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The final remaining travel restrictions in the UK will be scrapped this week

March 14, 2022
4 min read
The final remaining travel restrictions in the UK will be scrapped this week
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The final remaining COVID-19 travel measures in the United Kingdom — including the dreaded passenger locator form and tests for unvaccinated arrivals — will be scrapped later this week.

The updates to current restrictions will come into effect at 4 a.m. on Friday.

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The news comes just in time for Easter and will bring relief to travelers across the U.K. and abroad. It will be the first time since the spring of 2020 that travelers have been able to enter the country without restrictions.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed the rule changes on Twitter, saying, "These changes are possible due to our vaccine rollout and mean greater freedom in time for Easter."

Currently, only fully vaccinated people are able to enter the U.K. without the need to test beforehand, though they must still fill in a passenger locator form within 72 hours of travel. Travelers who aren't fully vaccinated must take a COVID-19 test before departure, fill out the PLF and also book and pay for a PCR test after arriving.

Following the rule changes, there will no longer be any travel restrictions in place for anyone arriving in the U.K.

The announcement will be a boon to holidaymakers and the airline industry, as both have directed particular ire toward the continued use of the PLF.

Shapps’ previous attempts to revise the PLF system had been stymied by stiff opposition from the Department of Health, according to reports, which was said to want tougher curbs to keep track of future variants coming into the U.K.

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Travel leaders, however, have claimed for months that PLFs are not only redundant thanks to the vaccine rollout, but that they are also bad for business.

Related: Ireland ditches most of its COVID-19 rules: Americans welcome just in time for St. Patrick’s Day

“Ministers are absolutely right to remove the remaining restrictions but this needs to cut across all elements of the economy, including travel,” Airlines UK chief Tim Alderslade told the Daily Mail last month.

“If there is no requirement to self-isolate for those with [COVID-19] in the UK, jabbed or otherwise, there can be no justification for continuing with travel restrictions for the unvaccinated, including the continued use of the PLF which, although not as bad as testing, remains a deterrent to travel.”

The forms have also proved unpopular among travelers who say they are long-winded and add an extra layer of unneeded stress to international travel even as the shadow of COVID-19 begins to evanesce.

Related: The CDC just relaxed mask guidance — but they’re still required on airplanes, for now

In reaction to today's news, Alderslade was in full support saying, "the UK travel sector is back," according to Sky News.

"With travellers returning to the UK no longer burdened by unnecessary forms and testing requirements, we can now look forward to the return to pre-COVID normality throughout the travel experience," he said.

Echoing his sentiments, Julia Simpson, president and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council, said: “Other countries ditched Passenger Locator Forms weeks ago, but it is good news the U.K. Government has now scrapped all travel restrictions for coming to the U.K."

“If we are to compete on a world stage we need to be 'open for business' and not ask people to fill in lengthy forms.”

And a Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said, "The removal of all remaining U.K. travel restrictions, including the Passenger Locator Form, is the final important step towards frictionless air travel, helping to further restore consumer confidence as we welcome more customers back to the skies this spring and summer."

"With these barriers to travel removed, Britain is open for business and passengers can reconnect with loved ones and business colleagues once again."

While it remains to be seen whether this is truly the end for COVID-19 restrictions in the U.K. it's certainly a step forward in the government's "Living with COVID" plan.

Featured image by A passenger shows a shows a passenger locator form on his mobile phone at Brussels airport on January 1, 2021. - The consultative committee announced earlier this week stricter rules for people returning to Belgium after a stay of at least 48 hours abroad. (Photo by JASPER JACOBS / BELGA / AFP) / Belgium OUT (Photo by JASPER JACOBS/BELGA/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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Best for earning alternative rewards for travel purchases
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

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10XEarn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site
5XEarn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
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    Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel

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  • Annual Fee

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  • Recommended Credit
    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.

    Fair/Good

Why We Chose It

The revamped Wander Card from Credit One Bank earns cardmembers up to 10 points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases. With no foreign transaction fees, the card is also great for international travel. However, points earned from this card can only be used at a fixed value, so it may not be the best option for those striving to get maximum value from their rewards.

Pros

  • This card has no foreign transaction fees and earns up to 10 points per dollar on travel purchases through the Credit One Bank travel partner site.

Cons

  • While cardholders can earn a significant amount of points on travel purchases, there isn't any way to redeem points from the Wander Card for maximum value (beyond 1 cent per point).
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel
  • Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel site
  • Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Redeem your reward points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, flights, hotels, and more
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Free Online Credit Score and Credit Report summary, terms apply
  • If you are a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act, you may get a different offer
  • See Rates & Fees