New travel rules begin today as traffic light system is abandoned

By Linsey McNeill
Home » New travel rules begin today as traffic light system is abandoned

A new travel system comes into force today, with countries and territories categorised as either red or the rest of the world and different rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers.

Under the new system, fully vaccinated passengers and under-18s returning from destinations not on the red list no longer need to take a pre-departure test (PDT), a Day 8 test or self-isolate.

As announced last month, the new rules also mean that from later in October, fully vaccinated passengers and children arriving from countries not on the red list will be able to replace their Day 2 test with a cheaper lateral flow test.

While no date has been set for the switch to LFTs, the Government is still saying it should have the new system in place for when people return from half-term breaks.  

Anyone testing positive will need to isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test, at no additional cost, which would be genomically sequenced to help identify new variants. 

The new rules apply to those who have been vaccinated in the UK and more than 50 other countries.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We are accelerating towards a future where travel continues to reopen safely and remains open for good, and today’s rule changes are good news for families, businesses and the travel sector.

“Our priority remains to protect public health but, with more than 8 in 10 people now fully vaccinated, we are able to take these steps to lower the cost of testing and help the sector to continue in its recovery.”

However, those who haven’t been vaccinated will still need to take a pre-departure test before travelling to the UK, plus they’ll have to self-isolate for up to 10 days on arrival and take Day 2 and Day 8 tests when coming from any destination not on the red list.

All under-11s, regardless of where they are travelling form, are already exempt from pre-departure testing for arrival in the UK.  If children aged 11 and over are not travelling from one of the 50+ countries where vaccines are recognised, they will be required to follow the same rules as for unvaccinated passengers.

All arrivals will still need to fill in a Passenger Locator Form ahead of travel.

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