Papers, Please: Britons Travelling Abroad Must Carry Lockdown Exemption Form or Be Fined £200

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From Monday, Britons travelling overseas will have to fill out a government form explaining why they are exempt from coronavirus lockdown restrictions and can leave the country. They must present the declaration for inspection when required, and if unable to could be fined £200.

It is currently illegal to travel abroad for holidays or non-essential purposes, and likely until at least May 17th.

Home Secretary Priti Patel announced on January 27th the introduction of the declaration form, and the measures will come into force on Monday, March 8th. Britain’s Department of Transport said on Friday that airline carriers will be checking the forms either at check-in or the departure gate, according to Sky News, and that those without the form or a valid reason listed on it could be denied leave to depart.

The three-page declaration form for international travel, found on the government website, states that “you must complete this form to confirm that you are outside of your home to travel abroad for a legally permitted reason.”

“Legally permitted reasons” for travelling overseas include work, volunteering or educational purposes, medical reasons, on compassionate grounds, and weddings, funerals, and other similar events.

Those exempt from filling out the forms for work purposes include bus drivers, aircraft pilots and crew, and those undertaking border security duties.

The form explains that “you may be required to present this declaration and asked for any evidence to support your reason for travel at your port of departure”, instructing would-be travellers to keep the form with them as “police may ask to see”.

The declaration also warns that giving “false or misleading information” could result in being issued a fine, an order to return home, or even arrest.

A Department for Transport spokeswoman told the Daily Mail that “officers will be conducting spot checks and have the power to ask travellers to produce a completed form,” adding: “It will be an offence to fail to produce a completed form and individuals could face a £200 fine.”

The British government has already put 33 countries on a red list, meaning that travellers from those nations must be quarantined for ten days in a hotel room — something it steadfastly refused to do in the early stages of the pandemic.

Whether coming from a red list nation or not, all travellers coming to Britain must prove a negative coronavirus test no more than 72 hours before entry. If not coming from a red-list country, they must still self-isolate at home or a hotel for ten days, and take two coronavirus tests on days two and eight after arrival.

Other governments have also been working on covid-related documentation for international travel, specifically the ‘vaccine passport’, which proves vaccination against the Chinese virus.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced on Monday that it was working on producing a vaccine passport, dubbing it the “Digital Green Pass”, which the Eurocrat said would “gradually enable [EU citizens] to move safely in the European Union or abroad – for work or tourism”.

Number 10 Downing Street indicated that it was talking with the EU about the vaccine passports, with a spokesman saying, according to The Telegraph: “We have said that we are looking at the issue of vaccine passports. As you can expect, DfT (the Department for Transport) will work and do speak to countries across the world in terms of how they may look to introduce passports.”

“Of course you can expect us to speak to the EU and other countries on how they may implement any similar sorts of policies,” he added.

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