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Can you travel to the UK without Covid-19 vaccine?

24th November 2021 Print

The United Kingdom has had one of the largest Covid-19 deaths globally, resulting in several lockdowns throughout the country.

Most legal coronavirus restrictions in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have now been lifted. However, there are still some restrictions across the United Kingdom regarding international travel, and some countries have retained specific domestic measures that were previously in place. Below are some of the information you need before travelling to the United Kingdom. 

The Covid-19 Vaccine you should take

There are different types of Covid-19 vaccine in the world. But, not all are accepted in the UK. Here are the approved Covid-19 vaccines in the UK:

- Moderna Vaccines

- Pfizer and BioNTech

- Oxford University and AstraZeneca

- Janssen (available later this year)

In most cases, you will not be able to choose which vaccine you will receive. When you make a reservation, you will only be offered appointments for vaccines that are appropriate for your needs. The COVID-19 vaccines are available to the majority of people; however some persons are only administered particular vaccines under certain circumstances.

If you are pregnant or under the age of 40, you will be offered appointments for the Pfizer/ BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. In the case of a minor under the age of 18, you will only be offered the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Unless you have substantial side effects (such as a severe allergic response) after your first dosage, you should receive the same vaccine for both doses of the vaccine.

What are the Covid-19 Rules for Visiting the UK?

According to official sources in the United Kingdom, the new guidelines will discriminate between recipients of COVID-19 immunizations not based on the vaccine received but rather on the region in which these vaccines were administered.

The additional measures required by travelers whose immunization is not recognized depend on the country where they obtained the vaccines. These additional precautions include two additional tests (pre-departure and "day 8 tests") as well as a ten-day quarantine period. The limits will consequently apply to anyone who has received vaccines through the COVAX program.

The United Kingdom is one of the principal backers, having donated more than USD 700 million in funding and 80 million vaccine doses to the program in the past. As of this writing, COVAX supplies account for about half of the total number of COVID-19 vaccinations distributed on the African continent.

There are no longer any nations on the UK's travel blacklist. Therefore no one has to pay for hotel quarantine when they arrive in the UK.

Before visiting the United Kingdom, all countries must be removed from the travel warning list. Passengers fully vaccinated and are traveling to the United Kingdom no longer need to take a Covid test before leaving. This includes vaccinated persons in the United Kingdom, the European Union, the United States, and dozens of other nations, including Brazil, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, South Africa, and Turkey. Before traveling, you must be able to show proof that you have been completely vaccinated.

The modifications apply to anyone below 18 years who lives in one of these nations, whether or not they have been vaccinated.

Upon Arrival

After completing the Covid-19 passport application, travelers who have been fully vaccinated must complete a lateral flow test two days after arriving in the UK. Before they arrive, they should order and pay for a test kit privately; they cannot use NHS kits.

If they ordered a home testing kit, they would almost always be required to send a photo to validate the outcome. Even if they are merely passing through, all visitors to the UK must fill out a passenger locator form, which they must complete 48 hours or fewer before their trip.

After one year, all countries and territories will be removed from the red list. The red list policy will continue to be followed, and the list will be reviewed every three weeks after that. Countries may be added at any moment, and travel restrictions to protect the public health of the United Kingdom may be imposed at any time.

Completely vaccinated travelers coming to England from countries that are not on the red list can opt to have their "on arrival" test performed using antigen-lateral flow device (ALFD) technology rather than the traditional polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

All children below 18 who arrive in England from countries not on the Red List are now treated as fully vaccinated at the border. This implies that children under 17 do not have to be quarantined upon arrival in England, and they are exempt from day eight testing. Children from age 5 to 17 years do not need to take a COVID-19 test before traveling to England, but they must do so on or before the second day of their arrival in the country (arrival day is day 0).

They must ensure they get the correct information from the immigration lawyer before travelling. Children under the age of four do not need COVID-19 travel tests or COVID-19 health examinations.

Travelers with children should check the rules in the nation from which they are departing, as some countries may need children to take a test before being allowed to enter the United Kingdom.

Children who have traveled to a nation on the red list within the previous ten days of their arrival in England are subject to different rules. Other restrictions may apply to persons who arrive in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

Final Thoughts

Covid-19 vaccination is compulsory if you must go to the UK. But, entering will be very easy only if you are coming from a country that is not on the UK red list.  So, before you hit the road, ensure you check if the country you are coming from is not on the red list. Remember to go for the approved vaccines and not just anyone as it is compulsory you are vaccinated appropriately.

Above all, follow the UK immigration law and Covid-19 precautions to the core. This will save you from running into the quagmire.