Rules on overseas travel from the UK have been eased this week, making holidays much easier (and cheaper) for many people.
The traffic light system of the red list, amber list and green list countries has also been scrapped meaning there are now just no-go countries and the rest of the world (ROW).
What are the new international travel rules?
Fully vaccinated travellers arriving back into the UK from the Rest of World (ROW) list countries no longer have to take a lateral flow or PCR test before they set off to the UK.
This includes those travellers who have been vaccinated in the UK, the US, the EU or any of the other 18 recognised countries.
However, you must be able to prove you have been fully vaccinated.
Everyone who is resident in one of the aforementioned countries, or who is under 18, can now also travel to the UK without the need for taking pre-departure tests – whether or not they have been fully vaccinated.
However, all travellers (except children under 5 years older) still have to book and pay for a PCR test on Day 2 after arrival. The UK government says that this test should be booked before you travel.
You will also need to complete a passenger locator form.
What are the travel rules if I am unvaccinated?
If you are 18 or over, and not fully vaccinated, then you still need to take a lateral flow test or PCR test within the three days before you return to the UK.
You also need to take a PCR test on Day 2 and Day 8 after you return.
You must also quarantine at home for 10 days after your arrival back into the UK.
You will still have the option to take a Test to Release if you want to shorten your quarantine, however.
What else is changing in England?
The UK government recently announced that people travelling to England may no longer have to take a PCR test two days after arrival – by the end of October. They will be able to take a lateral flow test instead.
Many people are hoping this change will take place before the school half-term holidays.
No other nation in the UK has said they will follow suit in this, however, as of yet.
Wales has said it has “concerns” about easing the testing regime, and Scotland says it will “align with the UK post-arrival testing regime”.
What are the no go list travel rules?
The no go list of countries is the list of countries that the UK government has said should not be visited “except in the most extreme circumstances.”
There are currently 54 countries on the no go list, including Thailand, South Africa and Brazil.
If you have been to a no go country within the last ten days, you will only be allowed to enter the UK if you are a UK or Irish National or a UK resident.
Whatever your vaccination status, you will need to:
- Take a COVID-19 test before departure
- Complete a passenger locator form
- Self-isolate for ten days in a quarantine hotel, which must be booked and paid for in advance
The current rates for these quarantine hotels are:
- £2285 for 10 days (11 nights) for one adult
- £1430 for every additional adult (aged twelve plus)
- £325 per chold aged five to eleven
Who can enforce the no go list rules?
The rules around returning from a red list country can be enforced by
- a police officer
- an immigration officer (in relation to the passenger location forms and transport to your managed accomodation)
- a person who has been designated by the Secretary of State, such as a Security Guard
Can the Police send me to a quarantine hotel?
A police officer or immigration office can:
- ask you to remain in the airport you have arrived at, before you are escorted to the hotel
- direct you to the transport for a hotel
- take you to your hotel room
- ask you to remain in your hotel room
If you do not comply with their requests, then this may be classed as a criminal offence.
What happens if I don’t fill in a passenger locator form?
If a police officer or immigration officer has reasonable grounds to suspect that you have arrived from a no go country and you haven’t filled in a passenger locator form, or you have provided false or misleading information on your form there are a broad range of enforcement powers they can use.
Either officer can:
- examine your passport ot other travel document
- detain you for up to three hours
- search you, your bafs, your belongings or a vehicle you have travelled oin
- seize any document that might show you have comitted an offence
- give you a fixed penalty notice
Can I visit the US?
Fully vaccinated passengers from the UK will be able to travel to the US from November.
This should include people who have had the Astra Zeneca jab, although the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention hasn’t made a final decision on this yet.
Visitors will also need to take part in testing and contact tracing.
At the moment, only US citizens, US residents and foreigners with special visas can enter from most European countries.
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