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Travel to UK: England set to drop pre-departure testing requirement for vaccinated travelers from US

  • September 17, 2021

testing requirements for travelers from countries that are not under the United Kingdom’s “red list,” including the United States.

Starting Oct. 4, fully vaccinated travelers from non-red countries won’t need to take a pre-departure test before arrival, according to a Friday tweet from Grant Shapps, secretary of state for transport of the U.K. The U.S. is currently on the “amber list.” 

An emailed statement from the national tourism agency VisitBritain said while the red list remains under review, there is no indication that the U.S. will move to the red list by Oct. 4. 

While post-arrival testing requirements will remain, England is set to allow “cheaper lateral flow” tests in lieu of PCR tests later in October. Unvaccinated tourists will still need to quarantine upon arrival. 

In July, the U.K. dropped its quarantine mandate for vaccinated tourists from the U.S. Testing requirements remained stringent, however, and England has been requiring both pre-departure tests and a second test on day two of a trip from vaccinated U.S. travelers.  

Shapps also revealed Friday that the U.K. is moving toward a “simplified system for international travel” starting Oct. 4, doing away with its current approach that categorizes countries as red, amber or green. Instead, the U.K. will have a single red list and “simplified measures for the rest of the world,” according to a tweet.

The change only applies to England, since Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland determine their own entry requirements. 

A Friday statement from the Scottish government said it will also move toward a “streamlined system” for international travel that merges its amber and green lists but would not follow England’s testing policy changes. The country is retaining its pre-departure testing requirement and use of PCR tests for post-arrival testing “due to significant concerns at the impact on public health” and to minimize “the risk of importing variants of concern.”

Here’s a full list of the entry requirements for unvaccinated and vaccinated travelers from non-red countries, starting Oct. 4:

If fully vaccinated, travelers to England must:

  • complete a passenger locator form within 48 hours before arrival.
  • book and pay for a post-arrival coronavirus test to be taken on or before day two of the trip.

In unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, travelers to England must:

England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland reopen to vaccinated AmericansA breakdown of EU travel restrictions by country

Follow USA TODAY reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter: @bailey_schulz

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