International visitors arriving in England from overseas are subject to, for the most part, the same rules as UK residents – if they were immunised in a country with a vaccine programme recognised by our Government.
The rules for all countries, other than those on the red list, now depend on the vaccination status of the traveller and whether that is recognised in the UK – pre-departure tests for travel to England have been scrapped but vaccinated travellers, but new rules enforce mandatory PCR tests and isolation on all arrivals. The rules are, as ever, fast changing.
Only British or Irish nationals or passengers with residence rights in the UK are permitted to enter England if they have been in a red-listed destination in the 10 days before their arrival – 10 countries, including South Africa, have been on the red list. Those that can enter are subject to a 10-day stay in a quarantine hotel at a cost of up to £2,285 per person.
Below we outline the rules for overseas visitors.
Do the rules depend on where you were vaccinated?
Yes, the UK Government recognises vaccines administered in over 100 countries and territories. Since Monday November 22, fully vaccinated residents of 135 countries will be able to come to Britain without having to isolate for 10 days on arrival. The UK has also signed up to accept all the vaccines on the World Health Organisation’s Emergency Use List (WHO EUL). These include vaccines made by Sinovac and Sinopharm Beijing in China and Covaxin in India. However, travellers jabs administered elsewhere will not be accepted and fully-vaccinated travellers from these places will still face 10 days’ self-isolation in the UK.
A spokesperson for the Department for Transport told Telegraph Travel: “We have always said we would take a phased approach to the roll out of our inbound vaccination programme to other countries and territories, building on the success of our pilot with the US and Europe.
“Decisions are made by Ministers, taking into account public health factors. These considerations include whether on the red list, vaccines used and the proportion of the population who have been fully vaccinated.
“Vaccine certification between countries and territories varies considerably. We need to ensure that certificates/apps meet our published minimum requirements on content, and that carriers are clear about the certification we shall accept.”
What tests do you need to take?
Due to concerns over the omicron variant, from 4am on November 30, all travellers (regardless of vaccination status) must take a Day 2 PCR test on arrival in the UK – to be taken by the end of the second full day after arrival – and isolate until a negative result is received. Anyone who tests positive must isolate for 10 days.
Unvaccinated travellers (or those visiting from a country with an unrecognised vaccine) must also take a PCR test on or after day 8 and isolate until day 10 unless opting into Test to Release on day 5. You can find the Government’s rules on testing here.
A code is generated from the test booking, which is needed to complete your passenger locator form (more on this below). This must be booked with an approved private testing provider, a list of these is provided on gov.uk.
Are there any entry forms?
Yes, all arrivals to the UK must complete a passenger locator form. The completion of this form will generate a QR code, which travellers may be required to show both when checking-in or boarding a flight to the UK and to Border Force on arrival.
To complete this form, all travellers must have booked and paid for a Day 2 test as the form asks for a Covid test booking reference number.
Each adult must complete their own form. You can include someone under 18 years old who is travelling with you on your form, if you are staying together at the same UK address. If you’re entering Scotland, they must be under 16.