Updated January 2023
International travel and entry into the UK are no longer subject to the coronavirus-related restrictions that were previously in effect. Additionally, masks are no longer required in interior settings like stores and restaurants in the UK. Visiting the UK is now simple for those who want to do so.
Here we’ve put together a handy checklist for the UK’s PCR testing entry requirements.
Table of Contents
PCR testing requirements in the UK
In general, travellers don’t have to fill out a UK passenger locator form before travelling to England. Additionally, there is no requirement for travellers to undergo any COVID-19 tests before their trip when they arrive or for them to be quarantined after they do.
This guideline is applied whether you are vaccinated or not.
However, if you travel (or return) by plane from mainland China to Scotland via England, you must take a pre-departure COVID-19 test in China.
When travelling to England, travellers no longer need to:
- complete a UK passenger locator form before they travel
- take any COVID-19 tests before they travel or after they arrive
- quarantine when they arrive
This rule is applied whether they are vaccinated or not. Furthermore, it includes people who are transiting through England.
Other countries may have rules about what you need to do to leave the country to travel to England. They should check travel advice for the country you are travelling from.
Even though the legal COVID requirements are no longer applied, you should still think about considering some additional security measures when you arrive in Wales to protect your friends and family.
Precautions consist of:
- If you encounter coronavirus symptoms, isolate, and get tested, and spread out visits and social gatherings before contacting sensitive family members.
- You must purchase a test if you decide to undergo a lateral flow test once you get to Wales and do not exhibit any symptoms.
- If you experience symptoms, you can request free lateral flow testing online.
People travelling to Scotland from overseas are not subject to any specific travel regulations.
They are exempt from finishing the passenger locator form and taking any COVID tests upon arrival to Scotland.
Since the COVID regulations have been abolished, regular travel regulations have once again been in place.
However, travellers are advised to consult their own government’s travel advice for additional guidance before leaving Scotland or returning home. Scotland does not have clear travel regulations, although other nations might.
Travellers coming to Northern Ireland do not need to:
- complete a passenger locator form
- show proof of vaccination status
- take any pre-departure or post-arrival tests
This applies to all travellers, whether you’re fully vaccinated or not.
There are no sector exemptions.
However, if you develop COVID-19 symptoms on arrival into Northern Ireland, follow the guidance at:
Travel to the UK from mainland China.
If you’re aged 12 or older, you will need to take a COVID-19 test no more than 2 days before you travel.
You will need to show notification of a negative COVID-19 test result when you depart mainland China for the UK. This will be checked by your airline, and you may be required to show this to Border Force on arrival to the UK.
This applies to all direct and indirect flights originating from mainland China. An indirect flight involves one or more stops in other countries or territories before arriving in the UK. This includes if you are travelling through Hong Kong or Macao.
- It applies if the UK is your final destination or if you will be transiting through England.
- You must provide the original test result notification. Your test result must be in either English, French or Spanish.
Your test result can be provided as follows:
- a printed document
- an email or text message you can show on your phone – make sure your device is charged
The test result must include the following information:
- your name, which should match the name on your travel documents
- your date of birth or age
- the result of the test
- the date the test sample was collected or received by the test provider
- the name of the test provider and their contact details
- confirmation of the type of test taken; this can be a lateral flow or PCR
Furthermore, there are some disclaimers for the travellers from Mainland China to remember:
- You cannot use an NHS-provided test as a pre-departure test.
- You must retain your notification of a negative COVID-19 test result until you have passed through the UK border.
- You may be fined if you do not follow these travel rules.
- You may not need to take a pre-departure test if you have a work-related exemption or if you have a reasonable excuse.
From 8 January 2023, some passengers will be invited to take a voluntary test on arrival to monitor for potential new variants. This applies to passengers aged 18 or over who are travelling from mainland China and arriving at Heathrow Airport only.
What about testing at the airport?
When they arrive in the UK from abroad, travellers no longer need to take any pre-departure or post-arrival COVID-19 tests. This applies whether you are vaccinated or not. There is an enhanced cleaning regime across the airport, and hand sanitising stations can be found throughout the terminals.
Testing in quarantine
Quarantine regulation is no longer applied for fully vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers upon their arrival to the UK.