Hopping the pond to England will finally be a bit easier come August 2. After more than 16 months of strict entry rules and requirements for travel to the United Kingdom from the United States, vaccinated Americans will finally be able to make the journey without a mandatory quarantine, the British government announced on July 28.
On May 17, the U.K. replaced its blanket ban on overseas travel that had been in place since the start of 2021 with a traffic light system classifying countries as low, medium, or high risk. Since then, the United States has been on the “amber list” of countries, or countries considered medium risk. Travelers arriving from “amber list” countries have been required to quarantine for 10 days and take three COVID tests—one within 3 days prior to departure to the U.K., and two (reserved in advance) after arrival, on day 2 and day 8 of the 10-day quarantine.
But the rules have now been adapted for those who have been vaccinated (unvaccinated travelers will continue to submit to the above protocols—a 10-day quarantine and three COVID tests).
Effective August 2, “Passengers who are fully vaccinated in the EU with vaccines authorized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or in the USA with vaccines authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or in the Swiss vaccination program, will be able to travel to England without having to quarantine or take a day 8 test on arrival,” the British government stated.
Scotland, which sets its own health policy, made the same decision, while Wales and Northern Ireland haven’t yet announced whether they will update their existing policies for U.S. travelers—currently a 10-day quarantine and three COVID tests, one prior to departure and tests on day 2 and day 8 after arrival.
No quarantine, but COVID tests still required for travel to England, Scotland
Fully vaccinated Americans and those arriving from “amber list” European countries into England and Scotland (with the exception of France) will still be required to submit a predeparture negative COVID-19 test prior to arrival in England and Scotland and will need to take a COVID-19 PCR test on day 2 after arrival. Those vaccinated in the U.S. will also need to provide proof of U.S. residency.
Those who have been in France within 10 days prior to arriving in England, including those who are vaccinated, must quarantine for 10 days and take the three COVID tests, one prior to departure and tests on day 2 and day 8 after arrival.
Children age 11 and younger are exempt from the U.K.’s testing requirements for international arrivals.
Everyone entering the United Kingdom from abroad must fill out a passenger locator form prior to arrival, on which they will provide U.K. border control with their contact details, including their phone number and the address of their U.K. accommodation.
U.S. State Department, CDC recently raised travel warning level for U.K.
The new protocols were announced “as part of a range of new measures designed to continue to drive forward the reopening of international travel,” the U.K. government stated. But they come without any current intent of reciprocation from the U.S. government due to growing concerns about the Delta variant and just as the U.S. State Department and the CDC earlier this month both raised their warning levels for travel to the U.K. to a “level four” due to rising COVID-19 cases, advising Americans to avoid traveling there.
“Because of the current situation in the United Kingdom, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants,” the CDC said in its updated U.K. travel advisory.
The U.K. government on July 28 also signed off on the restart of international cruise sailings from England.
“Our vaccination program is building a wall of defense against this virus so we can safely enjoy our freedoms again, with 7 in 10 adults in the U.K. now double jabbed,” stated U.K. health and social care secretary Sajid Javid. “By reopening quarantine-free travel for travelers who have been fully vaccinated in European countries and the USA, we’re taking another step on the road to normality which will reunite friends and families and give U.K. businesses a boost.”
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This story originally appeared on March 11, 2020, and has been updated frequently, most recently on July 28, 2021, to include current information.