Last reviewed 8 January 2021

Everyone coming to England from a foreign destination, including returning UK nationals, will be required to present a negative Covid-19 test taken up to 72 hours prior to departure, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps explained that, from 11 January, inbound passengers arriving by boat, plane or train will have to take the test before departing the country they are in, to help protect against the new strains of coronavirus such as those seen in Denmark and South Africa.

A negative pre-departure test reduces the risk of someone travelling while infectious, acting as another safeguard to prevent imported infections, Mr Shapps pointed out.

Passengers arriving from countries not on the Government’s travel corridor list must still self-isolate for 10 days regardless of their pre-departure test result to provide further protection from those travelling from high-risk countries.

The updated travel corridor list now includes the removal of Botswana, Israel (and Jerusalem), Mauritius and the Seychelles from the exempt list at 4am on Saturday 9 January.

Passengers arriving into England who have successfully demonstrated a negative result prior to departure from a country not on the travel corridor list will still have the option to reduce the self-isolation period from 10 to five days by paying for a test through the Test to Release scheme.

Full details of this can be found at GOV.UK.

Passengers will still be required to fill in a passenger locator form and be subject to national lockdown restrictions. They will be subject to an immediate fine of £500 if they fail to comply with the new regulations on pre-departure testing.