COVID and international travel
22 December 2021
The abolition of the red list, the Test to Release scheme and COVID travel requirements are covered in updates to international travel.
Updates to international travel
The UK ‘red list’ is abolished (again)
At 4:00am on Wednesday 15 December, the UK Government once again removed all countries from the UK Red List for travel. This follows an earlier temporary reinstatement of the restrictions on 11 countries at the end of November. With Omicron cases already rising rapidly in the UK, the Minister for Transport advised that such travel restrictions offered little additional protection to the UK and were therefore being withdrawn due to not fulfilling their intended aim.
Those individuals in a Government hotel quarantine facility were released following a negative COVID test result and the Health Secretary Mr Javid also said he was “very persuaded” by calls to reimburse people and hoped to make an announcement on that soon.
COVID travel requirements
PCR testing has been re-instated in lieu of lateral flow tests for travellers arriving in the UK.
Before you travel to England:
If you are fully vaccinated and arrive in England after 4:00am Tuesday 30 November, you must:
- carry proof/evidence of your recognised vaccine status
- book and pay for a COVID-19 test – to be taken before the end of day two in England (must be a PCR test from 4:00am on 30 November 2021)
- complete a passenger locator form – to be completed in the 48 hours before you arrive in England
You cannot use an NHS test for this. You must use a private test provider.
You will need to enter your COVID-19 test booking reference number on your passenger locator form.
If you are not fully vaccinated, you must:
- take a COVID-19 test – to be taken in the three days before you travel to England
- book and pay for day two and day eight COVID-19 PCR tests – to be taken after arrival in England
- complete a passenger locator form – to be completed in the 48 hours before you arrive in England.
When you arrive in England:
If you are fully vaccinated, you must take a COVID-19 test on or before day two (the day you arrive is day 0). You must self-isolate in your home or place you are staying until you receive your negative test result. (NB, this is a newly extended requirement). If the test result is negative, you do not need to self-isolate further. If the result is positive or unclear, you must self-isolate for 10 full days. You can choose to take another private test and if that comes back negative, you can stop self-isolating.
Check the Government website to check if you qualify as fully vaccinated.
If you are not fully vaccinated, after you arrive in England you must:
- quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 full days
- take your COVID-19 PCR tests – you must book these tests before you travel
You must take the first test on or before day two and the second test on or after day eight (the day you arrive is day 0). If your day two test is positive, you must self-isolate for 10 full days (the day you took the test is day 0). You do not need to take the day eight test if your day two test is positive. If your day two test is negative, you must take your day eight test. If your day eight test is positive, you must self-isolate for 10 full days (the day you took the day eight test is day 0). If your day two test is negative, you must continue to quarantine. You must take your day eight test on or after day eight. If your day eight test is negative, you can stop quarantine on whichever is later: (1) day 10 – day 0 is the day you arrived in England or (2) when you receive the day eight test result.
Test to Release scheme
If you need to quarantine, you may be able to end quarantine early if you pay for a private COVID-19 test through the Test to Release scheme.
These articles are from the December 2021 issue of Employment and Immigration Law Update, our monthly newsletter for HR professionals. To download the latest issue, please visit the newsletter section of our website. For further information please contact a member of Birketts’ Immigration Team.
The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at December 2021.