Covid-19 travel testing rules are changing on 4 October 2021 for travel into England from abroad.  The traffic light system is being scrapped, leaving just a red list of countries and ‘the rest of the world’, meaning the Covid tests you need to take will be more dependent on your vaccination status.  Here we take a look at some of the key changes.

Pre-travel testing

Previously, anyone entering the UK from a green or amber list country had to take a test before they travelled.   

From 4 October this changed in England with fully vaccinated UK residents (two jabs, with the last one taken at least 14 days before arrival) no longer needing to take a pre-departure test as long as they are NOT coming from a country on the red list.  It is not certain if Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland will go along with this change. 

By the end of October 2021 (date to be confirmed) Day 2 PCR tests will be replaced by cheaper lateral flow tests in England for those people who are fully vaccinated.  Those testing positive will still need to isolate and follow up with a confirmatory PCR test.

Non vaccinated adults entering England

Adults who have not been fully vaccinated will still need to quarantine and take Covid tests on day 2 and day 8 as part of the changing rules in England from 4 October, even if travelling from non-red list country.  Day 5 ‘Test to Release’ will still be in place for these travellers to England.

It is worth noting that children who are UK residents travelling from non-red list countries can follow the same rules as fully vaccinated adults, irrespective of their parents’ status. 

Rules for red list countries

The rules for red list countries will remain the same, even after 4 October.  You must take a pre-departure test before travelling to the UK then quarantine in an approved hotel at your own cost, as well as taking day 2 and day 8 tests.

Recognised vaccination countries

From 4 October, adults vaccinated in the following countries or regions under an approved vaccination programme will be treated the same as anyone vaccinated in the UK: Europe, USA, Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Dominica, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.

Children residing in these territories will also be treated the same way as fully vaccinated adults.  All those travelling to the UK will still need to fill in a passenger locator form and rules are subject to change, so always double check before departure.

Who can you book tests with?

Better2Know is an accredited private provider of Covid travel tests, approved across the UK and offers a wide array of UK pre-departure and post-arrival Covid-19 tests. 

Have any questions about Covid-19 testing? We understand it can seem complicated and Better2Know are happy to answer any questions you may have.


[1] BBC: UK travel update: Amber list scrapped in overhaul of travel rules in England.

[1] GOV.UK: Coronavirus (Covid-19).

Contact Better2Know
0207 099 0955

Lines are open 24/7. Click to call.

Or click to Book Online now