Family Abroad

We Were Kept Out of the United Kingdom (Temporarily) Due To The Ever Changing Covid-19 Requirements!

One consequence of Covid-19 is dealing with the always changing and always elusive laws and regulations that each country has set up to protect themselves. Some have extensive regulations and other countries have almost no regulations.

Take Mexico, for example. We were not required to bring proof of passing the standard PCR Covid-19 test and nobody ever asked to see our proof of vaccination. While we were staying in San Miguel de Allende in Guanajuato, Mexico, conditions in Mexico were deteriorating as more people were being infected by Covid-19. As a result, some Mexican states, such as Quintana Roo (Cancun) began requiring proof of vaccination to enter a business or restaurant. More recently, they started implementing a new curfew to restrict the movement of people.

Every country has a Covid-19 rating. These risk assessments range from “Red” (Very High Risk) to “Amber” (Moderate Risk) to “Green” (the Best Rating in Terms of Safety). These risk assessments are constantly changing as things get better (or worse) for a country. For example, in the UK, these rankings are reviewed every three weeks and, if a change is made, the requirements to enter the country also change.

For us, Mexico was a good example of how a country moving from Amber to Red changed our travel plans. At some point during our stay in Mexico, Mexico’s Covid-19 outlook was changed to Red from Amber. At the time of the change, we were not aware of any changes. There were no visible signs of any additional concerns. And, to their credit, masks were worn by nearly every single person in San Miguel de Allende even under the Amber risk rating. Our travel plans changed when Mexico became “Red” and this triggered changes in the way that we could travel to the UK.

Red List Countries – Covid-19

We now were required to wait a minimum of ten (10) days to enter into the United Kingdom (UK). This was very bad for us as we already had our tickets to the UK within that ten (10) day period. Now, I have to admit that were a bit confused at all of the different scenarios. In fact, at first, we thought the worst thing that would happen if we flew to London, England was that we would be required to quarantine. That was WRONG! We later figured out that IF we had flown to the UK within the ten-day period of being in Mexico, we would have been turned around and sent back to the United States on the next available flight.

Edith and I finally figured out that we had no choice but to postpone our flight so that we would fly outside of the 10-day period. As we searched for new fights, imagine our dismay that the new tickets were going to cost an additional $35,000.00. As you can imagine, we did not purchase those tickets. Instead, we called our carrier, British Airways, and they were able to secure new tickets at about $1,000.00.

In addition to the proof of vaccination, we were also required to complete a Passenger Locator Form. This form is filled out online and requires you to fill out information as to your address and travel details. Of importance is to follow their requirements for Covid-19 testing. Before flying to the UK, you must make arrangements to take the test. Once you have made your testing arrangements, you are given a “number” to put on your Passenger Locator Form. This is how the immigration officer figures out who actually followed the testing requirements.

For us, we were required to test on the second day of our arrival. The test is actually hand delivered to your door. The test is self-administered. It was fairly simple to swab the throat and then swab into the nose. Bethany definitely has had a tough time with these tests, but she has been a trooper. So far, all results are negative. I will point out that even though the UK has implemented these changes on how to visit the country during Covid-19, we are pretty much the only people who wear a mask while walking about London.

Keep in mind that the regulations are constantly changing depending on the country and the Covid-19 risk. I believe most countries in Europe have some type of vaccination passport. It seems that some countries give each of their citizens a QR Code that contains instant access to proof that they were vaccinated. For Americans where that is not possible, I am told that bringing our passports along with our written vaccination proof will suffice for most countries. I think we will have to remain fluid and flexible until the Covid-19 risk is much lower.

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