Changes have been made to the rules regarding international travel in response to the discovery of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
Included in this is the introduction of a number of countries onto the Red List for international travel, which means you will only be granted entry into the UK if you are a resident of the UK or Ireland.
You will now be required to book a stay in a quarantine hotel on arrival and must also take two COVID-19 tests on days two and eight - even if you are fully vaccinated. You must also take a COVID-19 test in the three days before you travel.
Children under 4 do not have to take tests but will still need to quarantine.
As of 1 December, this applies to Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Because of the fact that the Omicron variant is now being discovered in other areas, changes have also been introduced for people arriving in the UK from countries that are not part of the Red List. You must also consider whether you are transiting through a Red List country as part of a wider trip.
Before travelling to the UK, you must now book and pay for a COVID-19 PCR test to be taken after you arrive back in the UK. This must be from a private test provider and not an NHS test. You will then need your COVID-19 test reference number in order to complete a passenger locator form.
After arriving back in the UK you must take the PCR test within two days of your return, with the day you arrive being 'Day 0'. Until you get your result, you must quarantine in your home, or the place where you are staying.
Your quarantine will end if you receive a negative result but if the result is positive then you must self isolate for ten days, with the day of the test being 'Day 0'. You must also self isolate for ten days if the result is unclear, although a negative result on a second test will allow you to end your isolation period.
Children aged 5 to 17 have to follow the testing and quarantine rules for people who qualify as fully vaccinated on arrival in England. Children aged 4 and under do not need to take any tests.
Before travelling back to the UK you must take a COVID-19 test in the three days before travel, book and pay for two COVID-19 tests to be taken on days two and eight after arrival and also complete a passenger locator form.
After arriving back in the UK, you must quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for ten days and also take your two COVID-19 tests.
If your day two test is positive, you must self isolate for ten days from the day you take the test, which is 'Day 0'. You do not need to take the day eight test.
If the day two test is negative, you must continue to self isolate and then take the day eight test on or after day eight. If the test is positive, you must self isolate for ten days from the date of the test, which is 'Day 0'. If the day eight test is negative, your quarantine will end on day ten - with 'Day 0' being the day you arrived in the UK.
The only exception is if you have not received the result of your day eight test when it gets to day ten, in which case you must remain in quarantine until you get your result.
You may be able to end your quarantine early through the 'Test to Release' scheme.
Fully vaccinated means you have had a complete course of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before arriving in the UK.
Proof Of Vaccination
To get a digital NHS COVID Pass for travel you need one of the following.
To be fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine used in the UK
The NHS COVID Pass is usually available within 24 hours of having your vaccination, but it can take up to 5 days for your records to be updated.
A positive PCR test within the past 6 months (not available in the Isle of Man)
The NHS COVID Pass is available after you've finished self-isolating and up to 180 days after taking the test.
You can also get a COVID Pass letter sent to your registered address.
Passenger Locator Form
Everyone arriving in the UK is required to complete a Passenger Locator Form within the 48 hours prior to travelling, with airlines requiring evidence that the form has been completed in order to allow you to board a flight.
In order to complete the form, you will need your passport details, travel details, address, booking reference for the relevant COVID-19 tests on returning home, and the invoice number for a quarantine hotel if required.
The form can be filled in here.
Booking A Test
The test that must be taken on day two of your arrival in England needs to be pre-booked in order to complete the required passenger locator form.
The test must come from a Government approved supplier, with further information available here.
In line with European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) guidelines, face masks are still required on flights and at at the airport, despite the easing of regulations in the UK. Failure to wear a face mask, or to inform your airline in advance, could result in you being refused permission to board.
Anyone who is exempt from wearing a face mask will need to provide proof of exemption prior to travelling.
The rules around COVID-19 are not a 'one size fits all' and can differ from one destination to the next. Entry requirements and rules around COVID-19 - including things like whether face masks must be worn - can be found below for a number of the key ski destinations.
A full list of destinations can be found here.