If you are living in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, you must notify the police of any intention to leave the UK for any period of time. Previously, you had to notify the police of any intention to leave the UK for three days or more, but this has now changed under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (Notification Requirements (England and Wales) Regulations 2012.
Separate regulations apply if you live in Scotland. You must attend your prescribed police station (i.e. where your public protection officer is based) in person, at least seven days prior to departure and provide the following information, or as much of it as you know:
- The date of departure from the UK
- The destination country (or, if there is more than one, the first) and the point of arrival in that country
- The point(s) of arrival in any countries that will be visited in addition to the initial destination country
- The carrier(s) the offender intends to use to leave and return to the UK or to any other point(s) of arrival while they are outside the UK (but not internal flights)
- Details of accommodation arrangements for the first night outside the UK
- The date of re-entry to the UK and point of arrival
If any of this information should change, you must report in person and make a fresh notification at least 24 hours before your departure from the UK. You don’t necessarily have to go back to the police station where you originally gave notice; you can go to any police station in the UK. When making a fresh notification, you must disclose your name and address and give details of the police station at which you originally gave notice of your intention to travel.
If you do not provide details of your date of re-entry to the UK and point of arrival prior to departure, you must do this within three days of your return to the UK. You will need to do this in person, at your prescribed police station.
If the police believe you are a risk or are travelling abroad to commit an offence, they may issue an Interpol Green Notification to your passport. When you arrive at your destination, this will notify immigration of your offence. These notices are rare, but if you are concerned, you should contact the police.
If you are on licence (i.e. under supervision of a youth offending team or probation) you must seek permission to travel abroad. Please see here for more information about travelling abroad while on licence.
Where you do not hold the required information at least seven days before your departure date from the UK (e.g. because you need to travel at short notice), you must notify the police 24 hours before departure. You must also provide the other information detailed above, or as much of it as you know.
You cannot be prevented from travelling simply because you do not hold all of the information specified.
However, it is against the law to fail to provide the relevant information when you hold it. In situations where notified information changes for reasons beyond your control (e.g. your accommodation arrangements are changed by the travel company on your arrival), this would not constitute a failure to meet the requirements of the law.
Failure to notify the police about your intention to leave the UK (or providing a false notification) is a criminal offence. If you are convicted at the Crown Court, the maximum penalty is five years imprisonment.
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