From 04:00 GMT on Monday 18th January 2021, pre-departure COVID-19 testing will be required for all UK arrivals. People arriving by plane, train or boat, including UK Nationals, will be required to take a test up to 72-hours before leaving the country they are in and provide a negative test certificate before they are able to travel.
The Government has stated that all forms of PCR test would be accepted, as will other forms of COVID-19 test “with a 97% sensitivity and 99% specificity”, so that could in some cases included Lamp and lateral flow tests.
Are travellers still required to self-isolate?
If British Nationals test positive for COVID-19 while abroad, the Government states that you should not travel and should follow the local guidance on self-isolation.
It is important to note also that all passengers returning from a destination not on the Travel Corridor list will still be required to self-isolate for 10-days, regardless of the test result. Receiving a negative test result within the 72-hour window ahead of travel will not prevent travellers from having to self-isolate on arrival in the UK.
Who will enforce this new rule?
Airlines, train operators and ferry firms will be expected to enforce the rule, and face fines if they allow travellers on board without an approved test certificate. Carriers may deny boarding to passengers who are not in receipt of a qualifying negative test.
All individuals who fail to comply with this new test measure requirement will be fined £500 immediately by UK Border Force officials on arrival.
Are there any exceptions to the rule?
Holidaymakers in Antigua, Barbados and St Lucia have been given an additional six-day leeway to source and book tests ahead of travel, this is due to the lack of testing infrastructure in these countries.
Travellers from Falkland Islands, Ascension Islands and St Helena are exempted permanently, because of the issues with testing available in these destinations.
Children under the age of 11 are exempt from these pre-travel testing requirements. Hauliers also are exempt to enable the free flow of freight, as are air, international rail and maritime crews who are able to continue working as they are now.