Pre-departure testing for inbound travellers

Pre-departure testing will be required for all inbound passengers to England​​​​​

The government has just pushed back the date of requiring negative Covid-19 tests to Monday 18th January 2021 at 4am: passengers arriving by ship, plane or train, to the UK, will have to take a test up to 3 days before departure and provide evidence of a negative result before they travel. This will be an additional requirement that applies to all passengers, including those travelling from a travel corridor country, other than those on a very short list of exemptions. This extra layer of protection is in addition to existing self-isolation requirements.

Transport operators will be required to check that a passenger has proof of a negative test result before they board their flight, train or ferry, and may deny boarding where appropriate to reduce numbers of non-compliant individuals arriving in England. Border Force will also conduct further checks upon arrival. If a passenger arrives in England without a pre-departure negative test result they may be fined, ( fines start at £500). Operators will also be fined for transporting non-compliant passengers.

Passengers travelling to England from the Common Travel Area (the United Kingdom, Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey), will not be in scope of the regulations. Children under the age of 11 will also not be required to complete pre-departure testing. There will be a very restricted number of exemptions, including hauliers to allow the free flow of freight, and air, international rail and maritime crew.

Certain limited reasonable excuses for not undergoing testing will also be permitted, for example, lack of testing infrastructure in the departure country. This will apply to 3 overseas territories – St Helena, Ascension Island and the Falklands. Arrivals from 3 additional countries will be considered to have a reasonable excuse not to comply due to lack of testing infrastructure. However, for these countries this will only apply for a specific, time limited window. This includes:

+ Antigua and Barbuda – until 4am Thursday 21 January 2021
+  St Lucia – until 4am Thursday 21 January 2021
+  Barbados – until 4am Thursday 21 January 2021

If passengers are arriving from one of the above 3 countries after the time limited window has ended, they will be required to meet all pre-departure testing requirements.

Should you have any questions, please contact the following:

Koshi Blavo Barna
UK Head of Immigration
Santa Fe Relocation UK
Tel.: +44 0203 457 3595

To read more immigration updates, click here

About our Immigration Services

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