the UK.

Grant Shapps Transport Secretary comments:

It has been suggested that there should not be country bans and instead there should be regional air bridges.  Mr Shapps said that this was too difficult to do:

“I do sympathise. I had to actually quarantine myself after I changed the rules.

“This is a very unpredictable virus which unfortunately just doesn’t play ball as far as the way that it can just sometimes take off in a country and I think anyone travelling this year will know that there are risks involved.”

He also commented that it was unlikely that France and Germany will be added to the travel corridor list any time soon.  These two countries are also popular holiday destinations for Brits.

Countries and territories with no self-isolation requirement on arrival in England

This is the latest information from the Government site.  Please note that if you stop in transit via a country not on the list in the last fourteen days before you arrive in England you will need to self-isolate.