The number of countries that are on the red list for foreign travel has now been cut to just seven, with forty-seven destinations – including Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and Thailand – being removed by the UK Government.

The green list and amber list have also been scrapped, and the rules around testing for COVID have also been relaxed.

What changes have been made to the red list of countries?

Countries that are on the red list are countries that the UK government believes UK residents should not visit “except in the most extreme of circumstances.”

There were fifty-four countries on the red list previously, but this has now been cut to just seven – and these seven are:

  • Columbia
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Haiti
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Venezuala

So, if you have been to one of these countries in the previous 10 days from the date of this post, then you will not be allowed to travel back to the UK – unless you are a UK or Irish national, or UK resident. In this case, you can travel back to the UK but you must:

  • Take a COVID test before you leave for the UK
  • Complete a passenger locator form
  • Quarantine for 10 days in a government approved quarantine hotel – at a cost to yourself, and paid for in advance

All of these rules apply regardless of whether or not you are fully vaccinated.

The current rates for government-approved quarantine hotels are:

  • £2,285 for one adult for 10 days (11 nights)
  • £1430 per additional adult (aged 12 plus)
  • £325 per child aged 5 to 11

What are the rules if I am travelling to the UK from a non-red list country?

If you are a passenger who is fully vaccinated and you are travelling to the UK from a country that is not on the red list, then you do not have to take a COVID test before you set off.

This applies to travellers who have been vaccinated in the UK, the EU, the US and other recognised countries – such as Brazil, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey.

However, you must be able to prove you are fully vaccinated.

If you are under 18 and resident in one of the countries mentioned above, then you are also able to travel to the UK without having to take a pre-departure test – regardless of whether you have been vaccinated or not.

What are the rules for when I arrive in the UK?

All travellers returning to the UK still need to book and pay for a Day 2 Testing Kit to be taken two days after arrival in the UK which should be booked before you travel.

You will also have to complete a passenger locator form as well.

Are any rules changing in time for half term?

From the end of October, any travellers who enter England are who are fully vaccinated will no longer have to take a PCR test two days after arrival. They will be able to take a lateral flow test instead. Passengers will then be able to send a picture of their lateral flow test result to verify their result.

The Department for Transport has reconfirmed that you cannot use NHS lateral flow tests for foreign travel. Both pre-departure and on arrival tests must be brought from private providers such as Fit2FlyTest.

It is hoped that this change will be put in place in time for people returning from half-term holiday breaks in October, but this has not been confirmed yet.

No other nation in the UK has confirmed they will introduce this change either, although Northern Ireland and Scotland have indicated they might. Wales has concerns.

What are the new rules for unvaccinated travellers?

If you are not fully vaccinated and are aged 18 or over, then you will still have to quarantine at home for ten days after arriving in the UK.

You will also need to

  • Take a lateral flow or PCR test (not a free NHS one) in the thee days before you travel to the UK
  • Take a day 2 test and day 8 test after your return

You will also still have the option to take a Test to Release if you want to shorten your quarantine.

What else has changed with foreign travel?

The Foreign Office has also removed advice calling for UK citizens to avoid holidays in thirty-two destinations, including Bangladesh, Fiji, Gambia and Malaysia.

These destinations were not on the red list anyway, but non-essential travel was not recommended as the UK government had fears over how they were managing the spread of COVID.

This change should now make it easier for people to get travel insurance.

If you took part in a vaccine trial, for vaccines such as Novavax, you will now be offered two doses of another vaccine to make it easier for you to travel to countries that do not recognise the trial vaccines.

Can I travel to the US for a holiday?

Fully vaccinated UK passengers will be able to travel to the US from November 2021.

This should include people who have had the AstraZeneca vaccine, although the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention has yet to make an announcement on their decision on this.

Visitors to the US will also need to take part in contact tracing and COVID testing.

Here at Fit2FlyTest, we aim to get you cleared for takeoff by offering you Fit to Fly Tests, Day 2 testing kits, Day 8 testing kits and pre-departure lateral flow tests for travel that you can take in the comfort of your own home.

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