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07.12.2021

Covid guidance when travelling to the UK.

 

From 4 am on Tuesday 7 December anyone aged 12 and over must show a negative PCR or lateral flow test result before travelling to England from abroad. You must take the test in the 2 days before you travel to England.

You must also take a PCR test within 2 days of arriving and self-isolate until you get a negative test result, even if you’re fully vaccinated. 

 

Before you travel to England you must:

Read more about taking a COVID-19 test before you travel to England.

If you’re in England for less than 2 days, you still need to book and pay for a day 2 COVID-19 test. You must quarantine until you receive a negative test result, or until you leave England, whichever is sooner.

Test results

If your test result is negative, you can end your quarantine.

If your test result is positive, you must self-isolate for 10 full days. The day of the test is day 0.

If your test result is unclear, you must self-isolate for 10 full days. The day you took the test is day 0.

If your test result is unclear, you can choose to take another private test. If the result of that test is negative, you can stop self-isolating.

If your PCR test result is delayed, you must quarantine until you receive a negative test result or until day 14 after arrival, whichever is sooner.

Check if you qualify as fully vaccinated

To qualify under the fully vaccinated rules for travel to England, you must have proof of full vaccination with a full course of an approved vaccine.

You must have had your final dose of the vaccine at least 14 days before you arrive in England. The day you had your final dose does not count as one of the 14 days.

The proof of vaccination must have been issued by either:

  • the UK vaccination programme
  • the United Nations vaccine programme for staff and volunteers
  • an overseas vaccination programme with an approved proof of vaccination for travel to the UK

Children and other groups that can follow fully vaccinated rules

Even if you are not fully vaccinated, the fully vaccinated rules apply if you are:

  • under 18 – see Travelling with children in this guidance
  • taking part in an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial in the UK or the USA (US residents only for USA trials), or a phase 2 or 3 vaccine trial that is regulated by the EMA or SRA
  • unable to have a COVID-19 vaccination for a medical reason which has been approved by a clinician under the medical exemptions process, and you are resident in England

Proving your vaccination status

If you are fully vaccinated under the UK vaccination programme, you can prove your vaccination status using either:

Paper certificates are also available.

There are different ways to prove your vaccination status if you were vaccinated outside of the UK.

Check what proof is required for the country or territory where you were vaccinated.

If you cannot prove that you qualify under the fully vaccinated rules, you must follow the rules for people who are not fully vaccinated.

Red list countries

There are different rules if you have been in a red list country in the 10 days before you arrive in England.

Check which countries and territories are on the red list and read the red list rules.


If you are not fully vaccinated

This is what you need to do if you do not qualify under the fully vaccinated rules for travel to England.

Check this section of this guidance to see if you qualify as fully vaccinated.

Before you travel to England – not fully vaccinated

Before you travel to England you must:

Read more about taking a COVID-19 test before you travel to England.

When you arrive in England – not fully vaccinated

After you arrive in England you must:

You must take the first test on or before day 2 and the second test on or after day 8. The day you arrive is day 0.

If you are in England for less than 10 days, you need to quarantine for the time you are here. You need to book day 2 and day 8 PCR tests. You only need to take the tests if you are still in England on those days.

If the test result is positive

If your day 2 test is positive, you must self-isolate for 10 full days. The day you took the test is day 0.

You do not need to take the day 8 test if your day 2 test is positive. If your day 2 test is negative, you must take your day 8 test.

If your day 8 test is positive, you must self-isolate for 10 full days. The day you took the day 8 test is day 0.

If the test result is negative

If your day 2 test is negative, you must continue to quarantine.

You must take your day 8 test on or after day 8.

If your day 8 test is negative, you can stop quarantine on whichever is later:

  • day 10 – day 0 is the day you arrived in England
  • when you receive the day 8 test result

Example

If you receive your day 8 negative test result back on day 9, you must continue to quarantine until the end of day 10.

If you receive your day 8 negative test result back on day 12, you must quarantine until the end of day 12.

If the test result is unclear

If the result of your day 2 test is unclear, you must self-isolate for 10 full days. The day you took the test is day 0.

If the result of your day 8 test is negative, you can stop self-isolating on whichever is later:

  • day 10 – day 0 is the day you arrived in England
  • the day you received the negative day 8 test result

If your day 8 test is unclear, you must self-isolate for 10 full days. The day you took the day 8 test is day 0.

You can choose to take another private test. If that test result is a negative result, you can stop self-isolating on whichever is later:

  • day 10 – day 0 is the day you arrive in England
  • the day you received the negative replacement test result from the additional test

Test to Release scheme

If you need to quarantine, you may be able to end quarantine early if you pay for a private COVID-19 test through the Test to Release scheme.


Red list countries

There are different rules if you have been in a red list country in the 10 days before you arrive in England.

Check which countries and territories are on the red list and read the red list rules.


Travelling with children

Children aged 4 and under do not have to take any COVID-19 travel tests.

Children aged 12 to 17 must take a COVID-19 test in the 2 days before travel to England.

Children aged 5 to 17 have to follow the testing and quarantine rules for people who qualify as fully vaccinated on arrival in England.

This means that they have to quarantine on arrival and take a PCR test on or before day 2.

Check the rules in this guidance for people who qualify as fully vaccinated for travel to England for more details.

You should also check the rules in the country you are travelling from as they may require children to take a test at the start of your journey to England.

There are different rules for children who have been in a red list country or territory in the 10 days before they arrive in England.

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