UK Gets rid of traffic light system for international travel but only opens up for a few countries. New Travel Rules still need quarantine for everyone else!

If you have been infuriated with the very complicated ‘traffic light’ system of the United Kingdom, and it has been keeping you away from travelling to the UK, fear no more. It is all going away, effective October 4, 2021. New Travel Rules will be replacing these current existing ones in the future.

New Travel Rules to take effect from October 4, 2021

The UK Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, has announced that as of October 4, UK’s Covid travel rules will be overhauled, and the traffic light system will be closed out, with only a single red list taking its place. This means the “amber” list, which was most of the world, would be abolished, and vaccinated travellers from these countries would be able to travel easily into the UK.

Fully vaccinated travellers from countries not on the red list will no longer be required to take a PCR test before travelling to the UK. They will only need to take a cheaper lateral flow test on or before the second day of their return.

https://twitter.com/grantshapps/status/1438890006437847043?s=20

https://twitter.com/grantshapps/status/1438890009478803465?s=20

The “red” list will remain, however, and will indicate countries that are Covid hotspots. Travelling from a red-list country would still need a quarantine on arrival in the UK, at the cost of GBP 2,285 per person. However, eight countries, including the Maldives, Turkey, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh, Kenya, and Pakistan, are getting out of the Red List, which means more accessible travel.

New Travel Rules for those fully vaccinated

As per the UK Government, for now, seventeen countries are going to be a part of the “fully vaccinated” traveller list. From 0400 UK Time on  Monday, October 4, 2021, onwards, if you have been fully vaccinated for at least 14 days:

  • under an approved vaccination program in the UK, Europe, US or UK vaccine programme overseas
  • with a full course of the Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna or Janssen vaccines from a relevant public health body in Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Dominica, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea or Taiwan – mixing between two-dose vaccines (Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna) in this list is also recognised
  • under a formally approved COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial in the US, Canada and Australia and have proof of participation (digital or paper-based) from a public health body

You must:

  • book and pay for a day 2 COVID-19 test – to be taken after arrival in England
  • complete your passenger locator form – any time in the 48 hours before you arrive in England
  • take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 after you arrive in England

You do not need to:

  • take a pre-departure test
  • take a day 8 COVID-19 test
  • quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days after you arrive in England

You must be able to prove that you have been fully vaccinated (plus 14 days) with a document (digital or paper-based) from a national or state-level public health body that includes, as a minimum:

  • forename and surname(s)
  • date of birth
  • vaccine brand and manufacturer
  • date of vaccination for every dose
  • country or territory of vaccination and/or certificate issuer

If your document from a public health body does not include all of these, you must follow the non-vaccinated rules. If not, you may be denied boarding.

If you are fully vaccinated in the US, will also need to prove that you are a resident of the US.

If you are fully vaccinated but do not qualify under these fully vaccinated rules, you must follow the non-vaccinated rules.

Travel from the rest of the world if you are not fully vaccinated

From 0400 Hours, October 4, 2021, you must follow these rules if you:

  • do not qualify under the fully vaccinated rules
  • are partially vaccinated
  • are not vaccinated

Before you travel to England you must:

  • take a pre-departure COVID-19 test – to be taken in the 3 days before you travel to England
  • book and pay for day 2 and day 8 COVID-19 tests – to be taken after arrival in England
  • complete your passenger locator form – any time in the 48 hours before you arrive in England

After you arrive in England you must:

  • quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days
  • take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8

You may be able to end quarantine early if you pay for a private COVID-19 test through the Test to Release scheme.

Travel from red countries

From 0400 Hours, October 4, 2021, you must follow these rules if you are:

  • fully vaccinated
  • partially vaccinated
  • not vaccinated

If you have been in a country or territory on the red list in the last 10 days, you will only be allowed to enter the UK if you are a British or Irish national or you have residence rights in the UK.

Before you travel to England, you must:

  • take a pre-departure COVID-19 test – to be taken in the 3 days before you travel to England
  • book a quarantine hotel package, including 2 COVID-19 tests
  • complete your passenger locator form – any time in the 48 hours before you arrive in England

When you arrive in England, you must quarantine in a managed hotel, including 2 COVID-19 tests.

Some references from Grant Shapps in the media indicate that he has also mentioned that the new travel rules will be in place until the end of the year.

Bottomline

Travel to the UK will become much more manageable from October 4, 2021, onwards for fully vaccinated travellers, who will be able to arrive without an RT-PCR test before departure, and won’t have to quarantine in the UK on arrival from non-red-list countries. Apparently, the UK is determining a country is largely vaccinated or not, before putting it up on the “fully-vaccinated” list, and hence most of the world is still going to be treated as earlier, but this is an abolition of the traffic light system and now on, either you are fully-vaccinated from certain countries, or you are not. Also, beats me that those who were vaccinated in the US will only be given access if they are “residents of the US”. Beats me if this has to do with the vaccination or with the rules for countries, again.

What do you make of the new travel rules being established by the UK?


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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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Comments

  1. What if you’re only on a less than 48hr stopover? Does this mean you won’t need to take the COVID 2 day test?

  2. Indians still need to do quarantine and pre-travel test as their list of countries with allowed vaccine does not include India. Neither includes Covishield.

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