What The Latest Travel Rule Changes Mean – February 22 Update

Just when you thought you’d caught up with the most recent travel changes, revealed merely weeks ago, the government has only gone and tweaked them yet again – but at least it’s more good news! As the Omicron variant of COVID-19 seems to be past its peak, the ‘new normal’ can really begin.

In the last update, testing requirements were eased for fully-vaccinated travellers returning to the UK, meaning you no longer have to provide a negative test before you board a flight home. Self-isolation for returning passengers was also scrapped, in favour of asking people to take a lateral flow test within two days of arrival and only quarantining if they tested positive.

Now, just in time for spring and half-term holidays, restrictions have been relaxed even further. Here’s what you need to know, correct at the time of writing.

All testing measures eased

From 4am on 11 February, fully vaccinated travellers arriving into England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland will no longer have to test for COVID-19.

For those who are not fully vaccinated, from the same date they will only need to take a pre-departure test, and a PCR test on or before day two of their arrival back in Blighty. This means that they will no longer have to self-isolate unless they get a positive result.

However, all passengers, whether vaxxed or unvaxxed, will still need to complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF), so do bear that in mind.

Things have changed for teens and kids too

All under-18s, regardless of their vaccination status, will continue to be considered fully vaccinated and able to travel under the same rules as those coming back to the UK.

From 3 February, children aged between 12 and 15 who are leaving the UK from England will be able to prove their vaccination status or proof of prior infection via a digital NHS Covid Pass. This has been changed to make it easier for families to enter countries that need proof of vaccination; to enter certain venues; and to avoid hotel quarantine.

You still have to check the rules in the countries you are heading to

Coming home is now a breeze, but remember to check the rules around arrivals and departures to and from the countries you are visiting, as they may still have travel restrictions in place, particularly for those coming from the UK where COVID case rates are still pretty high.


For Spain, unvaccinated British travellers aren’t allowed in unless there’s an essential reason – and tourism doesn’t count unfortunately. Travellers 12 and over need proof of vaccination – from 1 February, either your final dose should have been administered a max of 270 days prior to your arrival in Spain, or you’ll have got a booster jab. Proof you’ve recently recovered from COVID isn’t accepted. You’ll also need to fill out their Health Control Form.

For France, travellers over 12 need to have a negative PCR test taken within 24 hours of departure, and you’ll have to complete a sworn statement saying you don’t have symptoms, and aren’t a close contact of someone who’s had symptoms. Unvaccinated holidaymakers are only allowed in for essential reasons, and you’ll need to isolate for 10 days unless you get a negative PCR test after 48 hours of your arrival. You’ll also need to fill out a couple of extra forms.

For Italy, from 1 February, you’ll need to have had a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of arrival, or a lateral flow test taken within 24 hours of arrival. Vaccinated travellers will need proof of the final vaccine dose within 180 days prior to arrival. Unvaccinated travellers will need self-isolate for 5 days, and take a negative PCR test at the end of it. For Sicily, you will have to take a lateral flow test on arrival, administered by the local health authorities free of charge.

Continue to stay up to date with the latest news too, as it may well have changed since you originally booked your tickets. Check out the travel pages at gov.uk, as well as the relevant government site of your destination.

This might be the last travel update for a while

It’s been a rollercoaster, hasn’t it? Thankfully, this is one ride that is likely to be parked for some time. The UK Government has stated that it intends the latest roll-out to be one “that will last” in order to “provide stability for travellers and the travel industry throughout 2022”.

Great news for those of us who are keen to book our summer holidays without fear of losing money and wasting holiday time further down the road.


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Please note that while the information contained in the article was correct at the time of writing things can change quickly and it’s vital that you check the latest information in regards to your booking and destination before travel.