Traveling to England just got a little easier. In an attempt to boost the tourism industry for the upcoming months, officials in London laid out a plan today that will ease Covid restrictions for international arrivals, according to Reuters. The changes for these travel rules are set to be in place starting October 4th.
Britain’s updated travel rules state that fully vaccinated travelers coming from low-risk countries will no longer have to do a pre-departure Covid test, nor will they be required to take the pricey PCR lab Covid tests on arrival. Under the current restrictions, travelers have to do one pre-departure test and purchase two on arrival tests to take on day 2 and day 8. There’s been ongoing controversy around the high cost of the arrival tests, which cost 136 pounds (approximately $190 USD) for a set of two.
The official government website states that “the rules for travel from countries and territories not on the red list will depend on your vaccination status.”
Traffic Light Safety Ranking System To Be Removed
The new travel rules outline that the traffic light system of red, amber and green for countries will also be scrapped. Instead, countries will simply be ranked as “low” or “high” risk, removing the middle ground “amber” ranking from the system.
As these changes go into effect, eight out of the 62 countries presently on the U.K.’s red list will be removed as of next Wednesday, September 22nd. Under the current guidance, any travelers coming from these red list/high-risk countries in the past ten days (including British passport holders) are required to quarantine in a government approved hotel upon arrival.
The countries to be removed from the red list are: Turkey, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Egypt, Oman, Kenya and Sri Lanka.
Announcement Made By England’s Transport Minister
In his announcement today about the new travel rules, Transport Minister Grant Shapps stated that, “Today’s changes mean a simpler, more straightforward system. One with less testing and lower costs, allowing more people to travel, see loved ones or conduct business around the world while providing a boost for the travel industry.”
Travel Restrictions For Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Travelers
With the new guidance starting next month, vaccinated travelers arriving to England from low-risk countries will only have to take a Covid test on or before day 2 after arrival. Travelers must book and pay for the test themselves. Before traveling to England, you’ll also have to complete a passenger locator form.
Travelers that are not fully vaccinated and coming from any low-risk countries will have to show proof of a negative Covid test result before departure and self-isolate for 10 days upon arrival. They will also have to take a PCR test on day 2 and as well as day 8 after their arrival to England.
Limited Travel From High Risk Countries
These new travel rules for arrivals from red list/high-risk countries to England will still apply once they come into effect the morning of October 4th. Only British and Irish nationals and those who have resident rights in the U.K. will be able to enter England if they’ve been in a high-risk country in the last 10 days. Other foreign nationals will not be allowed, regardless of vaccination status.
For those permitted entry, all travelers will be required to take a Covid test no later than 3 days prior to departure, book a quarantine hotel and their two on arrival Covid tests and complete the passenger locator form.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland To Set Their Own Guidance
The other countries in the U.K.– Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, are in the charge of setting their own individual travel rules. The British government makes the policies for England only.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories