Can unvaccinated people travel? UK rules for people without Covid vaccine explained - as restrictions relaxed

There is now only a red list of countries in place - after the green and amber lists were scrapped

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New rules to make travelling abroad simpler, easier and cheaper have now come into force in the UK.

The traffic light system for travel, which saw countries categorised as green, amber or red, has now been scrapped to a more straightforward two-list system.

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Countries and territories are now categorised as either ‘red’ or ‘the rest of the world’, with different rules applying for vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers.

Those who have received both doses of a coronavirus vaccine - and unvaccinated under 18s - from more than 50 countries and territories can now enter the UK without having to complete a pre-departure lateral flow test, take a day eight post-arrival PCR test costing around £65, or self-isolate at home.

Instead, just a single day two post-arrival test is needed.

The new rules also mean that from later in October, eligible fully vaccinated travellers will be able to replace their day two test with a cheaper lateral flow rest, reducing the costs of tests on arrival back in the UK.

Those who test positive will need to self-isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test at no additional cost.

The government has said it aims to have the cheaper tests in place for when people return from half-term breaks.

But what are the rules if you have not been vaccinated? Here’s what you need to know about the new system.

What are the rules for unvaccinated travellers?

Travellers who have not been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will still need to take a pre-departure test in the three days before returning to the UK.

They will also need to book and pay for a day two and day eight post-arrival test, complete a passenger locator form in the 48 hours before arriving in the UK, and self-isolate at home for 10 days.

It is possible to end the quarantine period early through the Test to Release scheme, but travellers will have to pay for a private test on day five.

If the result is negative, and the result of the day two test was negative or inconclusive, you no longer need to self-isolate.

The scheme is voluntary and applies only to those quarantining in England and can only be taken after you have been back in the country for a full five days.

Those who do not opt into the scheme will need to complete the full 10 day quarantine period.

Additionally, you cannot take part in the scheme if you have been in or through a country or territory on the red list in the 10 days before you arrive back in England.

What are the rules for travelling to red list countries?

The rules for travelling to red list destinations apply whether you are fully vaccinated or not.

Those returning from a red list country or territory are required to spend 11 nights at a quarantine hotel, at a cost of £2,285 for solo travellers.

Travellers must also take a Covid-19 test in the three days before arrival in the UK and complete a passenger locator form.

These rules apply to both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers.

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 eight-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.”

What other rules could unvaccinated travellers face?

It is likely that travellers who are not fully vaccinated will face some restrictions while abroad.

Many countries now require visitors to show a ‘Covid passport’ to enter indoor attractions and other venues, with travellers asked to present proof of their vaccinated status, or a recent negative test.

As such, unvaccinated travellers face having to take more regular tests while away to keep their Covid passport’s validity up to date.

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