Heathrow and Gatwick: Latest Travel Rules for USA, Dubai, South Africa, Thailand and Japan

Traveling during the pandemic can be difficult due to the ever-changing rules and restrictions, both here in the UK and abroad.

While many of the previous Covid rules for entering the UK have been scrapped by the UK government, there are still some expectations that depend on vaccination status.

Vaccinated passengers will not be required to self-isolate on entry to England, but will be required to complete a passenger locator form and take a Covid test on day two after return.

For those who have not been vaccinated and are trying to enter England, you will be required to take a Covid test within 48 hours of departure.

Non-vaccinated travelers will also have to take further tests on days two and eight after return, fill out a passenger locator form and go home in quarantine for 10 days.

Travel rules can be a little daunting to unravel

READ MORE: Heathrow and Gatwick: Travel Rules for Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Bulgaria

Passengers should also be aware of the different rules that apply in their country or destination.

Here are the latest Covid travel rules for the US, Dubai, South Africa, Thailand and Japan.


From November 8, 2021, the US reopened its borders to British travelers after previously imposing a ban during the pandemic.

The US government has relaxed travel restrictions on foreign citizens who have been fully vaccinated with a Covid vaccine approved by the World Health Organization or by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Before boarding a flight to the US, most passengers – regardless of vaccination status – must show a negative Covid test result taken no more than a day before travel.

Fully vaccinated travelers are not required to quarantine on arrival, but are advised to take a viral test within three to five days of arriving in the US.

United Arab Emirates – Dubai

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Brits can travel to Dubai if they follow the rules

Passengers traveling from or through the UK and arriving in the UAE must have a negative PCR test prior to departure and present the certificate at check-in.

The PCR test must be taken at least 48 hours before departure.

Travelers arriving in Dubai may need to take another PCR test on arrival and self-isolate while waiting for the result.

South Africa

Travelers must provide a paper copy of a negative PCR test to border officials upon arrival in South Africa.

The test must have taken place at least 72 hours before your departure.

If travelers are unable to provide proof of a test on arrival, they will be required to take a Covid test at their own expense and may be quarantined at their own expense.

Passengers will also be asked to complete an in-flight health questionnaire before entering South Africa.


Anyone traveling to Thailand should test for Covid

If you are fully vaccinated, you can enter Thailand under the Blue Zone Sandbox scheme. You must stay in the Sandbox area for seven days before traveling to Thailand. You must do a PCR test before you leave the UK and when you arrive in Thailand.

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

If you are not fully vaccinated, you can enter Thailand under the Alternative Quarantine scheme. You must be quarantined at a state quarantine or alternate state quarantine facility (ASQ). You cannot use the Blue Zone Sandbox.


Foreigners, including British nationals, who have no existing residency status are not allowed to enter Japan for any purpose except in exceptional circumstances.

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