Navigating the UK entry rules

By David Mumford


England’s entry rules became much simpler from October 4, with the scrapping of the traffic light system. Now, there is just one red list, and then the rest of the world. There’s one set of rules for the red list, and one set of rules for everywhere else.

Red list rules

England removed 47 countries from its red list as of Oct 11. So from that date,the only countries remaining on the red list are now: Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Basically, passengers who have been to a red list country within the past 10 days can only enter England if they are a British/Irish National, or have residence rights in the UK. And when they arrive, they must stay in a managed quarantine hotel  for 10 days.

Check here for full info.

Rules for everywhere else

This depends on whether a passenger has been vaccinated or not:

Vaccinated Passengers
There is no requirement to get a test prior to travelling, or to quarantine on arrival. Pax will still have to get tested a couple of days later, but cheaper/easier options are coming.

Unvaccinated or Partially Vaccinated Passengers
It’s not great news. Unvaccinated pax will still need to get a pre-travel test within three days of their flight but here’s the real kicker: they will have to isolate for ten days on arrival (from anywhere). Fortunately, the test-to-release scheme is still be running to get out of self-isolation early.

Check here for full info.

Which vaccines are accepted?

Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna, Janssen – plus a few other permutations.

On Oct 11, England added 37 more destinations to its list of countries and territories with approved proof of vaccination, meaning that arrivals from these places will be able to avoid more expensive post-arrival testing requirements.

The UK or England?

These rules in their entirety only affect arrivals in England. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have all got their own sets of rules.

What about crew?

England has a dedicated page on the rules for crew, which you can read here.

The key points:

  • Crew do not need a Covid test to enter England, even if they have been in a red list country.
  • Crew who live in the UK do not need to quarantine, even if they have been in a red list country.
  • Crew who do not live in the UK must quarantine in their hotel until departure if they are not fully vaccinated, or for a full 10 days if they have been in a red list country.

More on the topic:

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