Declaration to Travel: government reveals new ‘exit permit’ required to leave England

The Declaration to Travel represents the latest tightening of the most draconian restrictions on movement ever known in peacetime

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Wednesday 10 March 2021 11:07
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International travel restart date to be later than 17 May, says Minister

Less than 60 hours before an unprecedented exit permit will be required from outbound travellers, the government has revealed details of the new “Declaration to Travel”.

From Monday 8 March, anyone who enters “a port of departure to travel internationally” in England without a completed form will be committing a criminal offence – even if they are legally entitled to travel.

Airlines, train operators and ferry companies will be required to check that passengers have a valid reason to travel abroad.

Read more: What is the Declaration to Travel and how do I get one?

At present all holidays – at home or overseas – are illegal under the “stay-at-home” rule. The earliest possible date for going abroad from England for leisure is 17 May.

International travel is allowed only for a limited number of exemptions, including work, urgent family matters and medical treatment.

The form asks travellers for their personal details including their address, passport number and destination, and requires them to tick a box to indicate their claimed reason to travel.

The government says: “You may carry evidence to support your reason to travel.” 

The Declaration to Travel represents the latest tightening of the most draconian restrictions on movement ever known in peacetime.

In January, the home secretary warned: “There are still too many people coming in and out of our country each day.”

Priti Patel told parliament that the Declaration to Travel was “a necessary step to protect the public and our world-class vaccination programme”.

Labour has supported government restrictions on movement, and has frequently called for tougher controls.

The publication of the permit coincided with Cyprus announcing it will open its borders to fully vaccinated travellers from 1 May.

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