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International Travel Rules Are Changing

On 17th September 2021, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced a simplified international travel system.

The success of the UK’s vaccine programme—with more than 8 out of 10 adults vaccinated—has enabled the updated and clearer travel system, which will allow more people to travel and provide a much-needed boost for the travel industry.

From Monday, 4th October 2021, the rules for international travel to England will change from the current traffic light system to a single red list of countries. It will also include simplified travel measures for arrivals from the rest of the world.

For travel from countries and territories not on the red list, the rules will depend on your vaccination status.

Travel From the Rest of the World if You’re Fully Vaccinated

From this date, travellers won’t need to take a pre-departure test (PDT) when travelling to England. And they won’t need to:

  • Take a day eight COVID-19 test
  • Quarantine for 10 days after their arrival

Travellers will still have to complete a passenger locator form and take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test two days after arrival. But the government aims to replace the PCR test with a cheaper and simpler lateral flow test later in October, in place for when people return from half-term breaks.

Travel From the Rest of the World if You’re Not Fully Vaccinated

Unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated travellers will still need a pre-departure test. And they’ll need to:

  • Complete a passenger locator form
  • Take a PCR test on days two and eight after arriving
  • Quarantine at home or the place they’re staying in for 10 days

Anyone who tests positive will need to isolate and take a PCR test. This will be genomically sequenced to help identify new variants.

Test to Release will remain an option for unvaccinated passengers who want to shorten quarantine.

Travel From Red Countries

Regardless of vaccination status, travellers can only return from red countries if they’re a UK or Irish national or a UK resident. They must:

  • Take a COVID-19 test before departure and have proof of a negative result
  • Complete a passenger locator form
  • Self-isolate for 10 days in a quarantine hotel, booked and paid for in advance

The quarantine hotel cost for one adult in one room for 10 days (11 nights) is £2,285.

A Change to the Red List From 22nd September

Before the move to the new single red list on 4th October, the existing traffic light system is being reviewed. From 22nd September 2021, the following countries will be removed from the red list:

  • Bangladesh
  • Egypt
  • Kenya
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Sri Lanka
  • The Maldives
  • Turkey

Next Steps

The government expects to review their UK international travel policy early in the new year to provide further certainty for the spring and summer 2022 seasons.

For further assistance on this latest guidance and the latest information on travel insurance, please contact Business Insurance Service today.  

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