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What are the UK travel rules and what tests and jabs do I need?

SharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, Getty ImagesPeople coming to the UK from several southern African countries will soon need to quarantine due to concern about a new coronavirus variant.Health Secretary Sajid Javid said from 12:00 GMT on Friday 26 November six countries would be added to the red list, with flights being temporarily banned.There are concerns the new variant, known as B.1.1.529, could potentially evade vaccines. Mr Javid said it could be most infectious variant of the coronavirus so far.What are the latest changes to travel rules?Several southern African countries will be on the UK's travel red list in England from 04:00 GMT on Sunday 28 November.From then, arrivals in England from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini will have to quarantine for 10 days in a government-approved hotel, at their cost.From 12:00 GMT on Friday, all direct flights from these countries will be banned temporarily until hotel quarantine is up and running. British nationals arriving from the six countries between 12:00 GMT on Friday and 04:00 GMT on Sunday, and who have been in these countries within the last 10 days, must quarantine at home for 10 days.They must also take NHS PCR tests on day two and day eight after arrival, even if they already have a lateral flow test booking, the Department of Health and Social Care said.Scotland will also follow the new rules, but hotel quarantine will be in place for arrivals from 04:00 GMT on Saturday.The changes mark the return of the UK's travel red list, which had been cleared of all countries in October.Before travelling to the UKElsewhere, fully vaccinated passengers travelling to the UK no longer have to take a Covid test before setting off.This applies to people vaccinated in the UK, the EU, the US and dozens of other recognised countries - including Brazil, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey.You must be able to prove you are fully vaccinated before travelling.The changes also apply to under-18s resident in one of these countries, whether or not they are vaccinated.Image source, Getty ImagesUpon arrivalFully vaccinated people travelling to the UK need to take a lateral flow test two days after arrival. They should order and pay for a test kit privately before they arrive - NHS kits cannot be used.If they have ordered a home testing kit, they will usually have to send a picture to verify the result.All travellers coming to the UK must also fill in a passenger locator form - even if they are just passing through - which they need to fill in 48 hours or less before their journey.What if I'm unvaccinated?If you aren't fully vaccinated - and you're over 18 - you must self-isolate at home for 10 days after arrival in the UK.You also need to: take a PCR or lateral flow/antigen test (not a free NHS test) in the three days before you travel to the UKtake a test on or before day two and on or after day eight after your return.Test to Release will remain an option for unvaccinated passengers to England who want to shorten their quarantine.What are the rules in the US?Vaccinated people who have had a negative test taken no more than three days before travelling can enter the US without quarantining.Another test, three to five days after arriving in the US, is recommended.Vaccine certificates - including the NHS Covid Pass and equivalents from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - are accepted.Children under 18 do not need to be vaccinated, but should also take a test after arriving.Masks are mandatory on planes and in airports, and travellers must follow state and local rules at their destination.What's happening in Europe? Some European countries are tightening their rules around vaccination. In France, from 15 December, over-65s must have had a booster jab to be allowed to travel or visit restaurants and museums. It is not clear whether this will also apply to UK visitors. People in England can now show that they have had a third dose using the NHS Covid Pass, while users in Wales will be able to do this from 29 November. In Austria you must have received your second or third dose less than 360 days before arrival. In Switzerland, your vaccination is also only valid for 12 months after the date of your last dose.You need to keep checking the rules for your destination country as these can change at short notice.The UK Foreign Office provides country-by-country travel advice.UK government travel adviceThe BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.
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People coming to the UK from several southern African countries will soon need to quarantine due to concern about a new coronavirus variant.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said from 12:00 GMT on Friday 26 November six countries would be added to the red list, with flights being temporarily banned.

There are concerns the new variant, known as B.1.1.529, could potentially evade vaccines. Mr Javid said it could be most infectious variant of the coronavirus so far.

What are the latest changes to travel rules?

Several southern African countries will be on the UK’s travel red list in England from 04:00 GMT on Sunday 28 November.

From then, arrivals in England from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini will have to quarantine for 10 days in a government-approved hotel, at their cost.

From 12:00 GMT on Friday, all direct flights from these countries will be banned temporarily until hotel quarantine is up and running.

British nationals arriving from the six countries between 12:00 GMT on Friday and 04:00 GMT on Sunday, and who have been in these countries within the last 10 days, must quarantine at home for 10 days.

They must also take NHS PCR tests on day two and day eight after arrival, even if they already have a lateral flow test booking, the Department of Health and Social Care said.

Scotland will also follow the new rules, but hotel quarantine will be in place for arrivals from 04:00 GMT on Saturday.

The changes mark the return of the UK’s travel red list, which had been cleared of all countries in October.

Before travelling to the UK

Elsewhere, fully vaccinated passengers travelling to the UK no longer have to take a Covid test before setting off.

This applies to people vaccinated in the UK, the EU, the US and dozens of other recognised countries – including Brazil, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey.

You must be able to prove you are fully vaccinated before travelling.

The changes also apply to under-18s resident in one of these countries, whether or not they are vaccinated.

Business traveller looking at her phone

Image source, Getty Images

Upon arrival

Fully vaccinated people travelling to the UK need to take a lateral flow test two days after arrival.

They should order and pay for a test kit privately before they arrive – NHS kits cannot be used.

If they have ordered a home testing kit, they will usually have to send a picture to verify the result.

All travellers coming to the UK must also fill in a passenger locator form – even if they are just passing through – which they need to fill in 48 hours or less before their journey.

What if I’m unvaccinated?

If you aren’t fully vaccinated – and you’re over 18 – you must self-isolate at home for 10 days after arrival in the UK.

You also need to:

Test to Release will remain an option for unvaccinated passengers to England who want to shorten their quarantine.

What are the rules in the US?

Vaccinated people who have had a negative test taken no more than three days before travelling can enter the US without quarantining.

Another test, three to five days after arriving in the US, is recommended.

Vaccine certificates – including the NHS Covid Pass and equivalents from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – are accepted.

Children under 18 do not need to be vaccinated, but should also take a test after arriving.

Masks are mandatory on planes and in airports, and travellers must follow state and local rules at their destination.

What’s happening in Europe?

Some European countries are tightening their rules around vaccination.

It is not clear whether this will also apply to UK visitors.

People in England can now show that they have had a third dose using the NHS Covid Pass, while users in Wales will be able to do this from 29 November.

In Austria you must have received your second or third dose less than 360 days before arrival.

In Switzerland, your vaccination is also only valid for 12 months after the date of your last dose.

You need to keep checking the rules for your destination country as these can change at short notice.

The UK Foreign Office provides country-by-country travel advice.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.

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