Fully Vaccinated U.S. Travelers Can Head to the UK Quarantine-free Next Week
Fully vaccinated American travelers will no longer have to quarantine when traveling to the United Kingdom starting next week.
As of Aug. 2, travelers who have been fully vaccinated with an approved COVID-19 vaccine in the United States or Europe will be able to head to the UK from an "amber" country — which now includes the U.S. — quarantine-free, according to the government. Travelers will still have to get tested within three days of traveling 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.
In addition to a testing requirement, those vaccinated in the U.S. will have to show proof of U.S. residency, according to the government.
"We've taken great strides on our journey to reopen international travel and today is another important step forward. Whether you are a family reuniting for the first time since the start of the pandemic or a business benefiting from increased trade – this is progress we can all enjoy," Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in a statement. "We will of course continue to be guided by the latest scientific data but thanks to our world-leading domestic vaccination program, we're able to look to the future and start to rebuild key transatlantic routes with the US while further cementing ties with our European neighbors."
An exception to the new rules are travelers arriving from France, who will still be required to quarantine, regardless of their vaccination status.
While the UK may be gearing up to open its borders to U.S. travelers, America is not poised to do the same. Currently, the U.S. restricts 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, citing the spread of the delta variant. Additionally, both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the State Department warned Americans not to travel to the UK earlier this month.
The UK's decision to loosen border rules comes just over a week after the country celebrated "Freedom Day," eliminating capacity restrictions and lifting mask requirements. It also follows the country's decision to waive quarantine restrictions for fully vaccinated Brits who travel back from "amber" destinations.
In the UK, 88.2% of adults 18 and older have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine and 70.8% have received two doses, according to the government.
In addition to lifting border restrictions, the UK said international cruises could resume sailing from the country. The decision follows the restart of domestic-only sailings, including on Viking Cruises.
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.