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Why freedom day does not mean restriction free travel for the non vaccinated?

Updated 5th March 2022: Thursday 24th February signalled the end of Covid-19 restrictions in England along with the legal requirement to isolate if you test positive. Recent announcements have also removed the need for pre-departure and arrival travel tests for the vaccinated. But what does this mean for international travel for the non vaccinated? Is a summer holiday in the sun on the cards or will restrictions continue to impede travel for the non vaccinated? Let’s find out.

Entry to England

This information applies equally to both English residents and international travellers and is correct as at 27th February 2022. You should continue to check Gov.uk rules before travel as the rules change frequently. Let’s start with the good news.

Fully vaccinated travellers

If you are fully vaccinated you will not need to take any tests or quarantine upon arrival. You will simply need to complete a passenger locator form within 48 hours of arrival into England. This removes some of the stress of pandemic travel as you do not need to worry about the cost of tests or a positive test.

Tower Bridge at sunset
Tower Bridge at Sunset (Source: Pixabay)

Before travel to England for the non vaccinated

Things are not as generous however if you are not fully vaccinated.

  • You must take a COVID-19 test in the 2 days before travel to England. If the test result is positive, you must not travel. Without a negative test, you will not be allowed to board your flight and most airlines require you to upload proof before departure.
  • If you do test positive when you carry out the pre-departure test, you must follow the local rules and guidance in place in your holiday destination country. This may mean isolation periods up to 7 – 10 days which will lead to additional cost. Check your travel insurance policy to ensure you will be covered, particularly any conditions relating to vaccination status. You can compare insurance policies on Holiday Extras to find the best plan for you but do read the small print.

We recommend that you purchase your tests before you leave England so you do not leave this to chance. On our latest trip to the Gambia, one couple were frantically calling the clinic where they had had their PCR tests the previous day as they had yet to receive the results. Tests cost from £29 (use code 15OFFHT to get 15% off) and satisfy the entry requirements for England. Note, you should check the rules regarding acceptable tests before you book to make sure you have an accepted test.
You will also need to complete a passenger locator form (PLF) within 48 hours of arrival into England. Without a booking reference number for a PCR you will not be able to complete the PLF so do not leave tests to chance. Purchase these before departure and take them with you.

After arrival into England – not fully vaccinated

Another downside of international travel for the non vaccinated is that you will need to take a COVID-19 PCR test no later than the end of day two after you arrival. So if you arrive on a Monday, you will need to take this test before the end of Wednesday.

If the test result is positive, you should follow public health advice. This seems slightly bizarre guidance as there are no longer any isolation requirements for people with Covid-19.

So, as you can see freedom day has not heralded the arrival of stress free travel for the non vaccinated. You may still be denied entry to England due to a positive test and will have additional costs to cover should you choose to leave England. But, as if that was not all, you will need to check the entry requirements for the non vaccinated in your chosen destination. Restrictions range from a complete ban on entry to tests and quarantine. You should always check Foreign Travel Advice for your chosen country before departure.

Open borders

Travel to England with children

The rules for children are the same regardless of vaccination status. Children aged 17 and under do not need to:

  • take any COVID-19 travel tests
  • or quarantine on arrival

Leaving the UK for popular holiday destinations

Whilst borders are opening on a daily basis, many countries still require passenger locator forms and a variety of tests. Furthermore, most of the big tourist destinations still have harsher restrictions for travel for the non vaccinated. The following shows the position for the top 10 most popular countries for UK tourists.

In the interests of brevity, I have linked to the Gov.UK guidance for each country rather than reproduce the information here. You should always read the guidance for the country before you travel as this is intended as a high level overview only.

Note, also this information pertains only to travel for tourism so if you are travelling for another reason, you should review the detailed guidance for your chosen country on Gov.UK. From Miles To Smiles accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies concerned in this post as the situation evolves rapidly.

What is clear is that all tourists need to take precautions. Although England has removed the need for self isolation, other countries have not. Thus if you test positive during your visit, you may still need to isolate. Non symptomatic vaccinated tourists will be able to return home as they do not need to do pre-departure testing however travel for non vaccinated will not be possible, even with no symptoms.

Arcos de La Frontera on a Andalucia self drive tour
Arcos de La Frontera is a beautiful Andalusian town

Spain

✅ Travel for the vaccinated to Spain

  • Fully vaccinated tourists must provide proof of vaccination.
  • No need to quarantine
  • No tests required
  • The full rules can be found here for travel to Spain

🚫 Travel for the non vaccinated to Spain

  • You can only enter Spain for tourism if you can show valid proof of vaccination.

France

✅ Travel for the vaccinated to France

  • Tourists must provide proof of vaccination.
  • and complete a sworn statement (déclaration sur l’honneur) self-certifying that you do not currently have COVID-19 symptoms and have not been in contact with confirmed cases in the 14 days prior to travel.
  • The full rules can be found here for travel to France

🚫 Travel for the non vaccinated to France

  • Travel from the UK to France is only possible for essential travel if you do not have a full course of vaccinations.

Italy (updated for rule changes post 1st March 2022)

✅ Fully vaccinated

From the 1st March the fully vaccinated will simply need to;

  • complete a passenger locator form (EU PLF) which can include details of accompanied minors
  • provide proof of vaccination (required for all travellers aged 6 and over)

⚠️Travel for the non vaccinated to Italy

Restrictions still apply for the non vaccinated but mandatory quarantine no longer applies providing you can satisfy the following.

  • All adults must complete a passenger locator form (EU PLF) to include details of accompanied minors
  • All travellers, aged 6 and over must provide evidence of a negative PCR taken within 48 hours before entry to Italy or a negative rapid lateral flow test taken within 24 hours of entry
  • Alternatively, a COVID-19 recovery certificate that certifies recovery from COVID-19 during the last 6 months is also acceptable

Any traveller who cannot present evidence of full vaccination, a negative test or a COVID-19 recovery certificate will need to:

  • travel to their final destination in Italy by private transport
  • remain in self-isolation for 5 days. On the 5th day you must take another PCR or rapid lateral flow test. If the test is negative, you can leave self-isolation

Of course, you would have to be mad to end up in this position as pre-departure tests are easy to organise. The Corona Test centre offers pre-departure tests at home or in clinic from as little as £29 (use code C20%OFF to get 20% off). This is much less costly than spending 5 days in self-isolation, not to mention a lot more fun.

Obviously if you test positive, you cannot really travel but the alternative is you end up spending at least five days in isolation in Italy.

Trulli houses in Italy
Discover the Trulli houses of Southern Italy maybe?

Greece

✅ Travel for the vaccinated to Greece

  • Passengers must complete a PLR before arrival
  • Must show proof of a valid vaccination certificate. Demonstrating your Covid status provides further details
  • Full details can be found here for travel to Greece.

⚠️Travel for the non vaccinated to Greece

  • Passengers must complete a PLR before arrival
  • Traveller should also provide one of the following;
    • a certificate of recovery from COVID-19
    • proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, taken within 72 hours of entry into Greece.
    • proof of a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test from an authorised laboratory, taken in the 24 hours prior to entry into Greece
Jason and I in MYkonos
One of the gorgeous beaches of Mykonos

Netherlands

⚠️Travel for the vaccinated to the Netherlands

  • Tourists must show proof of vaccination
  • Fully vaccinated travellers aged 12 and over from the UK must show proof of one of the following:
    • a negative PCR test result taken within 48 hours of departure or;
    • a negative antigen test result taken within 24 hours of departure)
  • Full details can be found here for travel to the Netherlands

These restrictions could be quite the deterrent for tourists from the UK wishing to visit the Netherlands.

🚫 Travel for the non vaccinated to the Netherlands

  • Travel from the UK to the Netherlands is not possible for for tourists who do not have a full course of vaccinations.

USA

⚠️Travel for the vaccinated to USA

  • Tourists must show proof of vaccination and
  • Show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 1 day before travel. Given the tight time limit a non supervised test is essential as you could take the test at the airport (pray that it will be negative!)
  • A further test is recommended within 3 to 5 days of arrival
  • You can find the full rules for travel to the United States here

🚫 Travel for the non vaccinated to USA

  • Travel from the UK to the United States is not possible for the non vaccinated.

Portugal

✅ Travel for the vaccinated to Portugal

  • Travellers from the UK (note rules differ for those from outside Europe and the UK) can enter Portugal but must show proof of vaccination
  • You can find the full rules for Portugal here
Alfama tram line
Lisbon trams

⚠️Travel for the non vaccinated to Portugal

  • If you do not have a full course of vaccinations, you will need to show proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of entry. You can also provide proof of a negative rapid lateral flow test taken within 24 hours of entry
  • Alternatively, if you have tested positive for COVID-19, you can enter mainland Portugal with a COVID-19 recovery certificate if you recovered no less than 11 days and no more than 180 days before you travel. You will not need to take a test.

Turkey

✅ Travel for the vaccinated to Turkey

  • You need to complete the online form for entry no more than 72 hours before arrival
  • You must show proof of vaccination
  • You will not need to test or quarantine
  • You can find full details of the rules for entry here

⚠️Travel for the non vaccinated to Turkey

  • You need to complete the online form for entry no more than 72 hours before arrival
  • You need to provide proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival or a rapid antigen test taken within 48 hours of arrival
  • or you can provide proof of a recovery from COVID-19 within the last six months
In the mountains of Turkey
Enjoying the Turkish view

Republic of Ireland

✅ Travel for the vaccinated to Republic of Ireland

  • You need to complete the online form for entry before departure
  • You must show proof of vaccination
  • You will not need to test or quarantine
  • You can find full details here

⚠️Travel for the non vaccinated to Republic of Ireland

  • You need to complete the online form for entry before departure
  • You need to provide proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival
  • Or you can provide proof of recovery from COVID-19
Beautiful Inchydoney
The coast near Cork

Germany

✅ Travel for the vaccinated to Germany

🚫 Travel for the non vaccinated to Germany

  • Travel for the non vaccinated is not possible for tourism purposes

Is freedom day the end of travel restrictions vaccinated?

As you can see the resounding answer to this is no. For the vaccinated, travel freedoms are much greater although some of the most popular overseas destinations for UK travellers still require tests before arrival. However for the non vaccinated, it is almost certain that you will need to undergo tests or isolation. However, you should always always check the latest rules as these rules change quickly and sometimes with no notice.

Click here to buy tests and use code 15OFFHT to get 15% off.

The position may improve or worsen at any time and it is your responsibility to check the requirements.

About Anne

Anne is the founder and editor of Frommilestosmiles. If she isn't travelling, she is thinking of travelling or planning her next trip. She has visited over 90 countries on six continents and sampled everything from backpacking to bank bursting travel. Her mission is to help you enjoy more luxurious travel without the luxury price tag through the use of airline and hotel rewards and other money-saving travel tips

4 comments

  1. The science is pretty clear – vaccines have failed spectacularly.

    The vaccine injury data coming in, is mind numbingly terrible.

    All these governments hanging on to outdated vaccines that don’t stop the spread, or do much of anything – are doing ‘health theater’

    It was never about science, it was about politics. And nothing shows it better than continuing to demand vaccination papers – when vaccines don’t prevent transmission.

    Insane – but, the public still LOVES apartheid I guess.

    • I find it quite spectacular that people cannot see the correlation between the vaccine and the number of hospitalisations and deaths. Whilst these vaccines haven’t prevented transmission the data is very clear in demonstrating that vaccines help avoid the more debilitating aspects of infection.

      Then again you are mentioning how people love apartheid so I’m not sure there will be much reasoning with you

  2. Vaccines don’t work

    • Well the post isn’t really about whether vaccines work or not but I think the statistics rather dispute your statement

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