The following information is based on our understanding of entry requirements for arrivals to the UK, from 11th February 2022 onwards.
What does ‘fully vaccinated’ mean in the UK?
To qualify as fully vaccinated to travel to the UK, you must have a full course of an approved vaccine at least 14 days before arriving in the UK. This means both doses of a 2 dose vaccine (or a combination of them), or one dose of a single dose vaccine. To qualify as ‘fully vaccinated’ in the UK, there is currently no time limit for the validity of the primary course of vaccines.
This applies to all cases, even if you have recently recovered from Covid-19 and are therefore considered to have ‘natural immunity’.
Approved vaccines are as follows:
- Janssen (single dose vaccine)
- Novavax (Nuvaxovid and Covovax)
- Pfizer BioNTech
- Sinopharm Beijing
Proof of full vaccination must have been issued by either the UK vaccination programme, the United Nations vaccine programme or one of the countries or territories listed on gov.uk. You can find what approved proof of vaccination you can show from each country here.
If I am not considered fully vaccinated by the UK
If you are not considered fully vaccinated, you can still travel to the UK for any reason. You will, however, be subject to some extra requirements.
Pre-arrival test: before entry to the UK, you must show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken in the 2 days before your trip to England. This test must meet performance standards of >97% specificity, >80% sensitivity at viral loads above 100,000 copies/ml. It can be either a PCR test, an antigen test or even a LAMP test (although these are far less readily available) and can be administered by a professional or a self test.
CTN Tip: If you are travelling back to the UK as part of a return trip abroad, you can choose to purchase a home lateral flow test before you leave England, that you can take with you to save looking for a testing provider abroad. See providers of pre-arrival tests here.
Passenger Locator Form: You must complete a Passenger Locator Form in the 48h before you arrive in the UK. This asks for information such as where you are staying when you arrive in the UK, your vaccination status and the booking reference for your Day 2 Test (see below).
Day 2 Test: Before travelling to the UK, you should book and pay for a Day 2 test, to be taken after arrival in England. You will need the booking reference for your passenger locator form.
You can take this test on or before Day 2 after arrival. The day you arrive in the UK counts as day 0. You can choose to take this test at home, in a clinic near you or even at the airport.
CTN tip: Taking a home test may be the easier option as you do not need to self-isolate until you receive a result. However, if you don’t have a permanent residence in the UK, it may be easier to search for an in-person clinic near where you are staying or at the airport. Many providers offer a ‘click & collect’ option which is often cheaper than an in clinic test. Alternatively, your hotel may be willing to receive a home kit for you (always check with them first).
At CTN we present guidance for arrival testing as you work through our comparison tool. You can find out more about Day 2 tests by following the button below:
- If you are in transit through England (usually if you are in England for less than 24h), you do not need to take a Day 2 test and should follow different instructions for filling in your Passenger Locator Form.
- If you are coming from Ireland, the UK, The Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, you are travelling within the Common Travel Area and are not required to take any Covid-19 travel tests or fill in a Passenger Locator Form.
What are the quarantine requirements for unvaccinated travellers to the UK?
As of the 11th February, you do not need to quarantine on arrival in England if you are unvaccinated, unless your Day 2 test is positive. In this case you should follow the current guidance to testing positive in England.
What are the rules for unvaccinated children?
Children aged 17 and under should follow the same rules as fully vaccinated people, regardless of vaccination status. This means they do not need to take a test before travel to England, or book a Day 2 test but must still fill in a Passenger Locator Form.
Once in the UK, will I need to show proof of vaccination for entry to certain venues?
It is no longer mandatory for venues to require attendees to demonstrate their Covid-19 status. However, some venues or events may still choose to require proof of Covid-19 status as a condition of entry. It is at their discretion whether this is proof of vaccination only or if the option for providing a negative test is accepted.
CTN Tip: If you are planning on attending an event that requires proof of your Covid-19 status and you require a negative test, you will have to pay for a private provider to take your test, you can’t use NHS tests for this purpose. Read more about it here.
The information within this article is accurate at the time of publishing.
Written by Maeve Sally
Published on 16/02/2022
Maeve heads up the Provider Listings and Delivery Team handling all things operations, research and logistics as well as project managing website developments.
Information about testing requirements, entry requirements to the UK and travelling abroad during Covid-19 is CTN’s understanding of the requirements from multiple sources including the UK Government website at the time of publishing - always check full requirements including mandatory documentation and quarantine rules before you travel! By using our site, you confirm that you accept our user terms and conditions and you agree to comply with them. We amend these terms from time to time. Every time you wish to use our site, please check these terms to ensure you understand the terms that apply at that time.