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COVID-19 Testing for Arrivals from China

Temporary safeguards are now in place affecting travellers arriving into England from mainland China, following guidance from the UK Department of Health and Social Care, the Department of Transport and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).


What are the new rules?

Under the new rules, from 5 January 2023, if you are travelling to England from mainland China by air, you will not be permitted to board an aircraft without proof of a recent negative coronavirus (COVID-19) test.

If you are at least 12 years old, you must take a COVID-19 test no more than two days prior to departure and provide documentation of a negative COVID-19 test result before departing mainland China for England. This will be verified by your airline, and you may be asked to present it to Border Force upon arrival in England.

This applies to both direct and indirect flights departing the Chinese mainland.

These rules do not apply if your journey to England originated in a place other than mainland China and you are just transiting ‘airside’ via the country. These COVID-19 travel requirements apply if you transit “landside” ie, you pass via border check.

You must provide the original notification of the test result. You can submit your test results in either English, French or Spanish.

Your test result can be provided either in print or as an email or text message that can be shown on a mobile device. It must have the following details:

  • Your name, which must correspond with your travel papers.
  • Your date of birth or age.
  • The test result.
  • The date the test sample was collected or received by the test provider.
  • The name and contact information of the test provider.

This can be a lateral flow or PCR test type confirmation. You cannot utilise an NHS-provided test as a pre-departure test.

You are required to keep your notification of a negative COVID-19 test result until you have crossed the United Kingdom’s border.

You may not be required to take a pre-departure test if you qualify for a work-related exemption or have a valid reason.

In addition, the UKHSA has started to test volunteer travellers arriving in England from mainland China from 8 January. Travellers are being encourages to take part in the testing for coronavirus at the point of arrival in order to screen for potential new strains of the virus. This only applies to passengers aged 18 or older arriving at Heathrow Airport from the Chinese mainland.


Need assistance?

Contact DavidsonMorris for advice on travel to the UK or the latest entry requirements.

Last updated: 17 January 2023

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