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7 Jan 2022

Pre-departure tests, day 2 PCRs and self-isolation scrapped for travellers into the UK

The new rules came into effect on Friday 7 January

Vaccinated travellers returning into England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are no longer be required to take pre departure tests. Day 2 testing rules have also eased - here's what you need to know.

Testing and isolation rules for vaccinated holidaymakers returning from green list countries changed on 7 January. Fully vaccinated UK travellers (plus those under the age of 18) no longer need to take a pre departure test, nor self-isolate on arrival into the UK.

The requirement to take a PCR test was eased for those arriving after 9 January, stipulating that travellers may choose to take a lateral flow instead. However, if the lateral flow test comes back positive, travellers will be required to take a free NHS PCR test and self-isolate until getting a negative result.

The rule change was first announced for travellers entering England, but Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have all followed suit.

What are the current UK travel rules?

On 7 January at 4am, testing rules eased for fully vaccinated people and those under the age of 18. Those in this group returning to the UK must:

  • Book a private day 2 lateral flow or PCR test to be taken on your return to the UK
  • Complete a passenger locator form within 48 hours before arriving in the UK.
  • If your day 2 lateral flow comes back positive, take a free NHS PCR test and self-isolate until getting a negative result.

Can I use a free NHS test as a day 2 test?

No, you must book a private test. When doing so, you'll receive a code which you'll be asked to include in your passenger locator form.

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What else do I need to know?

It's worth bearing in mind that your destination may have its own entry requirements, and you may need to take tests before and/or after arriving in the country. Some countries, though on the UK's own green list, may not be accepting travellers from the UK.

Where can I get a cheap day 2 test?

We've mystery shopped the best cheap day 2 test providers to help you pick a travel test that won't let you down. Read more about our mystery shop in our travel advice section.

When is the next update?

Grant Shapps has confirmed that the rules will be in place until the end of January u201cto ensure a stable system is in place for 2022u201d.

Do I need currently need a test to travel from Ireland to UK?

No. Those travelling to the UK from the Common Travel Area, which includes Ireland, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Ireland are exempt from the rules. However, UK residents do currently need a test to travel to Ireland.

Do children need to take pre departure tests before returning to UK?

Children aged 11 and younger do not need to take a test before returning to UK. Those aged between 12 and 17 will, however, need to take a test.