Guidance

Travel to England from another country during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Check what COVID-19 tests you need to take and the quarantine rules for travel to England.

Applies to England

Red list update, Friday 26 November 2021

South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe moved onto the red list at 12.00 midday Friday 26 November.

A temporary flight ban is in place and all travellers who have been in these countries must quarantine and take tests.

Read about the latest changes to the red list.

This page tells you what you must do before you travel to England and after you arrive.

What you must do depends on whether you qualify as fully vaccinated under the rules for travel to England.

There are different rules if you have been in a red list country or territory in the 10 days before you arrive in England. Red list rules apply whether you are fully vaccinated or not.

If you are fully vaccinated

This is what you need to do if you qualify under the fully vaccinated rules for travel to England.

Before you travel to England – fully vaccinated

Before you travel to England you must:

You can choose a lateral flow test or a PCR test. You cannot use an NHS test for this. You must use a private test provider.

You will need to enter your COVID-19 test booking reference number on your passenger locator form.

If you will be in England for less than 2 days you still need to book and pay for a day 2 COVID-19 test.

When you arrive in England – fully vaccinated

After you arrive in England you must take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2. The day you arrive is day 0.

This is the lateral flow or PCR test that you booked before travel.

If the test result is negative, you do not need to self-isolate.

Lateral flow test – positive result

If you booked a lateral flow test and the result is positive, you must take a free PCR test to confirm the result. You must self-isolate until you get the result.

If the PCR test result is positive, or inconclusive, you must self-isolate for 10 full days. The day you took the lateral flow test is day 0.

Lateral flow test – result unclear

If you booked a lateral flow test and the result is unclear, you must self-isolate for 10 full days. The day you took the test is day 0.

You can choose to take another private test. If the result is negative, you can stop self-isolating.

PCR test – positive result

If you booked a PCR test and the result is positive, you must self-isolate for 10 full days. The day of the test is day 0.

PCR test – result unclear

If you booked a PCR test and the result is unclear, you must self-isolate for 10 full days. The day you took the test is day 0.

You can choose to take another private test. If the result is negative, you can stop self-isolating.

Check if you qualify as fully vaccinated

To qualify under the fully vaccinated rules for travel to England, you must have proof of full vaccination with a full course of an approved vaccine.

You must have had your final dose of the vaccine at least 14 days before you arrive in England. The day you had your final dose does not count as one of the 14 days.

The proof of vaccination must have been issued by either:

  • the UK vaccination programme
  • the United Nations vaccine programme for staff and volunteers
  • an overseas vaccination programme with an approved proof of vaccination for travel to the UK

Other groups that can follow fully vaccinated rules

Even if you are not fully vaccinated, the fully vaccinated rules apply if you are:

  • under 18 - see Travelling with children in this guidance
  • taking part in an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial in the UK or the USA (US residents only for USA trials), or a phase 2 or 3 vaccine trial that is regulated by the EMA or SRA
  • unable to have a COVID-19 vaccination for a medical reason which has been approved by a clinician under the medical exemptions process, and you are resident in England

Read about applying for a medical exemption from vaccination using the NHS COVID Pass if you live in England.

Proving your vaccination status

If you are fully vaccinated under the UK vaccination programme, you can prove your vaccination status using either:

Paper certificates are also available.

There are different ways to prove your vaccination status if you were vaccinated outside of the UK.

Check what proof is required for the country or territory where you were vaccinated.

If you cannot prove that you qualify under the fully vaccinated rules, you must follow the rules for people who are not fully vaccinated.

Red list countries

There are different rules if you have been in a red list country in the 10 days before you arrive in England.

Check which countries and territories are on the red list and read the red list rules.

If you are not fully vaccinated

This is what you need to do if you do not qualify under the fully vaccinated rules for travel to England.

Check this section of this guidance to see if you qualify as fully vaccinated.

Before you travel to England – not fully vaccinated

Before you travel to England you must:

Read more about taking a COVID-19 test before you travel to England.

When you arrive in England – not fully vaccinated

After you arrive in England you must:

You must take the first test on or before day 2 and the second test on or after day 8. The day you arrive is day 0.

If you are in England for less than 10 days, you need to quarantine for the time you are here. You need to book day 2 and day 8 PCR tests. You only need to take the tests if you are still in England on those days.

If the test result is positive

If your day 2 test is positive, you must self-isolate for 10 full days. The day you took the test is day 0.

You do not need to take the day 8 test if your day 2 test is positive. If your day 2 test is negative, you must take your day 8 test.

If your day 8 test is positive, you must self-isolate for 10 full days. The day you took the day 8 test is day 0.

If the test result is negative

If your day 2 test is negative, you must continue to quarantine.

You must take your day 8 test on or after day 8.

If your day 8 test is negative, you can stop quarantine on whichever is later:

  • day 10 – day 0 is the day you arrived in England
  • when you receive the day 8 test result

Example

If you receive your day 8 negative test result back on day 9, you must continue to quarantine until the end of day 10.

If you receive your day 8 negative test result back on day 12, you must quarantine until the end of day 12.

If the test result is unclear

If the result of your day 2 test is unclear, you must self-isolate for 10 full days. The day you took the test is day 0.

If the result of your day 8 test is negative, you can stop self-isolating on whichever is later:

  • day 10 - day 0 is the day you arrived in England
  • the day you received the negative day 8 test result

If your day 8 test is unclear, you must self-isolate for 10 full days. The day you took the day 8 test is day 0.

You can choose to take another private test. If that test result is a negative result, you can stop self-isolating on whichever is later:

  • day 10 - day 0 is the day you arrive in England
  • the day you received the negative replacement test result from the additional test

Test to Release scheme

If you need to quarantine, you may be able to end quarantine early if you pay for a private COVID-19 test through the Test to Release scheme.

Red list countries

There are different rules if you have been in a red list country in the 10 days before you arrive in England.

Check which countries and territories are on the red list and read the red list rules.

Travelling with children

Children aged 17 and under do not have to quarantine on arrival in England. This applies whether they are vaccinated or not.

Children aged 4 and under do not have to take any COVID-19 travel tests.

5 to 17 year olds:

  • do not have to take a COVID-19 test before travel to England
  • must take a test on arrival in England - before the end of day 2 at the latest (arrival day is day 0)

You should also check the rules in the country you are travelling from as they may require children to take a test at the start of your journey to England.

There are different rules for children who have been in a red list country or territory in the 10 days before they arrive in England.

Some people cannot be fully vaccinated for medical reasons.

Read more about medical exemptions from vaccination.

There are also medical exemptions from:

Some people are exempt from some or all of the requirements because of the job they do.

Transiting through England

Read separate guidance if you are transiting through England as part of an international journey.

Ireland, the UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man

If you’re travelling to England from within the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, you do not need to:

  • complete a passenger locator form
  • take any COVID-19 tests
  • quarantine on arrival in England

This only applies if you have not been outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man in the 10 days before the day you arrive in England. If you have, you must follow the international travel rules in the place where you arrive.

Red list countries and territories

There are different rules if you have been in a red list country or territory in the 10 days before you arrive in England. If you need to follow red list rules, you must do so if you are fully vaccinated or not.

Check which countries and territories are on the red list and read the red list rules.

Travel abroad from England

Read guidance about what you need to do to travel abroad from England.

Published 22 June 2021
Last updated 25 November 2021 + show all updates
  1. South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe will move onto the red list at 12.00 midday Friday 26 November. A temporary flight ban will be in place and all travellers who have been in these countries must quarantine and take tests.

  2. Travel to England rules for children no longer depend on their place of residence.

  3. Clarification about unclear or inconclusive test results.

  4. From 4am 22 November 2021, all children aged 17 and under will not have to quarantine on arrival in England.

  5. People who qualify as fully vaccinated for travel to England can book a lateral flow test for use from 24 October instead of a PCR test.

  6. From 22 October, if you qualify as fully vaccinated for travel to England, you will be able to book an antigen lateral flow device (LFD) test instead of a PCR for your ‘on arrival’ test.

  7. Rule changes for international travel to England for people who qualify as fully vaccinated.

  8. Changes to amber list rules on quarantine and testing.

  9. First published.