Fully vaccinated EU and US
travellers exempt from
28 July 2021
The UK government has announced that from 4am on 2 August 2021, passengers arriving in England from amber list countries will not be required to quarantine or take a day 8 test on arrival if they have been fully vaccinated in Europe or the USA.
The exemption has been introduced as part of a range of new measures designed to drive forward a safe return to international travel. To qualify for the exemption, passengers must have been fully vaccinated either:
- In the EU with vaccines authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA)
- In the USA with vaccines authorised by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- In the Swiss vaccination programme.
Speaking about the decision yesterday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We’ve taken great strides on our journey to reopen international travel and today is another important step forward. Whether you are a family reuniting for the first time since the start of the pandemic or a business benefiting from increased trade – this is progress we can all enjoy.
We will of course continue to be guided by the latest scientific data but thanks to our world-leading domestic vaccination programme, we’re able to look to the future and start to rebuild key transatlantic routes with the US while further cementing ties with our European neighbours.”
Previously, passengers arriving in England from the EU and the US were only exempt from the quarantine requirement if they had received both COVID-19 vaccination doses in the UK.
What are the new rules?
When the changes come into effect on 2 August, amber arrivals who have been fully vaccinated in the USA and European countries will still need to complete a pre-departure test before travelling to England, alongside a PCR test on or before day 2 after arrival. Those who have received their vaccinations in the US will also need to provide proof of US residency.
All passengers will still be required to complete a passenger locator form before travelling to the UK, regardless of where they are travelling from.
What is the UK’s traffic light system?
Since 17 May 2021, the UK has set its rules on international travel using a traffic light system. Under the system, countries are categorised into three lists: a red list for the highest risk countries, an amber list for medium risk countries, and a green list for the lowest risk countries. Those arriving in the UK from overseas are required to follow certain procedures depending on the category of the country or territory they are travelling from.
The vast majority of countries, including the US and many European countries, are currently on the amber list. More information on the rules for each category can be found here.
The traffic light system is reviewed by the government every three weeks, however countries can be moved between lists without notice if there is a sudden change in conditions. For this reason, Smith Stone Walters recommends travellers check the gov.uk website for the most up to date advice before travelling.
More UK travel updates
The government also announced yesterday that testing requirements will be relaxed for certain critical workers who, by the nature of their work, do not mix with the public or leave their vehicles.
In a bid to speed up queues safely, the government will also continue to roll out upgrades to e-gates over the summer to automate checks for health requirements at airports.
All new measures announced will continue to be kept under review and may be subject to change at short notice based on the latest data and risk ratings. Smith Stone Walters will provide regular updates on the latest UK travel rules as they occur.