Tips & News

The UK Is Making It Easier — and Cheaper — for Vaccinated Tourists to Visit

As of October 24, fully vaccinated travelers can opt for the lateral flow test instead of a PCR.

UK Vaccinated Tourists

Westminster Bridge, London. Photo by lakovKalin/Getty Images Pro/Canva

By Alison Fox

Oct 24, 2021

THE UNITED KINGDOM IS ELIMINATING the requirement to get a Covid-19 PCR test for most vaccinated travelers. As of October 24, fully vaccinated tourists to the UK will be able to opt instead for the cheaper and faster lateral flow test, Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps tweeted, adding it would “make traveling easier and simpler for everyone.”

The new rule will apply to any vaccinated travelers or tourists coming to the UK from countries that are not on the Britain’s red list, according to the government. This also applies to eligible travelers under 18.

Earlier this month, the UK eliminated the need for vaccinated travelers from most destinations to get tested before departure. Travelers, however, must book a test to take on or before the second day of their trip.

“Taking away expensive mandatory PCR testing will boost the travel industry and is a major step forward in normalizing international travel and encouraging people to book holidays with confidence,” Shapps said in a statement.

Travelers will have to book a lateral flow test with an approved private provider on the government’s website. The government said travelers will have to take a photo of their lateral flow test and booking reference.

Travelers may also be able to book a test to take upon arrival at testing centers in some airports.

“We want to make going abroad easier and cheaper, whether you’re traveling for work or visiting friends and family,” Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said in the statement. “This change to testing is only possible thanks to the incredible progress of our vaccination program, which means we can safely open up travel as we learn to live with the virus.”

The decision to simplify travel to the UK comes as Thailand prepares to reopen broadly beyond its popular holiday islands on November 1, and the U.S. prepares to open its border to vaccinated international travelers on November 8, according to Reuters.

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