UK Eliminates Pre-departure Testing, Quarantine Requirement for Vaccinated Travelers

The UK is also streamlining its traffic light entry system, moving to a single list of either "red" countries or "non-red" countries.

Photo: Tejas Sandhu/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Starting Monday, vaccinated travelers heading to the UK from most destinations — including the United States — won't have to get tested before departure or quarantine upon arrival.

Additionally, the UK has streamlined its traffic light entry system on the same day, moving to a single list of either "red" countries and countries whose citizens are allowed to enter. The country will also look to replace the day 2 PCR test with a cheaper lateral flow test later in the month. Travelers arriving from red countries must still quarantine in a hotel upon arrival.

Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, initially announced the new simplified rules in September on social media.

In August, the UK opened to fully-vaccinated American travelers without the need to quarantine upon arrival. Currently, travelers must get tested within three days of heading to the country, pre-book a COVID-19 PCR test to take on or before the second day of their stay, and complete a passenger locator form.

Unvaccinated travelers heading to the UK will be required to do the pre-departure test, get tested again on day 2 and day 8, and self-isolate for 10 days upon arrival, according to the government.

Tejas Sandhu/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The U.S. continues to restrict non-essential travel for non-U.S. citizens from several countries around the world, including the UK, and the Biden administration has said there are no plans to lift those restrictions just yet.

Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of State have classified the UK under their highest travel warning due to a "very high" incidence of COVID-19 transmission. In the UK, 89.3% of people 16 and older have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine and 81.5% have received two doses, according to the government.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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