Countries are quickly changing travel guidelines as concerns grow over the Omicron variant. Currently, U.S. travelers are permitted to travel to the UK whether they’re vaccinated or not but must show a negative PCR test taken before entry. Here’s what you need to know before your visit to the UK.
Requirements to Enter the UK from the U.S.
U.S. citizens traveling to the UK are allowed to enter the country as long as they haven’t been to a red list country in the 10 days before arriving in the UK.
Entering the UK Fully Vaccinated
Vaccinated U.S. travelers aged 5 and over (children under 5 are exempt from testing and quarantine requirements) entering the UK must do the following before their trip:
For the test, you must use a private test provider, and you must enter your Covid-19 test booking reference number on your passenger locator form.
If you’re in the UK for less than two days, you’re still required to book and pay for the test.
If your test result is positive or unclear, you must self-isolate for 10 full days. The day you took the test is day zero.
Entering the UK Unvaccinated
If you enter the UK unvaccinated, you must do the following before traveling:
- Take a Covid-19 test three days before you travel to the UK.
- Book and pay for day 2 and day 8 PCR tests before you travel and take them after arrival on the corresponding dates. If you’re in the UK for less than 10 days, you still need to quarantine for the duration of your stay and book second- and eighth-day tests. You’ll only need to take the PCR tests if you’re still in the UK during those days.
- Complete a passenger locator form 48 hours before you arrive.
After arriving in the UK, you must quarantine at the place you’re staying for 10 full days (even if your day 2 test is negative) and take the PCR tests you booked before traveling. You should take the first test on or before day 2 and the second test on or after day 8. The day you arrive is day 0.
If your test result is positive or unclear, you must self-isolate for 10 full days. The day you took the test is day 0. You won’t have to take a day 8 test if your day 2 test is positive.
But, if your day 2 test is negative, you still need to take your day 8 test and continue self-isolating for 10 days. If your day 8 test is negative, you can stop self-isolating on the day you received the negative test.
If your day 8 test is positive, you must quarantine for 10 full days. The day you took the day 8 test is day 0.
Requirements to Enter the U.S. from the UK
All travelers (aged 2 and over) flying to the U.S. from the UK will be required to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within one day of their departure.
Unlike the previous requirements, which allowed for a longer timetable for vaccinated travelers, this new requirement will treat all passengers the same, regardless of vaccination status. As is currently the case, either a PCR or antigen test will still be accepted as proof of being negative for Covid-19.
It is important to note that the test requirements include taking it within one calendar day and is not limited to within 24 hours of your departure. This means that passengers will be able to take their test at any time during the day before their flight, no matter what time their flight departs.
There are no new quarantine restrictions at this time.
For more information on requirements for travelers reentering the United States, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.