UK to Require Pre-Departure COVID Test for All
Starting tomorrow, December 7, the United Kingdom will change its entry requirements for inbound foreign travelers. That includes travelers from the United States which is not one the red-listed countries.
The policy alterations are being made in an effort to slow the spread of the latest Omicron variant. Over 140 cases have already been detected in the U.K.
From Tuesday, all travelers 12 years old and older will need to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test before boarding a flight for the U.K., regardless of vaccination status. The UK will accept lateral flow device and PCR tests taken no more than 48 hours before departure. This is a temporary measure that is set to be reviewed Dec. 20.
Airlines will be responsible for checking that travelers have their required negative pre-departure tests, along with their completed passenger locator forms. Passengers that are missing either one of those, will not be permitted to board a U.K.-bound flight.
Currently, fully vaccinated U.S. travelers aren’t required to take a pre-travel test. But they are required to take a PCR test on their second day in the country and self-isolate in their hotel rooms until receiving a negative result. Meanwhile, unvaccinated U.S. visitors are currently required to provide a negative pre-travel test taken within three days of arriving in the U.K., and then self-isolate for 10 days. They must also take additional PCR tests on days two and eight of their trip.
U.K. currently has a red list of high risk countries that includes Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Nigeria. Travelers who have recently been in red-list countries can enter England only if they are U.K. or Irish citizens or residents. They must also isolate in a managed quarantine facility upon arrival.