News & Insights

Entering the UK: Testing and Quarantine Q&A

With COVID-19 rules for testing and quarantine in force for those entering the UK, we set out answers to some commonly asked questions.

I’ve been in or through a ‘red list’ country; can I still enter the UK?

If you’ve been in or through a country on the red list in the last ten days, then you cannot enter the UK, unless you are British, Irish, or have a right to live in the UK. There are no red list countries at the moment.

What should I do before I travel to the UK?

There are changes to testing requirements from 4am on 11 February 2022. If you are fully vaccinated, you will no longer have to take a day 2 test after arrival in England.

Not fully vaccinated passengers no longer have to quarantine on arrival but they must take a pre-departure test as well as a day 2 test after arrival.

If you are fully vaccinated according to the new rules:

  • complete your passenger locator form – any time in the 48 hours before you arrive in England

If you are not fully vaccinated according to the new rules:

  • take a pre-departure COVID-19 test (PCR or LFD) – to be taken in the 2 days before you travel to England
  • book and pay for day 2 COVID-19 test – to be taken after arrival in England
  • complete your passenger locator form – any time in the 48 hours before you arrive in England

How do I book my COVID-19 tests for quarantine?

If you are travelling from a country or territory from the red list you must book a quarantine hotel package, including 2 COVID-19 tests.

If you are not fully vaccinated, you must book a day 2 COVID-19 test. A list of providers can be found here.

Passenger Locator Form? What’s that?

The form can be filled out online.

If you are required to book a COVID test, you will need to have booked the test beforehand, and you will need your passport or other travel document details to hand, along with details of your travel dates and time, together with the address you will be staying at in the UK for quarantine.

A completed passenger locator form must be presented at check in to travel by plane, train or ferry, as well as when on arrival at the UK border.

Fully vaccinated must be able to show proof of vaccination status, to make use of the rules for the fully vaccinated.

Proof of vaccination can be shown through:

What if I get a ‘positive’ result in my COVID-19 test before leaving for the UK, or I forget to take a test?

If your test result is ‘positive’ you must not travel.

Failing to provide a ‘negative’ predeparture COVID-19 test (where requried), may result in a £500 fine when you arrive at the UK border. The results must be in English, French, or Spanish. More details about acceptable types.

You do not need to provide a negative test result if you are travelling:

  • within the UK, the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey
  • from Ireland
  • from Ireland, Ascension, Falkland Islands, St Helena or Myanmar

You also do not need a predeparture test if:

  • you are a child under the age of eleven years old
  • you have a job on the ‘exempt jobs’ list (considered in more detail below)
  • you are travelling to the UK for medical reasons
  • you are travelling from a country where you cannot access testing facilities

For circumstances not covered in the guidance, there is an email helpline at [email protected].

Are there any exceptions to these rules?

Some people do not have to follow some of the rules mentioned above, due to the jobs they do. To check whether you do any of these jobs, and what exceptions might apply to you, see the list of exempt jobs.

There are also some other exceptions if you are travelling to the UK for medical reasons or for compassionate reasons.

This Q&A primarily focuses on travel to England. Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have slightly different rules. If you want details of the quarantine and testing rules applying to Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland, please see below:



Northern Ireland

FSP can advise you on all aspects of inbound immigration to the UK and will keep you up to date with the latest developments as they are published from the Home Office.

If you require our assistance, please contact our Head of Immigration, [email protected].