To minimise the risk of spreading the virus, we should all stay at home as much as possible and avoid unnecessary travel. By law, in a level 4 area, you can only leave your home (or garden) for an essential purpose.
To suppress the spread of COVID-19, including the new variant, it is essential that, with limited exceptions, there is no travel to or from areas where higher numbers of people may be carrying the virus. This is why we have introduced a legal requirement to stay at home unless you live in Orkney; Shetland; Na h-Eileanan Siar (with the exception of the islands of Barra and Vatersay); the following islands within Argyll and Bute: Coll, Colonsay, Erraid, Gometra, Iona, Islay, Jura, Mull, Oronsay, Tiree, and Ulva; and all islands in Highland, with the exception of Skye, which will remain at Level 3.
To avoid that, to keep everyone safe, please comply with the rules and advice set out below.
These rules will be kept under review and if the prevalence of the virus in all, or part of, any of these countries reduces it may be possible to relax these restrictions for some areas.
If you have to travel for essential purposes, follow the .
International travel (outside the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man)
Travellers, by law, must have proof of a negative coronavirus (COVID-19) test before travelling to Scotland from abroad. The test must be taken, even by UK citizens, up to 3 days before the journey to Scotland. For example, those travelling on a Friday, must take a test no earlier than Tuesday.
A proof of your negative test is required to be presented prior to boarding the travel to Scotland. See information on what the test result must include at gov.uk.
Travellers who do not present proof of a negative test result certificate will not be able to board any form of transport to Scotland. Travellers who do arrive in Scotland without proof of a negative test result could be fined £480.
Travellers arriving in Scotland from abroad (with the exception of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) are required, by law, to quarantine by self-isolation for 10 days after arrival.
More information on testing for people travelling to Scotland and self-quarantine is in the international travel guidance.
If you arrive in Scotland from abroad via another part of the UK you must follow the rules that are in place in Scotland when you arrive. Travel to or from Scotland without a reasonable excuse is not permitted. See exceptions for a range of examples of reasons for which travel is permitted.
It is vital that before travelling overseas you check the rules put in place by the destination country about who is allowed to enter, requirements for quarantine and restrictions on movements within the country. You are advised also to check that your insurance policy provides cover for cancellations.
Travelling around Scotland
At present, unless you live in certain island communities (outlined above):
Travel within the islands (Level 3)
If you live within Orkney; Shetland; Na h-Eileanan Siar (with the exception of the islands of Barra and Vatersay); the following islands within Argyll and Bute: Coll, Colonsay, Erraid, Gometra, Iona, Islay, Jura, Mull, Oronsay, Tiree, and Ulva; and all islands in Highland, with the exception of Skye:
In the Level 3 areas remaining in your area would include travelling on inter island ferries within the Local Authority boundary.
Travel between Scotland and the rest of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man
Under current Scottish law, given the state of the epidemic, unless you have a reasonable excuse (see ) you must not travel between Scotland and:
You should be aware that, if you travel for essential reasons, rules may apply in other countries or Crown Dependencies within the Common Travel Area that may restrict your ability to enter or travel within them, or which may require you to self-isolate for a period of time after your arrival. Please check any restrictions that may be in place in your destination before you travel. You can find information here:
The restrictions on travel let you leave your home in a Level 4 area, and travel between areas in Levels 3 and 4 where you have a “reasonable excuse” for essential travel. The exceptions are different in each case as they align with wider restrictions at each level.
Although you can travel for these purposes, you should stay as close to home as possible. For example, shop on-line or use local shops and services wherever you can. Travel no further than you need to reach to a safe, non-crowded place to exercise in a socially distanced way.
The law lists a range of examples of reasons for which both leaving your home and travel is permitted.
Guidance on those is set out below.
Exceptions for travel from home (Mainland Scotland and certain islands) (Level 4 areas with Stay At Home restrictions in place)
travel for work or an activity associated with seeking employment, or to provide voluntary or charitable services, but only where that cannot be done from your home.
Exceptions for travel out of or to Level 3 (islands):
Transport Scotland has produced . Where possible you should consider walking, wheeling or cycling, if you can, to reduce pressure on the road network and on public transport where capacity will be limited.
Transport providers will have procedures to promote the safety of customers and staff, but it is an individual’s responsibility to comply with guidance.
On public transport you must by law wear a face covering, unless you are exempt, and comply with the physical distancing measures that are in place. Find out .
You should avoid sharing in a vehicle with people who are not members of your household or extended household as much as possible. If you have no other option, you should:
If you regularly share transport whether it is a car or minibus or other private vehicle, try and share with the same people each time.
Read more information in the .