These are the only reasons you can legally leave the country from 29 March

Rebecca Speare-Cole
·3-min read
EMBARGOED TO 0001 MONDAY MARCH 8 File photo dated 22/08/20 of passengers in the arrivals hall at Heathrow Airport, London. Unions and businesses in the aviation industry have published a joint call for support to help it survive the crisis sparked by the pandemic. Issue date: Monday March 8, 2021.
Travellers arrive at Heathrow airport. (PA)

The government has published new COVID regulations that will come into force from 29 March, when current lockdown restrictions end.

The new regulations, released on Monday, include laws that will make it illegal to leave the country without a "reasonable excuse".

The government document also says no one will be allowed to travel to or be present at an embarkation point – for example an airport, ferry or train station – with the purpose of travelling to a destination outside the UK.

Anyone who tries to travel without one of the approved reasons could be fined £5,000.

Read: Europeans view Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID vaccine as 'unsafe' despite rejection of blood clot link

Watch: What rules will UK holidaymakers face in summer hotspots?

It is currently already illegal to leave the country under the government’s “stay at home” orders, which end on 29 March.

But human rights barrister Adam Wagner has pointed out that a ban on travelling for holidays was merely assumed under the “stay at home” order and had not actually been formalised into law.

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He said: “Previously, the ‘holiday ban’ which the government had advertised was assumed rather than explicit – because going on holiday wasn’t a reasonable excuse, it was assumed you couldn’t be outside of your home to do so. But now it is explicit.”

Under the new regulations, the government has provided an extensive list of what counts as a “reasonable excuse” – and it does not include going on holiday.

If someone has a reason to leave that’s included on the list, they must fill out a travel declaration form.

Watch: Boris Johnson says the UK will 'feel effects' of a third wave in Europe

Here are the only permitted "reasonable excuses" for legally travelling out of the UK under the new regulations.

Reasonable excuses to travel from 29 March

  • To travel anywhere inside in the common travel area – the UK, Ireland, the Isle of Man and Channel Islands

  • To travel for work that cannot be done from the UK

  • To carry out voluntary or charitable services that cannot be done from the UK

  • To attend a course of study that cannot be done from the UK

  • To return to your home country for a vacation between 29 March and 29 April if you’re a foreign student studying in the UK

  • To travel for training or competitions if you’re an elite sportsperson

  • To fulfil a legal obligation or participate in legal proceedings

  • To complete certain aspects of a property purchase

  • To seek medical assistance, attend a clinical appointment, avoid illness/injury or to escape a risk of harm

  • To attend an expectant mother giving birth at the mother’s request

  • To visit a person receiving treatment in a hospital

  • To stay in a hospice or care home

  • To take someone to a medical appointment under certain circumstances

  • To provide care and assistance to a vulnerable person

  • To provide emergency assistance to any person

  • To visit a friend or family member who is dying

  • To attend a funeral

  • To get married or attend a wedding/civil partnership ceremony

  • To meet family members who live in a different country where a child is involved in various circumstances

  • To partake in certain aspects of child adoption

  • To vote in an election or a referendum where it’s not possible to vote from the UK

  • To leave if you’re in the UK on a temporary basis/are not resident

  • If you’re the child/dependent of a person who has a reasonable excuse to travel and no alternative care arrangements can be made

Watch: UK coronavirus rules on travelling before 29 March