The COVID travel restrictions imposed by the government are being scrapped.
The transport secretary has outlined a range of measures aimed at making travel more open and user-friendly.
“Britain is open for business,” Grant Shapps told the Commons.
The changes would help “ensure that 2022 is the year in which restrictions on travel, on lockdowns and limits on people’s lives are firmly placed in the past”, he added.
Mr Shapps said the government wants to move away from “blanket border measures” to a “more sophisticated and targeted global surveillance system”.
This is what changes.
Starting at 4am on 11 February, there will be no requirement for vaccinated passengers arriving in England to do post-arrival lateral flow tests.
This will be in time for half-term holidays.
The “fully vaccinated” definition still means two doses of an approved vaccination or one dose of a Janssen vaccine. So people don’t yet need a booster.
“That means that after months of pre-departure testing, post-arrival testing, self-isolation, additional expense, all that fully vaccinated people will now have to do, when they travel to the UK, is to verify their status via a passenger locator form,” Mr Shapps said.
Starting at the same time, vaccine certificates from 16 new countries including China and Mexico will be accepted at the UK border – meaning more than 180 countries and territories will have their vaccine certificates accepted in the UK.
Not fully vaccinated
Passengers who are not fully vaccinated will no longer need to isolate or complete a day eight test after they arrive.
They will still need to fill out a passenger location form “to demonstrate proof of a negative COVID test taken two days before they travel and they must still take a post-arrival PCR test”, Mr Shapps said.
“This is a proportionate system that moves us a step closer to normality while maintaining vital public health protections,” he said.
Passenger locator form
The passenger locator forms will be made “easier and quicker” from the end of February – and people will get an extra day to complete them before they travel
From 3 February, 12- to 15-year-olds will be able to prove their vaccination status via the digital NHS pass for international outbound travel.
What does the travel industry say?
British Airways chairman and CEO Sean Doyle said: “Today’s announcement provides a welcome boost to the travel industry and UK economy.
“Finally fully-vaccinated customers can start to book with confidence whether they are doing business, going on holiday or reuniting with friends and family without the additional costly and time-consuming burden of testing.”
easyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said: “We believe testing for travel should now firmly become a thing of the past.”
Christophe Mathieu, chief executive of Brittany Ferries, said: “As the barriers to travel come down, demand goes up.
“Reservations for spring and summer holidays are roaring ahead, but this latest news means we can expect demand to soar for the February half-term.”