UK removes final Covid travel restrictions
Travellers to the UK, regardless of vaccination status, will no longer be required to take Covid tests or fill in a Passenger Locator Form from 18 March
The UK will remove the last of its Covid travel restrictions from 18 March, meaning that nobody entering the country will be required to take tests or complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF).
Under current rules, visitors to the UK are required to fill in a PLF at least three days before arrival in the country. In addition, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travellers are also required to take a pre-flight departure test and a day two post-arrival test. Both requirements will be removed from Friday.
The decision to remove all remaining restrictions on international travel was announced by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on 14 March, and will also include the winding up of all remaining managed hotel quarantine facilities from the end of the month.
“I said we wouldn’t keep travel measures in place for any longer than necessary, which we’re delivering on today – providing more welcome news and greater freedom for travellers ahead of the Easter holidays,” said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants, and keep a reserve of measures which can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe.”
The removal of restrictions has been well received by the travel industry
The move has been welcomed by the travel industry, which has suffered in the past two years due to the cooling effect that travel rules have had on international travel.
Karen Dee, Chief Executive of Airport Operators Association said: “A return to restriction-free travel is good news for passengers and should allow for aviation to take significant steps towards recovery. People should feel encouraged to book their long-awaited holidays, trips to see relatives and friends abroad they haven’t seen for a long time and travel to rekindle business ties with other countries.”
Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays added: “Two years after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, today’s announcement marks international travel finally returning to normal. Since restrictions started to be eased at the beginning of the year, we have experienced strong, sustained demand and the complete removal of forms and requirements will boost that demand even further.”
Antony Martin, Managing Director at ROCK Insurance Group, agreed: “We have already started seeing hints of recovery in the travel insurance market in 2022. Since the government scrapped Day 2 testing for fully-vaccinated travellers earlier this year, we have seen record sales coming through our B2C brand, Insurefor.com. We have seen a 92 per cent increase in sales from 2019 in Q1 2022 and this figure continues to increase each day. We are now learning to live with the virus and can look forward to the return to pre-COVID normality when travelling.”
The decision follows a similar move by the Republic of Ireland, which removed all its Covid entry requirements for international travellers on 6 March, and effectively marks the return of pre-Covid international travel between the two countries. Travellers to Ireland also no longer need to take Covid tests, present proof of vaccination or complete a PLF.
While no Covid border measures will be in force upon arrival in both the UK and Ireland, other countries are at different stages of the pandemic, and may still require passengers to comply with requirements. Passengers should check before travel what the restrictions are when entering their destination country.