Do I need to take a Covid test to fly if I have been double vaccinated?

With restrictions, lockdowns and the latest rules changing so frequently, you may be wondering the state of your upcoming travel plans. The rules do differ whether you travel from England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, so be sure to familiarise yourself with the rules that apply to the airport you’re travelling from.

The definition of being fully vaccinated is ‘you’ve had your final dose of the Covid-19 vaccine through the NHS 14 days before you travel’. So, if your second vaccination comes a couple of days before you plan to leave, you’re likely to face issues with travelling. 

As of July 19th, the testing, vaccination and travel rules are as follows…

Pre-departure testing

Whether you’re travelling to a red, amber or green country, current law says that pre-departure tests must be taken, and it’s very unlikely that your destination will let you in without proof of a negative Covid result.

It’s important to do your pre-departure test with a reputable company that will ensure accurate results and will deliver your result in the required format for travel. Private test companies such as www.medicspot.co.uk can help with your pre-departure testing as well as the tests you need to take on your return.

The results form must include:

  • Your name
  • Your date of birth
  • The test result
  • The date the sample was received
  • The name of the test provider and their details
  • Confirmation of the device used for the test

To meet the requirements for pre-departure testing, the test must meet performance standards as outlined by the government. Both PCR and lateral flow tests are allowed, and test results must be in either English, French or Spanish. Without this information, you may be fined £500.

Travelling to a red list country

If you’re fully vaccinated travelling to a red list country, you’ll need to understand the rules of your destination. To leave the UK on a plane, you’ll need to have a printed record of your vaccination status, and you’ll need to declare that you’ve been fully vaccinated on your passenger locator form too. 

To return to the UK from a red list country, you’ll need to:

  • Take a pre-departure (from your destination) PCR or antigen test. This must show a negative result and be taken within 3 days of departure
  • Book a [quarantine hotel package](https://www.gov.uk/guidance/booking-and-staying-in-a-quarantine-hotel-when-you-arrive-in-england) which includes day 2 and day 8 testing
  • Complete a passenger locator form

Travelling to an amber list country

In order to travel to an amber list country, you’ll need your vaccination proof, a pre-departure test and to complete a passenger locator form. Remember that even if they’re an amber list country when you travel, they could be placed on the red list while you’re there, which will make it difficult to return. 

However, while England — at the time of writing — no longer advises against non-essential overseas travel, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are still on their guard and encourage citizens to not travel or avoid travelling as much as possible.

To get back safely to the UK from an amber list country, you’ll need to take a Covid-19 test 3 days before travelling — even if you’re fully vaccinated — as well as booking a PCR test to be completed within 2 days of your arrival. You won’t have to self isolate after you’ve arrived if you’re fully vaccinated, unless your test comes back positive. If you’re not fully vaccinated and returning from an amber list country, you’ll need to self isolate for 10 days, take a test to release on day 5 and take another PCR test on day 8.

Travelling to a green list country

To travel to a country on the green list, you’ll need to take a pre-departure test and fill in a passenger locator form, regardless of your vaccination status. When you return, you’ll need a day 2 PCR test, but you won’t need to quarantine or isolate on arrival from a green list country. 

As the rules and travel lists are often changing without warning, please make sure to check the latest government guidance from your home country as well as your destination before you travel.