UK Finally Scraps Quarantine For Vaccinated EU And US Travelers

The United Kingdom Government has revealed that it is to scrap its quarantine requirement for those who have been fully vaccinated in the European Union and the United States. Previously only vaccines that had been given in the United Kingdom were recognized for inbound travel.

British Airways, United Kingdom, Green List
The UK is to start recognizing EU and US-issued vaccines. Photo: Getty Images

Since the start of 2020, England has been under fire from much of the travel industry and passengers themselves for its stringent travel rules. Now that the number of vaccinated individuals is rising, the country is slowly breaking down its barriers to travel, a move that couldn’t come soon enough for many.

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A welcome move

While only adding vaccines issued in the EU and US still leaves many potential travelers excluded, the move to recognize these vaccines will undoubtedly be welcomed by many. The changes mean that anybody fully vaccinated in the UK, US, or EU will be able to enter the country as if they have come from a low-risk destination (green) when traveling from most mid-risk destinations (amber).

The UK recognizes four vaccines,

  • Moderna – two doses
  • AstraZeneca – two doses
  • BioNTech (Pfizer) – two doses
  • Janssen – one dose
Previously only those vaccinated in the UK were exempt from quarantine. Photo: Getty Images

Individuals are counted as vaccinated 14 days after their second dose of the relevant vaccine. Such passengers will still need to take a rapid test before travel and a day two PCR test on arrival. They won’t be required to self-isolate during this time.

It’s unclear exactly how the system will work. One might expect that the UK will rely on the EU’s digital vaccine pass to prove vaccination status from EU travelers, but paper certificates would likely continue to be accepted.

Reacting to the news for Simple Flying, Paul Charles, CEO of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said,

“It’s welcome news and it will be a major boost to airlines and the wider travel sector. It’s a decision which helps to salvage the peak August period as well as bring in billions of pounds in vital revenues into the UK economy. Many jobs will be saved by this decision, which frankly should have come weeks ago.”

United Kingdom, United States, Travel Corridor
57.8% of US adults have now been fully vaccinated compared to 56.1% of EU residents. Photo: Getty Images

Charles went on to add,

“The vaccines are clearly helping to reduce Covid infections and now more than ever we need to get used to living with Covid. Let’s get our economy moving again, something which will bring much-needed cash to airlines and tourism more widely. It will also end the agony faced by so many airlines and travel firms in recent months.”

Could airlines check vaccination status?

Currently, it is an airline’s responsibility to check that you have all of the necessary documents, such as a negative test, before travel. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic recently partnered to show that they would cope with checking so many vaccine records.

For ten days, 250 travelers took part in the trial to show their vaccination status to the airline before Border Force confirmed that the airline had correctly checked it. Documents were presented in paper and digital format, and 99% were verified as authentic. The other 1% was denied for not meeting the requirements.

FAA, Afghanistan, Flight Ban
Transatlantic carriers will welcome the news. Photo: Vincenzo Pace – Simple Flying

For the trial, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic accepted multiple proofs of vaccination from CDC cards to the EU Digital pass. One would assume that the World Health Organisation yellow book, among other evidence, would also be accepted.

What do you make of the UK’s decision to accept vaccinations issued in the European Union and the United States? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!