06 Aug 2021

Entering the UK: border measures update

Updated requirements for passengers returning from amber list countries Entering the UK: border measures update
  • This updates the news item of 29 July 2021

The rules for entering the UK from abroad depend on where travellers have been in the 10 days before they arrive. A traffic light system is currently in place with countries and territories rated as red, amber or green. The rules for entering England and details of the current country/territory lists are available on GOV.UK.

Different rules may apply for those arriving in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland [1].

Passengers arriving from amber countries who have been fully vaccinated in Europe (EU Member States, European Free Trade Association countries and the European microstate countries of Andorra, Monaco and Vatican City) and the USA will not have to quarantine when entering England [1,2].

Those who are fully vaccinated under the UK vaccination programme and children under the age of 18 who are ordinarily resident in the UK do not need to quarantine when returning from amber list countries. Travellers should check up to date rules on the GOV.UK website as there can be some exceptions [1,2].

Amber list arrivals who have been fully vaccinated under the UK vaccination programme, or vaccinated with an approved vaccine in the USA or Europe will still be required to complete a pre-departure test* before arrival into England, alongside a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 after arrival and complete a passenger locator form. Testing requirements for children arriving from amber list countries/territories vary according to their age [1,2].

The ‘test to release scheme’ remains an option for those arriving from amber list countries, not meeting the criteria for quarantine-free travel. Travellers wishing to use this, must opt in on the passenger locator form, book and pay for an additional test no earlier than the 5th day after arrival in England. If the result is negative, the quarantine period can end. The tests on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 will still be required.

Countries and territories can be moved between red, amber and green lists if conditions change. Travellers can sign up for email alerts to be notified of updates to the lists.

Travellers are also reminded to check and subscribe to Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advice and updates to ensure they understand the latest entry requirements and COVID-19 rules.

Passengers are warned they may face longer wait times than they are used to, although the government is making every effort to speed up queues safely [3].

*Travellers arriving from Spain (including the Spanish islands) are advised to get a PCR test as their pre departure test wherever possible. This is as a precaution against the increased prevalence of the virus and variants in the country [4].

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