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Travelling back to England from abroad? Here are the rules

·3-min read
 ( Unsplash)
( Unsplash)

The rules for British travellers arriving back in England mean fully vaccinated travellers should now require fewer tests on their return to England from the majority of countries around the world.

As part of the rule change, the UK government has replaced its previous pandemic traffic light system of ‘red’, ‘amber’ and ‘green’ countries with a single ‘red’ list of countries, while placing the rest of the world on a single footing.

For more information about the rules for travelling back to the UK’s other devolved nations see Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Here’s a round-up of the travel rules for England as they now stand.

Travelling to England after 4am, Monday 4 October


Prior to departure from abroad

Travellers who have been fully vaccinated for at least 14 days must:

  • book and pay for a day two Covid-19 test, to be taken after arrival in England*

  • complete a passenger locator form, any time in the 48 hours before arrival in England

  • take a Covid-19 test on or before day two of arriving in England

* From 24 October it will be possible to submit a lateral flow test rather than a more expensive PCR test. The lateral flow test must be booked with an approved provider via the government website at - free NHS Test & Trace tests will not be acceptable for international travellers. Bookings will be accepted from 22 October. Test submissions will be made using a photograph.

There will be no need to take either a pre-departure test, or a Covid-19 test on day eight. There’s also no need to quarantine for 10 days after arrival in England.

In-bound travellers must be able to prove that they have been fully vaccinated, either with an online or printed document produced by a national or state-level public health body.

Without the relevant paperwork, in-bound travellers will have to follow the rules as applied to non-vaccinated individuals (read more below).

Travellers who are not fully vaccinated must:

  • take a pre-departure Covid-19 test – to be taken in the three days before travelling to England

  • book and pay for day two and day eight Covid-19 tests – to be taken after arrival in England**

  • complete a passenger locator form – any time in the 48 hours before your arrival in England

After arriving in England, you must:

  • Quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days

  • Take a Covid-19 test on or before day two, and on or after day eight

You may be able to leave quarantine early by paying for a private Covid-19 test through the Test to Release scheme.

** These must be PCR tests, not lateral flow tests.


If you have been in a country or territory on the red list in the last 10 days, you will only be allowed to enter the UK if you are a British or Irish national, or if you have residence rights in the UK.

Before you travel to England you must:

  • take a pre-departure Covid-19 test – to be taken in the three days before you travel to England

  • book a quarantine hotel package, including two Covid-19 tests

  • complete a passenger locator form – any time in the 48 hours before arriving in England

  • when you arrive in England you must quarantine in a managed hotel, including two Covid-19 tests

Travelling with children

There are different age limits for children that need to take various Covid-19 tests:

  • test to enter another country – check foreign travel advice for the country concerned

  • test before travel back to England – children aged 10 and under do not need to take a test

  • day two and day eight tests after arrival in England – children aged four and under do not need to take a test

  • Test to Release test – children of all ages must take the test if adults in their household are taking part in the scheme

The seven countries/territories remaining on the red list are:

  • Panama

  • Colombia

  • Venezuela

  • Peru

  • Ecuador

  • Haiti

  • Dominican Republic.

Read More

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