Pre-departure & day 2 PCR tests scrapped for UK arrivals

From 4am on Friday 7 January 2022 travellers no longer need to take a pre-departure Covid-19 test within 48 hours before they travel to the UK. Day 2 PCR tests will be replaced with cheaper antigen lateral flow tests for fully vaccinated travellers.

New testing & quarantine rules for travellers arriving in the UK © Oleksandr Dibrova - Adobe Stock Image
New testing & quarantine rules for travellers arriving in the UK © Oleksandr Dibrova - Adobe Stock Image

Fully vaccinated travellers arriving after 4am on Sunday 9 January 2022 from Rest of the World (ROW) countries must take a Covid-19 antigen lateral flow test on or before day 2 (the day of arrival is day 0) but do not need to self-isolate until they receive a negative result.

Unvaccinated travellers must take a Covid-19 PCR test on or before day 2 and on day 8. They must quarantine for 10 days with the option to use the 'Test to Release' scheme to shorten this period (in England only).

Book Covid-19 tests >>

All countries to be removed from UK red list

From 4am on Wednesday 15 December 2021, all countries will be removed from the UK red list. If you arrive in the UK after this time you will no longer have to stay in a quarantine hotel for 10 days.

The UK government will remove all 11 countries from the UK travel red list from 4am on Wednesday 15 December 2021 including South Africa, Botswana and Namibia.

  • Angola
  • Botswana
  • Eswatini (formerly Swaziland)
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • South Africa
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Travellers arriving in the UK from Wednesday morning will not need to stay in hotel quarantine for 10 days. Day 2 & 8 PCR tests for unvaccinated travellers will remain for international arrivals.

More about testing >>

New rules for travellers arriving in the UK

The 'traffic light system' for international arrivals was replaced with a simpler two tier system with Red list countries and the Rest of the World (ROW) on Monday 4 October 2021. All green and amber list countries were consolidated into the ROW list

Please note: changes have come into force in England. Please be sure to check the specific travel restrictions if you're leaving from/arriving in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

ROW list countries

The rules for those arriving from ROW countries differ for fully vaccinated travellers and non-vaccinated travellers. This includes the requirements for testing and quarantine.

Fully vaccinated & children

The rules for travellers who are fully vaccinated, exempt or under 18 arriving from ROW countries are:

  • Complete passenger locator form
  • No pre-departure test in destination - from 7 January
  • Antigen lateral flow test replaces PCR test - from 9 January

Vaccinations must be from the UK vaccine programme or recognised overseas programme at least 14 days before you arrive in England. Proof of vaccination status is required with an appropriate Covid-19 passport or certification.

Not fully vaccinated

The rules for travellers who aren't fully vaccinated arriving from ROW countries are:

  • Complete passenger locator form
  • No pre-departure test in destination - from 7 January
  • PCR test required on or before day 2 & day 8
  • Quarantine at home for 10 days required
  • Option to use 'Test to Release' scheme to shorten quarantine (England only)

Browse ROW list >>

Red list countries

All foreign travellers who have been in or through red-listed countries in the previous 10 days will be refused entry to the UK. All British and Irish nationals, including people with the right to live in the UK, must quarantine in government approved hotels for 10 days.

  • Complete passenger locator form
  • No pre-departure test in destination - from 7 January
  • PCR test required on or before day 2 & day 8
  • Quarantine in hotel for 10 days required

Browse red list >>

For a full summary of Covid-19 statistics and regulations by country, and to compare destinations around the world, visit our interactive Covid-19 travel planner.

The next UK government review of the UK travel list and testing requirements is due to take place in the last week of Janaury 2022.

Updated on Wednesday 5 January 2022

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