What Covid tests do I need to travel abroad?

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France has softened its entry requirements for vaccinated travellers from the UK.

Travellers no longer need to justify the reason for their trip, or self-isolate on arrival.

The UK has already relaxed its Covid testing rules for visitors.

What are the new rules for travellers to France?

Vaccinated travellers from the UK no longer need to provide a "compelling reason" for their trip or quarantine on arrival in France, although other restrictions still apply:

  • all travellers, vaccinated or not, must present a negative test taken within 24 hours of departure
  • unvaccinated travellers, travelling from or to the UK, still need to justify their trip
  • unvaccinated travellers must continue to register online, before their departure, the address of their stay in France
  • on arrival, they must observe a strict quarantine period of 10 days at this address, managed by French security forces

What are the rules for vaccinated travellers to the UK?

Fully vaccinated passengers (two doses) and under-18s no longer need a pre-departure test two days before travelling to the UK.

However, within 48 hours of arrival, everyone aged five and over (11 and over in Scotland) must take a lateral flow test (LFT), or a more expensive PCR test.

The test must be bought from a private test provider - free NHS tests cannot be used.

If they take an LFT and it is positive, they must self-isolate and take an NHS PCR test to confirm the result.

Vaccinated travellers also have to fill in and submit an online passenger locator form no more than 48 hours before arriving, even if they are just passing through the UK.

What are the travel rules for everyone else?

Before departure:

All unvaccinated travellers to the UK must complete a passenger locator form, and take an LFT or PCR in the 48 hours before departure.

The test can be taken either in the country where you start your journey, or in another country en route to the UK.

If you test positive, you must follow the rules in the country you're in, and not travel onwards to the UK.

After arrival:

If you've not been fully vaccinated you must quarantine for 10 days after arrival in the UK.

You must also take two PCR tests - on days two and eight of your quarantine.

These must be booked before travelling to the UK and bought privately from a government-approved list of providers.

Travellers to England also have the option of ending quarantine under the Test To Release scheme - this involves taking a private PCR test after five days of isolation. A negative test will allow them to leave quarantine, although they must still take another PCR test on day eight.

These rules do not apply to travellers from Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, unless they have been in another country in the 10 days before their departure for the UK.

How do I prove vaccinations and test results at the UK border?

Digital Covid passes showing your vaccination status can be downloaded to your phone, whether you're in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Test results can be in the form of a printed document, or an email or text on your phone. They must be in English, French or Spanish.

European Union residents can use the EU Digital Covid Certificate to show their vaccination status or test results.

What about other countries' rules?

You need to check the UK Foreign Office website for entry requirements of any other countries you visit. These can change quickly.

Covid passes issued in the UK can be used throughout the EU to show proof of vaccination - either digitally, or as a printed download (as long as it is dated later than 1 November 2021).

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