Updated COVID Day 2 & Day 8 testing advice for families

The MyHealthChecked Guide to the new travel rules

So the school summer holidays have arrived, and the world is opening up. If you’re considering overseas travel – to visit family, or just for fun – it can be challenging to understand the changing rules when it comes to COVID testing, especially when little ones are involved. Here’s our guide to the new rules for Day 2 & 8 testing for families to clear things up.

In this guide, you’ll discover which COVID tests you need to take and when. It covers whether children and vaccinated adults are exempt from testing, and where you can travel back into England without testing. You might also find our COVID Travel Stories series useful – check out the family travel story here.

Important:

This guide focuses on the requirements of the UK Government for your return journey. Please carefully check the specific requirements of your destination country before you travel. Requirements vary from country to country and include guidance for fully vaccinated and non-vaccinated visitors, and may or may not include Fit to Fly PCR tests, or alternative COVID tests.

How do I work out which tests we need?

When it comes to COVID testing, there are four things to consider: where you are returning from, who is travelling, your vaccination status and which tests you will need.

If you are going on holiday (ie: leaving the UK and returning) , you will need to arrange your return testing requirements before you leave the UK. For all other passengers, you will need to arrange your inbound travel tests before you arrive in the UK.

The new rules are still based on the Government’s traffic light system – but there are some changes when it comes to who must test and when. Here’s the step-by-step walkthrough.

STEP ONE:

Check the status of your planned destination – is it ‘Green’, ‘Amber’ or ‘Red’?

STEP TWO:

Check the latest Government guidelines for your destination country to work out who needs what.

We’ve made this table to work out which tests you’ll need based on the age and vaccination status of everyone in your party – it’s correct as of date of publication (02/08/21), but do double check the latest info on GOV.UK to be sure you’re ordering the right tests. 

STEP THREE:

Be prepared for change. COVID 19 rules can change fast, so before you book, make an emergency plan for what you would do if your destination changes status.

STEP FOUR:

Book your tests – then travel safely and have fun!

How MyHealthChecked can help of your country changes status

Green-turns-Amber

If you travel to a Green destination and the status changes whilst you’re abroad, it’s not too late to organise your Day 2 + 8 tests. We can sort everything out for you ready for your return.

Amber-turns-Red

Ouch! This means you will need to stay in a quarantine hotel. However, we can help you reduce the cost a little by shipping your Day 2 & 8 testing package to your quarantine hotel. Contact our Customer Services team for help with this. 

Who needs which test and when?

When it comes to travelling into England, the rules are now different for fully vaccinated adults, adults who have not been fully vaccinated, and children. Different rules apply at different stages of your journey too – here’s the overview. 

Before arriving in England

All travellers must have proof of a negative coronavirus (COVID-19) test to travel to England. GOV.England states that you must take a test even if:

  • you’ve been fully vaccinated
  • you’re traveling from a country or territory on the green list
  • you’re a UK citizen.

The only exemption for this pre-arrival test is children 10 years of age or younger.

Information correct at date of publishing (02/08/21) – source: GOV.UK

Once you have arrived in England

There are different rules depending on the country you have travelled from, and your status. There’s an overview in the table above, but in summary:

Fully-vaccinated adults
May reduce your quarantine period and testing – for example, no quarantine with a test on Day 2 if returning from Amber countries – though the rules depend on the country of origin. Must quarantine if returning from Red countries with a full Day 2 & 8 testing regime. Test and quarantine as a non-vaccinated adult (Day 2 + Day 8). No quarantine and Day 2 test only if returning from Green list countries.

Children aged 5-18 travelling with fully vaccinated adults
No quarantine required, but must test on Day 2 as fully-vaccinated adults if returning from Amber countries. Day 2 & 8 testing and quarantine hotel required if returning from Red countries. No quarantine and Day 2 test only if returning from Green list countries.

Children aged 4 or under – travelling with fully vaccinated adults
No tests required – but must quarantine if returning from Red countries.

Adults who have NOT been fully vaccinated
No quarantine, Day 2 test only if returning from Green list countries. Must complete a Day 2 & 8 test package and isolate for 10 days if returning from Amber countries – eligible for the Test to Release scheme on Day 5. If returning from Red countries, quarantine hotel plus full Day 2 & Day 8 testing.

Children aged 5-18 travelling with adults who have NOT been fully vaccinated
Day 2 & 8 testing and quarantine hotel required if returning from Red countries. Must complete a Day 2 & 8 test package and isolate for 10 days if returning from Amber countries – eligible for the Test to Release scheme on Day 5. No quarantine and Day 2 test only if returning from Green list countries.

Children aged 4 or under – travelling with fully vaccinated adults
No tests required – but must quarantine or isolate if returning from Red and Amber countries.

Visit GOV.UK to check the status of your planned destination

Information correct at date of publishing (02/08/21) – source: GOV.UK

What if I’m vaccinated?

Fully vaccinated adults can travel into England from Amber destinations and need only take a Day 2 Test – you do not need to isolate.

The rules haven’t changed when it comes to Red List countries. Even if you are fully vaccinated, you will need to book a stay in a quarantine hotel, with a COVID test package for Day 2 & Day 8.

What about the Test to Release scheme?

If you – or your adult family members – are not fully vaccinated and are returning to England from an Amber destination, you may be able to use the Government Test to Release scheme to potentially end quarantine period early. You can learn all about how it works on the MyHealthCheck Test to Release page.



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Date of publication 02/08/2021

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