No more forms or tests: UK ends all Covid travel entry restrictions for inbound travellers

There’s good news for people travelling to Britain from Turkey, the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC) and other international destinations.

The British government is removing all remaining COVID-19 international travel restrictions for passengers from 4am Friday, 18 March. The rules apply to all four nations: England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

From Friday, passengers entering Britain will no longer have to complete an online Passenger Locator Form, and those who are unvaccinated will no longer have to take pre-travel and Day 2 PCR tests.

Tests for vaccinated travellers arriving in Britain had already been lifted on 11 February, with a pledge to end the remaining restrictions as soon as possible.

The latest rule changes were announced by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on Monday, 14 March, “making the UK one of the first major economies to remove all its remaining COVID-19 travel restrictions” states the UK government website, describing it as “a landmark moment for passengers and the travel and aviation sector.”

“The UK is leading the world in removing all remaining COVID-19 travel restrictions”

The Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said, “The UK is leading the world in removing all remaining COVID-19 travel restrictions,” and that Monday’s announcement was “a testament to the hard work everyone in this country has put in place to roll out the vaccine and protect each other.”

“I said we wouldn’t keep travel measures in place for any longer than necessary, which we’re delivering on today – providing more welcome news and greater freedom for travellers ahead of the Easter holidays,” the Transport Secretary added.

L-R: Transport Secretary Grant Shapps (photo © Chris McAndrew), and Health Secretary Sajid Javid (photo © Richard Townshend)


His Cabinet colleague Sajid Javid, the Health and Social Care Secretary, also responded to the changes to the UK Covid border entry rules:

“We can remove these final restrictions thanks to the incredible success of our vaccination programme, which has seen more than 8 out of 10 adults across the UK boosted.”

“As we learn to live with COVID-19, we’re taking further steps to open up international travel once again ahead of the Easter holidays.

“We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants and keep a reserve of measures that can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe.”

The announcement was warmly greeted by the UK industry bodies for airlines and airports.

Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, said the announcement “sends a clear message to the world – the UK travel sector is back!”

“With travellers returning to the UK no longer burdened by unnecessary forms and testing requirements, we can now look forward to the return to pre-COVID normality throughout the travel experience,” he added, also thanking the government for making the announcement ahead of the Easter holidays in April.

“We’re grateful for the timing of the announcement as we prepare to welcome back passengers this Easter and summer, for which we know there is huge pent-up demand, and for the UK’s leadership in being the first major aviation market to remove all remaining restrictions. The time to return to the skies – to enjoy all that makes aviation and international travel great, for families and businesses – is now,” Mr Alderslade said.

Karen Dee, Chief Executive of Airport Operators Association, also welcomed the decision to end Covid entry restrictions, stating that it would “allow for aviation to take significant steps towards recovery.”

She said the following the “return to restriction-free travel” people can start “to book their long-awaited holidays, trips to see relatives and friends abroad they haven’t seen for a long time and travel to rekindle business ties with other countries.”


Main image, top, from Heathrow Airport, photo © alice photo / iStock