Travel Testing: All You Need to Know
Travel Testing: All You Need to Know
On Monday 4th October, the changes took effect for the new regulations for Arrivals that the UK Government have announced.
The green and amber lists are being discarded. The vast majority of popular tourist destinations, such as the USA, France, Spain, Greece and Italy, are now considered safe to visit, with a smaller number of countries remaining on the red list.
The main change that comes into effect is for fully vaccinated travellers. If you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need to take a pre-departure test when travelling to the UK, or fulfill any home quarantine arrangements. However, you do still need to take a Day 2 Arrivals test on or before Day 2 after your arrival.
If you are not fully vaccinated, then you still need to take a pre-departure test before travelling to England/Scotland/Wales and then do a full 10-day quarantine at the place you are staying after you arrive. As part of the quarantine requirements you need to pre-book and take a Day 2 and a Day 8 arrivals test.
If you arrive into England, and test negative on your Day 2 test, then you can also take a Day 5 Test to Release test. If you test negative for this test as well as your Day 2 test, then you can release from quarantine. Note this test is valid for England only.
What about vaccinations?
England will also be recognising vaccines from and opening up to fully vaccinated travellers from 18 new countries, including Australia and New Zealand, Barbados, and various destinations in Asia.
If you qualify as fully vaccinated with a recognised vaccine, you'll no longer need to get a pre-departure lateral flow test. Instead, you'll simply need to take a Day 2 PCR test when you return. This Day 2 test can be taken from the time of your arrival up to midnight on day 2.
However, not everything is changing. As always, anyone testing positive will need to isolate and take a PCR test. This will be available at no cost to the passenger. Everybody who wants to travel will also still need to fill in a passenger locator form.
Testing for those unvaccinated, partially-vaccinated or vaccinated with non-recognised vaccines who are travelling from 'safe' countries will stay the same. The option to test to release will also remain in place, giving you the chance to shorten your quarantine time - unless you're travelling from a red list country. If that's the case, Test to Release will not be available.
In late October, the government will also allow passengers whose journeys require stopovers to follow safety measures from their country of departure and not from countries they pass through as part of their journey.
To sum up:
Under the new rules, those who qualify as fully vaccinated don't need:
- a pre-departure test
- a day 8 test
- to quarantine for 10 days after arrival
These changes form an important step towards normality and mean that it will be easier and cheaper to go on holiday and see friends and family - something that we've all been looking forward to.
When will the lateral flow day 2 become available?
The government has not yet announced when this change is going to happen, but it's expected to take place in late October. Check back here for more information on when you can book your lateral flow Day 2 test with ExpressTest.
To learn more about the upcoming changes, you can visit the Gov.uk website. Please bear in mind that while this information was correct at the time of posting, this is a fast-moving situation and things may change quickly. Always make sure you check the Gov.uk website for the most up-to-date information before you travel.
Children under 18 years - Arrivals Testing for England
Children's testing requirements for arrival into England depends on their residency.
If they are under 18 and live in the UK or a country with an approved vaccination programme, or if they are taking part in an approved UK or US COVID-19 vaccine trial, they qualify as fully vaccinated and should follow the rules for fully vaccinated arrivals.
If they are under 18 and live outside the UK or outside a country with an approved vaccination programme, they are considered not fully vaccinated and should follow the rules for not fully vaccinated arrivals.
Under 5s are usually exempt from Arrivals testing and quarantine.