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How do the England travel rules change today?

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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)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Shaw West says:

    I do have a day2 PCR test which I had bought earlier on the cheap and didn’t use. Can I use it to do the fit to fly test? Flying to Spain and not fully vaccinated.

    • Tracey says:

      If the certificate shows the required details that Spain demands, it should be fine.

      • Shaw West says:

        But it does say “Test Type : PCR Day 2”. Would that be an issue

  • Bob says:

    People vaccinated in the US still must also be residents. Many people like myself are vaccinated in the US but are not residents so we’re left out of being fully vaccinated.

    • Samuel Ohagan says:

      You should open a bank account in the us. For some strange reason they think a us passport is somehow a proof of residence, but I’m sure if anyone was concerned and you showed them a us bank statement, or maybe the stamp in your passport you would be fine.

  • Nn says:

    If you have previously tested positive for Covid, it is not recommended by gov.Uk that you repeat a PCR test within 90 days of that test. So what to do re day 2 PCR test requirement on return to UK, (returning mid October) bearing in mind, only tested positive early September. thoughts…?

    • Rob says:

      That’s nonsense. You should clear a PCR test within 2 weeks. My wife did, as did Rhys. I cleared one after 3 weeks. Only in extreme circumstances will it drag on.

    • ZF says:

      That’s for symptomatic testing

      • ZF says:

        I should clarify, that’s for symptomatic and confirmation of asymptomatic (LFD) testing using the GOV provided tests

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      It’s not quite nonsense. You are far more likely to produce a false +ve in the weeks after infection than somebody who has never been infected. It is still very unlikely that you will do so (think like if you have 100 lottery tickets rather than one) so Rob’s experience is the most likely; but this does not invalidate the guidance.

  • Pjaw says:

    Spoke to Lufthansa through the week and was told that transiting through Germany was dependent on having vaccinations within 6 months. Didn’t question at the time but now I am thinking that this cannot be right as many of us are arriving at 6 months plus since our second jab. Anyone heard different????

  • Hugo says:

    I have to say I was not happy with BA’s handling of the paperwork when I flew in August – they rejected my documents without stating why, and then absolutely none of their phone lines would pickup, so I had to spend my last family evening doing a 3hr round trip to LHR T5 to make sure I could fly at 7am

  • Roger says:

    My wife has a pre booked Nuffield PCR test on Friday prior to an op the following week. We return from Portugal the previous day. Will her patient no and the word Nuffield suffice for the return home form?

    • Rob says:

      No. It has to be a code in a specified format or the form rejects it – 5 letters and 7 numbers.

  • L Allen says:

    Sorry to be nit-picky but the article uses Europe and EU interchangeably but the two are not the same thing. There are countries in Europe that are not on the accepted list but all EU countries are…

  • Cambridge Dad says:

    There’s an interesting new definition of fully vaccinated which won’t apply to most of you but does apply to my wife:
    ‘Where 2 doses of a vaccine are required for a full course, you can:
    – mix 2 different types of vaccine from the above list, for example Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna
    – have the 2 vaccinations under 2 different approved programmes, for example Australia and Japan, UK and USA, France and Canada’

    She got dose #1 AZ in UK, suffered side effects and decided against dose #2 of AZ and UK would not let her switch to another vaccine (at the time, June). So she got dose #2 Pfizer in EU in July.

    Both her QR codes state dose #1 so no good for scanning & filling in the PLF. She will show she is fully vaccinated at UK border and therefore hopefully not get told to quarantine for 10 days – if they don’t agree, she will just ignore it as she is correct in her interpretation of fully vaccinated. But I told her to get the pre-flight PCR test as it would be silly to be denied boarding for the sake of £25.

    • Andrew says:

      UK? Which Part?

      A friend had no problems getting 2 doses of Pfizer under his English NHS Number and 2 doses of AZ under his Scottish NHS Number.

    • Sam G says:

      She could go and get a second shot either in the UK or EU, silly but the most simple way to resolve it!

      • Cambridge Dad says:

        Exactly, she could have easily got a 2nd Pfizer jab in EU 3 weeks after her 1st Pfizer jab but chose not to do it – her rationale being ‘too many vaccinations can’t be good for me’. Wouldn’t listen to the argument that QR code showing Pfizer #2 = fully vaccinated & therefore would make travel a lot easier. So far her vaccine hesitancy hasn’t cost anything much (only our ‘voluntary’ PCR test this week to avoid being denied boarding, £25). I guess UK border force could be unpleasant on her return to UK this week and fine her for not organizing Day 8 PCR test – but I feel this is unlikely and we’d appeal it, on the basis that she’s now fully vaccinated according to today’s rule change.

        @Andrew – England, but it was easier to get Pfizer jab in EU rather than travel to Wales/ Scotland.

        • meta says:

          But would she do it say 4-5 months down the line, say in November she gets another dose of Pfizer in EU?

          • Cambridge Dad says:

            ! asked her whether she’s getting a Pfizer or Moderna booster ie jab #3 and she said yes but only 6+ months after her July Pfizer jab.

            I’m leaving my UK booster until 12 months after my jab#2 which was March. More concerned to get the flu jab, which is next Saturday.

          • Tracey says:

            12 months is a long time between jabs. I’d also be slightly concerned that it might not be open to you in 6 months time.

          • Bagoly says:

            @Cambridge Dad
            Some countries are regarding you as not Fully Vaccinated sooner than twelve months after second jab.
            E.g. Austria for J&J is 270 days.
            The EU has a good tool at https://reopen.europa.eu/en which covers EEA countries.

          • Bagoly says:

            No edit hits again: second jab and J&J don’t interact like that!

          • Cambridge Dad says:

            @Tracey – but see: ‘Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid vaccine remains 90% effective at preventing hospitalizations for six months, a new study finds’ (DM)

            I reckon it won’t just go to zero after 7 months or even 10-12. I don’t particularly care if I get Covid-19 as I’m fully vaccinated – the infection would be minor and build up my immune response/ system. Remember chicken pox parties?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      No one asks anything at the border.

      Airlines just read your certificate if you have 1 showing a dose each then that should be fine.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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