Eligible, fully vaccinated passengers coming to England from countries not on the Red List can do a lateral flow test instead of PCR testing on or before the second day of their arrival from October 24th onwards. These can be booked from October 22nd.

As an alternative to PCR, eligible travelers can order lower-cost lateral flow tests from private test providers that deliver faster results. The list of approved private providers will go live on GOV.UK on October 22nd.

Passengers are required to take a photo of their lateral flow test and the private operator’s booking reference and return it to them to verify the result. Passengers can also book a test which they can take at test centers at some airports upon arrival in the UK.

Those who have already bought a PCR don’t need to buy another test. The arrival test must be taken as soon as possible on or before the second day of a passenger’s arrival in the UK. Lateral flow tests for international travel must be purchased from a private provider as NHS Test and Trace tests cannot be used for international travel.

The government is able to make this change thanks to the success of the vaccination program both in the UK and around the world, which has protected millions of people and reduced the risks of opening up international travel.

Anyone who tests positive must self-isolate and get a confirmatory PCR test. PCR testing can be accessed for free by ordering through NHS Test and Trace in the usual way – via nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. Vendors are expected to advise people to self-isolate and Referring to the NHS test and tracking the booking page.

Sajid Javid, Minister of Health and Social Affairs said:

We want to make traveling abroad easier and cheaper for you, whether you’re traveling on business or visiting friends and family.

Lateral flow tests will be available later this month for those returning from the semester break.

This switch to testing is only possible thanks to the incredible advances in our vaccination program, which means we can safely open up to travel as we learn to live with the virus. “

Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps said:

Today’s rule changes will make on-arrival testing easier and cheaper for people across the country looking forward to well-deserved breaks for this October semester.

The elimination of expensive mandatory PCR testing will boost the travel industry and is a huge step forward in normalizing international travel and encouraging people to book vacations with confidence. “

Dr. Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said:

Testing, along with vaccines, remains one of our first lines of defense against COVID-19. Getting a test as early as possible on arrival and being isolated if necessary can help contain the spread of the virus and protect each other. “

The government will expand the regulations and publish a protocol to allow some tests that are being delivered to the private test market that are pending validation to remain in the market for a short period of time. The aim is to address a potential supply bottleneck while work continues swiftly to ensure that ultimately only high performance tests are allowed to remain in the UK market. The government will continue to publish a list of private test providers who meet the minimum standards that the public can choose from, with PCR testing options also available.

All travelers must complete their passenger search form prior to travel, including a test booking reference number provided by a test provider. Travelers can upload their test booking reference on the Passenger Locator form starting October 22nd for arrivals in the UK starting October 24th.

Eligible travelers vaccinated in over 100 countries and territories including Brazil, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey will be treated like returning fully vaccinated UK residents.

This means they are entitled to the quarantine waiver and reduced testing measures, including only performing one lateral flow test on arrival. This applies as long as they have not visited a country or area on the Red List in the 10 days prior to their arrival in England. Eligible participants under the age of 18 from these countries will also be treated as fully vaccinated. The government continues to work with the decentralized administrations to ensure that robust border measures remain in place to protect the UK.

Passengers who are not fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine returning from a non-red destination are still required to have a pre-departure test, a PCR test on Day 2 and Day 8, and 10 days of self-isolation (with the option of Test for release on day 5).


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