UK VTL: England scraps all COVID-19 testing for fully vaccinated travellers

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From 11 Feb 2022, England (and presumably the rest of the UK) will eliminate its Day 2 test requirement, making travel to the UK completely testing-free.

In a major easing of entry requirements, England will remove its Day 2 test for fully vaccinated international arrivals from 11 February 2022 (with the rest of the UK expected to follow suit).

UK Government Statement

The pre-departure test requirement was previously removed on 7 January 2022, meaning that in a few weeks time, travel to the UK will basically be just like the good old days.

England scraps Day 2 testing requirement

Travellers to the UK no longer need to do Day 2 ARTs

As a reminder, here’s the current process for fully vaccinated travellers heading to the UK that applies until 11 February 2022, 3.59 a.m (GMT):

  • Pre-book a Day 2 ART
  • Complete a passenger locator form online within 48 hours before arrival in the UK
  • Complete Day 2 ART on or before Day 2 after arrival (day of arrival is Day 0)
  • There is no need to isolate while waiting for the result

This is already a massive improvement from early December 2021, when a pre-departure ART/PCR test and a further PCR test on arrival were required, with isolation until a negative result was received.

But it gets even better from 11 February 2022, 4 a.m (GMT), when the Day 2 ART requirement will be scrapped completely. This means that the only red tape for fully vaccinated travellers coming from Singapore will be to:

  • Complete a Passenger Locator Form online within 72 hours before arrival in the UK
  • Show the Passenger Locator Form and proof of vaccination during check-in

The Passenger Locator Form will be simplified, and the window for completing it extended from 48 hours to 72 hours. Singapore passport holders can continue to use the automated immigration e-gates at UK airports, assuming all their paperwork is in order. 

These changes initially apply for those travelling to England, although Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales usually follow suit. You can refer to the respective entry requirements via the links below:

In any case, the England entry requirements will be most relevant to those of us in Singapore, since London and Manchester are the two cities with non-stop service from Changi.

What if you’ve already booked your Day 2 test?

Based on past practice, testing companies have been quite good about offering refunds due to changing entry requirements. Indeed, several of them have already put up notices on their websites concerning this:

If you are impacted by the UK Government announcement regarding arrivals testing please do not cancel your test or contact us, we will be in touch shortly with your options.

-ExpressTest by Cignpost

In most cases, you should be able to get your money back.

What about unvaccinated travellers?

From 11 February 2022, 4 a.m (GMT), the 10-day self-isolation requirement and Day 8 test for unvaccinated travellers will be removed. Instead, unvaccinated travellers aged 18 or over will be required to:

  • Present a negative pre-departure COVID-19 ART/PCR test, taken within 2 days of departure
  • Pre-book a Day 2 post-arrival PCR test
  • Complete a Passenger Locator Form online within 72 hours before arrival in the UK
  • Complete Day 2 PCR test on or before Day 2 after arrival (day of arrival is Day 0)
  • There is no need to isolate while waiting for the result

Children aged 17 and under by date of birth on the date of arrival in the UK are exempt from the vaccination requirement and will be treated as fully vaccinated. 

Which vaccines are recognised by the UK?

The UK recognises the following vaccines:

  • Covaxin
  • Moderna
  • Janssen (single dose vaccine)
  • Novavax (Nuvaxovid and Covovax)
  • Oxford/AstraZeneca
  • Pfizer BioNTech
  • Sinopharm Beijing
  • Sinovac-CoronaVac

Travellers must have had a complete course of one of the above vaccines at least 14 days before arriving in the UK. The day they had their final dose does not count as one of the 14 days.

Formulations of these vaccines, such as AstraZeneca Covishield, AstraZeneca Vaxzevria and Moderna Takeda, also qualify as approved vaccines.

Testing regime for Singapore-UK VTL

The A380s are back in service to London

With the latest changes, here’s what the testing regime for round-trip travel to the UK will look like. 

⚕️ Singapore-UK VTL
DayTestCost
Within 2 days before departure to SingaporeProfessional ART/PCR From £32
Day 1 (arrival in Singapore)PCRS$125
Day 2Self-administered ART*~S$5
Day 3Self-administered ART*~S$5
Day 4Self-administered ART*~S$5
Day 5Self-administered ART*~S$5
Day 6Self-administered ART*~S$5
Day 7Self-administered ART*~S$5
*Only required if you intend to head out of the hotel/home on that day

Singapore recently modified its post-arrival testing regime for VTL travellers by removing the need for supervised swabs on Days 3 & 7 and reporting the results of self-administered ARTs. Travellers will only need to swab themselves during the Day 2-7 period on days they intend to leave their accommodation. 

Flights to the UK

You can transit through VTL countries en route to the UK, trying out Turkish Airlines’ new B787 Business Class in the process

Travellers from Singapore to the UK are not limited to non-stop Singapore Airlines or British Airways flights. They may transit in other VTL countries or Category 1 countries (although with Hong Kong closing itself to transit traffic, no such options are available) without affecting their eligibility to take a quarantine-free VTL flight back to Singapore. 

This opens the possibility of flying with Lufthansa, KLM or Turkish Airlines, for example, transiting elsewhere in Europe en route to the UK. 

If you plan to travel to the UK via Category 2 countries like Qatar or the UAE, however, your trip will need to be at least 14 days for you to take a designated VTL flight back to Singapore. Otherwise, you’ll be looking at a 7-day SHN on return. 

VTL flights from the UK

VTL flights are from the UK to Singapore are currently operated by Singapore Airlines (London, Manchester) and British Airways (London). 

FlightsDays
SQ317
SMTWTFS
LHR 1055

SIN 0750 (+1)
SQ319
SMTWTFS
LHR 2035

SIN 1730 (+1)
BA11
SMTWTFS
LHR 1850

SIN 1555 (+1)
   
FlightsDays
SQ51
SMTWTFS
MAN 1100

SIN 0755 (+1)
    

Schedules will change after 26 March 2022, so refer to the Singapore Airlines or British Airways website for the latest information. 

As a reminder, here’s the requirements for VTL travel to Singapore. 

✈️ Summary: VTL travel to Singapore
To Singapore 🇸🇬
  • 14 day travel history: Singapore or any Category I/ VTL country
  • Purchase travel insurance with min. S$30K coverage (short-term visitors only)
  • Apply for VTP (short-term visitors and long-term pass holders only)
  • Fully vaccinated with WHO EUL vaccine (age 12 and below exempt)
  • Complete SG Arrival Card
  • Take pre-departure ART/PCR test 2 days before flight (age 2 and below exempt)
  • Take designated VTL flight to Singapore
  • Take PCR test on arrival in Singapore (pre-booking required) and isolate until result is out (age 2 and below exempt)
  • Take self-administered ART swabs on Days 2-7 if leaving accommodation (age 2 and below exempt)

Conclusion

With the scrapping of all testing requirements, travelling to the UK will be just like pre-COVID days (if you’re vaccinated!)

It’s a bit odd we’ll need to wait 18 days for the testing requirement to be removed (especially when past changes were usually implemented within a few days), but it’s still great news on the whole. 

The UK has been progressively relaxing its testing requirements for fully vaccinated international arrivals, and now is doing away with them altogether. If you’ve got your jabs, travelling to the UK will be pretty much the way it was before COVID- a welcome return to normality.

In addition to the UK, all pre-departure and post-arrival testing have now been scrapped for VTL partners Germany, Turkey, Sweden, Spain and Switzerland (though remember- that applies for outbound travel; you’ll still need to test on the way back to Singapore). 

Long may the trend continue.

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Ian End

2024 – Singapore announces only 5 days of self-testing required.

Eric

2030 – Singapore reduce quarantine to 3 days. lol

Non

2035 – All SG Citizens receive free 50th Booster shot

Eric

UK is indeed a science based and very smart nation run by logical and clever people. UK is leading the world out of the pandemic now.

Greg

The UK setting an excellent example by listening to the science on this and also removing pretty much all covid restrictions domestically this week (mask wearing etc) too.

Singapore on the other hand…..lol

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