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General travel

Travel is allowed within Scotland. Travel is allowed between Scotland and England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

For restrictions on travel between Scotland and the rest of the world see the international travel section below. 

These rules may be changed depending on the state of the pandemic in Scotland and in other countries. Please check back here for up to date information before you travel.

Travelling to the Scottish islands: pre-departure testing

To reduce the risk of coronavirus being brought into island communities, we are encouraging anyone planning to travel to a Scottish island to test before they do so.

You can order rapid lateral flow tests for delivery to your home anywhere in the UK and they should arrive within 24-48 hours.   

You should test three days before you plan to travel and then again on the day of departure. If you test positive, you should complete your period of self-isolation before you begin your journey.

If your test result is negative it is not a guarantee that you do not have coronavirus. You must continue to follow national and local restrictions, including coronavirus guidance. If you develop coronavirus symptoms you must self-isolate and book a PCR test.

This is a voluntary scheme and you will not need evidence of a negative test to travel to a Scottish island. However, we encourage you to participate in order to reduce the risk that you inadvertently carry coronavirus into one of our island communities.

Travelling within the Common Travel Area (UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland)

A Common Travel Area (CTA) exists between the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland.

Travel within the UK, and to the Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey, is not counted as international travel. This means that you do not need to test, isolate or fill in a passenger locator form if:

you’re travelling to Scotland from England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey or Guernsey

you have not travelled anywhere other than these areas in the 10 days before you arrive in Scotland

Your plans may still be affected if the area you’re travelling to or from has local restrictions in place. You should check those countries’ own rules on entry and other restrictions before you travel.

Travelling safely

Transport Scotland has produced guidance on travelling safely in all forms of transport.

You can help keep Scotland moving by:

reducing the need to travel: work from home or near home if you can:

  • planning ahead: if you need to make a journey, check your travel options in advance
  • choosing active travel: walk, wheel or cycle where possible

Public transport

Transport providers will have procedures to promote the safety of customers and staff, but it is an individual’s responsibility to comply with the 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 more about face coverings.

Car and vehicle sharing

If you need to share a vehicle with anyone from another household, you should continue to follow the appropriate measures, steps and precautions where possible:

  • if sharing a vehicle with anyone from another household, limit the number of people in the vehicle to as few as possible, ideally no more than 2 (applies to adults and children aged 12 and over)
  • use the biggest vehicle available for car-sharing purposes
  • windows in the car should be opened as far as possible taking account of weather conditions to improve ventilation in the space
  • occupants in the car, including the driver, should wear a face-covering provided it does not compromise driver safety in any way
  • occupants should perform hand hygiene before entering the vehicle and again on leaving the vehicle
  • occupants should avoid eating in the vehicle
  • passengers in the vehicle should minimise any surfaces touched
  • keep the volume of any music/radio to a minimum to prevent the need to raise voices in the car
  • the longer the journey, the higher the risk; keep journey times to the minimum feasible and do not linger in the vehicle before or after the journey itself
  • where non-household members are car-sharing, the car must be cleaned regularly (at least daily) and particular attention should be paid to high-risk touchpoints such as door handles, electronic buttons and seat belts. General-purpose detergent is sufficient unless asymptomatic or confirmed case of COVID-19 has been in the vehicle in which case a disinfectant (e.g. chlorine-based product) should be used
  • You should not travel to work/car share if you have any symptoms of coronavirus, as outlined on the NHS Inform website.

Note the above guidance relates to private vehicles. For taxis and private hire vehicles, you should refer to the guidance on taxis and private hire vehicles.

If someone tests positive for COVID-19, all passengers will be assessed for close contact and are likely to be advised to self-isolate pending the outcome of a PCR test.

If you are a partially or non-vaccinated adult, you will be asked to self-isolate for 10 days, whether or not you have symptoms.

If you are a fully vaccinated adult, you should get a PCR test as soon as possible. Provided you return a negative PCR test result and remain asymptomatic, you may end self-isolation as a close contact.

Fully vaccinated means you have received both of your vaccine doses, with at least two weeks passing since your second dose. This gives you the maximum possible protection from the vaccination.

Staying safe if you've ended self-isolation

Even if you’re fully vaccinated, you can still get coronavirus and pass it on to others.

If you’re a close contact who can end self-isolation, you can help protect others by following the guidance on how to stay safe and help prevent the spread.

As well as getting a PCR test, you may also consider:

  • limiting close contact with other people outside your household, especially in enclosed spaces
  • wearing a face-covering in enclosed spaces and where you cannot maintain physical distancing
  • limiting contact with anyone who is at highest risk
  • not visiting people in care homes or hospitals until 10 days after contact with a positive case, unless essential and agreed with care home or hospital staff in advance
  • taking part in twice-weekly lateral flow device (LFD) testing

For further information please visit the advice on how to travel safely.