International arrivals to UK require negative COVID-19 test

Planes in airport

International arrivals to UK require negative COVID-19 test

The UK Department of Transport has confirmed that all international arrivals to England, including UK nationals, are required to present a negative COVID-19 test result from 04.00 GMT on Monday 18 January 2021. A negative test is also required for international arrivals into Scotland from 04:00 GMT on Friday 15 January 2021. 

What does this mean for travellers?

Test results must be obtained a maximum of 72 hours prior to departure by plane, train or boat. Travellers arriving from all countries of origin, including those on the UK’s travel corridor list, will be expected to show a negative COVID-19 test result. The only exception is arrivals from the Republic of Ireland.

The new measure comes into place in England on Monday 18 January 2021 and in Scotland on Friday 15 January 2021. The test must be of a diagnostic standard such as a PCR test however in some cases LAMP or Lateral Flow tests are likely to be accepted within set limits on sensitivity. Wales and Northern Ireland will introduce the measure from 11 January 2021.

What are the penalties for not complying?

Travellers who cannot provide evidence of a qualifying, negative COVID-19 test result at departure will likely be denied boarding.

Anyone who is found to have not complied with the measure, which includes the requirement to complete the passenger locator form correctly, could be subject to an increased fine of £500. 

Will travellers still have to self-isolate on arrival?

Travellers arriving from countries not on the travel corridor list will still be required to self-isolate when they arrive in England, even if they have a negative COVID-19 test result.

Travellers from the majority of destinations who are required to self-isolate for 10 days will still have the option to reduce their self-isolation period to as little as five days, via the ‘test to release’ programme (here).

All passengers must also continue to complete a passenger locator form (here).

Will there be any exemptions?

There will be a limited number of exemptions, including hauliers, children under 11, crews and for those who travelling from countries without the infrastructure available to deliver the tests.

View the full press release from the UK Government here

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