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THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE

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Pre-Departure Test Required for UK Arrivals

From January 15 international travelers wishing to enter the UK will need to have a negative Covid-19 test

Published on January 12, 2021

Rapid Test Rapid Testing for a Delta Airlines Covid-Free Flight. Photo: Delta Airlines

After speculation last week that the UK would soon require a negative coronavirus test for international travellers entering the country, the government has now confirmed that these requirements will come into force from 4am on Friday January 15.

The new rules require international travelers to take a pre-departure Covid-19 test up to three days before departure. Travelers will then need to show evidence of a negative test result before they are permitted to depart, whether it's by plane, rail or boat.

The full details have not yet been clarified by the government, and there has been no comment on whether the new testing requirements will correspond with existing testing regimes that many Transatlantic carriers have already adopted. However, the government explains that carriers will be given this information shortly, so if you're due to travel to the UK, contact your provider for information on what you need to do.

The government has warned that fines will be levied against international travelers arriving in England without a qualifying negative Covid-19 test result. The fines will start at £500.

The US Embassy in London has also issued up to date advice on traveling to the US from the UK, which has required a negative test result since late December 2020. Passengers flying to the States need to file a Passenger Attestation Form prior to embarkation. More details can be found at: uk.usembassy.gov/information-about-covid-tests-for-travelers-from-the-uk-to-us

Ahead of the new UK rules coming into force on Friday, and with vaccines being rolled out on both sides of the Atlantic, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) is also calling for action to avoid unvaccinated travelers being discriminated against.

WTTC's President and CEO, Gloria Guevara, argued that while "WTTC wholeheartedly supports the testing on departure of all travellers to ensure passengers can prove they are COVID-19 free and thus avoid the spread ... It will take a significant amount of time to vaccinate the global population, particularly those in less advanced countries, or in different age groups, therefore we should not discriminate against those who wish to travel but have not been vaccinated."

For full details on the UK's new pre-departure test regulations, go to www.gov.uk/government/speeches/international-travel-update-11-january-2021

South America and Portugal Restrictions: New restrictions have also been announced for travel from South America and Portugal to the UK. For more details, see www.theamerican.co.uk/pr/ne-South-America-Covid-Ban-UK-Travel.

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