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Updates to international travel to the UK

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The UK government frequently updates the restrictions to international travel to and from the UK in order to manage the Covid-19 pandemic.

As of Sunday, 9 January 2022, restrictions are being eased on fully vaccinated travellers returning to the UK.

Find out what you need to know below.

What are the changes to travel?

The latest changes to the travel rules only apply to people who are fully vaccinated (including under 18s and people who are medically exempt from having the Covid vaccine).

Fully vaccinated travellers no longer need to take a pre-departure test before returning to the UK from a country on the rest of the world list.

Everyone still needs to take a Covid test when they return, before their second day back. For fully vaccinated travellers, this can be a PCR or lateral flow. People who aren’t vaccinated still need to take a PCR.

Fully vaccinated travellers also no longer need to self-isolate until they receive their results. If this test comes back positive, they still need to self-isolate as normal.

Mandatory face masks are still required on public transport and in shops and other indoor public spaces in England.

Rules for travelling from the rest of world list

If you’re fully vaccinated:

  • Take a Covid test (PCR or lateral flow) on or before your second day back
  • You don’t need to self-isolate unless one of your test results comes back positive

If you’re not fully vaccinated:

If you are not fully vaccinated under an approved vaccination programme, before returning to the UK you must:

  • Take a pre-departure Covid test
  • Book and pay for day two and day eight PCR tests
  • Self-isolate for 10 days

You may be able to end your quarantine early with the Test to Release scheme, but you’ll need to pay for the extra tests.

Rules for travelling from red list countries

Travellers who are fully, partially or not vaccinated will all have to follow the same rules when returning to England from red list counties.

If you have been to a red list country in the last 10 days, you’ll have to:

Do I still need to complete a passenger locator form?

Yes, all travellers must complete a passenger locator form any time in the 48 hours before arriving back in the UK.

Are the rules the same for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales?

The international travel system is in place across the UK, so the requirements for returning from international travel are the same.

Domestic guidelines, such as face coverings, can differ. So, follow the guidance for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland separately.

Are rules different for children?

Under 18s will be classed as fully vaccinated (even if they haven’t been offered the vaccine) and follow the same rules set out for fully vaccinated travellers.

Children under 4 don’t need to take any Covid tests to travel.

Does the travel system affect my travel insurance?

Your travel insurance isn’t affected by the system for international travel.

You’ll need to keep up to date with the latest FCDO travel advice, as knowing if it’s safe to travel to your destination will tell you if your cover is valid for your trip.

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