What to do if you’re stranded in another country

Mike Page's picture
Authored by Mike Page
Posted: Wednesday, April 8, 2020 - 11:38

As the world attempts to get to grips with the Coronavirus pandemic, infinite challenges are being placed upon the governments and residents of countries everywhere. Managing the spread of the virus and protecting the population’s health is of course the number one priority, but there are still so many more hurdles to be overcome before any sense of normality can return.

One of those is the issue of repatriating UK citizens who have been stranded overseas due to the travel bans imposed. Dominic Raab, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, estimated that “hundreds of thousands” of Brits are still abroad and trying to get home.

If you are one of these people, it may or may not be a source of comfort that you are certainly not alone in your plight, but there are a few things you can do to help find some answers.

Check the terms and conditions of your flight

If your flight has been cancelled, it’s best to check the airline’s website or Twitter feed for any updates or alternative solutions. With so much disruption, these companies are being swamped with calls so you may be unable to get through. If there has been a cancellation, you should be given the option of a refund or another flight but if you take the former, the airline is no longer responsible for returning you home. If your flights came as part of a package deal, it’s best to contact your travel company, who are the ones accountable for ensuring you get back.

Contact your travel insurers

Your travel insurance company should be able to explain what options are open to you, as well as what’s covered and what is not. Many insurers have stopped selling travel policies due to the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19, but if you had cover in place before you set off then you should still be protected.

Seek legal advice

If you believe you could be stuck overseas for a long period of time, you may want to think about getting in touch with some specialist immigration lawyers. Although it’s unlikely the solution to your problem is to permanently take up residence abroad, seeking the advice of legal experts may at least help to inform you of your rights while you remain stranded.

Ask for government help

This course of action is recommended only in the state of a dire emergency, for example if your flight operator or travel insurer has been unable to help you. The government website provides details of all the British embassies and consulates abroad, so it could be worth contacting the office in your country and asking for guidance.


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