Public health has always been at the heart of our international travel policy – and with more than eight in ten adults fully vaccinated in the UK, we are now able to introduce an updated system.
That is why we have today announced a simpler, more straightforward approach for international travel – scrapping costly pre-departure and PCR tests for fully vaccinated passengers, and moving away from the ‘traffic light system’ towards an easier to understand travel list.
These changes will allow more people to travel, see loved ones, and conduct business around the world – while also providing a boost for the travel sector as we build back better from the pandemic.
We are doing this by:
- Creating a simplified system for international travel by ending the traffic light system, providing greater stability for industry and passengers. From 4 October, we will no longer use a traffic light system of red, amber or green – but instead have a ‘red list’ of countries that are most at risk and people should not travel to, and the ‘rest of the world’, which will be merge the green and amber country lists.
- Reducing testing requirements for eligible fully vaccinated travellers, lowering costs and making it easier to travel. From 4 October, fully vaccinated passengers travelling from non-red list countries into England will no longer be required to take a pre departure test before arrival – and later in October, will only have to take a day 2 lateral flow test, instead of a more costly PCR test. All passengers will still be required to fill in a Passenger Locator Form ahead of travel.
- Retaining testing measures for non-vaccinated travellers, stopping the spread of the virus in the UK. Passengers arriving from non-red list countries who are not fully vaccinated will have to take a pre-departure test, a day 2 and 8 PCR test, and self-isolate for ten days upon their return – with Test to Release remaining an option if they wish to shorten their isolation period. For passengers arriving from red list countries – the managed 10-day quarantine will continue, and Test to Release will not be an option.
- Extending our inbound vaccination policy to more countries, allowing people to travel safely into the UK. In addition to the EU and US, from 4 October we will also permit entry to people who have been fully vaccinated in 17 more countries and territories – including Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Dominica, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.
- Changing the rules about transit. Later in October, passengers who remain airside in airports, and in railway stations, will only be required to follow the measures associated to their country of departure, rather than any countries they have transited through as part of their journey.