A ban on leaving the United Kingdom without a reasonable excuse could be coming into force from Monday.

Brits wanting to travel abroad without a valid reason face four-figure fines from next week.

The legislation for restrictions over the coming months, as the Government sets out its road map for coming out of lockdown, was published on Monday.

Entitled the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021, the laws come into force on March 29.

According to the legal document: “The Regulations also impose restrictions on leaving the United Kingdom without a reasonable excuse (regulation 8).”

The law says no-one may “leave England to travel to a destination outside the United Kingdom, or travel to, or be present at, an embarkation point for the purpose of travelling from there to a destination outside the United Kingdom” without a reasonable excuse.

It suggests anyone who breaks such rules could face a £5,000 fine.

There is also a £200 fixed penalty notice for failing to fill in a travel declaration form – giving person details and reason for travel – for those planning to leave the UK.

Why are such restrictions needed?

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said such restrictions are protecting the UK from new coronavirus variants from abroad.

As a third wave of coronavirus cases sweep across Europe, the Prime Minister highlighted the precariousness of the situation, saying that “experience has taught us that when a wave hits our friends, it washes up on our shores as well”.

Boris Johnson added: “I expect that we will feel those effects in due course.”

A traffic light system could enable overseas travel, with countries such as South Africa and South America marked red, a Government scientific adviser has said.

Professor Andrew Hayward, from University College London and a member of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), suggested holidays abroad could be possible with the right structures in place.

‘Stanley Johnson clause’

Overseas travel in connection with foreign homes will be permitted under coronavirus rules to be voted on by MPs.

Under the rules people leaving England for a foreign holiday could face a £5,000 fine but an exemption dubbed the “Stanley Johnson clause” will allow trips for the “purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property”.

The Prime Minister’s father was criticised last July after it emerged he had travelled to Greece to visit his mountain villa despite Government advice urging Britons against all but essential international travel.

He argued that he was on “essential business trying to Covid-proof my property in view of the upcoming letting season”.

The new regulations for the coming months, covering the Prime Minister’s “road map” out of lockdown for England, include a ban on leaving the country without a valid reason.

One of the exemptions allows travel to visit properties, estate agents, sales offices or show homes overseas if a person is seeking to buy or sell a foreign home.

Labour MP Andrew Gwynne told the Guardian: “For hardworking families facing the prospect of missing out on summer holidays, it will stick in the craw that the Government has inserted a ‘Stanley Johnson clause’ to Covid rules that allows people to come and go if they have property abroad.

“It seems it’s one rule for them and another for the rest of us.”

The ten valid reasons for travelling as new Covid laws look set to ban holidays abroad:

  1. Work
  2. Study
  3. Wedding
  4. Legal obligations
  5. Moving, selling or renting property
  6. Childcare or to be present at a birth
  7. Visiting a dying relative
  8. Attending a funeral
  9. Medical appointments
  10. Escaping a risk of harm

MPs will vote on the  Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021 on Thursday, with the laws expected to come into force on March 29.