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UK scraps quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated amber arrivals, but not including Americans

July 08, 2021
4 min read
UK scraps quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated amber arrivals, but not including Americans
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The U.K. government has formally announced its plans to allow fully jabbed Brits to skip quarantine requirements on return home from amber list countries. The change in foreign travel policy was announced by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on Thursday and takes effect from July 19.

The move to allow fully vaccinated travelers arriving in the U.K. from amber countries to skip quarantine coincides with "freedom day," the country's lifting of restrictions on July 19.

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However, at this time, the exemption only applies to travelers who have been fully vaccinated in the U.K. Therefore, travelers who have been fully vaccinated in another country — such as the U.S. — are not yet eligible for the exemption.

The change will allow eligible travelers to skip 10-day isolation. However, they will still need to take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on their second day back in the country.

"I can confirm today that from 19 July, UK residents who are fully vaccinated through the UK vaccine rollout will no longer have to self-isolate when they return to England," Shapps said. "They will still be required to take a test three days before returning, the pre-departure test, demonstrating they're negative before they travel, and a PCR test on or before day two, but they will no longer be required to take a day eight test.

"In essence, this means that for fully vaccinated travelers, the requirements for green and amber list countries are the same."

Shapps said there are no changes to arrivals from red countries.

Additionally, Shapps said that those younger than 18 will no longer need to isolate.

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The move has partially answered the calls that the travel industry has been pressing the government to consider. Currently, there are only 27 countries and territories on the highly desired green list, which does not require a quarantine on return to the U.K. The majority of the world's countries — 147 in total — are currently on the medium-risk amber list, which does require a quarantine and testing regime. The United States is currently on the amber list.

Related: What kind of COVID-19 test do I need to travel and how much does it cost?

Previously, there are no exceptions for travelers who are fully vaccinated. Many other countries around the world have implemented loosened border restrictions for travelers who are fully vaccinated.

The move will be a huge lift to the aviation and tourism industries in the U.K. Many of the world's biggest holiday destinations are currently on the amber list. Plus, it could be a huge step forward to opening a travel corridor of sorts with the U.S. — if the exemption is soon extended to Americans.

"We're pleased to see this common sense approach which is already working safely for many other countries, but there is more work to do," British Airways CEO Sean Doyle said in a statement. "While the quarantine requirement for 'amber' countries is being lifted for fully vaccinated U.K. travelers, the government needs to quickly extend this to all vaccinated travelers, agree a reciprocal deal with the U.S., add more countries to the 'green' list and reduce the need for unnecessary, expensive tests. This will allow the UK to catch up with other countries and send a message that Global Britain is now, finally, open again."

Heathrow is set to unveil a new trial that would establish special fast-track lanes for vaccinated travelers on arrival. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic passengers on select flights will be able to utilize the new fast-track immigration lanes at Heathrow,

Related: Heathrow, BA and Virgin trialing online document verification for select flights returning to the UK

According to government data, more than 45 million people in the U.K. have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while more than 34 million people across the country are fully vaccinated.

Featured image by AFP via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more