Currently, the UK operates a 'traffic light' system which every person travelling to, and arriving in, the UK is subject to. The colour you are subject to depends on where you are planning to travel to the UK from. See Red, amber and green list: check the rules for travel to England from abroad. Onward links can be found there for the rules for arriving in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
From 4am on 4 October 2021, the UK is reducing the requirements for travel to England from a three-light 'traffic light' system (red, amber, and green) to a red-only system. The requirements for people coming from countries which remain on the red list will remain largely unchanged. Countries not on the red list will be referred to as the ‘rest of the world’ and the requirements for people from the rest of the world will be divided into those who have been ‘fully vaccinated’ and those who have not.
The latest source information about the changes for England from 4am on 4 October 2021 can be found at Changes to international travel rules. The three key changes are summarised below:
- Pre-travel Covid-19 testing - People arriving in England will not be required to have taken a pre-departure Covid-19 test if they are from a non-red list country and are considered to be 'fully vaccinated'.
- Quarantine (or self-isolation) on arrival in the UK - People arriving in England will not be required to quarantine at home (or in the place they are staying) if they are from a non-red list country and are considered to be 'fully vaccinated'.
- Post-travel Covid-19 testing after arrival in the UK - People arriving in England will not be required to take a day 8 test if they are from a non-red list country and are considered to be 'fully vaccinated'. They will only be required to take a day 2 test.
The gov.uk information says that being ‘fully vaccinated’ will mean:
“[…] you are vaccinated either:
- under an approved vaccination programme in the UK, Europe, USA 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, Taiwan or the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
“Formulations of the 4 listed vaccines, such as AstraZeneca Covishield, AstraZeneca Vaxzevria and Moderna Takeda, qualify as approved vaccines.
“You must have had a complete course of an approved vaccine at least 14 days before you arrive in England.
“Where 2 doses of a vaccine are required for a full course, you will be able to:
- mix 2 different types of vaccine, for example Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna
- have the 2 vaccinations under 2 different approved programmes, for example Australia and Japan, UK and USA, EU and Canada”
The gov.uk information goes on to state that the rules for fully vaccinated people will also apply to those who are:
- “under 18 and resident in the UK or one of the listed countries or territories with approved vaccination programmes”
- “taking part in an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial in the UK or USA”
The ‘Red list’
We expect that the ‘Red list’ will remain subject to amendment. In addition, it is also hoped that, in time, existing non-red list countries will be added to the list of relevant public health bodies issuing the full course of the Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna or Janssen vaccines.