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Mandatory Covid-19 testing now instituted for international travellers entering the UK

Posted by: Gherson Immigration

Whilst many countries have implemented various testing programs for international travellers crossing their borders, the UK has consistently resisted this strategy, opting instead for the requirement to quarantine on arrival. 

However, in response to new variants of the virus, the UK has now implemented the requirement for testing prior to arrival in the UK. 

The UK will soon require all international travellers wishing to enter the UK to produce a negative Covid-19 test result before boarding their plane, train, or sea vessel bound for the UK. This test can be taken up to a maximum of 72 hours prior to departure. Failure to do so will result in a £500 fine, with UK Border Force officials carrying out spot checks on arrivals. 

This new requirement is expected to come into force later next week, however an exact date has yet to be set. 

Specific exceptions apply to this new measure, such as certain road haulage personnel and children under 11 years old. The relevant guidance should be consulted carefully to check whether the exceptions apply to you. 

In addition to the new negative test result requirement, the current UK guidance which requires international travellers arriving in the UK to first complete a passenger locator form (within 48 hours of their departure for the UK) and then quarantine for a period of 10 days, after which they may end their quarantine if they are not exhibiting symptoms, will remain in force. The voluntary test and release program will also remain in force, which allows passengers to voluntarily pay for a private Covid-19 test on the fifth day of their quarantine. If the result of this test is negative, they may end their period of quarantine at this point. 

Breaking one’s quarantine is a criminal offence, carrying fines of up to £1,000.

Finally, the UK has a list of countries with which it has established so-called ‘travel corridors’. If one is travelling to the UK from one of the countries on this travel corridor list, then no period of quarantine is required. The travel corridor list is constantly being revised and should be checked regularly to ensure that the most up-to-date information is used when making travel plans. 

It must be noted that regardless of whether one’s quarantine period has elapsed or not, everyone arriving in the UK must abide by the national restrictions, which currently take the form of a national lockdown. Under the current national lockdown rules those in the UK wishing to travel internationally must not do so, unless it is for a defined and essential reason.  

For those who have recently been granted entry clearance to the UK and are concerned about the effect of travel restrictions and what to expect regarding your immigration status and subsequent logistics upon arrival, please contact us.

The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

©Gherson 2021

Spencer Bienvenue 

  Spencer Bienvenue

  Paralegal in our General Immigration Team


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