FAQ's for travel between the USA and the UK and Ireland in 2021
Passenger Locator Form
Everyone arriving into the UK or Ireland must complete a passenger locator form online during the 48 hours before arrival. You will need to show your form when you check in to board your plane and again upon arrival. After you complete the form you will receive a QR code via email. You can print this out or show it on your phone as proof of completion. This information will be used to contact you if someone you have traveled with develops COVID-19 symptoms. Your information will be deleted after 42 days. Link :https://provide-journey-contact-details.homeoffice.gov.uk/passengerLocatorFormUserAccountHolderQuestion
No, if your result is positive you cannot board an airplane or enter the UK
You must take a Covid test in the 72 hours before you depart from the USA, e.g. if your flight leaves on a Friday you must take the test Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. You will need to show proof of a negative test to the airline and possibly again when you land in the UK.
Your test result can be provided as:
- A printed document
- An email or text message you can show on your phone - make sure your device is charged
Your test result must be in either English, French or Spanish. Translations will not be accepted. You must provide the original test result notification. It must include the following information:
- your name, which should match the name on your travel documents
- your date of birth or age
- the result of the test
- the date the test sample was collected or received by the test provider
- the name of the test provider and their contact details
- confirmation of the device used for the test, or that the test was a PCR test
If the test result does not include this information you may not be able to board your airplane, and may not be able to travel to the UK or Ireland. If you arrive without a test result that includes this information, you might have to pay a £500 fine.
The type of test permitted by the UK is fairly broad. It stipulates that the test must meet performance standards of ≥97% specificity, ≥80% sensitivity at viral loads above 100,000 copies/ml.
This could include tests such as:
- a nucleic acid test, including a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test or derivative technologies, including loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) tests
- an antigen test, such as a test from a lateral flow device
It’s your responsibility to ensure the test meets the minimum standards for sensitivity, specificity and viral load details. You must check with your test provider that it meets those standards.
You may not be able to travel if the test does not meet these standards. It’s your responsibility to ensure you get the right test that meets the above requirements.
Currently, all arrivals from a green country i.e. those allowed to visit without a quarantine are required to take a test on day 2. You can book this test on your passenger locator form. There will be a cost for this test however the amount is not certain at present.
Yes, you will need to get tested no more than 3 days before you travel by air into the United States and show your negative result before you board your flight.
Passengers must be tested with a viral test that could be either an antigen test or a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT). Examples of available NAATs for SARS-CoV-2 include but are not restricted to reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP), transcription-mediated amplification (TMA), nicking enzyme amplification reaction (NEAR), and helicase-dependent amplification (HDA). The test used must be authorized for use by the relevant national authority for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in the country where the test is administered.
Rapid tests are acceptable as long as they are a viral test acceptable under the Order.
International air passengers traveling to the United States can use a self-test (sometimes referred to as home test) that meets the following criteria:
- The test must be a SARS-CoV-2 viral test (nucleic acid amplification test [NAAT] or antigen test) with Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- The testing must be done in conjunction with a telehealth service that will supervise the test over video.
- The telehealth provider must verify the test-taker's identity, observe the specimen collection and testing procedures, confirm the test result, and issue a report that meets the requirements of CDC’s Order
- Airlines and other aircraft operators must be able to review and confirm the person’s identity and the test result details. The passenger must also be able to present the documentation of test results to U.S. officials at the port of entry and local/state health departments, if requested.
A test result must be in the form of written documentation (paper or electronic copy). The documentation must include:
- Type of test (indicating it is a NAAT or antigen test)
- Entity issuing the result (e.g. laboratory, healthcare entity, or telehealth service)
- Specimen collection date. A negative test result must show the specimen was collected within the 3 days before the flight. A positive test result for documentation of recovery from COVID-19 must show the specimen was collected within the 3 months before the flight.
- Information that identifies the person (full name plus at least one other identifier such as date of birth or passport number)
- Test Result
There is currently one at-home test on the market that meets the CDC's requirements to be used for international air travel. Abbot's BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag at-home test kit. You'll be able to take the test from anywhere in the world and receive results in 15 minutes.