Heathrow and Gatwick: Latest Covid travel rules for USA, Dubai, South Africa, Japan and Thailand

The Easter holidays are here and it’s still not too late to escape the UK for a spring break. Though it might feel like Covid is behind us at home there are still a few things to consider when travelling abroad, with different rules for different countries.

Vaccinated and unvaccinated passengers arriving in England no longer have to complete a passenger locator form, take any Covid tests, or quarantine when they arrive. But, the rules are not always so simple when venturing the other direction.

It’s important holiday makers are aware of the specific rules in place at the popular global hotspots before travel. Let’s take a look at the Covid rules in place for those going to USA, Dubai, South Africa, Japan and Thailand.

READ MORE: Latest Covid travel rules for France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Greece and Turkey

America is the perfect place if you like everything bigger and better


America will accept any COVID-19 vaccine approved for emergency use by the World Health Organisation or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These are the AstraZeneca, BIBP/Sinopharm, Covishield, Janssen, Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Sinovac.

Before boarding a flight to the USA, most passengers – regardless of vaccination status – are required to show a negative COVID-19 test result taken no more than one day before travel. Fully vaccinated travellers do not have to quarantine but are recommended to take a viral test within three to five days of arrival in the US.

Only those with an exception or US Citizens, US Nationals, and US Lawful Permanent Residents will be able to enter the US unvaccinated.


Residents, tourists and visitors travelling from or through the UK and arriving in the UAE must still have a negative COVID-19 PCR test, taken no more than 48 hours before departure, and present the certificate at check in if they are not fully vaccinated and do not hold a COVID-19 recovery certificate.

With effect from 26 February, travellers to the UAE do not need to take a COVID-19 PCR test before they travel if they are fully vaccinated or they hold a COVID-19 recovery certificate with a QR code dated within 30 days of departure.

South Africa

If you are fully vaccinated, you do not need to take a coronavirus test to travel to South Africa. You will need to present your vaccination certificate during travel and on arrival. Unvaccinated people must provide a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, which was obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel.


Foreign nationals (including British nationals) with Status of Residence who have a valid re-entry permit, are in principle allowed to re-enter the country. If you do not have these you may apply for a visa to enter Japan for business, study or purposes other than tourism.

As part of travelling to Japan, you must take an approved COVID-19 test within 72 hours before your flight departure time, and obtain proof of a negative result in an approved format. You must sign a written pledge that commits you to abiding by the quarantine and self-isolation rules and to a number of other requirements. You must also complete an online health questionnaire and obtain a QR code.

It’s still a little tricky to get into Japan if you want to experience the amazing culture

At immigration, you will be asked to submit the above documentation, to take another COVID-19 test (and await the results at the airport), and to install COVID-19 tracing applications on your smartphone or other device. Failure to comply with the regulations could lead to detention and deportation.

If you can prove you have received two doses of approved vaccines you will be considered fully vaccinated and are exempt from quarantine and self-isolation. Note AstraZenaca is not accepted as a valid booster.


If you’re fully vaccinated, you can apply to enter Thailand via Thailand Pass under the Test and Go or Sandbox schemes. If you are not fully vaccinated, you can enter Thailand under the Alternative Quarantine scheme. You must quarantine at a State Quarantine or Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) facility.

Got a story? If so, please email [email protected].

Do you want the latest news in your area sent straight to your inbox? It only takes a few seconds! Click here.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post Japan to take in 20 Ukrainians, despite strict refugee policy
Next post The State of Globalization in 2022