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Transiting from amber country to LHR en route to US

R A
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Transiting from amber country to LHR en route to US
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Apologies that this needs to be asked again. But , I’m leaving Santorini on my way back home to San Francisco in August/ September—-with a 20 Hour layover in London . Outside of taking the covid test 3 days before arriving into London plus filling out the passenger locator form, am I missing anything? Is it also safe to say i won’t / should not be able to book a hotel for one night in the city ? Or, is it recommended that I stay at the airport for 20 hours? For what it’s worth , we’re fully vaccinated and willing to take all the required tests but feel like I’m missing something.

20 replies to this topic
Vancouver, Canada
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for London
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1. Re: Transiting from amber country to LHR en route to US
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What's required to travel today may not be what will be required in August or September - and it's impossible to determine what changes may take place or when in the next two and a half months.

'Is it also safe to say i won’t / should not be able to book a hotel for one night in the city ?' As it stands today you'd need to travel from Heathrow to a hotel and say in your room until you'd return to the airport the next day.

'Or, is it recommended that I stay at the airport for 20 hours?' Passengers cannot remain airside at LHR overnight; you'd need to enter the UK and stay landside in the terminal building (not recommended) or go to a hotel as above.

'For what it’s worth , we’re fully vaccinated' As of today vaccination status doesn't matter. https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control

Budapest, Hungary
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for Budapest, Hungary
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2. Re: Transiting from amber country to LHR en route to US
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That is far too far away to answer: lockdown was supposed to be eased on June 21st, but it was delayed by a month. Nobody knows what the situation will be in August.

btw, your vaccination status is irrelevant, unless agreement on "Vaccination passports" has been agreed by then, unlikely given Brexit.

Tring, United...
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3. Re: Transiting from amber country to LHR en route to US
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Given today's news that there's been a 'spike' in Infections (despite the excellent vaccine program) I can see there being another delay down the line.

I'm risk averse so I'd be planning for 2022 in the hope things have settled down and the rules are not being changed every week!

London, United...
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4. Re: Transiting from amber country to LHR en route to US
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If nothing changes from today, then no, you don't need to do anything else. Under current rules you are except from booking the day 2 and 8 tests. You will have to self isolate overnight in a hotel though, immediately after arrival and only travel to the terminal within 2-3 hours of your scheduled departure time.

Liverpool, UK
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5. Re: Transiting from amber country to LHR en route to US
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"Under current rules you are except from booking the day 2 and 8 tests. " Unfortunately on 8 June 2021 the legislation was subtly changed. Now anyone who is entering the country overnight, even if they are in transit between flights on the same ticket, is treated the same as other 'amber' country arrivals and will need to pre-book the arrival tests too. In the explanatory note "Regulations 3 and 4 have the effect that persons arriving in England intending to stay for short periods of time must nevertheless obtain testing packages in the same manner as those visiting for longer periods." Very annoyingly, this hasn't been reflected in the guidance on gov.uk yet.

It gets expensive, when you are only seeing a hotel room for 18 hours, I would personally see if there is any alternative (and note that flight schedules are very likely to keep changing between now and Aug/Sep).

San Francisco, Ca
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6. Re: Transiting from amber country to LHR en route to US
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>>Outside of taking the covid test 3 days before arriving into London ...<<

You'll want to time your COVID test to be within 3 days of departing for the US, since you'll need that to board the flight in London to SFO. That will also automatically suffice for entry into the UK*.

*Assuming that the test you get meets the UK specifications (which are more explicit than the US ones, although I don't know if they're actually more stringent).

The requirements:

You must make sure that the test provider you choose 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

Los Osos
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7. Re: Transiting from amber country to LHR en route to US
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Do you have to be observed while taking your pre-flight Covid test (before you leave the US to go to the UK)? The American Airlines website says some destinations require Observation, but even after 2 hours in a chat call this evening with two different agents, I was unable to find out if the UK is one fo those destinations. I'm flying out on July 4th and have received my test in the mail from LetsGetChecked, which is recommended on the AA website, but don't want to collect a sample and return it only to find out it's invalid because it wasn't observed. Does anyone know? Thank you.

North Yorkshire...
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8. Re: Transiting from amber country to LHR en route to US
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#7 has posted on multiple threads, answered here https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g186216-i15-k13529701-Late_direct_flight_to_UK_10_pm_Worried_about_3_day_test-United_Kingdom.html

Martinez, California
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78 posts
9. Re: Transiting from amber country to LHR en route to US
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#5 - where is this information posted? I also have an overnight from Amber country next month and this changes everything. I read gov.uk site back and forth 50 times and transit rules state we're except from day 2 and 8 rules. I guess I will check at the airport as I have overnight layover on the way back.

United Kingdom
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10. Re: Transiting from amber country to LHR en route to US
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Natalya, updating of the published legislation is running late. The alerations are at:

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2021/670/made

Section 3 amends regulation 5 of the main law, paragraph (a) removes the general short term stay exemption and paragraph (b) adds a specific exemption for Transit passengers. But you have to go to the full law (the web edition hasn't been updated yet so you can't read everything together) to see the definition of transit passenger , which is

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2021/582/schedule/4/paragraph/12/made

which takes us back to a discussion that has been arounds for months - does "remains within their port of entry " cover airport hotels? The feeling is that the answer is yes if the hotel is part of the airport - but at Heathrow most are some distance away.

The stupid thing is that the exemption does clearly apply to people who leave the port of entry and travel many miles to a different port of departure! But this does show that you don't have to stay airside to be in transit.

But by next month it could all have changed again.

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