Check the rules that apply to you in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. You should check the country page for more information. If you are travelling from a country on the banned travel list you must quarantine in a hotel. Different rules apply for arrivals into England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
International Travel Update (28th July 2021)
The COVID-19 roadmap out of lockdown included a commitment to relaunch the Global Travel Taskforce to consider a safe return of international travel. The Global Travel Taskforce report published in April committed to three checkpoint reviews – at the end of June, July and October.
The first was completed on 24 June and focused on easing border health measures for those fully vaccinated in the UK. Following the second checkpoint review, the Government will be extending the policy on fully vaccinated passengers arriving from amber list countries to include those who have been vaccinated in the United States and in Europe (EU Member States, EFTA countries and a number of European microstate countries). Separate rules will continue to apply for those arriving from France, following the persistent presence of cases in France of the Beta variant, which was first identified in South Africa. This marks a critical next step in efforts to restart economic links with key partners and recognises the value of transatlantic and European routes for both individual travellers and the economic recovery of the sector.
The changes will come into force on Monday 2 August at 04:00 and will mean that those vaccinated in the US and in Europe will not have to take a day 8 test or quarantine. They will, however, still be required to take a pre departure test before arrival into England as well as a PCR test on or before day 2 after arrival. Any positive results will be genomically sequenced to continue to manage the risk from importing variants. The rules will also apply to British nationals vaccinated in these countries and returning to England.
Children under 18 who are ordinarily resident in the US and Europe will also be exempt from quarantine and the day 8 test. Children aged 11 and over will still need to complete a pre departure and day 2 test. Children between the ages of 5 and 10 will only need to complete a day 2 test, and children aged 4 and under do not need to take any tests.
Passengers vaccinated in Europe by a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency (and those vaccinated as part of the vaccine rollout in Switzerland) will be required to provide proof via an EU Digital COVID Certificate, and those vaccinated in the US will be required to provide proof via the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Card. The policy does not currently cover those who have proof of recovery from COVID-19.
This is just the first step in recognising vaccines given in other countries. The Government recognises that there are UK nationals resident in countries not included in today’s announcement who have been fully vaccinated, which is why the Government is working with international partners to ensure that our certification regimes are robust and we will extend this policy further in due course.
Additionally, following engagement with the sector and taking account of the evidence from the restart of domestic cruise earlier this year, international cruises will also now fully restart in line with the traffic light system. FCDO advice on international cruise travel advice will be amended to encourage travellers to understand the risks associated with cruise travel and take personal responsibility for their own safety abroad.
The Government is also relaxing the testing requirements for certain critical workers, who by the nature of their work do not mix with the public or leave their vehicles helping free up running times by removing undue burdens.
All measures announced today will be kept under review and be guided by the latest data. Public health remains our top priority, and we will not hesitate to act should the data show that countries risk ratings have changed.
For more information on the latest steps towards reopening international travel, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-travel-update-government-waives-quarantine-for-arrivals-fully-vaccinated-from-europe-and-usa-while-also-confirming-international-cruise-restart.
FROM 17th May...
The ban on non-essential international travel will be removed on the 17th May and replaced with a traffic light system Vertical traffic light. This means it will no longer be illegal to travel abroad without a permitted reason. The Transport Secretary outlined how strict border control measures will remain in place as international travel gradually resumes. Different levels of restriction will be applied to individuals returning to England from countries based on the traffic light system set out by the Global Travel Taskforce.
For more information on the cautious return to international travel, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-confirms-traffic-light-list-ahead-of-cautious-return-to-international-travel. To view what countries are on the red, amber or green lists and the rules you must follow to enter England, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/red-amber-and-green-list-rules-for-entering-england.
Quarantine-free travel to resume on 19 July for fully vaccinated passengers returning from amber list countries
The government has today (8 July 2021) set out the details to enable people who have been fully vaccinated with an NHS administered vaccine, plus 14 days, to travel to amber list countries without having to quarantine on their return to England, from Monday 19 July. The recommendation for people not to travel to amber list countries will also be removed from 19 July.
Those who have been fully vaccinated with an NHS administered vaccine in the UK and are returning from amber countries will still be required to complete a pre-departure test before arrival into England, alongside a PCR test on or before day 2 after arrival. They will not have to take a day 8 test or self-isolate. Any positive results will be genomically sequenced to continue to manage the risk from importing variants.
Why don’t individuals with two doses of different COVID-19 vaccines (from approved European or USA vaccine programmes) qualify as fully vaccinated when returning from an amber list country and therefore being exempt from quarantine?
The Government’s top priority has always been protecting the public and our vaccine programme, combined with our robust border and testing regime, is helping minimise the risk of new variants coming into the UK.
Trials to determine the benefits of mixing two doses of different COVID-19 vaccines are currently ongoing. The Government is monitoring the results of these trials and will review our guidance in due course if required.
While the Government is taking a phased approach to restarting international travel, we want to welcome all international visitors back to the UK and are working to extend our approach to other vaccinated passengers in the future.
When will the health measures at the border be lifted?
- The International Travel Regulations remain under constant review and are subject to a formal review point at least every 28 days to ensure they remain necessary and proportionate in light of the latest developments and assessments of risk.
- Public health will always come first. The government will carefully assess the impact of these measures in the UK taking into account the other economic and social costs of the border measures, as appropriate.
What exemptions exist from hotel quarantine?
- The International Travel Regulations currently exempt a limited number of individuals from the requirement to self-isolate (“sector-specific exemptions”), for example, people travelling to maintain essential supply chains, key infrastructure or to contribute to the crisis response. Exemptions are kept under review.
- There are limited exemptions for those arriving from red list countries, and only where absolutely necessary for reasons of national importance. This is to maximise the public health benefits of managed quarantine.
How does the Government decide which countries are suitable for international travel?
- International travel gradually resumed from 17 May.
- Strict rules on testing and quarantine will remain in place to protect public health and our vaccination programme, while people should not travel to ‘amber’ and ‘red’ countries for leisure.
- Countries have been allocated according to the latest scientific data, so quarantine and testing requirements on return from those countries listed on the amber or red list are appropriate to the risk of Covid-19 and variants of concern.
Is the test to release scheme working well?
- Health measures at the border, informed by the latest medical and scientific advice, help us in the battle to control the spread of Covid-19.
- A test taken on or after five full days after the traveller was last in a place that is not on the green list provides a strong level of protection against transmission of Covid-19 acquired abroad into the UK population. It also picks up a proportion of infected travellers who enter the country, preventing further spread, while at the same time allowing much more freedom for people seeking to travel.
- We will keep all our measures under constant review, and they will remain in place as long as is required in order to protect public health and reduce transmission of the virus and to reduce the risk of new variants.
What stops people from getting an NHS test for Test to Release?
- People should only take an NHS Test and Trace test if you have symptoms of Covid-19. A negative test provided by NHS Test and Trace will not permit someone to cease self-isolating early if they are self-isolating as an international arrival, and they will still be legally required to self-isolate.
- Breach of the self-isolation requirement is a criminal offence and people could be issued with a fixed penalty notice, starting at £1,000 for the first offence and increasing up to £10,000 for subsequent offences, if they fail to comply