Travellers from Europe to England face fewer Covid tests as UK eases border rules

(Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP)
Vaccinated travellers from Europe will no longer have to take pre-departure Covid-19 tests when heading to England, after the UK announced a shake up of border rules.

The shake up of the much-maligned Covid travel rules for entering UK countries comes into force on Monday, October 4th.

The new measures are initially only applicable for travel to England but the devolved nations of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are likely to follow suit.

Travellers heading from European countries to the England should take note of the following changes:

  • The UK has scrapped its “amber” list which contained most European countries. It now has just a reduced red list and then the “rest of the world” which currently contains European countries.
  • Vaccinated travellers from green list countries do not need to undertake pre-departure tests for travel to England (previously those travelling from European countries needed a PCR or antigen/lateral flow test within 72 hours of travel). This measure will be applicable from October 4th a 4am.
  • Those arriving in England from a non-red country will still need a test on day two of arrival, but it can be the cheaper lateral flow tests rather than the expensive PCR tests which previously needed to be reserved and paid for in advance of travel. This measure will come into force “later in October” and would only be for those who have been injected against Covid-19 with an “approved vaccine”. It was not clear whether these would have to be paid for and reserved in advance.
  • Anyone testing positive will need to isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test, at no additional cost to the traveller, which “would be genomically sequenced to help identify new variants”.  
    • For unvaccinated travellers, strict rules still apply including the need to quarantine for 10 days after arrival . “Testing for unvaccinated passengers from non-red countries will include pre-departure tests, day 2 and day 8 PCR tests. and test to release remains an option to reduce self-isolation period,” the government said.
  • All passengers will still need to fill in a Passenger Locator Form ahead of travel. 

Member comments

  1. I suggest that anyone that is still confused should read the post about the new rules as from Oct 4 on Germany Embassy Facebook page

  2. With all of the changing information I am quite lost.
    I am a double vaccinated, British Citizen, Swedish Resident. I intend to fly to the UK on the 11th of October. It is my understanding that all I need prior to arriving at the airport is my Covid Bevis. It is also my understanding that I will not need to do a Covid test at any point before my departure. Right?
    Now my return to Sweden 2 weeks later is where I am most uncertain. I assume I need to do a Covid test at some point before returning. How does one acquire an acceptable test in the UK and when and whom do I submit it to? I have never done a test before and I’m unsure how it works. Do I also need to do one when I have returned to Sweden?

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thank you.

    Several unrelated bonus questions:
    Should I bring my own fresh fruit with me?
    Will my luggage be weighed in grams or ounces?
    Do they still accept your passport if it is burgundy?
    Upon my arrival, will I be arrested for not paying my student loan?

  3. Clear now Ben.

    Plus an interesting new addition “Until 4 October, mixed vaccines are only permitted if you are vaccinated under the UK, Europe, USA or UK overseas vaccination programme.” (no doubt you’ll now get questions asking if those with 2 of the same can enter – ha ha!)

  4. Just posted on the Embassy FB page

    Brits in Germany could you please confirm that as from 4.10.21 people with mixed vaccinations , as advised by the German government , WILL be accepted as fully vaccinated when traveling to the uk.

    Dear Stevie,
    From 4 October 2021 the UK will recognise certificates showing vaccination with doses of two different vaccines, as long as both vaccines are amongst the four vaccines approved in the UK (Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson). The official guidance will be updated in due course.

  5. I have searched and searched for the so called list of countries and it is nowhere to be found! Such conflicting information it’s ridiculous.

  6. Hi Ben, Sorry about my recent posts. Just read this after I posted! Yes lots of contradictory information being given by people in Government positions that should know better! Personally, and this is just my opinion, I think the jobs worth ‘spokesperson(s)’ are just sticking to what is current. We’ll soon find out though as I’m driving from Frankfurt to England via Belgium, France (Dunkirk-Dover) on the 10 O’clock ferry on Monday 4th Oct!

  7. I think you are right. The spokesperson is promising me an answer soon. We’ll post an update ASAP. THanks for your posts.

  8. Hey Simon and all others with the same question. We have been looking into this today and you might have seen the recent articles. We are also very confused by all the government websites and links. We asked the department of health to clarify it and they insisted (or at least a spokesperson did) that there’s been no change regarding mixed vaccines in Europe – in other words they are not classed as fully vaccinated. However this info was contradicted by a post on the British embassy’s Facebook page in Germany. So I’ve asked the DEpt of Health in UK to once again clarify. The confusing part of the info for the public is around the words “in this list” – what list exactly? The list of those countries? Or does it include Europe, the US and UK? Hopefully will get to the bottom of it…

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