From 4am on Monday 4 October 2021, a new set of rules regarding international travel has been introduced to make things simpler for people looking to travel overseas.
Rather than the traffic light system that was introduced earlier in the year, the government has now adapted the rules to make them simpler for anyone returning to England, with a single list of red countries that will be reviewed every three weeks.
The new rules mean that anyone travelling from a country that is not part of the red list will no longer need to a take a return to the UK test before travelling as long as they are fully vaccinated and can provide proof of vaccination. The same rules will apply for anyone under the age of 18.
There will still be a requirement to book and pay for a PCR test two days after arrival for everyone bar children under the age of five, although the requirement to self isolate for a ten day period has now been removed.
All passengers will need to complete a passenger locator form.
The only exception to this is for people who are NOT fully vaccinated. In this case, you will be required to carry out a pre-departure test, followed by PCR tests on days two and eight after returning to the England. Self isolation for a ten day period is also required.
At a later date in October, the need for vaccinated people arriving in England to carry out a PCR test will be removed, with the option to instead take a lateral flow test.
Travel from a country on the red list will require pre-departure COVID tests and a stay in a quarantine hotel on arrival with two COVID-19 tests. This applies regardless of vaccination status.
Further details can be found here.
Fully vaccinated means you have had a complete course of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before arriving in the UK.
To get a digital NHS COVID Pass for travel you need one of the following.
The NHS COVID Pass is usually available within 24 hours of having your vaccination, but it can take up to 5 days for your records to be updated.
The NHS COVID Pass is available after you've finished self-isolating and up to 180 days after taking the test.
You can also get a COVID Pass letter sent to your registered address.
Everyone arriving in the UK is required to complete a Passenger Locator Form within the 48 hours prior to travelling, with airlines requiring evidence that the form has been completed in order to allow you to board a flight.
In order to complete the form, you will need your passport details, travel details, address, booking reference for the relevant COVID-19 tests on returning home, and the invoice number for a quarantine hotel if required.
The form can be filled in here.
The test that must be taken on day two of your arrival in England needs to be pre-booked in order to complete the required passenger locator form.
The test must come from a Government approved supplier, with further information available here.
In line with European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) guidelines, face masks are still required on flights and at at the airport, despite the easing of regulations in the UK. Failure to wear a face mask, or to inform your airline in advance, could result in you being refused permission to board.
Anyone who is exempt from wearing a face mask will need to provide proof of exemption prior to travelling.
The rules around COVID-19 are not a 'one size fits all' and can differ from one destination to the next. Entry requirements and rules around COVID-19 - including things like whether face masks must be worn - can be found here.