Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance for people travelling to Scotland

From Tuesday 5 January, mainland Scotland will move to a temporary lockdown, with new guidance to stay at home except for essential purposes. 

You cannot travel to or from Scotland without a reasonable excuse. 

People entering the UK will have to provide information on their journey and accommodation as part of measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). These rules apply across the whole of the UK.

These rules apply to people who live in Scotland and are returning from overseas, as well as to people visiting Scotland.

Under these rules you will:

  • need to provide information about your journey and contact details before travelling to the UK
  • need a valid negative coronavirus test result, taken no more than 3 days before your scheduled time of departure
  • isolate in a quarantine hotel for at least 10 days from arrival
  • be tested on day 2 and 8 of your 10 day quarantine

Read further information about the rules on international travel and quarantine on the Scottish Government website

People who have come to Scotland to work, study or claim asylum (including refugees) will not pay for any coronavirus tests or treatments they need.

Read about testing and treatment for overseas visitors, asylum seekers and refugees

Additional travel restrictions due to new coronavirus variants

There is a travel ban in place on all non-British and Irish nationals, visa holders and permanent residents who arrive in the UK from the following countries:

  • Angola
  • Botswana
  • Eswatini
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Mauritius
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Seychelles
  • South Africa
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe
  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • French Guiana
  • Guyana
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Suriname
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela
  • Portugal – including Azores and Madeira
  • Panama
  • Cabo Verde (Cape Verde)
  • the British Overseas Territory of the Falkland Islands
  • Tanzania
  • the Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Burundi
  • Rwanda
  • the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

If you’re returning from one of the countries on this list, you should only seek medical care if it’s urgent or an emergency.

Don’t seek out routine outpatient care, ambulatory care, primary care, or elective treatment during the 10-day self-isolation period.

If you need medical attention, you must tell the people treating you that you have recently arrived from one of the countries on the list.

Primary and secondary care staff will determine whether elective and non-urgent treatment can be safely delayed until after the 10-day self-isolation period.

If you’ve been through one of the countries on the list up to 14 days before arriving in Scotland, or you’ve been in contact with someone who has, you must tell the people treating you.

Read more about the rules on international travel and quarantine on the Scottish Government website

Preventing the spread of coronavirus

Cover your mouth and nose with a disposable tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of tissues into a plastic waste bag, and immediately wash your hands.

Wash your hands frequently with soap and hot water, for at least 20 seconds, rinse, and dry thoroughly. Use alcohol-based hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Everyone should wash their hands regularly, but this is particularly important for people who have recently travelled to the UK because you could have contracted coronavirus and not yet developed symptoms.

Learn more about preventing the spread of coronavirus


There are some limited exemptions to the self-isolation requirements for these regulations. 

Read the Scottish Government’s guidance on these exemptions

If you’re exempt from the rules and develop symptoms of coronavirus, you should not travel and should immediately self-isolate.

Learn more about coronavirus symptoms

Complete a self-help guide for coronavirus symptoms