Britons travelling abroad from Monday will have to carry a form setting out why their trip is allowed under lockdown rules – or face a £200 fine.
Under new measures to crack down on illegal trips, the Department for Transport said carriers will be checking for completed forms before passengers board – either at check-in or at the departure gate.
Those who do not have a valid form could be stopped from travelling.
The form must be downloaded from gov.uk, signed before travel, and carried or downloaded on to a mobile phone.
Forty days after the measure was announced by Home Secretary Priti Patel on 27 January, spot checks will be carried out to ask passengers to produce a completed form, with those who fail to provide one risking a £200 fine.
Under current coronavirus lockdown restrictions, it is illegal to travel abroad for holiday and journeys are only permitted for certain reasons.
On the form, the reasons listed for legally permitted international travel include:
• medical or compassionate grounds
• weddings, funerals and related events
Some people will not need to complete the form because of the job they do.
Those who are found by police to be travelling without a valid reason will be told to return home and could be fined, between £200 and up to a maximum of £6,400, for breaking the stay-at-home rule.
An extra £2m was provided to police last month to cover the costs of additional patrols at airports and ports.
The government also recently introduced a requirement for those travelling back to the UK from 33 “red list” countries to quarantine for 10 days in hotel rooms.
Meanwhile, all passengers entering the UK – regardless of where they are travelling from – must now take a COVID test on day two and day eight after their return home, as part of a 10-day period of self-isolation.
They are also required to provide proof of a negative COVID test from up to 72 hours before they began their journey to the UK.
The tougher border restrictions were introduced amid concerns new COVID variants – that might spread more easily or be resistant to vaccines being used in the UK – could be imported from abroad.
Earlier this week, it was revealed six cases of the P1 coronavirus variant first found in Brazil have been discovered in the UK.