News: Key changes to the UK travel rules

UK Government eliminates traffic light system, simplifies travel rules and reduces red list

Updated 14/10/2021

The UK has introduced simplified travel rules that eliminates the previous traffic light system in favour of a singular “red list”, consisting of countries which are Covid-19 hot zones.  

What does this mean for me?  

If you are fully-vaccinated and planning to travel into the UK from a non-red list destination then there will be no need to quarantine and self-isolate for 10 days.

Until 24th October: PCR tests for each traveller 5 years old and over will still need to be purchased and used for the second day after arrival.  

From 24th October: fully vaccinated passengers and most under 18s arriving in England can take a cheaper lateral flow test, instead of a PCR test, on or before day 2 of their arrival into the UK.

Are the rules the same across every nation in the UK?

The same rules apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Lateral flow tests are also allowed provided that they met the approved specifications.

What happens if I’m not fully vaccinated? 

If you are not fully vaccinated and travelling out of the UK then you will need to take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on the 2nd and 8th day from returning. Furthermore, you will still have to self-isolate at home for 10 days upon your return. 

What about if I’m travelling from a red list country? 

If you are travelling from a red-listed country then you must quarantine for 10 days in a government-approved hotel, costing £2,285 per adult. Moreover, only UK and Irish nationals and residents will be permitted to enter the UK if they have been in a red-list country within the last 10 days. 

What about travelling back from red list countries with children? 

When entering England from a red list country, children aged 11 to 17 must take a COVID-19 test in the 3 days before travel to England. On arrival in England children aged 5 to 17 must quarantine in a managed hotel for 10 full days and take 2 COVID-19 tests. Children aged 4 or under do not have to take any travel tests but must enter managed quarantine. 

When do these changes take place? 

The changes came into effect from 4:00 BST on the 11th October 2021. 

Which countries are on the new red list?

The red list now includes 7 countries.

Don’t forget to check the latest restrictions between any two destinations here

  • Colombia
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Haiti
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Venezuela

When is this likely to change again? 

The red list will be reviewed every three weeks.

Do get in touch with any questions at all and happy travels!


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