Travelling to UK Post Covid-19: What You Need to Know Before You Go

With the decline of COVID-19 cases, the United Kingdom is steadily easing the travel restrictions on international passengers. If you are travelling to the UK in the near future, you must be in the loop with its prevailing guidelines. Keep reading to know more.

6 Things to Know Before Traveling to the UK Post-COVID

Discussed below are some of the primary guidelines you must know before leaving for your trip to the UK post-COVID.

1. Get Your Travel Visa for UK

If you are travelling to the UK, you must mandatorily apply for a UK tourist visa from India. Good news is that a standard tourist visa from India for travelling to the UK takes hardly 2 weeks to process. The processing fee is approximately Rs 7,981. However, if you take the assistance of a visa agent to streamline the process, you might have to pay an additional commision.

Some of the key documents required to apply for a UK tourist visa are:

  • Passport with validity of more than 6 months.
  • Bank statement of at least past three-months.
  • Two 45mm x 35mm (passport-sized) photographs.

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2. Who is allowed to travel?

Fully vaccinated individuals from non-red list countries can travel to Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, and Wales without quarantining or a pre-departure negative test. You can check the list of green list countries on the UK government’s official website.

On 11 October 2021, the UK government took off 47 countries from its red list, thereby leaving only 7 destinations. Given below is a list of red list countries and territories:

  1. Dominican Republic
  2. Haiti
  3. Colombia
  4. Panama
  5. Venezuela
  6. Peru
  7. Ecuador

On the other hand, non-vaccinated individuals can also visit this country; however, they are subject to additional testing and quarantining.

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3. What Are the Restrictions?

While planning your trip to the UK post-COVID, make sure you have a clear understanding of the Green List and Red List countries and the associated travel guides. Here’s a brief to help you out.

Green List Countries

As mentioned earlier, fully vaccinated travellers from green list countries do not need to undergo a pre-departure negative test. The same rule applies to those under the age of 18.

Non-vaccinated travellers must undergo a pre-departure negative COVID test, alongside paying for the day 2 and day 8 PCR test. They must also quarantine at their homes or at the place of stay for 10 days.

Furthermore, non-vaccinated individuals quarantining in England can end their quarantine period earlier through the Test to Release scheme. However, this scheme is not applicable in Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland.

In addition, from 24 October 2021, fully vaccinated passengers arriving in England need not take the expensive COVID tests. Instead, they have to take the lateral flow tests as an alternative to PCR. Also, these travellers must avail of the tests from private testing providers. The list of applicable providers will go live on 22 October 2021.

On the other hand, while Scotland is planning to shift to lateral flow tests for day 2 testing, Northern Ireland and Wales are yet to make a decision in this regard.

Red List Countries

Currently, arrivals from red list countries are refused entry to the United Kingdom, unless one is a resident of the country or an Irish or British national.

Moreover, British, Irish, and UK nationals travelling from red list countries must enter into a 10-day hotel quarantine. The expenses for the same are to be borne by the individual.

Additionally, these travellers must buy the ‘quarantine package’ before entering the UK, which covers their stay at a hotel for quarantine.

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4. What Is the Current COVID Situation in the UK?

The country experienced a severe first wave in 2020. Moreover, a troubling winter followed suit thereafter with the discovery of the Delta variant. Over time, cases fell, however, in recent weeks they seem to be on the rise once more. During the week leading up to 19 October 2021, 3,05,323 new cases were recorded.

Furthermore, as of 19 October 2021, there have been 84,49,169 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 1,38,584 lives lost.

On the bright side, the United Kingdom was the first country to start a vaccination programme, which has significantly reduced the burden on its National Health Service or NHS. In addition, all adults in the country have received the vaccine’s first dose. Also, more than 95.5 million doses of the vaccine have been administered, which has vaccinated over 67% of its citizens.

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5. What to Expect From Your Travel to the UK?

If you plan your trip to the UK properly keeping all the necessary updates and COVID guidelines in mind, you can expect it to be one of the best trips of your life. The UK is home to several popular tourist destinations, like:

  • Stonehenge
  • Tower of London
  • The British Museum
  • York Minster and Historic Yorkshire
  • Chester Zoo, and many more!

Moreover, you can also consider visiting some of the upcoming events in the UK in 2022, such as the Scotland-wide Burns’ Night in January, Wales-wide Dydd Santes Dwynwen in January, and the Dark Skies Festival, Yorkshire, in February-March. Avoid using public transport in the UK if you are afraid of spreading COVID-19. For example, using an airport taxi as Gatwick to London transport is the recommended option.

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6. Make Sure to Get Travel Insurance for Your UK Trip

Additionally, you can secure your trip by opting for international travel insurance, which offers coverage against loss of essential items and documents, mislaid baggage, travel scams, and medical expenses incurred outside India. The prevailing guidelines, coupled with travel insurance, will ensure that you have a safe trip to the UK.

To conclude, it is now an ideal time to visit the UK. However, it is wise to go through the government’s official website and keep tabs on any changes in its guidelines.