International Travel in Relation to Elite Sport

Tuesday 19 January 2021

The following important guidance, applicable to England, has been supplied to Motorsport UK by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in relation to international travel and elite sports. This information is a reminder to competitors attending elite motorsport events overseas and returning to the UK.

  • Under the current lockdown rules in England, you can only leave home for work purposes where it is unreasonable for you to do your job from home. You can only travel internationally – or within the UK – where you first have a legally permitted reason to leave home. In addition, you should also consider the public health advice in the country you are visiting.
  • If you do need to travel overseas (and are legally permitted to do so for work purposes), even if you are returning to a place you’ve visited before, you should consider the rules in place at your destination and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice for the country, as the situation can change on a day-by-day basis.
  • Travel domestically and internationally for elite sport training and competition can be considered under the above work provision. We suggest it would be helpful to ensure quarantine exemption letters from Motorsport UK are kept on the person of the elite sport traveller, in case of challenge by Border Force or airline carriers. More information can be found here Also note, the exemptions in relation to elite sports persons meeting in larger groups and staying overnight away from home.
  • From 04.00 on Friday 15 January, all inbound travellers to the UK must have a negative pre- departure COVID-19 test, taken in the three days before departure to the UK. For short turnaround visits (e.g. for one day events abroad), note that tests taken in the UK ahead of a return journey of less than 3 days must be through a private provider (you cannot use an NHS Test and Trace test). More information can be found here
  • From 04.00 on Monday 18 January, all the existing Travel Corridors have been suspended – so whichever country a UK traveller is returning from, they will have to self-isolate for 10 days on return (unless they qualify for a job exemption, such as elite sport), or use the Test to Release scheme for early release from self-isolation after five days.
  • From 04.00 on Monday 18 January, a number of jobs are exempt from the requirement to self- isolate have been suspended, including journalists. However, the exemptions for elite sport are still in place.
  • Since 24 December, extra restrictions on travel have been in place for South Africa. From 9 January for wider Southern African countries, Seychelles and Mauritius. From Friday 15 January, travel restrictions have been extended to South American countries and Portugal.
  • A ban on direct flights from those countries is now in place. Passengers who have been in or transited through those countries in the last 10 days are no longer granted access to the UK.
  • This does not include British and Irish Nationals, or third country nationals with residence rights in the UK, who are able to enter the UK after being in those countries within the last 10 days (e.g. via indirect flights) but are required to self-isolate on arrival for a full 10 days along with their household. Test to release after 5 days is not permitted in these cases, and job exemptions are also suspended in these cases (i.e. the elite sport exemption to self-isolation does not apply).
  • For relevant travellers who have not been in those countries in the last 10 days, the elite sport exemption to the requirement to self-isolate can apply as normal within the usual terms of the  DCMS Stage 4 guidance