New Overseas Travel System Comes into Force This Week

The ‘traffic light’ system for overseas travel has been replaced by a two-tiered system containing the (significantly reduced) ‘Red List’ and, in replacement of the ‘Green’ and ‘Amber’ categories, a ‘rest of the world’ list.

The change will only benefit those who have been fully vaccinated, with pre-departure tests no longer required for returning vaccinated travellers from former Amber countries (although they’ll still have to take a day two PCR test until the end of the month). Those who haven’t been double jabbed, by contrast, will still need to take pre-departure tests before returning to the U.K., whether a country is on the ‘Red List’ or not, PCR tests on day two and day eight once back in England, and self-isolate for 10 days. The Guardian has the story.

From 4am on October 4th, there will no longer be a requirement for fully vaccinated travellers to take a test in the three days before their return from a non-Red List country.

Also, from the end of October, they will no longer be required to take a PCR test on day two of their arrival in England or Scotland – instead they will need to take a lateral flow test. If the lateral flow test is positive, they will need to isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test at no additional cost.

For those who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated, there are currently no changes to the testing or quarantine requirements. This means if they arrive in the U.K. from any non-Red List country, they will still need to take a pre-departure test, a PCR test on day two and day eight, and quarantine at home for 10 days. If they are arriving in England, they still have the option to use the test-to-release scheme on day five.

Requirements for arrivals in the U.K. from Red List countries remain the same: a pre-departure test and the pre-booking of a mandatory 11-night quarantine hotel package, which will include two PCR tests, taken on day two and day eight, whatever your vaccination status.

All travellers, regardless of their vaccination status and the country they are travelling from, will also still need to complete a passenger locator form any time in the 48 hours before they arrive in the U.K.

The aim of the changes, according to the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, is to simplify rules and decrease the burden on people travelling. The new regime is expected to be fully in place in time for people returning from October half-term holidays in England.

The new rules announced apply to England. The devolved administrations are in charge of their own travel rules, but they have typically been mirroring Westminster’s approach.

Worth reading in full.

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