The UK Government is removing all Covid-19 travel restrictions for people arriving into its nations - including Northern Ireland - from 4am this Friday, under its plans for “living with Covid”.
As of March 18, everyone entering the UK - even those who do not qualify as vaccinated - will no longer need to take coronavirus tests or complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF).
This change therefore removes the need for unvaccinated passengers to take a pre-departure test and a Day 2 post arrival test.
Currently, everyone travelling to the UK must complete a passenger locator form before they arrive. Travellers who are not fully vaccinated have to take a Covid test before departure, fill in the form, and book and pay for a PCR test after arriving – all of which will be scrapped after this week.
TRAVEL UPDATE— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) March 14, 2022
All remaining Covid travel measures, including the Passenger Locator Form and tests for all arrivals, will be stood down for travel to the UK from 4am on 18 March.
These changes are possible due to our vaccine rollout and mean greater freedom in time for Easter.
UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The UK is leading the world in removing all remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions, and today’s announcement is a testament to the hard work everyone in this country has put in place to roll out the vaccine and protect each other.
“I said we wouldn’t keep travel measures in place for any longer than necessary, which we’re delivering on today - providing more welcome news and greater freedom for travellers ahead of the Easter holidays.
“I look forward to continuing to work with the travel sector and partners around the world to keep international travel moving.”
As airlines welcomed the announcement, Health Secretary Sajid Javid insisted the Government would continue to monitor and track new variants.
“As we learn to live with Covid, we’re taking further steps to open up international travel once again ahead of the Easter holidays,” he said.
“We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants, and keep a reserve of measures which can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe.
“We can remove these final restrictions thanks to the incredible success of our vaccination programme which has seen more than eight out of 10 adults across the UK boosted."
The UK Government has said it will “maintain a range of contingency measures in reserve, which, should the need arise, would enable it to take swift and proportionate action to delay any future harmful variants of Covid-19 entering the UK”.
The remaining managed hotel quarantine capacity will also be fully stood down from the end of March and the UK Health Security Agency will “continue to closely monitor the prevalence and spread of harmful variants and keep international data under review”.
International travellers have been encouraged to continue to check GOV.UK travel guidance including Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice to keep up to date with other countries’ entry requirements.
Passengers are also encouraged to carefully check booking conditions for flexibility in amending bookings prior to buying tickets.
On Monday, the Department for Health has reported one more coronavirus-linked death and 1,822 new cases in Northern Ireland within the last 24 hours.
Over 3.7 million vaccinations have been administered here - 1.4 million first doses, 1.3 million second doses and 970,483 booster jabs.