England + other parts of the UK introduced mandatory pre-departure and day two Covid-19 test requirements in early December (read more here) to combat the spread of the Omicron variant.
England yesterday announced that they would remove the pre-departure test requirement altogether (January 7), and the day two test no longer needs to be a PCR-RT (January 9) but can also be cheaper and more accessible lateral flow one.
You can access England’s page for entry requirements here.
Here’s the update:
Changes to rules for fully vaccinated travel to England – January 2022
From 4am Friday 7 January
If you qualify as fully vaccinated for travel to England, and you will arrive in England after 4am, Friday 7 January, you do not need to:
- take a COVID-19 test before you travel to England
- quarantine when you arrive in England
From 4am Sunday 9 January
If you qualify as fully vaccinated for travel to England, and you will arrive in England after 4am, Sunday 9 January, you can choose to take a lateral flow test instead of a PCR test after you arrive in England.
If you take a lateral flow test and test positive, you will need to self-isolate and take a free confirmatory PCR test.
You must book the test before you travel to England. You can book lateral flow tests from 4am Friday 7 January.
You cannot use a lateral flow test until after 4am, Sunday 9 January. Before 4am Sunday 9 January, you must use a PCR test after arrival.
The fully vaccinated rules also apply to children aged 17 and under, people taking part in an approved vaccine trial, and people who are unable to have a vaccination due to medical reasons.
Read more about who qualifies as fully vaccinated.
If you arrive in England before 4am, 7 January, you must follow the current rules for fully vaccinated people.
The rules for people who do not qualify as fully vaccinated for travel to England will remain the same.
The reasoning behind this change was that the Omicron is already prevalent in England, and there is no reason to have these tests in place because they essentially don’t make a difference. I would assume that Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland will also remove the requirements in tandem with England.