LAST UPDATED 06 JANUARY 2022
Testing and border measures are changing for fully eligible fully vaccinated travellers arriving in England.
Published 5 January 2022
From 4am on Sunday 9 January, eligible fully vaccinated travellers and over 5s will be able to take a lateral flow test instead of a PCR on or before day 2 of their arrival in England. Lateral flow tests for travel can be booked from Friday 7 January and taken upon arrival, by the end of day 2.
Eligible fully vaccinated passengers and under 18s will no longer need to take a pre-departure test or self-isolate on arrival in England from 4am on Friday 7 January but must continue to take their post-arrival tests.
As data shows Omicron is the dominant variant in the UK and spreading widely in the community it is now proportionate to cautiously reduce testing measures at the borders.
Anyone who receives a positive result on their lateral flow test must self-isolate immediately and order a NHS PCR test from GOV.UK. Positive PCR tests for arrivals will be sequenced to understand if and where variants are emerging around the globe in order to protect the UK public.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said:
As we learn more about the Omicron variant it is right that we keep our testing and border measures under review to ensure they remain proportionate.
The steps we’re taking will make travel easier for people while protecting the UK public from the virus.
Omicron continues to be a serious threat and it is important that travellers continue to get tested. The most important thing anyone can do if they haven’t already is come forward for their vaccine.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
I’ve always said that we won’t keep international travel restrictions in place any longer than they are necessary to protect public health.
That’s why we’re removing the temporary, extra testing measures we introduced for Omicron in November, making travel easier and cheaper for fully vaccinated passengers and providing a big boost for the travel industry as we enter the peak new year booking period.
We want to provide more certainty to passengers and businesses, and will do a full review of our international travel measures for 2022 by the end of the month.
Dr Susan Hopkins, UK Health Security Agency, said:
It is vital anyone who receives a positive day 2 lateral flow test self-isolates immediately and orders a PCR on GOV.UK. All travel PCRs with high amounts of virus are sequenced to help us understand if any new variants are emerging around the world and entering the UK.
Everyone must continue to wear face coverings where required, wash hands regularly and work from home to help stop the spread of the virus and keep our loved ones and community safe.
Lateral flow tests for international travel must be purchased from a private provider as NHS Test and Trace lateral flow tests cannot be used for international travel. Passengers who have already bought a PCR to use for travel do not need to buy another test as PCRs can still be used.
Unvaccinated passengers must continue to take a pre-departure test, PCR test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 and self-isolate for 10 days. ‘Test to release’ remains an option for unvaccinated people to shorten their self-isolation period.
Proof of vaccination from over 15 further countries and territories will be accepted for entry into England from 4am on Monday 10 January: Bhutan, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Fiji, Iraq, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, north of Cyprus, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Solomon Islands, The Gambia and Uzbekistan.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently granted WHO Emergency Use List (EUL) authorisation to the 2 versions of the ‘Novavax’ vaccine named Covovax and Nuvaxovid. Therefore, eligible travellers who have received either version of this vaccine will be recognised for international travel into England from 4am on Monday 10 January.
No countries have been added to the UK travel red list, which remains on standby. A further review of all travel measures will be carried out later in the month, and our long-term goal remains to return to safe, restriction-free travel as soon as it’s safe to do so.
PCR tests can be accessed free of charge by ordering in the usual way through NHS Test and Trace – via nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. Test providers will be expected to advise people to self-isolate and direct people towards the NHS Test and Trace booking page.
This is separate to the earlier decision made by the UK Health Security Agency to temporarily suspend confirmatory PCR tests in the community in the UK.
Under the Test to Release scheme, unvaccinated travellers can choose to pay for a private COVID-19 test on day 5. If the result is negative (and the result of the day 2 test result is negative) they can end their quarantine.
ARRIVE RELAX TRAVEL
We continue to monitor and follow the relevant Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice for all of our customers and destinations we operate to and your health and well-being is our priority. Arrive Relax Travel offers customers a full range of travel agency services, all of which are financially protected. We are also a Member of The Travel Network Group, the UK’s largest travel membership organisation.
Below you will see the answers to some of the currently most frequently asked questions. Our customers services team are always on hand during office hours to answer any questions that you may have.
We advise you to follow all applicable travel advice, including information from HM Government and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office:
Wash hands regularly with soap and water or a disinfectant, especially after coughing and sneezing, before handling and consuming food
* Use disposable tissues when coughing or sneezing and dispose of used tissues carefully and promptly
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
* Avoid close contact with people who appear unwell and avoid sharing personal items
* Public Health England (PHE) recommends against using masks outside clinical settings. Should you decide to use a mask, you should ensure you continue to use all the recommended precautions in order to minimise the risk of transmission
Avoid unnecessary, unprotected contact with live animals and make sure you wash hands thoroughly after contact with an animal
We know that the current situation regarding the coronavirus is concerning for everyone but we’d like to reassure you about taking a holiday with Arrive Relax Travel and our Partners
We will continue to operate as normal, take all of our customers on their holiday, whilst abiding by all FCDO requirements and do our best to ensure they have a brilliant time. If there is specific government advice to stop going to a particular destination you will get a full refund or the option to change your booking.
We are constantly working with all of our business partners to ensure that we have have the most up to date information possible. We will share any changes with you, in the event of advisory changes by the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office).
Absolutely. Arrive Relax Travel is a member of the Travel Network Group and we offer a wide range of travel services as a totally independent travel agent. The Travel Network Group is the UK’s largest travel licencing and regulatory body and through our membership, we offer all of our customers a 100% financial protection guarantee.
No one can make that decision for you, however, there is currently no evidence to suggest that you should be unduly worried. We already do recommend to all of our customers that you have adequate travel insurance in place before we release tickets and travel documents to you.
There are some incredible deals to be taken advantage of for the Summer 2022, Winter 2022 and Winter 2022/2023 seasons in line with (not because of) normal sale projections. In fact, destinations available in Winter 2020/2021 are recording record sales so we advise you to take advantage of them.
Holidays are operating as normal and you can continue to enjoy your holiday as planned. Normal terms and conditions apply for any amendments or cancellations. However, should the Foreign Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) travel advice change to advise against travel to the country you are visiting or due to visit we will contact you to discuss your options, including if applicable an amendment or full refund. In the event we or our business partners are unable to operate your holiday as booked, we will contact you to discuss this.
Wearing a mask on any flight is totally down to the airline concerned and you are required to abide by those rules and you could be offloaded from the flight with no recourse for refund (individually or as a group) for failure to comply.
If there is an outbreak where you are staying our business partners and your local resort team will follow local authority guidelines. We would ask that you completely comply with any additional screening measures that are put in place. If you develop symptoms, however mild, please follow the guidance of the overseas health authority.
There are a number of sources of OFFICIAL information in the UK depending on the information that you are looking for.
Travel Aware Campaign
(Found on Travel Aware, commissioned and updated by HM Government)
Travel aware, know before you go. Preparing you for safe and healthy travel abroad. Packed full of general travel information on a wide range of topics.
(Found on Gov.uk, commissioned and updated by various official UK government sources)
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) information for the public.
Travel Health Pro
(Found on Travel Health Pro, commissioned and updated by Public Health England)
Advice for travellers from the UK on preparing to travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Foreign Travel Advice
(Found on Gov.uk commissioned and updated by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
Get advice about travelling abroad, including the latest information on coronavirus, safety and security, entry requirements and travel warnings.