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UK’s passenger locator form to end Friday

Unvaccinated travellers will no longer be required to test either side of travel to the UK

Lucy Thackray
Monday 14 March 2022 16:46 GMT
‘Not a day to declare victory over Covid’, says Boris Johnson as restrictions scrapped

The UK’s passenger locator form (PLF) and all remaining testing rules for unvaccinated travellers arriving here will be scrapped on Friday 18 March, transport secretary Grant Shapps has confirmed.

Arrivals who enter the country from 4am on Friday will no longer need to complete the complex and lengthy online form, or take any Covid tests before or after travelling to the UK.

“All remaining Covid travel measures, including the passenger locator form and tests for all arrivals, will be stood down for travel to the UK from 4am on 18 March. These changes are possible due to our vaccine rollout and mean greater freedom in time for Easter,” wrote Mr Shapps on Twitter.

The PLF is the last vestige of Covid-era paperwork for fully vaccinated Britons, following the end to Covid testing and isolation requirements for vaccinated travellers in February.

Unvaccinated travellers will no longer have to take the pre-departure or “day two” post-arrival tests when travelling here.

The changes mean a return to completely frictionless travel for travellers arriving in the UK for the first time in nearly two years.

Though Mr Shapps announced an end to “all Covid measures”, some airline and airport rules − such as mask-wearing on planes and in terminals − are expected to stay in place for the time being.

However, Heathrow airport has announced it will scrap its mask mandate from Wednesday.

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic said they would follow suit with their flights as soon as regulatory requirements for their destinations allow. Meanwhile, Jet2 and Tui have announced a move to optional mask rules on some flights.

Many UK travel industry leaders, from the chief executives of Gatwick and Heathrow airports to Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary, have lobbied for an end to the PLF in recent months.

Tim Alderslade, boss of Airlines UK, said: “Today’s announcement sends a clear message to the world: the UK travel sector is back.

“With travellers returning to the UK no longer burdened by unnecessary forms and testing requirements, we can now look forward to the return to pre-Covid normality throughout the travel experience.

“We’re grateful for the timing of the announcement as we prepare to welcome back passengers this Easter and summer, for which we know there is huge pent-up demand, and for the UK’s leadership in being the first major aviation market to remove all remaining restrictions.

“The time to return to the skies − to enjoy all that makes aviation and international travel great, for families and businesses − is now.”

Abby Penlington, director at Discover Ferries, said: “This reduces the additional administrative burden on both passengers and operators and now makes sailing back from France, Spain and the Netherlands as easy as it was prior to the pandemic.

“The ferry industry expects this change to further boost consumer confidence to book for the spring and beyond.”

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