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UK: COVID-19 Entry Requirements International Travelers Need To Know

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From architecture that spans back thousands of years such as the famous Roman baths to the cultures, landscapes and traditions, the UK is without a doubt is one of the most beautiful places to be on earth. 

Traveling to the UK is now possible for tourists from many countries to help cure that wanderlust that is still burning bright is so many of us. 

Here are all the most recent UK COVID-19 entry requirements and everything you need to know before you go.  

Bridge in london with tourist at sunrise

Editors Note: The UK has changed entry requirements constantly. Always triple check your own itinerary, eligibility and current rules before you travel.

Public Health Passenger Locator Form

All visitors are required to fill out the Public Health Passenger Locator Form before they arrive in the United Kingdom. 

Failure to do so could result in being denied entry into the UK or fined £100 if you refuse to provide your contact details.

Fill out the Public Health Passenger Locator Form

Belfast Northen Ireland city hall with tourists shopping

Country Color Categories and Rules

Prior to November 2021, UK had a color-coded list, which has now been discontinued. Travelers from all nations can now enter the UK.

As of December 17, 2021, all countries have been removed from UK’s red list.

Entry Requirements for Vaccinated Travelers

Effective November 22nd, the UK will start accepting Sinovac, Sinopharm, and Covaxin as valid proof of vaccination. The list of accepted vaccines currently includes Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen, and Oxford/AstraZeneca (including Covishield).

If you are fully vaccinated, you need to have a valid proof of vaccination. You are also required to prebook and take a COVID test from an authorized provider on or before day 2 in the UK. The day you arrive is considered day 0. You do not have to take a COVID test prior to arrival.


Entry Requirements for Unvaccinated Travelers

If you are unvaccinated, you must present proof of a negative PCR testwith results available no more than 48 hours prior to arrival. You must also prebook and pay for PCR tests on day 2 and day 8.

Tourist wearing face mask in front of Big ben in london (1)

Testing & Quarantine Entry Requirements by ‘Green, Amber, Red’ Countries

Green Countries

Travelers coming from countries marked as green will not have to quarantine but will have to take a pre-departure test and a test within 48 hours of arrival.

Amber Countries

Those traveling from Amber nations will take multiple tests and a quarantine.

Passengers will have to take a pre-departure test, pre-book/pay for a Day-2 and Day-8 test, and complete a 10-day quarantine.

The UK’s ‘test to release’ scheme is still operational for Amber passengers, if they choose. Passengers who want to participate can take a test on Day-5 of quarantine, of which a negative result will release them earlier than the required 10-days. (note: the passenger will still have to take their Day-8 test, even if they have been released from quarantine on Day-5).

Red Countries

Coming from a red country is still very prohibitive. A 10-day hotel-managed quarantine is required, with no ‘test to release’ options available, with a 2nd test upon arrival, and the 3rd test on Day 8 in order to end the hotel quarantine program on Day 10. 

Passengers coming from Red countries can only be residents/citizens of the UK. 

As of December 17, all countries have been wiped from the red list.

Important Note: Quarantine requirements may vary in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Test To Release Program

Starting on May 17, 2021 the UK resumed their paused  ‘test to release’ program for all arrivals coming from Amber Countries. Update: As of November 2021, this will be applied to unvaccinated travelers.

Travelers will have a 10-day quarantine, with the option of ‘testing to release’ at day 5. They will also have a pre-departure test, test on arrival, and either their test to release on day 5, and still must test on day 8 as planned.


COVID-19 Travel Insurance Entry Requirements 

Travel insurance is not mandatory but all incoming travelers should have travel insurance the covers COVID-19 for the duration of their trip to the UK.

COVID-19 Health Requirements While in the UK

All visitors must abide by the following COVID-19 health requirements while in United Kingdom

Face coverings are compulsory in public places in England including indoor spaces, subways, railways, bus stations and airports. Follow all social distancing signs.

Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have varying rules for face coverings.

Visitors over 18 must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to enter nightclubs, concerts, and similar venues.

Travelers may use the NHS Covid pass, the EU Digital Covid pass, or any equivalent.

Traveler wearing face mask in london subway

COVID-19 Vaccine Entry Requirements 

The United Kingdom has announced that starting August 2, 2021 they will start to make exceptions for vaccinated travelers from Amber countries, providing they have been vaccinated within the EU or the USA. 

Passengers must be arriving from an Amber Country and not transiting through a Red Country. 

The CDC paper card (along with US residency) or EU Digital Green Certificate must be shown. 

Update: As of November 2021, all vaccinated travelers from any nation are allowed to enter, provided that they fulfill the entry requirements.

Visa Entry Requirements For the United Kingdom During COVID-19

All travelers will still need to follow U.K. visa requirements. United Kingdom embassies around the world have reopened for visa applications.

Many countries are able to visit the UK for up to 90 days without a visa.

Check if you need a visa to enter the United Kingdom with this easy government tool.

Castle in Wales

UK Covid-19 Entry Requirements:

  1.  Fill out the Public Health Passenger Locator Form
  2. Check if your country requires a visa to visit the United Kingdom
  3. Check the latest countries exempt from quarantine.
  4. Take a departure test no longer than 72 hours before arrival
  5. Follow all UK health protocols

For Breaking Travel Reopening News & Questions, Join Our: Facebook Community

Disclaimer: Current UK travel rules are changing without notice and being updated constantly. We do our best to keep this article up to date with all the latest information, but 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

Article originally published August 16, 2020 with updates

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Karl Phillip Armstrong

Monday 15th of November 2021

Hi, I am a UK citizen and an Italian Resident. Not vaccinated, and i need to visit a customer in the UK. Even just a couple of days. What is the way i need to approach this? Thanks.

Phil Jones

Tuesday 22nd of June 2021

Does anyone know what is the requirement for boarding an Air Canada flight to the UK at Pearson (Toronto) Airport. Is an antigen test sufficient, or does one need a PCR(DNA) test? Despite repeats tries, I can't get an answer from Air Canada on this!!


Tuesday 17th of August 2021

@Phil Jonesif you take a look at this link: (link) It appears they accept antigen or PCR so no need to waste the extra dough on the pcr. If this is wrong someone please correct me! I was looking for the same and it took a while to find the info.


Thursday 13th of May 2021

Do you know how often the UK will be re-assessing the traffic light decisions for countries?

Kashlee Kucheran

Thursday 13th of May 2021

Every two weeks


Thursday 13th of May 2021

Do red list country can enter UK ?

Kashlee Kucheran

Thursday 13th of May 2021

They can, with the hotel quarantine and other restrictions mentioned


Thursday 13th of May 2021

Planning to travel this may 25 going to UK from Philippines,wat are the requirements in entering UK .do i need to quarantine? Thank you