The UK government has announced the relaxation of travel restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals arriving in the United Kingdom. The new rules include the removal of pre-departure tests and the use of lateral flow tests following arrival in the country, and will not apply to unvaccinated travellers.
NEW TRAVEL RULES FOR THE FULLY VACCINATED
For arrivals in the UK after 4:00 am on 9 January, passengers must do the following:
- Complete the public health passenger locator form within 48 hours before travel; immigration officers will ask to see a copy of the completed form (in paper or digital format) upon arrival.
- Book and pay for a COVID-19 PCR or lateral flow test to be taken before the end of day two in England, with the day of arrival counting as day zero.
If the lateral flow test result is positive, the individual must self-isolate and take a free PCR test. If the PCR test result is positive, they must isolate for 10 full days.
WHO QUALIFIES AS ‘FULLY VACCINATED’?
To qualify as a fully vaccinated individual, travellers must have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to arrival in the UK
- with an approved two-dose or one-dose vaccine authorised by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency for the United Kingdom and UK vaccine programme overseas, the European Medicines Agency for Europe, SwissMedic for Switzerland, and the Food and Drug Administration 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 United Arab Emirates; or
- under a formally approved COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial in the UK, United States, Canada, or Australia and have a proof of participation (digital or paper) from a public health body.
Furthermore, passengers must 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, at a minimum, the following:
- 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 US residents.
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 RULES FOR THE UNVACCINATED
Before travelling to England, all unvaccinated passengers must do the following:
- Present a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours prior to departure
- Complete the public health passenger locator form within 48 hours prior to travel, a copy of which (paper or digital) will need to be provided to immigration officers upon arrival
- Book and pay for two mandated COVID-19 tests to be taken on or before day two as well as on or after day eight of arrival
Upon arrival in England, all unvaccinated passengers must do the following:
- Quarantine at home or in the place they are staying for 10 days
- Take a COVID-19 PCR test on or before day two as well as on or after day eight of quarantining (as above)
Those who are subject to the 10-day self-isolation may elect to book a COVID-19 test in the United Kingdom to reduce the self-isolation period. The test must be taken on or after day five of the isolation period at home or at a private provider testing site. If the traveller receives a negative result, they would be eligible to finish self-isolating immediately.
If you have any questions or would like more information on the issues discussed in this alert, please contact any of the following Morgan Lewis lawyers:
Shannon A. Donnelly