double decker buses on a street in front of a large building
Image by Alfred Derks from Pixabay

When can we visit London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Cardiff and the best of the UK again? The short answer is now. The long answer is; it’s complicated, takes time, and it might for quite a while.

Actually, the long answer is that it’s more expensive and complicated than many comparable destinations – if one exists. If you’re dreaming of travel to the United Kingdom, here’s what you need to know, and what to expect if you do.

a double decker bus in front of a building
The Sofitel St. James in London, an Accor ALL loyalty program hotel.

UK Travel Entry Rules

The UK requires all visitors to submit to a covid-19 test before departure, and at least one test after arrival. With that said, most people are currently welcome, so long as they are not coming from a “red list” country, in which case only Brits and residents are allowed to enter.

The catch? The vast majority of arrivals, including those from the US, Canada and most of the world not on the UK’s “green list” are required to isolate for a period of 5-11 full days, depending on the testing package they buy.

So yeah, if you’re an American wanting to visit friends – you can – but you’ll need to take a test before departure, and pre-purchase a testing package, at a cost of at least £160 (circa $200), and isolate for at least 5 days. If you buy a further testing package, you can typically leave after results from a day 5 test.

Comparing the current UK entry process to Europe, where Americans can enter with one negative covid-19 test, or simple proof of being fully vaccinated (without a test), it’s hard to see how many people will rush in all at once.

Making matters even more complicated, entry rules and restrictions vary within the UK. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland may have different rules than England does, but let’s ignore that for a second.

a city with lights and bridges
Image by Pierre Blaché from Pixabay

Report: UK Will Relax Travel Entry Rules

Backlash against what’s regarded as overly cautious government policy has emerged in the UK, as fully vaccinated Britons feel they aren’t being told the whole story. Ministers are now responding, by suggesting that restrictions should be eased for those who are fully vaccinated.

Under these reported proposals, no period of quarantine or isolation after arrival into the UK would be required for fully vaccinated Brits returning from all ‘green’ or ‘amber’ list countries, but testing would still be required.

What’s undecided, as of yet, is whether exemptions from isolation would apply just to Brits returning home, or to all vaccinated travelers who can furnish proof of being fully vaccinated.

The EU and other regions are accepting proof of vaccination from trusted country partners, such as the USA, so it would be a tremendous blow to tourism, to not create exemptions for inbound visitors from trusted countries.

Reports suggest the measures could come into effect either July 19th, or August 1st. We’ll update this article as more details are released, once the government mulls any potential changes to this travel entry policy — as many hope they will.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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