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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 throughout all of 2021, especially mid-2021. 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

The UK has ever-changing lists of Green, Amber and Red countries, depending on the nations epidemiological situation at that time. Rules are much simpler for Green nations and get more complicated throughout Amber and Red. Lists and details are explained below

Green Countries

As of July 30, 2021, here are the nations currently considered to be ‘Green’ by the UK government:

  • Anguilla
  • Antarctica/British Antarctic Territory
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Cayman Islands
  • Croatia
  • Dominica
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • Gibraltar
  • Grenada
  • Hong Kong
  • Iceland
  • Israel and Jerusalem
  • Madeira
  • Malta
  • Montserrat
  • New Zealand
  • Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands
  • Singapore
  • South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands
  • St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
  • Taiwan

Rules for Green Countries

In order to be considered coming from a Green country, you must have been in a Green Country mentioned above for at least 10 days before entering England, without transiting in an Amber or Red country.

Both foreign tourists and UK residents welcome.

All passengers over 11 will need:

  • A pre-flight negative covid test
  • A pre-booked and pre-paid test for Day 2 after arrival
  • Completion of the passenger locator form

No quarantines are required. 

RED Countries 

As of July 30, 2021, here are the nations currently considered to be ‘RED’ by the UK government:

  • Afghanistan
  • Angola
  • Argentina
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Bolivia
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Burundi
  • Cape Verde
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Congo
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • Eritrea
  • Eswatini
  • Ethiopia
  • French Guiana
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Kenya
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Maldives
  • Mongolia
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar
  • Namibia
  • Nepal
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Qatar
  • Rwanda
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Suriname
  • Tanzania
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Uganda
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Red Country Rules

Tourists from Red countries are not welcome at this time. Only UK residents and citizens can arrive from Red Countries. 

All passengers over 11 will need:

  • A pre-flight negative covid test
  • A pre-booked quarantine hotel for 10 days
  • Pre-booked Covid tests for Day 2 and Day 8 of quarantine
  • Completion of the passenger locator form

 

Amber Countries

Nations not on the green or red list are considered to be Amber. The full list can be seen here

Both UKK citizens/residents and foreign tourists are welcome to enter from Amber countries. 

All passengers over 11 will need:

  • A pre-flight negative covid test
  • A pre-booked and pre-paid test for Day 2 and Day 8 after arrival
  • Completion of the passenger locator form

A 10-day at home quarantine is required. 

**Exceptions for vaccinated travelers ** Starting August 2, 2021, fully vaccinated travelers from the EU or the USA will not have to quarantine for 10 days, or take the day 8 test. The pre-flight test and day 2 test are still required. 

Pre-Depature Covid Tests From All Passengers

Starting Monday, January 18, 2021, proof of a negative PCR/Antigen test will be required by all arriving passengers into England, including citizens returning home.

The PCR/Antigen test needs to be performed with results available no more than 72 hours prior to arrival.

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 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. 

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.

Those traveling from Amber nations 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.

uk

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 must be worn in enclosed public spaces in England including subways, railways, bus stations and airports. Follow all social distancing signs.

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

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. 

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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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!!

Bobby

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.

Mara

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

John

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

John

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

Leontes Chong

Wednesday 12th of May 2021

I’m in Mexico atm, and i need to go to UK, since Mexico is in the Amber list, do i have to quarantine in a hotel designated by the government or I can book a hotel/Airbnb of my own and quarantine there?

Kashlee Kucheran

Wednesday 12th of May 2021

Only 'Red' countries need to quarantine at the government approved hotels