UK government has announced its decision to remove the remaining COVID-19 restrictions on international travel for all passengers.
All COVID-19 travel restrictions will be scrapped from 4am Friday 18 March. This means that anyone arriving in the UK from 4am on 18 March will not need to comply with any of the previous rules, including the passenger locator form (PLF) for arrivals into UK, as well as all tests for passengers who do not qualify as vaccinated.
Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps made the announcement on Monday ahead of the Easter holidays.
The change also removes the need for unvaccinated passengers to take a pre-departure test and a day 2 post-arrival test.
The development reflects the decisions taken by the government, as set out in the Living with COVID plan, and the success of the UK’s vaccine and booster rollout, with 86% of the population having received a second dose and 67% of the population with a booster or third dose.
“The UK is leading the world in removing all remaining COVID-19 travel restrictions, and today’s announcement is a testament to the hard work everyone in this country has put in place to roll out the vaccine and protect each other,” Shapps said on Monday.
“I said we wouldn’t keep travel measures in place for any longer than necessary, which we’re delivering on today – providing more welcome news and greater freedom for travellers ahead of the Easter holidays.
“I look forward to continuing to work with the travel sector and partners around the world to keep international travel moving.”
Following the announcement, Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “As we learn to live with COVID-19, we’re taking further steps to open up international travel once again ahead of the Easter holidays.
“We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants and keep a reserve of measures that can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe.
“We can remove these final restrictions thanks to the incredible success of our vaccination programme, which has seen more than 8 out of 10 adults across the UK boosted.”
Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, said: “Today’s announcement sends a clear message to the world – the UK travel sector is back. With travellers returning to the UK no longer burdened by unnecessary forms and testing requirements, we can now look forward to the return to pre-COVID normality throughout the travel experience.
“We’re grateful for the timing of the announcement as we prepare to welcome back passengers this Easter and summer, for which we know there is huge pent-up demand, and for the UK’s leadership in being the first major aviation market to remove all remaining restrictions. The time to return to the skies – to enjoy all that makes aviation and international travel great, for families and businesses – is now.”
Karen Dee, Chief Executive of Airport Operators Association, said: “A return to restriction-free travel is good news for passengers and should allow for aviation to take significant steps towards recovery. People should feel encouraged to book their long-awaited holidays, trips to see relatives and friends abroad they haven’t seen for a long time and travel to rekindle business ties with other countries.
Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said: “Two years after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, today’s announcement marks international travel finally returning to normal. The removal of passenger locator forms and testing regimes means that customers can at long last enjoy hassle-free travel, just like they did before the pandemic.
“With Easter just around the corner and summer fast approaching, this announcement comes at the perfect time. Since restrictions started to be eased at the beginning of the year, we have experienced strong, sustained demand and the complete removal of forms and requirements will boost that demand even further.”