MSE News

Covid travel tests to be scrapped for fully vaccinated travellers arriving in the UK

Coronavirus testing for fully vaccinated travellers arriving in the UK will be axed next month, it's been announced. In addition, those who aren't fully vaccinated will no longer be required to take a day eight test or self-isolate on arrival to the UK. The new rules will come in from 4am on Friday 11 February.

The shake-up follows pressure from the bosses of major airlines, who wrote to the UK Government demanding an end to coronavirus-related travel restrictions.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps added that from Thursday 3 February, 12 to 15-year-olds in England will be able to prove their vaccination status for outbound travel via the digital NHS pass. Those travelling to the UK aged 17 and under will continue to be treated as a fully vaccinated traveller. 

Commenting on the changes on a visit to Milton Keynes Hospital (on 24 January), Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “What we’re doing on travel, to show that this country is open for business, open for travellers, you will see changes so that people arriving no longer have to take tests if they have been vaccinated, if they have been double vaccinated.”

If you're heading abroad or returning to the UK, see our guide on How to find the cheapest Covid tests for overseas travel and our guide to your Coronavirus Travel Rights, which also details testing and isolation requirements when entering popular overseas destinations, such as France and Spain. 

How testing and isolation rules will change from 11 February

At the moment, fully vaccinated arrivals to the UK must pre-book and take a post-arrival test from a private supplier. This can be a lateral flow test, which typically costs around £19.

Meanwhile, arrivals who are not fully vaccinated must take a pre-departure test and two post-arrival PCR tests, which are more expensive than the lateral flow version. They must also self-isolate for 10 days.

However, this will change from 11 February. Here's a summary of the current and new rules: 

Summary of the rules for those arriving into the UK

Fully vaccinated travellers (and u18s):
Unvaccinated travellers

Until 4am on Fri 11 Feb:
•Must fill in passenger locator form

• Must take a rapid antigen (lateral flow) test within

48 hours of entering UK (excludes u5s). 

• No requirement to take a pre-departure test or to self-isolate on arrival

 

From 4am on Fri 11 Feb:

• Must fill in passenger locator form 

• No requirement to take a pre-departure test, post-arrival test or to self-isolate on arrival

Until 4am on Fri 11 Feb:
• Must fill in passenger locator form

• Pre-departure PCR or rapid antigen test required (1)

• Must also take PCR test on day two AND day eight after arriving back in UK

• Must self-isolate for 10 days after arrival 
• In England you can end self-isolation early on day five by taking an extra PCR test

 

From 4am on Fri 11 Feb:

• Must fill in passenger locator form

• Pre-departure PCR or rapid antigen test required (1)

• Must also take PCR test on day two
• No requirement to take a day eight test or to self-isolate on arrival

If you test positive for coronavirus in the UK you must take and log an NHS test result and self-isolate for five consecutive days. (1) If you fly to the UK and stop on the way without exiting border control you should take the test 48hrs before the first leg of your trip.

Additional reporting by the Press Association.

MSE weekly email

FREE weekly MoneySaving email

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes simply sign up today – it's spam-free!