Heathrow and Gatwick: Latest travel rules for USA, Dubai, South Africa, Japan and Thailand

The topic of travel can be a tough one at the moment. The Covid-19 pandemic has meant that popular holiday destinations have been off limits as countries have closed their borders for non-essential travel in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus.

However, as the number of Covid cases begins to fall and travel restrictions begin to ease, the interest in a sunny getaways for the holidays has once again become the talk of the town. Here are the latest travel guidelines for UK holiday makers looking to take a trip to USA, Dubai, South Africa, Japan and Thailand.

READ MORE: Dubai, Mexico and Thailand: The beautiful cities and countries London beat in the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2021


The USA is an enticing holiday for many – but be sure to know the rules if you don’t want to get turned away at Heathrow

Most fully vaccinated foreign citizens can enter the USA providing you can show proof of your vaccination status. Before boarding a flight to the USA, most passengers – regardless of vaccination status – are required to show a negative Covid-19 test result taken no more than one day before travel. All air passengers to the USA are also required to provide contact information to their airlines before boarding.

If you’re unvaccinated then you will need an exemption to enter the US. If you’re not fully vaccinated but have tested positive for Covid-19 in the last year you still cannot enter the USA.

You’ll also need a Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) visa waiver to get into the States – you can find out which you need here.


Dubai is ideal for winter sun

The UK Government website says that all residents, tourists and visitors travelling from or through the UK and arriving in the UAE must have a negative Covid-19 PCR test before departure and present the certificate at check in. The PCR test needs to be taken no more than 48 hours prior to departure.

Travellers arriving in Dubai may be required to undertake a further Covid PCR test on arrival and will have to isolate pending the result of the test. If you test positive on arrival, depending on your symptoms and your accommodation plans, you may be required to self-isolate in a government facility, a hospital, your hotel or privately arranged accommodation for at least 10 days.

Visitors must also have international health insurance before travelling. Arrivals from countries that the UAE authorities consider high risk, and/or for whom the authorities assess private accommodation in the UAE to be unsuitable, are likely to be required to quarantine in a government quarantine facility.

South Africa

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Travellers will need to produce a paper copy of a negative PCR test to border officials upon arrival in South Africa. The test must have taken place no more than 72 hours before your departure.

If travellers do not present proof of a test upon arrival, they will be required to take a Covid test at their own expense and may be required to quarantine at their own cost. Passengers will also be asked to fill out a health questionnaire on the plane before entering South Africa.


International travel to Japan is still a no-go

International travellers are still not allowed to enter Japan for any purpose, other than in exceptional circumstances. You can find a description of exceptional circumstances on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website .


If you are fully vaccinated you can enter Thailand under the Blue Zone Sandbox scheme – meaning you have to apply for permission to enter. You must stay in the Sandbox area for seven days before travel in Thailand. You must take a PCR test before you leave the UK and when you arrive in Thailand.

Foreigners arriving in Thailand will be tested for Covid on entry and again during quarantine.

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