Declaration to Travel

By | Category: Travel rumblings

We are used to governments introducing restrictions at a fairly quick pace when the fancy takes them, but giving seventy-two hours notice of a new compulsory travel document is positively speedy.

an airport queue at Gatwick
airport queues are not wanted this Easter and the form is intended to deter those who might decide to travel illegally abroad from England

From Monday morning, all those leaving England for whatever reason will have to have completed a “Declaration to Travel” downloadable from a government website.

The two page document that you have to complete carries the warning before you sign it that “I understand that if I provide false or misleading information, I may be issued with a fixed penalty notice and/or a direction to return home; or be arrested.”

You ca expect to have to show the form at check-in, the gate, passport control and at spot checks at airports. If you are not travelling for one of the six specified reasons which are listed on page three of the form, you can be expected to be turned back. And if you are, then you can probably forget about getting refunds on your ticket price!

That is crystal clear but why now rather than months ago when the no travel abroad rule was introduced?

The answer seems to be that the government, medical boffins or someone else has doubts about whether people will stay in the UK over Easter. This measure is designed to deter.

But the rule applies to England and does not apply to people travelling if they can) to other parts of the Common Travel Area (Ireland, Isle of Man, the Channel Isles).

Although it is illegal to travel abroad from any part of the UK, this form ramps up the pressure put on those who might be thinking about breaking the law.

But why just England when the British government has control over international travel?

Wales presents no problem since the only airport with international flights – Cardiff – is closed to passengers. In Scotland and Northern Ireland announcements are expected.   

But why didn’t the devolved governments dovetail their agreement? Unless they weren’t told of this move or don’t agree. No doubt we will find out in time.

For now, to repeat myself, the rule applies only to England.

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