UK Reopening For Vaccinated Travelers – What You Need To Know

The British government announced earlier this week that the UK would be reopening for fully vaccinated travelers on ‘amber list’ countries. While such destinations previously required inbound passengers to the UK to quarantine, full vaccination status will render them exempt as of tomorrow. Let’s take a closer look at the specifics of this rule change.

British Airways Heathrow Getty
The new rules will come into effect at 04:00 local time tomorrow morning. Photo: Getty Images

No quarantine for vaccinated travelers

The headline from the government’s announcement earlier this week was that vaccination status would render amber list passengers exempt from quarantine in the UK. This had previously been the case for UK residents arriving from such destinations, but the offering has now been expanded to accommodate EU and US travelers.

This will come as a relief to people in amber list countries with friends and family in the UK. The government states that factors such as the country’s vaccination efforts have been key to allowing the rule change. The Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, stated that:

Our vaccination program is building a wall of defense against this virus so we can safely enjoy our freedoms again, with seven in 10 adults in the UK now double jabbed.”

Airports like Heathrow will likely see increased traffic as a result of the rule change. Photo: Getty Images

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

Vaccines administered in certain places

However, certain important factors need to be considered when examining the new rules more closely. Indeed, the updated regulations, which will come into effect at 04:00 on August 2nd, only apply to amber list travelers who have received their vaccines in certain locations. While this covers a wide range of countries, it is not all-encompassing.

The government states that the quarantine exemption for amber list arrivals only applies to those “who have been fully vaccinated in Europe (EU Member States, European Free Trade Association countries, and the European microstate countries of Andorra, Monaco and Vatican City) and the USA.” This excludes amber list arrivals elsewhere in the world.

EU Green Pass
EU members are among the countries from which vaccinated travelers can visit the UK without having to quarantine upon arrival. Photo: Getty Images

It is also worth noting that, even with this exemption, such passengers are still obliged to complete a pre-departure test. The need to complete a passenger locator form to enter the UK also still stands. US arrivals will also be required to provide proof of US residency.

Meanwhile, France, as an ‘amber plus’ country, is also excluded. The government defines full vaccination status as being when a passenger received their second dose at least 14 days before their arrival. The BBC reports that under 18s will also be exempt. Regarding the rule changes, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps added that:

We’ve taken great strides on our journey to reopen international travel and today is another important step forward. Whether you are a family reuniting for the first time since the start of the pandemic or a business benefiting from increased trade – this is progress we can all enjoy.”

transatlantic travel corridor
The news will also come as a boost to fully vaccinated US travelers. Photo: Getty Images

Changes to testing requirements

The rule change will also have a slight impact on testing obligations for arrivals from amber list countries. This classification would previously have required incoming passengers to take tests on the second and eight days of their time in the country.

However, full vaccination status will mean that only the day two test is needed. This essentially brings amber list countries in line with the green list, for those who have received their vaccinations in the aforementioned approved countries.

What do you make of the UK’s shift to quarantine-free entry for vaccinated travelers from certain amber list countries? Will you be making use of this to visit the country? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.