Travel to UK: what are the new rules in place for travellers from US and EU and do they need to isolate?

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The rules changed at 4am this morning with the government saying that they would help reunite people with their friends and family

Fully-vaccinated travellers from the US and European Union will from today no longer have to isolate when arriving in the UK from an amber list country.

The rule change, which came into effect from 4am this morning, was announced last week with the government saying it would help reunite family and friends.

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Travellers arrive at Heathrow Airport on January 17, 2021 in London (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)Travellers arrive at Heathrow Airport on January 17, 2021 in London (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
Travellers arrive at Heathrow Airport on January 17, 2021 in London (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

At a glance: 5 key points

- The new rule applies to England Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

- The move has been welcomed by the travel industry but airline bosses are calling for more countries to be moved to the UK’s green list.

- A lateral flow or PCR test will still need to be taken by travellers both before departure and on the second day after they have arrived.

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- Tougher rules remain in place for travellers from France, with isolation rules in place regardless of whether they are fully-vaccinated or not.

- The rule changes have not yet been met with an easing of restrictions for travellers from the UK.

What’s been said

"We're helping reunite people living in the US and European countries with their family and friends in the UK."

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps

“I think the announcement this morning is very welcome – there will be an uptick in bookings.

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“We’ve seen from the US around a 300% increase in bookings to the US – but we’ve got to somehow try to find a way to get more countries on the green list and we absolutely should not be going down the road of adding more tiers to an already very complicated international travel system.”

Airlines UK chief executive Tim Alderslade talking to Times Radio


The travel list review will take place this week with any changes likely to come into force from 9 August.

However, there are fears that the government is considering creating an amber watchlist - which would include countries at risk of moving to the red list at short notice.

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The rules for arrivals from red list countries are that travellers must spend 10 days in hotel quarantine at their own expense, costing £1,750.

There is already a green watchlist in place - this includes countries that are at risk of being moved down to amber.

Meanwhile, international cruises will also be allowed to resume in England from today after 16 months.

They have been allowed in Northern Ireland since Saturday.

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