Unlocking the World

Travel to the UK during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

CNN StaffUpdated 8th September 2022
The UK has been among the countries worst-hit by coronavirus.
Editor's Note — Coronavirus cases are in flux across the globe. Health officials caution that staying home is the best way to stem transmission until you're fully vaccinated. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on September 8.
(CNN) — If you're planning to travel to the UK, here's what you'll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basics

The United Kingdom has seen one of the highest number of deaths from Covid-19 in the world, resulting in multiple lockdowns. Earlier in 2022, the Omicron coronavirus variant spread rapidly across the UK.
Cases have since dropped and Covid restrictions have since been removed across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
There are currently no Covid-related restrictions on international travel to the UK.

What's on offer

In London, the UK has one of the world's greatest cities. But beyond the architectural marvels and nightlife of the capital, there is much to explore -- the rugged peaks of the Scottish Highlands, distant Welsh lakes and the wide sweep of Cornish beaches, for starters, plus historic towns and cities such as Bath, Oxford and Harrogate.

Who can go

Anyone can enter the UK without any additional testing or quarantine requirements, regardless of vaccination status.

What are the restrictions?

There are currently no Covid-related restrictions on international travel to the UK.
Arrivals no longer need to fill out a Passenger Locator Form before arriving in the UK.
Red list countries
The UK divides destinations into "red" and "green" destinations. At present, there are no countries on the "red" list.
Previously, certain arrivals from red list countries were required to quarantine in designated hotels, but the infrastructure for hotel quarantine was "fully stood down" at the end of March 2022.
Back in March, the UK government said it will "maintain a range of contingency measures in reserve" which could be activated if concerning coronavirus variants emerge.
Green list countries
Any destination not on the red list is considered green -- so currently all destinations are green -- but that doesn't automatically mean all green destinations will permit all travelers from the UK.
Anyone -- regardless of vaccination status -- from green list countries can enter the UK without any additional testing or quarantine requirements.
For full UK government guidance on traveling to the UK, see here.
Other developments:
International and domestic cruising is operational in the UK -- see government guidance here and check the specific cruise line for regulations.
If you test positive for Covid-19 while in the UK, you are no longer legally required to self-isolate. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all recommend people who test positive stay home and avoid others.
Some airlines flying into England no longer require passengers or crew to wear masks, but it depends on the specific route so you should check before boarding.

What's the Covid situation?

The UK has suffered considerably during Covid-19 and cases peaked earlier in this year following the emergence of Omicron. Cases have since fallen.
There have been over 23.7 million Covid cases and more than 206,000 deaths in the UK as of September 8. Over 74.6% of the population has been fully vaccinated.

What can visitors expect?

There are no longer Covid restrictions in the UK.

Useful links

Our recent coverage

The Derry-Coleraine railway in Northern Ireland and the West Highland Railway in Scotland made our list of Europe's most beautiful train journeys.
The West Highland Railway was also spotlighted in our round-up of the world's most incredible railway routes.
Speaking of trains, London's long-awaited Elizabeth line is now open, and you can also read our report on London's abandoned Down Street station here.
The town of Clovelly in southwest England made our round-up of the most beautiful towns in Europe.
You can also check out our list of the top places to visit in the UK, or if it's England specifically you're interested in, here are some of the loveliest spots in the country. You'll find our list of Scotland's top spots here, and you can read a travel love story that began in Scotland here.