UK: COVID-19 Travel Ban Extended to South America and Portugal

Last Updated on February 23, 2023

Key Points

  • On January 15, 2021, the UK will ban most travelers from South America and Portugal
  • Transportation of essential goods is permitted from Portugal
  • Only foreign nationals with residence status and citizens of the UK and Ireland can enter the UK
  • The travel ban is in effect until further notice
  • Starting Monday, January 18, all incoming travelers must provide negative COVID-19 test results
  • A 10-day mandatory quarantine is in effect for inbound travelers starting January 18th


Following the discovery of a new COVID-19 variant in Brazil, the Government of the UK has issued a travel ban for South America and Portugal.

What are the Changes?

The new travel ban takes effect on Friday, January 15, 2021. Only British citizens, Irish citizens, and foreign nationals with residence rights can enter the UK.

Who is Affected?

The travel ban applies to anyone who has visited or transited through the following countries within 10 days before their scheduled departure to the UK: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Cape Verde, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, French Guiana, Paraguay, Panama, Peru, Uruguay, Suriname, and Venezuela. The ban also applies to Portugal and its archipelagos, which are the Azores and Madeira. The transportation of essential goods is still permitted between Portugal and the UK.

What Should Travelers Know?

Starting on Monday, January 18, 2021, all arriving travelers in the UK must provide negative COVID-19 test results. Travelers who are permitted to enter the UK while the ban is in place must quarantine for 10 days at home upon arrival.

Looking Ahead

The UK government will modify the travel ban as necessary based on changing epidemiological conditions.


Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.