It’s official…

Fully-vaccinated travellers from the UAE (from a list of “authorised and approved” vaccines) will be accepted to travel quarantine-free to the UK. The news has officially been announced by UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps today, September 22.

On Twitter, Shapps wrote: “We will be accepting UAE vaccination certificates from 4th Oct following updates to their vaccination app. As a major transport hub which is home to many British expats, this is great news for reopening international travel, boosting business & reuniting families.”

If you are intending to travel have been fully vaccinated for at least 14 days in a UK-approved vaccination programme overseas, or in the UK, US or Europe you will not need to take a pre-departure PCR test to return to the UK. However, certain airlines may require a negative PCR test for you to travel, so make sure you double-check with your airline.

Grant Shapps stated that travellers would need to be double vaccinated with an “authorised and approved” vaccine. Currently, those approved vaccines on the UK’s list are: Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Janssen. The Sinopharm vaccine is not presently accepted.

Formations of the approved vaccines that are accepted include AstraZeneca Covishield, AstraZeneca Vaxzevria and Moderna Takeda. 

Full courses of these vaccines are accepted by the UK from public health bodies in Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Dominica, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan or the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The easing of rules from October 4 means that you will no longer have to quarantine upon your arrival in the UK, nor will you have to take a day eight PCR test. At the moment, a day two PCR test will still need to be taken in the UK, however, it looks like this could soon change to a rapid lateral flow test.

This followed the announcement by UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, also on Friday, outlining that the UK’s traffic light system (placing countries in green, amber or red categories) would be scrapped, and instead replaced by a red list only, with specific rules regarding mandatory quarantine and vaccinations per country.

On Twitter, Shapps said: “We’re making testing easier for travel. From Mon 4 Oct, if you’re fully vax you won’t need a pre-departure test before arrival into England from a non-red country and from later in Oct, will be able to replace the day 2 PCR test with a cheaper lateral flow.”

Currently, travellers from the UAE (regardless if you are fully-vaccinated) arriving into the UK have to undertake a 10-day mandatory home quarantine with PCR tests on day two and eight, or individuals can pay to take a day five ‘test to release’ PCR test, which means early release from home quarantine if you receive a negative test result.

Image: Getty