U.K. Travel Restrictions Due To COVID-19
Updated: August 6, 2021
Not So fast!
On August 2, 2021, the United Kingdom updated the rules of entry into the U.K. for several countries including the United States. These new rules reduce or eliminate quarantine effectively re-opening the borders to fully vaccinated Americans.
Here are a few things you MUST know before you go though.
Note that the rules for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland may be slightly different, so ensure that you check them.
Parliament Building in Belfast, Northern Ireland
Let me interject here and let you know the airports in these areas with possible nonstop flights from the U.S.:
- London-Gatwick (LGW)
- London-Heathrow (LHR)
- London-Stanstead (STN)
- Edinburgh (EDI)
- Glasgow (GLA)
- None; but if there is, it would be Cardiff (CWF)
- Northern Ireland
- Belfast International (BFS)
This COVID-19 test must be taken at most 3 days before the departure of your transportation mode. This requirement is for everyone including citizens of the U.K. and whether or not you are fully vaccinated. So everyone must take a COVID-19 test and have a negative result.
Next it’s necessary to read the rules for the country from which you are departing and also check your vaccination status. These two items will determine whether or not you have to quarantine or not and how many COVID-19 tests you have to take on arrival.
Plus, it’s quite important that if you decide on visiting other European countries you visit the ones that have the least restrictions first, otherwise you may visit a Red country and then have to quarantine when you arrive in the U.K.
The U.K. has adopted a Red, Amber and Green list scheme. This is in effect for entering England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; though the rules may differ. Countries are assigned a color based on what the threat of COVID-19 from that country. Each category has specific rules that must be followed to enter the United Kingdom.
Here are the status of the following countries. You can view all the categories of other countries here.
- United States – Amber. If you’ve been fully vaccinated in the U.S. or European countries, no need to quarantine when you arrive in England You must book and take a day 2 test though.
- Canada – Amber
- Mexico – Currently Amber but moving to Red list on August 8, 2021
Rules For Each Category
Red (from the U.K. Government’s website)
If you have been in a country or territory on the red list in the last 10 days you will only be allowed to enter the UK if you are a British or Irish National, or you have residence rights in the UK. You must follow these rules even if you have been fully vaccinated.
Airlines From/To Canada, Mexico and the U.S. Serving The United Kingdom With Nonstop Flights
- AeroMexico (AM): MEX-LHR
- Air Canada (AC): YUL/YVR/YYZ-LHR
- Air Transat (TS): YYX-LHR (starts in December 2021)
- American Airlines (AA): BOS/CLT/DFW/JFK/LAX/MIA/ORD/PHL/SEA-LHR
- Delta Air lines (DL): ATL/JFK-LHR
- British Airways (BA): CUN-LGW; BOS/DFW/IAD/IAH/JFK/LAX/MEX/MIA/ORD/SEA/SFO/YYZ-LHR
- JetBlue (B6): JFK-LHR (starts August 11, 2021)
- TUI Airways: CUN-LGW
- United Airlines (UA): EWR/IAD/IAH/ORD/SFO-LHR
- WestJet (WS): YYC/YYZ-LGW
- Virgin Atlantic Airways (VS): ATL/BOS/IAD/JFK/LAX/MIA/SEA-LHR
Note that the flight schedules are subject to change. Use the Flight Schedule program for current flight schedules.
Airline Travel Restriction Information
Luckily, the airlines are very good about letting you know the requirements and you can use tools on their websites to help you. The requirements to enter the country are the same regardless of the airline on which you fly.