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Update: UK Announces New System for International Travel

September 23, 2021

The UK government has announced a new, simplified system for international travel. The current red, amber, and green traffic light system will be replaced by a single red list and simplified measures for the rest of the world.

The rules for travel from countries and territories not on the red list will depend on an individual’s vaccination status. The government will also recognise full vaccinations from 17 other countries and territories.

Travel from the Rest of the World for Those Who Are Fully Vaccinated

Effective 4:00 am Monday, 4 October, if travellers are fully vaccinated then they must:

  • book and pay for a Day 2 COVID-19 test, to be taken on or before Day 2 of arrival; and
  • complete a passenger locator form within 48 hours before travel.

Travellers will no longer be required to:

  • take a predeparture test;
  • take a Day 8 COVID-19 test; or
  • quarantine for 10 days following arrival.

The rules for fully vaccinated people will also apply if an individual is under 18 and resident in the United Kingdom or one of the listed countries or territories with approved vaccination programmes.

What Does It Mean to Be Fully Vaccinated?

In order to qualify as a fully vaccinated individual, travellers must:

  • have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to arrival in the United Kingdom;
  • with an approved two-dose or one-dose vaccine authorised by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for the UK and UK vaccine programme overseas, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for Europe, SwissMedic for Switzerland, and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the United States; or
  • with a full course of the Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna, or Janssen vaccines from a relevant public health body in Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Dominica, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, or the UAE; or
  • under a formally approved COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, and Australia and have a proof of participation (digital or paper-based) from a public health body; and
  • be able to prove that they have been fully vaccinated (plus 14 days) with a document (digital or paper-based) from a national or state-level public health body that includes, as a minimum:

    • forename and surname(s);
    • date of birth;
    • vaccine brand and manufacturer;
    • date of vaccination for every dose;
    • country or territory of vaccination and/or certificate issuer;
  • Passengers fully vaccinated in the United States, will also need to prove that they are a resident of the United States.

If an individual is fully vaccinated, but does not qualify under the fully vaccinated rules, they must follow the rules for non-vaccinated individuals.

Travel from the Rest of the World for Those Who Are Not Fully Vaccinated

Effective 4:00 am Monday, 4 October, if travellers are not fully vaccinated then they must:

  • take a COVID-19 test in the three days before travelling to the United Kingdom;
  • book and pay for two mandated COVID-19 tests to be taken on or before Day 2 and on or after Day 8 of arrival; and
  • complete a passenger locator form within 48 hours before travel.

    After arrival, travellers must:

  • quarantine at home or in the place they are staying for 10 days; and
  • take a COVID-19 test on or before Day 2 and on or after Day 8.

Individuals may be eligible to end quarantine early by paying for a private COVID-19 test through the Test to Release Scheme.

Travel from Red List Countries

Effective 4:00 am Monday, 4 October, individuals who have been in a country or territory on the red list in the 10 days prior to arrival will only be allowed to enter the United Kingdom if they are a British or Irish national, or they have residence rights in the United Kingdom.

Before travelling, individuals must:

  • take a COVID-19 test in the three days before travelling;
  • book and pay for a quarantine hotel package, including two mandated COVID-19 tests to be taken on or before Day 2 and on or after Day 8 of arrival; and
  • complete a passenger locator form within 48 hours before travel.

After arrival, travellers must:

  • quarantine for 10 full days in a managed quarantine hotel (the day of arrival is Day 0); and
  • take two mandated COVID-19 tests to be taken on or before Day 2 and on or after Day 8 of arrival.

Individuals arriving from red countries are not eligible to take part in the Test to Release Scheme.

Further Updates

In addition to the changes outlined above, the government has also announced that from the end of October, eligible fully vaccinated passengers, and those with an approved vaccine from a select group of non-red countries will be able to replace their Day 2 test with a lateral flow test on arrival. If an individual tests positive, they will need to isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test. The government also intends to make changes to allow passengers who change flights or international trains during their journey to follow the measures associated to their country of departure, rather than any countries they have transited through as part of their journey. The government is hoping to introduce these changes by the end of October, and we will provide further updates as these become available.

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CONTACTS

If you have any questions or would like more information on the guidance discussed in this alert, please contact any of the following Morgan Lewis lawyers:

London
Jennifer Connolly
Yvette Allen

Washington, DC
Shannon A. Donnelly