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What you must do to keep Wales safe from coronavirus when arriving from abroad.

First published:
15 January 2021
Last updated:

Passenger locator form

You must complete a passenger locator form before you travel to Wales.

Some people travelling for work purposes do not have to complete the passenger locator form.

Pre-departure testing

Taking a coronavirus test before you travel to Wales

If you are not fully vaccinated you must have proof of a negative coronavirus (COVID-19) test to travel to Wales.

You must take a test even if you are a UK citizen.

You must take the test in the 3 days before you start your journey to Wales. For example, if you travel on Friday, you must take a test no earlier than Tuesday.

You will need to present the proof of your negative test before you board to travel to Wales.

If you don’t present proof of a negative test result certificate, you may not be able to board any form of transport to travel to Wales.

If you arrive in Wales without proof of a negative test result, you could be fined £500.

Those who do not have to take a pre-departure test

You will no longer need to take a pre-departure test before you arrive in Wales if you are fully vaccinated and have not been in a red list country for any time during the 10 days before arrival.   

You do not need to take a test if you began your journey to Wales from England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man, Jersey or Guernsey.

You do not need to take a test if you began your journey to Wales from Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands or Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.

Children aged under 18 do not need to take a test.

You do not need to take a test if you are travelling to the UK:

  • for urgent medical treatment or are accompanying someone who is travelling for urgent medical treatment, and it is not reasonably practicable for you to obtain a negative COVID-19 test in the 3 days before departure
  • if you have a medical condition which means you cannot take a test – you must present a note from a medical practitioner at check in and to Border Force staff on arrival in Wales

Some people travelling for work purposes do not have to take the pre-departure tests. Read more about job exemptions to see if they apply to you.

Test providers and type of test that are accepted

You will need to find a test provider. You must make sure that the test provider can meet the standards for pre-departure testing.

The test must:

  • meet performance standards of ≥97% specificity, ≥80% sensitivity at viral  loads above 100,000 copies/ml
  • this could include tests such as:
    • a nucleic acid test, including a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test or derivative technologies, including loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) tests
    • an antigen test, such as a test from a lateral flow device

It is your responsibility to ensure the test meets the minimum standards for sensitivity, specificity and viral load details so you must check with your test provider that it meets those standards.

You may not be able to travel if the test does not meet these standards. It is your responsibility to ensure you get the right test that meets the above requirements.

Where information about providers of tests is available locally, FCDO travel advice pages will be updated with this information. If you need consular assistance should contact the nearest consulate, embassy or high commission.

Outbound Travel - If  the country you are travelling to requires you to take a coronavirus test before you depart from Wales or the rest of the UK you must book and pay for tests from a private test provider (on GOV.UK). You cannot use the NHS Test and Trace service.

Information that the pre-departure test result must include

Your test result must be in one of the following languages English, French or Spanish. Translations will not be accepted, and you must provide the original test result certificate. It must include the following information:

  • your name, which should match the name on your travel documents
  • your date of birth or age
  • the result of the test
  • the date the test sample was collected or received by the test provider
  • the name of the test provider and their contact details
  • the name of the test device

If the test result does not include this information you may not be able to board, and may not be able to travel to Wales.  If you arrive without a test result that includes this information, you will be committing a criminal offence.

Test results

If your test result is positive, you must not travel. You must follow local rules and guidance for positive coronavirus cases.

If the result is inconclusive, you must take another test.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 within 90 days of your travel date it is advisable to use a lateral flow device test.

British nationals who need consular assistance should contact the nearest consulate, embassy or high commission.

Test to Release scheme

There is no Test to Release Scheme in Wales so negative tests taken elsewhere do not avoid or reduce the period of isolation required in Wales.

Getting a test in a country you transit through

It is your responsibility to make sure you have a valid test result to show when you board. You should not rely on being able to get a test in a country that you will transit through as part of your journey to Wales. It is possible that local or entry restrictions will mean you are not able to get a test.

If you don’t have a test result because you were unable to get one in a country you transited through, and you are not permitted to enter the transit country, you will be allowed to board your transport to Wales. But you could be fined £500 on arrival in Wales for not having a valid test result.

Post-arrival testing

Booking your post-arrival testing package

A ‘travel test package’ must be booked before your arrival in Wales.  The test package you need on arrival depends on your vaccination status and the country or countries you have been in before you arrived in Wales.  

  • Non-Red country arrivals if you are fully vaccinated, 1 test
  • Non-Red country arrivals if you are not fully vaccinated, 2 tests
  • All Red list country arrivals, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to book 2 tests as part of their managed quarantine package

All travellers aged 5 and above must book a testing package for either one or two tests depending on their vaccination status.

You will need show evidence of your booked tests before you board.

If you arrive in Wales without proof of test booking, you could be fined £2,000.

Testing requirements (Fully vaccinated arrivals from non-red list countries)

Day 2 test

From Sunday 31 October, if you are fully vaccinated and have travelled from a country not on the red list, you will be able to take a lateral flow test on or before day two of your arrival into the Wales. The day you arrive is day 0.

If your lateral flow test is positive, you will be required to isolate for 10 days and take a follow-up PCR test.  This is important to ensure any harmful variants of concern which may have been imported from overseas are identified as quickly as possible. Book a follow-up PCR test.

Post arrival lateral flow tests must be booked before your  arrival into Wales. These tests cannot be free NHS tests. They must be booked with one of the private providers listed on GOV.UK.

You have the option of booking and taking a PCR test as the required day two test if you prefer.  NHS PCR tests can be booked on the CTM booking portal and private sector tests can be booked from a private provider listed on GOV.UK.

Testing and isolation requirements (Non-vaccinated arrivals from non-red list countries)

Day 2 test

You will need to take a COVID-19 test at day 2 of your arrival into Wales and to isolate for a period of time, depending on your test result. The day you arrive will be treated as day zero. This first test is designed to help identify any potentially harmful variants of COVID-19 at the earliest opportunity. You will not be allowed to shorten your isolation period if you receive a negative test result, as you may still develop COVID-19. Tests will be taken at home during your isolation.

Day 8 test

You will need to take a COVID-19 test at day 8, unless you received a positive result from your day 2 test.

Period of isolation required depending on test results

Day 2 test result

Day 8 test result

Last day of isolation

Negative test result

Negative test result

End of day 10

Negative test result

Positive test result

End of 10 days from date day 8 test taken

Negative test result

Result not received by day 10

End of day 14 or day on which day 8 negative test result is received whichever is the soonest

Negative test result

Test not taken

End of day 14

Negative test result

Inconclusive test result

End of 10 days from date day 8 test taken

Positive test result

Not required

End of 10 days from date day 2 test taken

Inconclusive test result

Test not taken

End of day 14

Inconclusive test result

Negative test result

End of day 10 or receipt of a negative test

Inconclusive test result

Positive test result

End of 10 days from date day 8 test taken

Inconclusive test result

Inconclusive test result

End of 10 days from date day 8 test taken

Test not taken

Negative test result

End of day 10

Test not taken

Positive test result

End of 10 days from date day 8 test taken

Test not taken

Test not taken

End of day 14

Getting help paying for your managed quarantine or testing fees.

If you are a UK resident or an individual with residency rights (for example, international students who possess a student visa), and would suffer severe financial hardship by paying the full cost of your managed quarantine or testing fees before you travel, hardship arrangements may be available to you. Find out more on GOV.UK.

Self-isolation when arriving in Wales

Isolation requirements when you arrive in Wales

When you arrive in Wales and are required to isolate, it is very important that you stay in your accommodation for the time you are required to isolate. It can take up to 10 days for you to develop coronavirus symptoms after you catch the virus and in this time you can pass it on to others. Isolating will reduce the chance of the transmission.

The requirements for isolation and how long you must isolate for are dependent on where you have travelled from and where you have been in the 10 days before arriving in Wales or the UK.

Please refer to the isolation requirements guidance.

How to travel to the place where you are isolating

All international travellers who must isolate on arriving in Wales must travel directly to the premises that are suitable to reside in until the end of the last day of their isolation.

Only use public transport if you have no other option.

If necessary, and you have a long journey within the UK to arrive at your isolation accommodation, you can stop overnight before continuing your journey. You must isolate and provide the address of your overnight stop on your Passenger Locator Form.

If you develop coronavirus symptoms when you are travelling to the UK or Wales, you should tell the crew on your plane or boat. They will let staff in the airport, port or station know, so they can tell you what you should do next when you arrive.

If you have coronavirus symptoms, you will not be allowed to travel by public transport and will need to demonstrate that the accommodation where you will isolate is suitable.

How to isolate in your accommodation

You should isolate in one place for the full period of usually 10 days, where you can have food and other necessities delivered, and stay away from others.

You must isolate at the address you provided on the Passenger Locator Form you completed before you arrived in the UK.

This can include:

  • your own home
  • staying with friends or family
  • a hotel or other temporary accommodation

You cannot go out to work or to go to school or to visit public places.

You cannot go outside of your place of isolation to take exercise.

You should not have visitors, including friends and family, unless they are providing essential care. The only friends and family who you can have contact with are those who travelled with you or people who you are staying with.

You should not go shopping unless necessary - if you require help buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication, you should ask friends or relatives or order a delivery.

See guidance on getting food and essential supplies during the coronavirus pandemic if you need help in this area.

Reasons to leave your place of isolation

In Wales, you can only leave your premises for a small number of reasons. There are different reasons if you are non-vaccinated and arriving from a non-red list country or you arrive from a red list country

A non-vaccinated traveller arriving from a non-red list country

  • to travel for the purpose of leaving Wales in the manner described by paragraph (3);
  • to obtain basic necessities (including for other persons at the premises or any pets at the premises), where it is not possible or practicable to have these delivered—
  • to seek medical assistance, where this is required urgently or on the advice of a registered medical practitioner
  • to receive a health service provided by a registered medical practitioner, where the provision of the service was arranged before the person's arrival in the United Kingdom
  • to assist a person receiving a health service, or to accompany that person if they are a child for whom the person has responsibility;
  • where a child who does not live in the same household as their parents, or one their parents, to continue existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, the child and their parents, and for the purposes of this sub-paragraph, “parent” includes a person who is not a parent of the child, but who has parental responsibility for, or who has care of, the child
  • to access veterinary services where—
    • (i)they are required to examine, sample, treat or euthanase an animal, to protect its welfare or to protect animal or public health
    • (ii) the exempted travel may be for a veterinarian to travel to attend an animal, or for the animal keeper to take an animal to a veterinary premises for care
  • to carry out specified activities in relation to edible horticulture, but only if the person is residing at the premises in connection with those activities;
    • in relation to edible horticulture, means—(a) edible horticulture (garddwriaeth fwytadwy means growing-(i)protected vegetables grown in glasshouse systems,(ii)field vegetables grown outdoors, including vegetables, herbs, leafy salads and potatoes,(iii)soft fruit grown outdoors or under cover,(iv)trees that bear fruit,(v)vines and bines, or (vi) mushrooms
  • to avoid illness or injury or to escape a risk of harm
  • to fulfil a legal obligation, including attending court or satisfying bail conditions, or to participate in legal proceedings
  • to access public services (including social services or victims' services) where— (i)  access to the service is critical to a person's well-being, and (ii)  the service cannot be provided if the person remains at the premises
  • where a person is competing in a sporting event specified in Schedule 4 or providing coaching or other support to a person who is competing in such an event, to participate in the event or to undertake training or other activities connected to the event; (jb)  where a person is officiating at, or is involved in running, such a sporting event, to attend the event or to undertake activities connected to officiating or running the event
  • where someone is an elite athlete who has travelled to the United Kingdom to undergo one or more medical examination, to attend that medical examination, provided— (i) the medical examination is for the purpose of a business determining whether to offer a person a contract to participate in an elite competition on behalf of that business, (ii) a person is in possession of written confirmation from that business of the arrangements referred to in paragraph (i), and (iii)  such arrangements were made prior to the person arriving in the United Kingdom
  • where a person who is travelling with an elite athlete for the purpose of sub-paragraph (jh), to provide assistance and support to that elite athlete in connection with such medical examination
  • where a person is an elite athlete who has contracted with a business to participate in an elite competition, to participate in such competition or undertake training or other activities connected to that elite competition
  • for compassionate reasons, including to attend the funeral of— (i)  a member of a person's family; (ii)   a close friend [;] 
  • for the purpose of obtaining a test for coronavirus provided or administered under the National Health Service (Wales) Act 2006
  • where someone is a person falling within any of the paragraphs in Schedule 5, in order to travel directly to or from any place where a person's presence is required for the purposes of a person's work, or for the purposes of an activity to which the relevant paragraph in Schedule 5 relates (as the case may be), and when a person is in attendance at that place
  • if required to do so by a constable
  • if isolating in a goods vehicle by virtue of regulation 9(4)— (i)  for sanitary reasons, (ii)  to take exercise outside, (iii)  where required or permitted by that paragraph, to move to a different place for isolation, (iv)  to inspect the vehicle or its load or to carry out any other task required for the safe and continued operation of the vehicle, including refuelling, and (v)  for any other reason or purpose specified in this paragraph
  • to undertake a workforce test required by regulation 6K

After arrival from a red list country (applies to all arrivals regardless of vaccination status)

  • to travel for the purpose of leaving Wales
  • to seek medical assistance, where this is required urgently or on the advice of a registered medical practitioner
  • to avoid illness, injury, or other risk of harm
  • to fulfil a legal obligation, including attending court or satisfying bail conditions, or to participate in legal proceedings
  • where a person is a child who does not live in the same household as their parents, or one of their parents, to continue existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, them and their parents, and for the purposes of this subparagraph, parent includes a person who is not a parent of the person, but who has parental responsibility for, or who has care of, the person; 
  • for compassionate reasons, including to attend the funeral of— (i)  a member of a person's family; (ii)  a close friend; 
  • for the purpose of obtaining a test for coronavirus provided or administered under the National Health Service (Wales) Act 2006
  • if required to do so by a constable

Changing your place of isolation

You should not change the place where you are isolating except in limited circumstances. These circumstances will include where:

  • a legal obligation requires you to change the premises at which you reside for the purpose of an isolation requirement
  • you are otherwise unable to remain at the premises at which you are residing for the purpose of an isolation requirement

If this happens, you must complete a new Passenger Locator Form with the address of the alternative premises as soon as is reasonably practicable.

Support to help you isolate in your own accommodation

The people you're staying with do not need to isolate, unless they travelled with you or you develop the symptoms of coronavirus.

If you have nowhere to be able to isolate for up to 10 days, you should tell Border Force Officers when you pass through UK border controls. They will provide you with details of a booking service which you can use to obtain accommodation where you can isolate at your own expense.

Staying at home may be difficult, frustrating or lonely, but there is help available if you are struggling due to coronavirus.

Within your accommodation

The people you're staying with do not need to stay at home, unless they travelled with you. Avoid contact with them and minimise the time you spend in shared spaces, like kitchens, bathrooms and sitting areas.

If you’re staying in a hotel or guest house, you must stay away from others who didn’t travel with you, so it’s important that you don’t use shared areas such as bars, restaurants, health clubs and sports facilities. Stay 2 metres apart from other people staying there at all times.

It is important to avoid contact with other people in your home in order to reduce the risk of transmitting coronavirus. You should stay in a well-ventilated room with a window to the outside that can be opened, separate from other people in your home.

If you can, you should use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household. If you have to share these facilities, regular cleaning will be required after each person has used them. Make sure you use separate towels from the other people in your house, both for drying yourself after bathing or showering and for hand-hygiene purposes.

Washing your hands and keeping good hygiene

Everyone should wash their hands regularly, but this is particularly important for people who have recently travelled to the UK because you could have contracted coronavirus and not yet developed symptoms. Wash your hands frequently with soap and hot water, for at least 20 seconds, rinse and dry thoroughly. Use alcohol-based hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Cover your mouth and nose with a disposable tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of tissues into a plastic waste bag, and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, rinse and dry thoroughly.

Exemptions and exceptions

A limited number of people travelling to Wales for work purposes may be covered by categories of exemption (no isolation) or exception (must isolate but can leave for work purposes). The categories are different for ‘red list’ countries and ‘non-red list’ countries and will change depending on a person’s vaccination status.  Read the detailed guidance on who does not need to isolate.

Like everyone in the Wales, if you get the symptoms of coronavirus you should not travel and should immediately isolate even if otherwise you are exempt. You must follow the guidance on staying safe and social distancing.

Enforcement

An adult who contravenes an isolation requirement or provides false or misleading information to the Government commits an offence.

A fixed penalty notice will be issued which provides that person with the opportunity to pay the penalty within 28 days to avoid being convicted of the offence. The first penalty will be for the sum of £500 and subsequent penalties will be £1000, £2000, to a maximum of £4000.

Other fines maybe applicable if you are returning from a red list or amber list country. 

What to do if you get coronavirus symptoms

You should look for any of the following symptoms in the 10 days after the day you arrive in the UK:

  • new continuous cough
  • high temperature
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

If you have any of these symptoms, you should follow the self-isolation guidance.