In a statement last Friday, 17th September 2021, Transport Security, Grant Schapps, announced that there are some upcoming changes to the rules and requirements that travellers must follow when travelling to and from England.
The current traffic light system will be replaced by a single red list of countries and territories and a rest of world list. Testing requirements will be reduced for eligible fully vaccinated travellers, who will no longer be required to take a pre-departure test when travelling to England from Monday 4th October. From the end of October, eligible vaccinated passengers and those with an approved vaccine from a select group of non-red countries will be able to replace the PCR day 2 test with a Lateral Flow Antigen day 2 test.
There is a lot of information but what does it say (or not say!), when will it come into play, and what are we, Project Screen, going to be updating?
|What we know||What is unclear||Key dates||Future Project Screen updates / explanation|
|8 destinations will be removed from the red list (see list below)||22nd September |
|Remove country block on these 8 destinations for ordering arrival tests|
|The traffic light system is changing:|
There will be no green/amber lists
There will continue to be a red list
|The arrival requirements for previously ‘green countries’ look like they will become stricter following this update. Arrivals will have to test on days 2 & 8 and self-isolate for 10 days||4th October 2021||Removal of reference to green/amber Covid-19 arrival tests|
|Following the success of the US & EU vaccination pilot, England will welcome fully vaccinated travellers from 17 new countries and territories (see list below). These travellers will be treated like returning fully vaccinated UK travellers – known as “eligible vaccinated travellers”||What does this mean for children travelling with eligible vaccinated travellers?||4th October 2021||The information on our website will be updated to match this information. |
Arrivals before 4th October should follow the existing traffic light system & products on our website. For arrivals from 4th October, tests will be updated to reflect the new vaccinated/unvaccinated terminology
|Testing for unvaccinated travellers from non-red list countries will be required to take PCR arrival tests on days 2, 8 (& have the option of day 5 – Test to Release), and self-isolate for 10 days. Travellers are known as “unvaccinated” if they do not meet the vaccination eligibility (as mentioned above)||The date for the next update on future countries to be accepted as “eligible vaccinated” travellers||4th October 2021||We will continue to sell the Day 2 and 8 test bundle, with the add-on option of the Day 5 Test to Release test kit|
|Eligible vaccinated travellers will no longer be required to take a pre-departure test before travelling to England (e.g. the Antigen Lateral Flow test)||What does this mean for children travelling with eligible vaccinated travellers?||4th October 2021||We will continue to sell the Antigen Lateral Flow test kit for unvaccinated travellers to carry abroad with them to test before returning to England|
|Day 2 PCR testing will remain until the end of October for all travellers – both eligible vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers||Ongoing||If you are planning to travel after 4th October, and we haven’t launched the vaccinated/unvaccinated Day 2 test, you can continue to purchase either a Green Day 2 or Amber Day 2 test|
|If you are planning to travel after 4th October, and we haven’t launched the vaccinated/unvaccinated Day 2 test, you can continue to purchase either a Green Day 2 or Amber Day 2 test||The exact date of the switch over to Lateral Flow Antigen testing for eligible vaccinated travellers is unknown||Unknown – end of October||In October, we will launch a Lateral Flow Antigen Day 2 arrival test for eligible vaccinated travellers|
Which countries are being removed from the red list on 22nd September?
Turkey, Pakistan, the Maldives, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh and Kenya
From which countries will fully vaccinated travellers be “eligible vaccinated travellers” and will be treated like returning fully vaccinated UK travellers?
From 4 am Monday 4 October, if you have been fully vaccinated for at least 14 days:
- under an approved vaccination program in the UK, Europe, US or UK vaccine programme overseas
- 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 or Taiwan – mixing between two-dose vaccines (Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna) in this list is also recognised
- under a formally approved COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial in the US, Canada and Australia and have proof of participation (digital or paper-based) from a public health body
- book and pay for a day 2 COVID-19 test – to be taken after arrival in England
- complete your passenger locator form – any time in the 48 hours before you arrive in England
- take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 after you arrive in England
You do not need to:
- take a pre-departure test
- take a day 8 COVID-19 test
- quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days after you arrive in England
You must be able to prove that you 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
If your document from a public health body does not include all of these, you must follow the non-vaccinated rules. If not, you may be denied boarding.
If you are fully vaccinated in the US, will also need to prove that you are a resident of the US.
If you are fully vaccinated, but do not qualify under these fully vaccinated rules, you must follow the non-vaccinated rules.
What does fully vaccinated mean?
In the UK, ‘fully vaccinated’ means you’ve had either:
- 2 doses of an approved 2 dose vaccine (such as Pfizer or AstraZeneca)
- one dose of an approved single dose vaccine (such as Janssen)
You must have had your final dose at least 14 whole days before you arrive in England. The day you had your final dose does not count as one of the 14 days.
2 dose vaccines
If you were vaccinated with a 2 dose vaccine (such as Moderna or Pfizer) you must have had both doses to be considered fully vaccinated. This applies in all cases, even if you have recently recovered from COVID-19 and have natural immunity. Those who have had COVID-19 and have only had one dose of a 2 dose vaccine must follow the rules for unvaccinated arrivals.
Each dose must be with the same (MHRA, EMA, Swissmedic or FDA) approved vaccine. For example, if your first dose was Moderna your second dose must also be Moderna.
For the UK programmes you can have one dose under the UK vaccination programme and the other under the UK vaccine overseas programme.
If you had an approved one-dose vaccine, such as Janssen, you are fully vaccinated.
Proving you’ve been fully vaccinated
You’ll need to show your travel operator and border control proof you’ve been fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine.
You’ll also need to confirm that you’ve been fully vaccinated and can show suitable proof on your passenger locator form.
If you cannot (or prefer not to) show proof that you’ve been fully vaccinated you must follow the rules for those who are unvaccinated.