Here’s the latest on travel to and from the UK, including quarantine requirements, testing, and changes to the government’s rules for overseas destinations. We’ll update this page with news and information as we get it, so please scroll down for further details of what’s been happening across the travel sector in recent weeks.
Check here for a comprehensive explanation of the rules for those entering the UK
US To Open Borders To Fully Vaccinated UK Travellers From 8 November
A spokesperson for the United States government has confirmed that UK nationals will be able to fly to the US from Monday 8 November 2021.
In a tweet on Friday, the assistant press secretary said:
“The US’ new travel policy that requires vaccination for foreign national travelers to the United States will begin on Nov 8. This announcement and date applies to both international air travel and land travel. This policy is guided by public health, stringent, and consistent.”
The current US ban on UK travellers also applies to EU countries and several other nations including China, India and Brazil.
In addition to being fully vaccinated, UK travellers to the US will need to have evidence of a negative test taken in the 72 hours prior to departure, and they will be required to provide contact details in case they need to be traced while in the country.
Tough rules on the wearing of masks during the flight will also be imposed.
It is expected that exemptions may be made to allow unvaccinated children to enter the US with their families.
15 October: Govt Gives Green Light To Cheaper Lateral Flow Tests In Time For Half-Term
The government has announced that, from 24 October 2021, fully vaccinated passengers and most under-18s arriving in England from countries not on the international travel red list can take a lateral flow test, instead of a more expensive PCR test, on or before Day 2 of their arrival into the UK.
The timings mean families returning from school half-term breaks will be able to take advantage of cheaper tests. The tests must be booked through private providers listed on gov.uk – the use of free NHS lateral flow tests will not be accepted for international travellers.
Bookings can be made from 22 October. We’ll update any changes applicable to the rest of the UK when details are announced.
PCR tests can cost upwards of £60-£70 per person, adding significantly to a family’s travel expenses. The bookable lateral flow tests are expected to be priced at nearer £25-£30 each.
Passengers will need to upload a photograph of their test to verify results as soon as possible. If any tests are returned positive, the individual will be offered a free confirmatory NHS PCR test.
It will also be possible to book a test to be taken on arrival into the UK at testing centres located in some airports.
All travellers must complete a Passenger Locator Form prior to travel back to the UK, including a test booking reference number supplied by a testing provider. Travellers will be able to upload their test booking reference to the Passenger Locator Form from 22 October for arrival in the UK from 24 October.
Passengers who are not fully vaccinated with an authorised vaccine returning from a non-red list destination will still need to take a pre-departure test, a PCR test on day 2 and day 8 and complete 10 days self-isolation (with the option of Test to Release on day 5).
Nick Markham of Cignpost Diagnostics says Day 2 lateral flow tests should be carried out in the most robust and secure way possible: “Now that the government has moved to validate results through a photo identification process, we must ensure these are not open to fraudulent submissions. People travelling from abroad must take their test and report their result if positive or negative so we can ensure that every positive lateral flow result is captured and sequenced to any new variants using a follow-up PCR test.
“Our data shows 4 in every 1,000 fully-vaccinated people are testing positive after they arrive in the UK. With no pre-departure tests now required, the number of positive cases among arrivals is set to rise. That’s why it is essential that these (Day 2) tests are undertaken correctly, so individuals who are positive are tracked and asked to isolate. Only this will help to mitigate spread and prevent new variants coming into the country.”