Britons ‘cheating’ to enter countries during pandemic pay thousands ‘Out of frustration’

Boris Johnson urges ‘patience’ over travel restrictions

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Britons have found many ways to “cheat the borders” and enter other countries without restrictions. Cleaning your travel history is a common practice among travellers who don’t want to give up their well-deserved holidays. However, a travel agent has unveiled this is not something new.

Avoiding quarantine or entering a restricted country can be done legally just by cleaning your travel history.

Many countries have restrictions for those who have spent the last 14 days in another nation, but travellers can always spend that period of time in a third country to enter restriction-free.

That is for example if a non-vaccinated tourist wanted to skip quarantine when returning from an amber destination. Spain is on the UK’s amber list, which means non-vaccinated travellers have to quarantine on their way back. However, one can always spend 14 days in green country Croatia to avoid self-isolation. Croatia also allows travellers from Spain to enter restriction free.

The same happens with travellers who wanted to avoid hotel quarantine when coming from red list country Thailand by spending two weeks in amber Greece. The Mediterranean country also allows entry from Thailand without restrictions.

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Monique is an American traveller who spends half of the year in the UK. She and her British partner often spend 14 days in Mexico so he can enter the States.

Currently, the US has a travel ban on all UK and European arrivals.

“We usually go through Mexico as it’s not a part of the Schengen area and he can get into the States if he hasn’t been in that zone for 14 days. I think a lot of people do this,” Monique explained.

She claims many people do this trick to enter the UK without restrictions and that travellers do it “out of frustration”.

“I think people are just pretty annoyed with the current legislation. They do it out of frustration.”

Xavi Pons, travel agent at Viatjes Pons, thinks that those who follow this practice are travellers “who actually need to do it.”

“I personally know a few people who do this. There is a woman whose doctor is in Miami and because she has a lot of money, she can do it. She went to Mexico for 15 days and from there, she flew to Miami.

“This is a case of necessity as this woman has a medical condition and the doctor who has been treating her for a long time is based in Miami.

“Another person I know is a company who works in the United States doing maintenance for industrial equipment. They go to Mexico first to then jump to the US.

“I don’t think is a practice a lot of people can afford as the costs are huge. It’s not the same buying a plane ticket straight to the US as going to Mexico first and staying in a hotel there for two weeks.

“That’s why I am convinced travellers do it out of necessity,” Xavi said.

“However, I must say that this practice is not something new. ‘Cheating the borders’ is something that existed before the pandemic.

“I sometimes sell tickets, hotel and travel insurance to South American citizens who want to come to Spain. They come as tourists with a 15-day tourist visa and after that time, the airline contacts me saying they haven’t shown up for the flight back,” he explained.

“This is a very common practice among people who want to come and live in Spain.”

Xavi continued: “This is actually illegal and I think is more unethical. ‘Cheating’ to cross borders because of the current travel restrictions is not.

“At the end of the day, people do what they need to do.”

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