Coronavirus: Supporting British Nationals Abroad

LAST UPDATED: 1ST APRIL

Supporting British nationals abroad to get home

As more and more countries around the world impose travel restrictions and bans in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus, we know many British people are struggling to get home. We have reached a new agreement with the airlines, which will see them provide more commercial options and make it easier for people to switch tickets between providers in order to get home. Where commercial options are not available, we will provide £75 million to support special charter flights. British nationals abroad should know that their Government has not forgotten them, and is doing everything it can to support and bring them home.

We are doing this by:

  • Reaching a new agreement with the airlines to help get British nationals back home. The Government has reached an agreement with Virgin, Easyjet, Jet2 and Tital Airways, so that they will offer passengers alternative routes where the original flight has been cancelled, and allow people to change tickets, including between carriers.

  • Providing £75 million to charter special flights to bring British nationals home where commercial options do not exist. These flights will be operated by the airlines which have reached an agreement with the Government, and will fly to priority countries to bring back UK residents, especially those who are elderly or vulnerable. Special charter flights will be prioritised according to the number of stranded British travellers and their vulnerability, including an assessment of the local health provision.

  • Ensuring British people abroad have the information they need to get home. When special return flights become available, these will be advertised by the Embassy and British nationals on Travel Advice Pages and Embassy social media and those who have registered for updates will be contacted via email. British nationals will be asked to register their interest through the FCO’s booking agents, called CTM.

  • Tripling the capacity of the Foreign Office’s call centre, in order to help more British people who are looking for guidance and support abroad. Demand for the call centre has been unprecedented – with 15,000 calls in a single day, up from an average of 1,000 a day in normal times. By redeploying more staff to the call centre, the FCO can assist more British people abroad.

Advice for British nationals abroad:

  • British tourists stranded abroad who want to return to the UK should first check if there are commercial routes available by visiting the airline websites, FCO Travel Advice pages for the country they are in and local British Embassy social media.

  • If there are no commercial options, they should visit the Travel Advice pages and sign up to alerts for their location and follow Embassy social media and email updates. When special return flights become available, these will be advertised by the Embassy and British nationals on Travel Advice Pages and Embassy social media and those who have registered for updates will be contacted via email. British nationals will be asked to register their interest through the FCO’s booking agents CTM.

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