I will start working in London from November and will probably move there from Germany (as a German citizen) few days/weeks before in order to search for a flat or shared house.

In the case that Germany gets classified as a high risk area by the UK before I arrive there, what are my possibilities? And does the UK usually give some buffer time before applying the new classifications or does it happen immediately upon announcement?

How can I quarantine if I don't have a home yet and need to visit some apartments?

Does it even make sense to quarantine in a shared flat (private room, shared bathroom), if I find one?

I couldn't find any information handling those special cases. Also, a test before arriving to England doesn't seem to be enough for avoiding quarantine.

  • To be clear, you already have your job and visa (and they are not part of the question)?
    – CGCampbell
    Sep 29, 2020 at 12:41
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    Up to now, the buffer time on travel restrictions has been pretty short. AFAIK, the UK government reviews its quarantine-free travel list weekly (I think Thursdays). Changes usually take effect from 4am on Saturdays but can be made at short notice. You cannot quarantine in a room with shared facilities. Most letting agencies offer virtual viewings of apartments which you could do from Germany before you leave.
    – Traveller
    Sep 29, 2020 at 12:45
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    @CGCampbell AFAIK we still have freedom of movement in the EU, until the end of December for the UK. And I have a job yes.
    – Mehdi
    Sep 29, 2020 at 12:51

4 Answers 4


You can book a hotel room for two weeks, self-isolate there, and only start looking for apartments after that. Extraordinary circumstances may call for extraordinary measures and, in some cases, extraordinary expenses. Of course the hotel doesn't need to be in an expensive district of London. I would inform the hotel in advance that you will be self-isolating, perhaps they special procedures for those guests who are.

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    Don't see any reason it has to be in London at all, if OP is going to have to work remotely anyway.
    – Acccumulation
    Sep 30, 2020 at 3:59
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    @Acccumulation Indeed, the only reason for London I can think of is if OP arrives initially there by train or plane and is required to self-isolate before travelling halfway across the country, but then again plenty of locals also need to travel halfway across the country before self-isolating at home.
    – gerrit
    Sep 30, 2020 at 7:04
  • It would then actually make sense to book a direct flight to a cheaper area
    – Mehdi
    Oct 3, 2020 at 10:00
  • @Mehdi If arriving by plane or ferry, that works.
    – gerrit
    Oct 3, 2020 at 12:21

And does the UK usually give some buffer time before applying the new classifications or does it happen immediately upon announcement?

They generally give 30 hours of advanced notice (based on how the additions of Spain and France were handled as part of the red-listing process). Expect an announcement at ~10 pm UK time that takes effect at 4 am UK time two calendar days later.


In reference to gerrit's suggestion, if I were in your shoes I would look at whether a short-term furnished apartment or studio (i.e., with a kitchen) would be less expensive than a hotel. Such things exist in New York City, at least, so I would suppose they do in London as well.

As far as I'm aware, they're usually available on a monthly basis, but having it for a whole month or even two would give you a base from which to conduct your search for more stable accommodation once your isolation period ends. It would also reduce the pressure to find accommodation quickly, which could allow you to make your decisions with more care.

  • Airbnb offers this, but also short term rental with furniture is definitely a thing.
    – simbabque
    Sep 30, 2020 at 8:11

Keep an eye on the figures here. While it’s not been officially announced, the UK policy seems to be to remove European countries from the quarantine exemption when they go above 20 new cases per week per 100,000 population. The figures on the link are reported over two weeks, so the threshold would be 40 new cases per 100,000. As of this morning, Germany is at 30.9, and so should be safe for now.

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