Looking to travel to the United Kingdom? Consult this article to see which countries are currently allowed access and what you’ll have to do to get there.
Heathrow and Gatwick: All Countries Currently on the Non-Red List and New Rules Regarding Vaccinations
As of the time that this article is being written, the United Kingdom has done away with its “green list” of countries that are permitted to travel to the nation and its protectorates—instead, the island nation has opted to apportion countries into “red list” and “non-red list” countries. Residents of countries across the globe will be pleased to hear that at this time, only seven countries make the list—these include Columbia, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic.
That being said, even if your country is on the non-red list—which it most likely is if you’re reading this article—that doesn’t mean you can enter the United Kingdom without any restrictions, or even that you’ll be able to move about with total freedom once you get there. There are a few things you should keep in mind before you book your ticket and schedule your Heathrow COVID test—and you’ll definitely want to make sure you’ve been vaccinated beforehand.
Requirements to Keep in Mind Before Traveling
What Do You Need to Do Before Your Visit
First things first—you cannot enter the United Kingdom if you have been in a red list country within two weeks of your travel date unless you are a British citizen. In the case of British nationals, if you visited a red list country, you must quarantine upon your arrival home in England, Scotland, Wales, and any British protectorate that does not have its own qualifications for entry and re-entry.
If you have been vaccinated, you do not have to present a negative COVID-19 test to enter the United Kingdom. That being said, you will need to take a COVID test after you arrive within the United Kingdom—specifically, no later than the second day in the country. Be sure to accommodate for this so you can prepare ahead without having to self-isolate during your visit.
If you haven’t received the jab yet, that’s okay—you’re still allowed to visit the United Kingdom. That being said, you’ll have to undergo additional scrutiny before you’re allowed entry. Specifically, you will experience further testing and quarantine requirements.
It’s important to remember that in regards to Ireland, these regulations only apply to Northern Ireland, which is the portion that is a British possession. The Republic of Ireland is an independent nation with its own rules regarding entry and re-entry for foreign and domestic travellers. For more information, see the Republic of Ireland’s current travel requirements and plan your itinerary accordingly.
Restrictions for Arrivals
One of the first things to keep in mind before you enter the United Kingdom is that you will be required to fill out a passenger locator form. This is an essential element of your entry into the United Kingdom, as it can be considered a crime to enter without filling out this form—and if you do not, you can expect, or be prosecuted by local authorities.
For Red List Countries
As we stated earlier, red list arrivals are currently prohibited from entering the United Kingdom with the exception of English, Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish citizens and permanent residents who are returning home from abroad—even in these cases, entry is allowed with a few provisos.
For starters, if you have travelled to a red-list country or if you are a citizen of the United Kingdom who resides in a red list country, you will be required to quarantine for ten days upon your arrival back home. The cost of this must be covered at your own expense, and you will not receive any form of reimbursement from the British government to cover the cost incurred—it’s essential to plan accordingly so you can avoid running into any issues.
Because the United Kingdom wants to ensure that all residents have made the appropriate accommodations before their arrival, you will be required to purchase a “COVID package” before entering the United Kingdom. This will cover all of the expenses associated with quarantining in the UK once you arrive—including accommodations, as well as food and drink during the period of your stay.
Would-be travellers must make their bookings through a specific online portal. The cost for these packages generally runs around 3,000 pounds sterling—if you’re tempted to try to dodge these requirements because of their high price, keep in mind that failure to make these accommodations can result in a fine of up to 10,000 pounds sterling, as well as potential criminal charges.
As of October 11th, 2021, the previous number of 47 “red list” countries has been significantly pared down—now only including the seven countries mentioned previously.
For Non-Red List Countries
As stated earlier, it’s no longer a requirement for fully vaccinated travellers from non-red list countries to present a negative COVID-19 test prior to their arrival. This applies to every traveller under the age of 18 years. That being said, travellers over the age of 18 who are coming to the United Kingdom from non-red list countries will still be required to make an appointment—and pay—for a COVID-19 test within two days of their arrival in the United Kingdom.
If you are an unvaccinated traveller, you will still need to provide a negative COVID-19 test prior to your arrival within the United Kingdom, as well as information on your mandatory 10-day quarantine plan. Proof of your negative COVID-19 test can be presented via the EU Digital COVID Certificate. If you are in England, you can end quarantine by testing a few days after your arrival—that being said, arrivals to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland will need to fulfil the full 10-day requirement, regardless.
Most countries now offer vaccines that have been approved by the United Kingdom, including the entire European Union, the United States, and parts of South America, including Brazil, as well as regions of Africa, such as South Africa. Though the United Kingdom allows travel from every country on the non-red list, it’s essential to keep in mind that these countries may have restrictions in place that preclude travel to or from the United Kingdom for nonessential reasons.