Travel update

From 4th October 2021, all destinations outside the UK and Ireland will now be placed on one of two lists: a continued red list and the rest of the world.

Also, from the 4th October 2021 travel restrictions simplified, and for the fully vaccinated and under 18s, travelling to a non-red list destinations means that on the return to the UK, just a passenger locator form and day two test is required (children under five do not require a day two test).

It is important to remember that travel requirements may differ depending on the country that you plan to visit, for instance, at the time of writing, Portugal do not recognise the NHS Covid App as proof of vaccination, so travellers from the UK are required to take either a 72 hour PCR test or 48 hour Antigen test before travel. Always check requirements on the official GOV travel advice page.

For travel outside of the UK you’ll also need to consider not just the rules in your destination but whether that country has a UK Foreign Office advisory against it, for Covid or any other reason, which may have implications for your travel insurance.

The biggest relief for fully vaccinated travellers will be no longer having to arrange a pre-departure test abroad in the days before returning to the UK. If you’re planning a trip to a country that doesn’t ask for Covid-19 tests from fully vaccinated arrivals (Spain, for example), that means you can now get through the whole holiday process with only one test needed; the UK day two test. This is the same requirement as before, to get tested at some point between your arrival in the UK (day 0) and the end of day two.

If you travel to a red list destination or if a country joins the red list, and the change is in force by the time you arrive in the UK, you will need to stay for 11 nights in a quarantine hotel, regardless of your vaccination status — the same red-list rules as before. Government updates to the red list should come every three weeks (the next reviews are due on or around 7th October and 28th October). Typically there are three or four days between the announcement and any changes coming into force.

So to summarise, if you’re fully vaccinated or under 18 the only UK requirements for travel from 4th October 2021 are the completion of a passenger locator form prior to your arrival back in the UK, and a day two test (children under five do not require this test). Remember, currently you will need to book your day two test before filling out your passenger locator form, as the booking reference is required on the form.

This information was correct at the time of posting, but is subject to change.

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