Closed petition Scrap the compulsory £210 home test kit when arriving in U.K.

Please scrap the compulsory £210 test kit that you must do when returning to the U.K. form abroad. Let people quarantine at home and they can test for free after quarantine if they have symptoms.

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When you enter the U.K. the current rule is that you have to quarantine and take 2 tests (the test kit) in your place of quarantine. This costs £210. For a family of 4 this would be an extra £840 to pay towards their holiday. I am writing to allow this test to be scrapped and have a rule in place for people to quarantine at home when they arrive and only to take a free test when they come out of quarantine if they have symptoms. This extra money is out of reach and for many will stop holidays.

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Government responded

This response was given on 19 April 2021

It is illegal to travel abroad for holidays and other leisure pursuits unless for legally permitted reasons. Such travellers should factor the costs of their COVID-19 tests into their travel plans.

Read the response in full

It is illegal to travel abroad for holidays. Individuals must follow the current COVID-19 rules for where they live in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. In England, you must have a permitted reason to travel aboard and complete a declaration form. These rules are under constant review and subject to change by government.

All passengers arriving to the UK must quarantine for 10 days and take mandatory tests on or before day 2 and on or after day 8. The cost of these tests, including for those quarantining at home, is £210.

NHS Test and Trace tests are free for people who have symptoms of COVID-19 or who are clinically advised to take a COVID-19 test. Individuals who are legally permitted to travel should factor the cost of tests into the cost of travel, unless they are exempt. This includes paying for COVID-19 tests to ensure the protection of themselves and the public.

The full list of exemptions can be found on GOV.UK at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules

Private providers that meet the minimum standards may provide these tests to international arrivals travelling from non ‘red list’ countries. A list of private providers who have declared they meet the minimum standards has been published on GOV.UK. The price of the test package will vary depending on the provider.

A list of private providers can be found on GOV.UK at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/list-of-private-providers-of-coronavirus-testing/list-of-private-providers-of-coronavirus-testing

The government does not endorse or recommend any private test provider. Individuals should conduct their own research about available providers and the tests they supply. International arrivals will continue to be able to purchase NHS Test and Trace tests for this purpose.

Department of Health and Social Care

Other parliamentary business

MPs question the Government on international travel rules

On Monday 20 September, MPs questioned the Government on international travel, following a statement by the Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps MP on the Government's rules for international travel, including Covid-19 testing requirements.

Read the Secretary of State's statement, and question from MPs: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-09-20/debates/42EC0566-BBD2-4620-8E7E-3F2C95E7CB5A/InternationalTravel

In his statement the Minister confirmed that the Government was removing the requirement for fully vaccinated passengers to take a pre-departure test if not travelling from a red list country, and later in October, would be moving away from day 2 PCR testing to a new system of lateral flow tests for fully vaccinated passengers.

Find out more about the changes to international travel rules: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-system-for-international-travel

What are ministerial statements?

Ministerial statements are a way for Ministers to bring an important matter to the attention of the House, often at short notice. After making a statement the Minister responds to questions on its topic from MPs.