As news of the Omicron variant surfaced over Thanksgiving, various countries have started to impose their own restrictions on international travel.
The United Kingdom, some cases of the Omicron already in their territory, changed their rules, to deem a compulsory RT-PCR test on arrival (up to two days after arrival) from people. This rule is not just valid for countries in Africa, but globally.
Now, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care of the UK, Sajid Javid, has announced a new requirement, going into effect on Tuesday, December 7, 2021, at 4 AM UK Time.
And – from 4am Tuesday, anyone travelling to the UK from countries not on the Red List will be required to take a pre-departure test, regardless of their vaccination status. 2/3
— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) December 4, 2021
As per the new requirements posted on the Gov.Uk website,
You must take the test in the 2 days before your service to England departs.
For example, if you travel directly to England on Friday, you could take a test any time on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. The test result must be available for boarding.
If your journey to England is a multi-leg journey, you must take the test 2 days before the start of the first leg.
Type of test
The test must meet performance standards of ≥97% specificity, ≥80% sensitivity at viral loads above 100,000 copies/ml.
This could include tests such as:
- a nucleic acid test, including a PCR test
- a LAMP test
- an antigen test, such as an LFD (lateral flow device) test
You must check with your test provider that the test meets the standards. You may not be able to travel if it does not.
If you have recently had COVID
If you have recently recovered from COVID but are no longer infectious, you should use a lateral flow device (LFD) test. LFD tests have lower sensitivity than PCR or LAMP tests, so they are less likely to return a positive result from a historic infection. The LFD test must meet the minimum performance standards as set out above.
Where to take your test
You will need to find a private test provider to take a test.
You can choose to take a test:
- in the place where you start your journey
- in another country on your way to England, if you are travelling through another country
Where possible, the government travel advice pages provide information about finding a testing provider.
Taking a test on your journey to England
If your journey to England is long and will involve stopping in another country on the way, you should try to take a test in the country you’re travelling through. This is so you take the test in the 2 days before you board the final service to England.
For example, if you’re driving from Germany and you stop for a few days in Belgium, you should take a test in Belgium.
If your journey to England is a multi-leg journey, you can take the test 2 days before the start of the first leg. However, where possible, you should get a test within 2 days of your final departure point to England.
Check that you will be able to get a test
If you plan to take a test in a country on your way to England, you must make sure that this is possible before you set out. Some countries have entry restrictions in place, which mean you may not be able to get tested there.
If you do not have proof of a test because you planned to get tested on your journey, but you were not able to do so because you were not able to enter the country in which you planned to get tested, you will be allowed to board. But you may be fined £500 on arrival in England because you do not have a valid test result.
If you are arriving in England after December 7, 2021, take note to have a negative test within two days before departure. While there are many ifs and buts right now (2 days means 48 hours or 2 calender days?) but a report will anyways be required.
What do you make of the (ever) changing requirements to travel to the United Kingdom?
Liked our articles and our efforts? Please pay an amount you are comfortable with; an amount you believe is the fair price for the content you have consumed. Please enter an amount in the box below and click on the button to pay; you can use Netbanking, Debit/Credit Cards, UPI, QR codes, or any Wallet to pay. Every contribution helps cover the cost of the content generated for your benefit.
(Important: to receive confirmation and details of your transaction, please enter a valid email address in the pop-up form that will appear after you click the ‘Pay Now’ button. For international transactions, use Paypal to process the transaction.)
We are not putting our articles behind any paywall where you are asked to pay before you read an article. We are asking you to pay after you have read the article if you are satisfied with the quality and our efforts.