Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

How do the England travel rules change today?

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

Today is 4th October, which means that the coronavirus travel regulations for England are changing.

If you are fully vaccinated, it is definitely a change for the better.

If you are an adult and not fully vaccinated, it’s not looking too good. When returning to the UK from anywhere outside the Common Travel Area (the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Ireland) you must quarantine for 10 days.

The official details are on gov.uk here and should obviously override anything written below.

How do the England travel rules change today?

These changes only apply to England, remember.

What counts as ‘fully vaccinated’?

There isn’t, unfortunately, a simple answer to this most basic of questions.

If you have been vaccinated in the UK, Europe or US then your vaccination qualifies without exception.

The ONLY other countries whose vaccinations are accepted are Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Dominica, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates.

The only qualifying vaccinations allowed from the countries listed above are Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna and Janssen.

You must have had a complete course of an approved vaccine at least 14 days before you arrive in England. Mixed vaccinations are accepted from today.

If you were vaccinated in another country or your vaccination was not of an approved type then you are NOT treated as vaccinated under UK law.

With the exception of people vaccinated in the UK, US and EU, you must be able to provide a vaccine certificate which contains five prescribed pieces of information about you and your vaccinations. If you cannot produce this, you are treated as NOT vaccinated.

What about children?

The Government did not originally publish guidance for children, but gov.uk has recently been updated to say:

“The rules for fully vaccinated people will also apply if you are ….. under 18 and resident in the UK or one of the listed countries or territories with approved vaccination programmes”

All childred aged 5-17 will continue to require a ‘Day 2’ PCR test, as do adults.

How do the England travel rules change today?

What changes today (4th October)?

Are you fully vaccinated as per the definition above?

If so:

The ‘Amber List’ is scrapped for arrivals into the UK. The only ‘named’ list will be the ‘Red List’, plus everywhere else.

‘Fit To Fly’ tests are scrapped. You do not need to do a test before boarding your flight back to England.

You will still need to fill in a Passenger Locator Form before returning to the UK.

You will still need to book and pay for a PCR ‘Day 2’ test before returning to the UK. PCR tests are NOT being scrapped today. The reference number must be included on your Passenger Locator Form.

If you arriving from a ‘Red List’ country, you need to follow the guidelines below.

Are you NOT fully vaccinated as per the definition above?

If so:

The ‘Amber List’ is scrapped for arrivals into the UK. The only ‘named’ list will be the ‘Red List’, plus everywhere else.

You will need to take a ‘Fit To Fly’ coronavirus test (this does not need to be a PCR test) in the three days before you return to England.

You will still need to fill in a Passenger Locator Form before returning to the UK.

You will still need to book and pay for a PCR ‘Day 2’ and ‘Day 8’ test before returning to the UK. The reference number must be included on your Passenger Locator Form.

You will still need to quarantine at home or in the place you staying for 10 days. The ‘Test To Release’ scheme will allow you to leave quarantine on Day 5 if you take an additional PCR test

If you arriving from a ‘Red List’ country, you need to follow the guidelines below.

How do the England travel rules change today?

What are the ‘Red List’ rules?

The ‘Red List’ rules apply to everyone, irrespective of vaccination status, arriving from a country on the ‘Red List’.

The countries on the ‘Red List’ can be found here. The countries on this list will be reviewed later this week and many are expected to be removed.

Nothing changes today regarding entry if you have been in a ‘Red List’ country in the 10 days before entering the UK.

If you have transited in a ‘Red List’ country on your way to the UK, you must follow the ‘Red List’ rules. The Government has announced that this rule will be removed but no date has been set.

You will only be allowed to enter the  UK if you are a British or Irish national or you have residence rights in the UK.

You will need to take a ‘Fit To Fly’ coronavirus test (this does not need to be a PCR test) in the three days before you return to England.

You will need to fill in a Passenger Locator Form before returning to the UK.

You need to book a 10-day quarantine hotel package, which includes the two necessary tests.

When will PCR tests be dropped for ‘Day 2’ testing?

If you are fully vaccinated as per the definition above, the requirement to take a ‘Day 2’ PCR test will soon be replaced with a ‘Day 2’ lateral flow test.

This will be implemented ‘during October’ but no date has yet been set.

It is not clear what types of lateral flow test will be accepted or whether it must be medically supervised. The test will still need to be purchased in advance and a reference number added to your Passenger Locator Form.

For more information, the official details are on gov.uk here.

Comments (190)

  • Swiss Jim says:

    I just wonder what will happen when winter kicks in….. Also of course there’s the need to factor in the ‘travelling to’ country rules. UK changes welcome, but having to grapple with overseas rules especially when accompanied by necessarily unvaccinated children remains a pain.

    • ChrisW says:

      One step at a time. The UK Government can’t influence other countries entry requirements that much.

      Your vaccine certificate will continue to open more and more doors

  • GHT says:

    Question: I submitted required docs (proof of vaccination) through BA for outbound to Greece last week. On a BA holiday so return flight is on same booking reference – am Flying back tomorrow – do I need to submit (a) all the same docs again (annoying if so), or (b) just fill in UK PLF?

    • Yuff says:

      I flew BA on Thursday and they checked my vaccine info on my phone, that’s all they needed. I hadn’t completed the Spanish info prior to check in. However that’s probably the reason I can never check in on my phone as they need to check the info🤦🏻‍♂️
      When I return I’ll only be completing the the PLF

  • Michael C says:

    So I have brother in S Lanka and MIL in Brazil. Even with the foreseen red-list changes, neither will be able to come for Xmas due to vaccinations from those countries not being accepted (despite being AZ/Pfizer).
    Wonder if this will change in the medium term? Or maybe future Pfizer boosters will be accepted in general?

  • Js says:

    ”you must be able to provide a vaccine certificate which contains five prescribed pieces of information”
    What are the 5 pieces of information needed?

    • Paul says:

      Look at you own via NHS app!

      The info on that must be replicated by any other certificate.

      • Natasha says:

        Name. Dob. Vac name and brand. Vac taken. Vac no of shots.

        Not sure about the qr code or barcodes no one checks them at borders

    • Rob says:

      See gov.uk

  • OT says:

    PCR day 2 recommendations please. Off to Paris next weekend…

    • Lee says:

      I used Randox a couple of weeks ago for an outbound PCR (in person, in London) and a Day 2 PCR home kit. Both worked out fine for me, and I’ll use them again.

      • krys_k says:

        Asked the same question on here when coming back from Barcelona. Used Randox. Test box arrived. And used drop box to send back (check on their website to see if you have one near you). Good experience.

    • Andrew says:

      I found Collinson were very efficient.

      • Dawn says:

        Collinson did our test efficiently but the results didn’t come through within 48 hours. After a lot of time spent on the chat to them, eventually they gave the results and refunded our full fee.

    • Munch says:

      I ordered Expert medical at £28. Reference for plf emailed on purchase, test kit arrived via DHL, not used yet as still away. Let’s see if I get an actual result back?

      • Craig says:

        Same for me, EM £28, PLF code worked, kits arriving today while we are away!

    • Mr. AC says:

      Nationwide Pathology ok, but only delivered day 2 test on day 3. Not a big deal I’d say.

    • cinereus says:

      Randox seem to be too slow to dispatch for flexible travel plans.

  • Ian M says:

    “If you have been vaccinated in the UK, Europe or US then your vaccination qualifies without exception.”

    Should say EU not Europe.

    • ChrisC says:

      Europe is correct.

      Switzerland isn’t in the EU yet is OK for UK entry

      • Ian M says:

        Ukraine, Moldova, Albania, Belarus, Georgia, Turkey, Russia etc are in Europe…

  • Paul says:

    It’s hardly surprising that you don’t need to test to return. The U.K. has the highest levels of daily infection in Europe

    The BBC article shows we are ahead of Russia and Turkey and our infection rate is almost 10 times higher than the rest of the EU.

    Flying back to plague Island is a bigger risk than leaving it, and the real concern must surely be how much longer will the EU allow us to enter!

    • Yuff says:

      Europe was completely open, earlier this year, when they had similar levels to the Uk currently, why should that change just because it is the UK?
      Things have moved on and travel is catching up.
      Vaccines, anti viral drugs etc

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      Uk carries out more tests than most other countries. Not a surprise we catch more infections.
      Also uk has the worst definition of death due to covid. Anyone with covid in 30 days before death is classified as ‘due to covid’.
      Hospitalisations have been dropping last 2 weeks.
      Why face the facts when you can live in your alternate world.

      • Rob says:

        We also have a soft definition of ‘hospitalised’. Anyone having a baby who tests asymptomatic adds to the hospitalised stats for example. And if the same person is killed in a car crash the following week they are a covid death.

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      And if you are going to trust statistics coming out of Russia and Turkey, may god help you.

    • JandeW says:

      We may have had 35k new cases of covid yesterday but Russia had 850 deaths yesterday (official figure but probably more) UK had 112…

      • Dawn says:

        Russia has that same number give or take about 50, every day! For some reason my husband checks it and chuckles over it daily.

  • PQTR says:

    Oh look, the government hasn’t even bothered to update the forms, so PLF still tells you you need to have taken a test before you fly. How lazy. Not rocket science to have it prepped in a non-live environment and go live at the right time…

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.