Closed petition Allow international travel to visit partners and family
The Government should class in-person interaction with family members and unmarried partners abroad as an essential reason to travel.
It is vital for people’s mental wellbeing. It is simply inhumane to isolate and forcibly separate people and their family/partner. There are safe ways of enabling people to travel to their family members and/or partners, so there is no reason why the UK cannot facilitate this.
This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months
Parliament debated this topic
This topic was debated on 24 May 2021
This response was given on 20 April 2021
The Government recognises the immense challenges these restrictions place on people with loved ones based outside the UK. Unfortunately, at this time people must only travel with a reasonable excuse.
Read the response in full
The Government introduced the Stay in the UK requirement from the 29 March to replace the Stay at Home requirement that had previously limited the permitted reasons for international travel. The Stay in the UK requirement is needed to restrict international travel, thereby reducing the risk of importing or exporting dangerous variants of concern (VoCs). It is crucial to limit excessive importation of the Coronavirus at a time where prevalence in the UK is falling but much of the population is not yet protected by vaccination, and when infection rates are considerably higher in many other countries.
The Government recognises that Covid restrictions have made it more difficult for families to see people and have been especially hard for those with relatives that live in other countries. However, at this time we are unable to extend the reasonable excuse for travel so that any visit to see a family member or partner abroad is allowed. The legislation includes a list of express reasonable excuses for travelling abroad, many of which will allow people to see their family or partners abroad, where it is necessary, and it would not be possible to delay.
For example, the regulations include a number of reasonable excuses to allow for international travel to see family members where a visit could not be delayed. This includes reasonable excuse to travel to support someone that is giving birth, to accompany someone to a medical appointment or provide care and assistance to a vulnerable person, which includes if the person is 70 or over, pregnant or has an underlying health condition. You can also travel out of the UK to attend your own wedding or civil partnership, or that of a close family member, if at least one of the people getting married or entering into a civil partnership lives outside the UK.
When determining whether you have a reasonable excuse for travelling out of the UK you should consult the regulations https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2021/364/schedule/5/made and guidance https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-declaration-form-for-international-travel. It is important to stress that the list of reasonable excuses under the Stay in the UK provisions is non-exhaustive. Therefore, if you feel that your reason amounts to a reasonable excuse to travel internationally under the relevant legislation, then you should indicate that reason in the ‘other’ box on the declaration for international travel form. Although the Government have set out examples of exemptions in the regulations, it is not possible to determine the extent to which individual cases will meet the exemptions we have set out – that very much depends upon the facts of each case, which are properly the province of the police and, ultimately, the courts.
The Stay in the UK requirement is a temporary measure and will be removed when there is a safe way for international travel to fully resume. The Global Travel Taskforce has set out how, from 17 May at the earliest, international travel could fully resume in a sustainable way. This includes the removal of the ‘Travel declaration form’, meaning passengers would no longer need to prove they have a valid reason to leave the country. It will also introduce a traffic light system which will categorise countries based on risk.
The Government will set out by early May which countries will fall into these traffic light categories, as well as confirming when international leisure travel can safely resume.
Department of Health and Social Care
Other parliamentary business
Share your views on international travel and covid-19 with the Petitions Committee
The Petitions Committee has agreed to schedule a debate on this petition, to be led by Committee member Nick Fletcher MP.
Ahead of the debate, the Committee wants to hear how restrictions on international travel during Covid-19 have affected you, and your views on steps the Government could take to allow these restrictions to be lifted.
Share your views and experiences with the Committee by completing this short survey: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/IMYY0D/.
Please note: MPs may use your comments during the debate, so please don't share anything you wouldn't want to be made public. The debate date will be confirmed in due course.
Petitions Committee schedules debate on international travel and covid-19
The Petitions Committee have scheduled a debate on international travel and covid-19 in response to this petition, for Monday 24 May.
The debate will be led by Committee member Nick Fletcher MP, and MPs from all parties can take part. The Government will send a Minister to respond.
Watch the debate (from 6.15pm, Mon 24 May): https://youtu.be/tNXNpCWbMng
Read the transcript (published shortly after the end of the debate): https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-05-24
Follow the Committee on Twitter and join the discussion using #InternationalTravelDebate: https://www.twitter.com/hocpetitions
What you told us about the impact of international travel restrictions
Ahead of the debate, the Committee conducted a survey of petitioners to hear how restrictions on international travel have affected them, and their thoughts on what measures the Government could bring in which could allow these restrictions to be lifted. Thanks to the over 7,700 of you who responded. The Committee also sought the public's views through online forum Reddit.
Read a summary of what you told us: https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/36369/default/
MPs to debate the aviation, travel and tourism industries
On Thursday 10 June, MPs will debate the Aviation, Travel and Tourism Industries in the main House of Commons Chamber.
This will be a general debate. General debates allow MPs to debate important issues, however they do not end in a vote nor can they change the law.
The debate will begin following questions to Ministers and Ministerial statements.
You can also read a transcript of the debate a few hours after it has finished:
Find out more about how Parliamentary debates work:
Support for the aviation, travel and tourism industries to be debated by MPs
On Thursday 24 June, MPs will debate support for the aviation, travel and tourism industries in Westminster Hall.
This is a general debate that has been scheduled by the Backbench Business Committee, which gives opportunities to backbench Members of Parliament to bring forward debates of their choice. General debates allow MPs to debate important issues. However they do not end in a vote nor can they change the law.
Watch the debate (from 3.15pm, Thurs 24 June): https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/73a555bf-9c83-4387-9bbb-30677002d3c4
Read a transcript of the debate (available a few hours after it has finished): https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-06-24
Government debate on the aviation, travel and tourism industries
This debate follows an earlier debate that the Government scheduled on the aviation, travel and tourism industries. The Government's debate took place in the main House of Commons chamber on Thursday 10 June.
Watch the debate scheduled by the Government: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/2e811f25-7a77-438d-9a60-dbea42b4c6e8?in=14:00:20
Read a transcript of the debate scheduled by the Government: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-06-10/debates/0922563F-114D-4D63-86F5-707A8DC2B434/AviationTravelAndTourismIndustries
What are Westminster Hall debates?
Westminster Hall is the second Chamber of the House of Commons. Westminster Hall debates give MPs an opportunity to raise local or national issues and receive a response from a Government Minister. Any MP can take part in a Westminster Hall debate.
Find out more about how Parliamentary debates work:
MPs question Government on plans for international travel
On Tuesday 29 June, MPs questioned the Government about plans for international travel.
You can watch the questions and the Government's response on Parliament TV: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/bbac374c-b46f-477f-bac9-e0fdbbf9f949?in=13:28:25
You can read the questions and the Government's response on the Hansard website: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-06-29/debates/65D669AA-8596-45BA-93C7-19E206117C21/InternationalTravel
Why was the Government questioned about plans for international travel?
If an urgent or important matter arises which an MP believes requires an immediate answer from a government minister, they may apply to ask an urgent question.
Jim McMahon MP applied to ask the Government about plans for international travel, and this request was granted by the Speaker.
Find out more about Urgent Questions here: