Great Britain

Today's travel rule changes explained - quarantine, cruises and more

At 4am this morning, fully vaccinated US and EU travellers were allowed to enter England and Scotland without the need to quarantine.

England’s Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced the new rules last week.

The Cabinet minister said: “We’re helping reunite people living in the US and European countries with their family and friends in the UK.”

Mr Shapps continued: “We’ve taken great strides on our journey to reopen international travel, and today is another important step forward.

“Whether you are a family reuniting for the first time since the start of the pandemic or a business benefiting from increased trade – this is progress we can all enjoy.”

The Scottish Government announced the rule change will apply to fully vaccinated EU and US visitors to Scotland.

Meanwhile, the Welsh Government said it “regrets” the move to remove quarantine requirements for EU and US visitors to England, but added it would be “ineffective” to have different rules for Wales.

So what are the rules you need to know? The PA news agency have answered 11 key questions about the new travel rules.

In a nutshell, what has been announced?

Quarantine will be waived for fully vaccinated travellers from the US and much of Europe arriving in England.

What impact will that have?

It means trips to England will be viable for millions of people in those countries, boosting UK travel and tourism firms.

When does the change come into effect?

On Monday August 2 at 4am.

What parts of Europe are included?

The whole of the EU except France, the four European Free Trade Association members (Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Lichtenstein), plus the microstates of Monaco, Andorra and Vatican City.

What does fully vaccinated mean?

Travellers planning to take advantage of the new policy must be fully vaccinated with jabs authorised by the EU’s European Medicines Agency, the Food and Drug Administration in the US, or in the Swiss vaccination programme.

Will arrivals still be tested for coronavirus?

Yes, they will be required to take a pre-departure test, and a PCR test on or before the second day after they arrive in England.

They will be exempt from the day eight test.

What about children?

Children who usually live in the US or in one of the named European countries will be exempt from quarantine and the day eight test.

Those aged between five and 10 will also be exempt from the pre-departure test, with under-5s exempt from all tests.

What is the situation in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales?

Scotland and Wales have since followed the Government’s move on quarantine requirements.

The Welsh Government said it “regrets” the move but added it would be “ineffective” to have different rules for Wales.

Ministers in Northern Ireland will consider a proposal to follow suit during Thursday’s scheduled executive meeting. Health Minister Robin Swann is proposing that the region adopts the same rule change on Monday.

What do the changes mean for UK travellers?

Nothing. People who have been fully vaccinated are already exempt from self-isolation when returning from a country on the amber list, which includes the US and those EU countries not on the quarantine-free green list.

No widespread reciprocal deal to benefit UK travellers has been announced, and the US continues to be closed to most visitors from Europe, including the UK.

What are the rules for travel from France to England?

They are unchanged. Travellers will continue to be required to quarantine, even if they are fully vaccinated.

What else was announced by Mr Shapps?

International cruises will be permitted to resume departing and arriving in England.

Ships operating in England are currently restricted to domestic sailings.

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