UK to lift COVID test requirements for vaccinated travellers, students from Feb. 11

UK travel update today
England axes COVID-19 pre-departure tests for international travellers, following the success of the booster programme. Source: Justin Tallis/AFP

What’s the UK travel update today? International students and travellers arriving in England from abroad will no longer have to take COVID-19 tests if they are fully vaccinated

The UK government announced that from Feb. 11, 2022, all testing requirements will be removed for eligible fully vaccinated arrivals, with only a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) now required.

The PLF will also be simplified, confirming their vaccination status, travel history and contact details, and people will have an extra day to fill it out before travelling.

The changes announced yesterday (Jan. 24, 2022) mean that the UK has one of the most free-flowing borders across Europe, in addition to having the most open economy and society. The announcement also coincides with a midterm holiday break for many schoolchildren.

UK travel update today

The UK will also scale back travel restrictions for unvaccinated arrivals. Source: Geoff Robins/AFP

UK travel update today: What unvaccinated students, travellers should know

The UK travel update today heralds a step back to normality. The UK government also announced that they will scale back travel restrictions for unvaccinated arrivals. 

From Feb. 11, 2022, international travellers who aren’t fully vaccinated will only need to take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on or before day two after they arrive in the UK, as well as filling out the simplified PLF. They will not need to self-isolate on arrival, and will only need to do so if they receive a positive COVID-19 result.

They will also be recognising vaccine certificates from 16 further countries and territories at the border, including China and Mexico, bringing the total list to over 180 countries and territories worldwide.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We made the right calls at the right time and thanks to our vaccine and booster rollout it’s paying off – allowing us to safely remove nearly all COVID-19 travel restrictions for vaccinated travellers.

“We already have one of the most open economies in Europe with the least restrictions, and because of the changes today we now have a travel sector to match it.”

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We have entered a new chapter in our fight against COVID-19 and we’re taking a balanced approach as we learn to live with the virus.

“Thanks to the success of the vaccination programme, now is the right time to take this additional step towards opening up international travel once again.”

The UK government also said it plans to maintain its red list as their first line of defence against future variants of concern arriving from abroad. They are looking to replace the hotel quarantine policy with other contingency measures, including home isolation. Further details will be set out on this later in the spring.