Last Updated: January 1, 2021
Latest Update – Starting Monday, January 18, 2021, visitors from all countries will have to undergo quarantine and testing upon entering the UK since authorities will suspend the travel corridors. All arrivals will need to take a pre-departure Covid-19 test and self-isolate for ten days upon their arrival. The isolation period can be shortened if the passenger tested negative after five days in isolation.
Like the rest of the world, the UK has paid a heavy price. And as a foreword from the Prime Minister: We will remember 2020 as the year we were hit, along with all other nations, by a previously unknown and remorseless foe. The United Kingdom reopened its borders to welcome international tourists as of June 8, 2020. All visitors flying from other countries will be able to enter the UK with strict new quarantine measures set by the UK government.
The UK has one of the highest numbers of Covid-19 cases and deaths due to Covid-19 around the world. Even though they are the first country to start a vaccination scheme, they are still battling a deadly second wave. The new Covid-19 variant has been discovered in the country and is said to be more infections. As a result, several countries have banned flights from the UK right before Christmas.
Who Can Enter the UK?
The United Kingdom’s four nations ( England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland ) have each implemented different travel restrictions. England imposed a “travel corridor” scheme where visitors coming from countries on their travel corridor list can enter the country with no quarantine. However, the majority of the countries that were on their list came from countries that are not allowing their residents to visit England and have banned flights coming from the country. All visitors who came from countries outside of the “travel corridor” list must go on quarantine for 10 days upon their arrival.
Meanwhile, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have similar schemes as that of England, however, the countries that are on their “exemption list” are not necessarily the same as England.
All travelers, resident, and tourists traveling into the UK from any country must provide their journey and contact details. Anyone who failed to do this before arrival might take them longer to enter the country.
Please note that you may be fined up to up to £100 if you refuse to provide your contact details. You may be fined more if you break this rule more than once. Those who refuse to self-isolate could be fined £10,000.
Here are the countries that can enter the UK:
Is There A Mandatory Quarantine?
If you came from countries outside of the travel corridor list, you need to isolate for 10 days upon your arrival in the UK. But different isolation rules will apply if you will visit Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland.
You’ll still need to self-isolate if you’ve been to or made a ‘transit stop’ in the previous 14 days in any country that is not on the travel corridor list. A ‘transit stop’ is a stop where passengers can get on or off a coach, ferry, train, or plane. Your ticket should say if a stop is a transit stop.
Test To Release Scheme
On December 15, a new “test to release” scheme came into effect in England. This allows travelers to undergo a Covid-19 PCR test after five days in isolation. They will be allowed to end their quarantine only after receiving a negative test result.
Travelers going to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are not eligible for this scheme. They must isolate for ten days upon arrival, except if they came from countries that are on the UK’s travel corridor list.
Travel between the four countries is also very restricted. Wales has prohibited travel to Northern Ireland, as well as in the high-risk areas of Scotland and England. Travel between Scotland’s “high-alert” areas and the rest of the United Kingdom is also prohibited except for essential purposes.
“Safe Corridors” Country List Exempt From Quarantine
Travelers who have spent the last 14 days in any of these countries are exempt from the quarantine requirement
Who Is Exempt From Providing Details or Self-Isolation?
You do not need to complete the form or self-isolate if you’re traveling from one of the following places, and you were there for 14 days or more:
- the Channel Islands
- the Isle of Man
What Other Measures Have Been Put In Place?
The government guidance says all flight passengers should remain at least 2m (6ft) apart from other people wherever possible and consider wearing a face covering. People traveling through Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports should cover their faces and wear gloves.
What Visitors Can Expect?
Visitors traveling to England will find that the country is currently divided into four tiers. Tier 1 is considered the lowest. As of January 1st, only one area in the country is on Tier 1, and that’s the Isles of Scilly. Under this tier, up to six people are allowed to gather indoors and outdoors. Sporting events can take place for a maximum capacity of 4,000. Pubs and bars can operate as normal.
Tier 2 restrictions will only allow individuals to mix among households when outdoors. People will not be allowed to meet other households indoors, even in pubs and bars. Retail shops are open, but sporting events can only take place with only 2,000 spectators.
Tier 3 measures will see pubs, restaurants, and bars closed. Mixing between households can only happen in outdoor public settings such as in beaches and parks.
Tier 4 is a “stay at home” order, which means no one is allowed to go out unless necessary. This applies to London and most of the east and southeast areas of the country. People can exercise outdoors alone while schools remain open.
The government is requiring everyone to follow social distancing measures. As per the law, travelers should wear face coverings in the following settings: shops, supermarkets, indoor transport hubs, indoor shopping centers, banks, building societies, post offices, and on public transport.
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