UK to make it easier for vaccinated Americans to visit

Sep 17, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The United Kingdom is scrapping its traffic light system, which has assigned foreign destinations to green, amber or red lists since May with different rules for each color for anyone returning to or entering the U.K. It will be replaced with a single red “do not travel” list from Oct. 4.

After Oct. 4, pre-departure testing will no longer be required for travelers from countries NOT on the red “do not travel” list who are fully vaccinated. As of now, that should include those from the U.S., as it is currently on the U.K.’s existing amber list.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Later in October, travelers will have the option to take the day two PCR test as a cheaper lateral flow/antigen test.

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in a statement,”Today’s changes mean a simpler, more straightforward system. One with less testing and lower costs, allowing more people to travel, see loved ones or conduct business around the world while providing a boost for the travel industry.”

Related: Here’s what it’s like traveling to the UK as an American right now

Government advice will remain that Brits should not travel to red-list destinations. Following today’s announcement, the following countries will be removed from the existing red list as of Sept. 22:

  • Bangladesh
  • Egypt
  • Kenya
  • The Maldives
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Turkey

For months now, travelers to the U.K. have endured some of the strictest testing requirements for entry from any country, even if they were fully vaccinated or had recently recovered from COVID-19. Tests must have been booked through approved government providers; free National Health Service tests have been forbidden for the purposes of travel. The cost of these tests has added hundreds of dollars to the cost of a family trip.

Related: UK may relax travel bans on the US and EU — but don’t expect the US to follow suit

Today’s news will be warmly welcomed by the U.K. (and U.S.) travel industry, which has endured another very difficult summer despite the U.K. forging ahead with its vaccination program. Allowing passengers to use lateral flow/antigen tests for their day two test, ditching the pre-departure test for applicable travelers and simplifying the overall restrictions and requirements for international travel are big steps toward boosting traveler confidence.

Additional reporting by Melanie Lieberman and Clint Henderson. 

Featured photo by by Hollie Adams/Getty Images.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.