traffic sign changed priorities ahead uk travel coronavirus pandemic

With England’s 2021-22 Premier League season fixtures set, can American (and other) fans make travel plans to watch UK soccer games during the pandemic?

Here’s what we know, updated as of September 17, 2021. And here is more on the effect of the pandemic on soccer in England.

What are the current restrictions regarding travel to the UK?

Effective August 2, 2021, passengers fully vaccinated with vaccines authorised by the EMA and FDA in Europe and the USA are able to travel to England from non-red list countries without having to quarantine on arrival per the UK government.

Otherwise, non-vaccinated U.S. citizens are allowed to travel to the UK but face a mandatory 10-day quarantine upon arrival. A testing strategy for international arrivals can reduce that time by half (see below). Details about what self-isolation / quarantine entails can be found here.

Note that a passenger locator form must be completed online and printed prior to arriving in the UK.

On September 17, 2021, the UK government announced that the traffic light system would be replaced by a single red list of countries and territories where Covid outbreaks are occurring, and that testing procedures would be simplied for fully vaccinated travelers. See more below and read the full details of the new international travel plan here.

Here is more information about the current UK border control process.

Do I have to be tested for Covid-19 prior to traveling to the UK?

For now, yes: As of July 28, 2021, “amber arrivals who have been fully vaccinated in the USA and European countries will still be required to complete a pre-departure test before arrival into England, alongside a PCR test on or before day 2 after arrival.” The requirements for the type of test and possible exemptions can be found on GOV.UK.

However, effective October 4, 2021, fully vaccinated travelers will not be required to take a Covid-19 test prior to arriving in the UK. They will still have to take a test upon arrival. The government plans to replace day 2 PCR tests with cheaper lateral flow tests from the end of October.

If you are not vaccinated, and even if you have a negative test result, you must follow the rules for self-isolating for 10 days upon your arrival. You can shorten your self-isolation period with the ‘Test to Release‘ scheme, in which you can opt to pay for a test by a private provider on day 5 after arrival and, once you have proof of a negative result, immediately finish self-isolating.

Once I have completed quarantine (if necessary), can I travel within the UK?

On the bus for Prenton Park.

There are no restrictions on travel within England. As of July 19, England moved to Step 4, the final phase in their roadmap to reopening. This means the majority of Covid restrictions have ended, and are replaced with guidance emphasizing personal judgement and responsibility.

Public transportation is operating as normal. Here are the links for commonly used services:

Can I go to soccer games in the UK?

Yes. With the move to Step 4 on July 19, restrictions at sporting events have been lifted. Games are now underway with stadiums at full capacity.

For more up-to-date information about going to games, be sure to read our Coronavirus FAQ post.

What else can I do while I’m on vacation in the UK?

This FAQ page from the UK government has a comprehensive list of what activities are allowed. Most tourist sights are open as normal; we recommend you check the official websites for the latest information.

What happens if I purchase tickets to a game and then it is cancelled, postponed, etc. due to coronavirus?

If you purchased your tickets from the club or from a third party, contact them directly. If you bought from Groundhopper Guides, you’ll get a full refund as a credit toward future purchases through us, with no expiration date. Check out our FAQ, and read our refund policy for more details.

We also recommend you read our related post about travel insurance.

What happens when I return home from my trip?

Per the CDC, all air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people, are required to have a negative viral test result no more than 72 hours before travel or have documentation of recovery from Covid in the three months prior to travel.

So, in summary, yes, you can travel to the UK and the 2021-22 football season is underway with stadiums at full capacity. Fill out the form at the bottom of this page so we can help you plan your groundhopping adventures today!

Besides the specific topics covered above, Groundhopper Guides recommends that you stay up to date with the latest news via the following sites:

U.S. Embassy in the UK – Information for U.S. citizens in the UK
U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs – Country Information for the UK

In addition, here are the current travel restrictions for each of the EU’s Member States:
Re-open EU Select a country and then click on the various icons within the pop-up window to get more detailed information.

Finally, here’s where you can find more information about the coronavirus:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
World Health Organization

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