UK: Global Travel Bans Issued Following Discovery of New COVID-19 Strain in the UK

Last Updated on February 23, 2023

Key Points

  • More stringent COVID-19 restrictions are in effect for parts of the UK due to a new virus strain
  • New international travel bans are in place for travel to and from the UK
  • Existing travel bans may be extended if necessary
  • Additional travel bans may be implemented based on countries’ discretion


A new strain of COVID-19 has been detected in the UK. The discovery is prompting governments around the world to rapidly issue travel bans. The UK has also issued internal travel restrictions.

What are the Changes?

In response to a new strain of COVID-19 detected in parts of the country, the Government of the United Kingdom has issued a lockdown for southeast England and London. The government is also tightening restrictions for domestic travel during the holiday season.

Who is Affected?

Following the government’s new COVID-19 restrictions issued on December 19, 2020, countries worldwide have issued travel restrictions from the UK as a precaution.

Currently, the following countries have travel bans in place:


Argentina has imposed a travel ban on all arriving flights from the UK. Flights will be suspended until further notice as of December 21, 2020.


Through December 31, 2020, only Belgian residents will be permitted to enter the country. Nonresidents are permitted to enter starting on January 1, 2021 if they provide negative COVID-19 test results obtained within 48 hours of arrival.


Air travel between Bulgaria and the UK is suspended due to the new COVID-19 variant. The air travel ban, issued on December 21, 2020, remains in effect through January 31, 2021.


The Canadian government has banned all passenger travel from the UK. The travel ban started on December 20, 2020. The ban will last through December 25, 2020 and may be extended.


The Chilean government is suspending all inbound and outbound commercial flights between Chile and the UK. Chile’s travel ban starts on December 22, 2020. Arriving travelers from the UK, or anyone who has been in the UK in the past two weeks, must complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine.


Effective December 21, 2020, the Colombian government is suspending air travel between the UK and Colombia. The air travel ban is in place until further notice. Anyone who has been to the UK in the past 14 days must self-quarantine upon entering the country.

Czech Republic

On December 28, 2020, the government of the Czech Republic suspended flights from the UK in response to the new COVID-19 variant. The flight ban is in effect until further notice.


Denmark will continue to suspend all incoming flights from the UK. Through January 3, 2021, UK residents will be prohibited from entering Denmark. Exceptions apply for Danish citizens and UK nationals who are residents of Denmark but currently in the UK.


An air travel ban between Estonia and the UK is in effect through January 31, 2021.


France is easing some travel bans for the UK after closing its borders to UK travelers for 48 hours. The government has modified existing travel restrictions to grant certain travelers entry into France from the UK, including EU and French citizens, non-French citizens who have permanent residency in France, and people traveling for essential reasons including health workers, diplomats, and operators and crew of buses, trains, and commercial planes. These individuals can enter the country with a negative COVID-19 test.  


In light of recent COVID-19 events in the UK, the Greek government is extending the self-isolation requirement for travelers arriving from the UK to seven days from the previous three-day quarantine mandate.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is banning all inbound flights from the UK until further notice. Individuals in Hong Kong who have traveled recently to the UK must quarantine for 21 days.


India will suspend flights to and from the UK from December 23, 2020 through the end of the year.


The Irish government has closed land, sea, and air borders for inbound and outbound travel to the UK. Only essential workers and essential supplies are permitted to cross national borders at this time. The travel ban is in place through December 31, 2020.


Inbound commercial flights from the UK are cancelled through January 6, 2021. Anyone who has traveled to or transited through the UK in the past two weeks will not be allowed to enter the country, with a few limited exceptions. Italian residents can still leave the UK to return home.


The Jordanian government is suspending air travel to and from the UK through January 3, 2021.


A travel ban is in place until January 1, 2021 for land, air, and sea travel.


A ban on flights to and from the UK is in place through January 31, 2021.


The Lithuanian government is banning flights to and from the UK through January 31, 2021.


Malta has suspended inbound and outbound flights to the UK until further notice. All travelers from the UK are banned from entering the country except for Maltese residents and citizens and others traveling for essential reasons. All permitted travelers must have a COVID-19 test upon arrival and quarantine for 14 days.


An air travel ban is in place between the UK and the Netherlands through January 1, 2021.


The Norwegian government is halting air travel between Norway and the UK through December 24, 2020. The ban may be further extended based on epidemiological conditions.


Sweden is banning travel to and from the UK and Denmark by sea, air, and land. Sweden’s borders will be closed for one month from December 21, 2020 through January 21, 2020.

Looking Ahead

Along with the list above, more countries are formulating UK travel bans to reduce the risk of disease transmission. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

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.