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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.

  • Roy says:

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

    This is not quite true, there is potentially an exception. If you were vaccinated in France, having previously recovered from COVID, then there is a high chance you would only have been offered a single dose – the logic being that a natural infection plus a vaccine dose gives similar protection to two doses of the vaccine. France regards such people as fully vaccinated.

    It appears that Britain is still not recognising people as fully vaccinated if they have only received one dose (unless it is the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine). Maybe this will change when we formally join the EU vaccine certificate scheme in the coming weeks?

    • Anna says:

      Unlikely as there’s not really any way to show that you’ve recovered from covid in the NHS app.

      • Roy says:

        But if/when we’re fully part of the EU system I assume French visitors will just be able to show the French app….

      • Laura says:

        It does!
        When I downloaded my travel pass recently I had details of my two jabs and also a ‘recovery’ certificate that said I had tested positive on a certain date and has natural immunity for a certain number of days

        • Rob says:

          Yes, you get the recovery pass as long as your positive PCR test was an NHS one.

    • Ian M says:

      As I pointed out on page 1, it should also say EU not Europe.

      Ukraine, Moldova, Albania, Belarus, Georgia, Turkey, Russia etc are in Europe but being vaccinated there doesn’t certainly doesn’t qualify without exception

      • Michael Jennings says:

        EE/EEA? I suspect Norway, Switzerland etc are okay.

        • John says:

          Switzerland isn’t in the EU or the EEA. Neither are Andorra, Monaco, San Marino or the Vatican which also qualify.

    • Alastair says:

      What does the French EU-DCC say?

      My Finnish one says “Number in a series of vaccinations/doses and the overall number of doses in the series” – 2/2

      If the French one in such a case only says 1/2 I doubt that will ever count (even within the EU)

  • Roger says:

    Thanks Rob re numbers. So my wife has to book a test that will not be needed, so may as well use the cheapest option, which is? Or keep for another trip or fudge the number based on mine – who checks at the airport?

    • N says:

      does the day 2 test have to be booked before you leave the UK or can it be done just before you arrive back in the UK? my parents are travelling to Germany in early October (i.e. when the rules for day 2 testing will require a PCR) but they are arriving back on 26th october (likely when the day 2 rules will have changed to LF). I assume they can book a day 2 LF a couple of days before leaving Germany for the UK?

  • N says:

    just want to confirm – if you are a US tourist that is fully vaccinated, does that mean no test is required to enter the country? just the day 2 PCR?

  • JohnT says:

    I see mixed reviews of Verifly for use with BA – any views on what is best to use with EasyJet to Switzerland in November (hopefully after the Day 2 change to LFT)? Believe no test needed to get there, and just Day2 after getting back. (and Locator Forms for each)

  • Carol boaks says:

    What is the situation with the Oxford vaccine made in India and not recognised by the EU
    AstraZeneca batch numbers 4120Z001, 4120Z002 and 4120Z003? Are these now accepted worldwide? Boris seems to have gone quiet on this after promising to sort it out?

    • Cambridge Dad says:

      Does this apply? ‘Formulations of these vaccines, such as AstraZeneca Covishield, AstraZeneca Vaxzevria and Moderna Takeda, also qualify as approved vaccines.’

    • HBommie says:

      I had those bx’s and my recent trips in Europe were fine, I believe it is sorted out. Boris or not.

  • Chris says:

    I fly into the UK on Thursday evening and back out on Saturday afternoon. I have booked a day 2 test as I have to to get the reference number.

    Will I actually have to take it? Seems a bit silly given I will have left the UK by the time I get the result.

    • Cambridge Dad says:

      Nobody checked results on our 2x Randox Day 2 tests last week.

      You probably have to make a personal judgement. Strictly speaking you are not observing the rules, which no doubt have the force of law behind them. You are highly unlikely to get found out. Are you contributing much to science with your PCR result? Since very few positive result PCR tests are actually analysed/ genome sequenced, science probably doesn’t care anyway. There aren’t any dangerous variants in the world so far and top scientists say new variants will tend to be weaker, not more dangerous, as time goes by. As others have said, if you’re flying in from Europe, you’re probably flying from a less dangerous country for Covid-19 to a more dangerous country (UK) so there seems little point in testing anyway. Especially if you’re fully vaccinated, the law would seem to be an ass here – but if you ignore it, and get found out, the law being an ass is not an argument you could use. Forgetting to do the test is believable, though.

      • Cambridge Dad says:

        Actually, there is a Govt rule that may put your mind at rest: ‘If you will be in England for less than 2 days you still need to book and pay for a day 2 COVID-19 test. You only need to take the test if you are still in England on day 2.’

        So provided you fly out again before the 48 hour mark after having landed on Thursday evening, you’d not be breaking the law if you just kept the PCR test to use another time.

    • Bagoly says:

      And if you have ordered it to arrive by post it may well not do so anyway.

  • Seb says:

    For anyone who is interest, Expert Medicals still very much accepted. I have used for return trips twice within the last 2 weeks, with the last return yesterday (03/10). Results took about 5 days but who cares right? Why pay more?

    • Craig says:

      Considering it’s going to be replaced by a LFT soon then exactly, who cares. EM tests were delivered today, will do them and also an NHS LFT tomorrow when we get back.

      I think if the government is really concerned about variants of concern then introduce random PCR tests at the border. Let’s say country X has a variant, then test 1 in 10 returning from that country otherwise maybe 1 in 100. Would slow things down at the border but would significantly improve quality control. This alongside PCR testing of those who test positive from an LFT on day 2 should give sufficient data.

      • Seb says:

        Anyone travelling within the next month or so might care? Lots of people think you can’t use them anymore.

  • Aliks says:

    Which 9 countries will be left on the red list after Thursday? Does anyone know? Do the bookies have an opinion.

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

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