The New Transatlantic Travel Criteria You Must Observe

by Elysian Magazine

ELYSIAN’S Executive Editor, Laurie Bogart Wiles, shares timely travel insights after her trip last week to the United Kingdom.

THE OLD SAYING, “IT’S JUST NOT LIKE IT USED TO BE,” is an understatement when it comes to the reemergence of transatlantic travel now that pandemic restrictions are lifting. Last week, my husband and I traveled abroad for the first time since COVID sanctions were imposed. We flew from Orlando, Florida nonstop to Manchester, England on Virgin Atlantic Airways, our personal airline of choice for fantastic service and an army of employees who make travel feel seamless—even in these complex times. A valid passport is no longer sufficient. In this new age of travel, there are additional mandatory documents, as well as testing, that you must complete before you are allowed to leave the country—and return home. Fact is, it’s complex and stressful to travel now but it’s do-able…providing you know what to expect and are prepared.

New to travel is the Passenger Locator Form. This takes the place of the short form formerly filled out on the plane and presented to Customs when you entered a foreign country. The Passenger Locator Form is not only much more comprehensive but must be completed in advance of your departure. When you check-in at the airport, the airlines agent assisting you will ask you for your Passenger Locator Form, passport, and COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card.

Then there are the required tests. You must be tested for COVID-19 within 48-hours of your arrival into the United Kingdom and what’s more, undergo a monitored test 72-hours prior to your departure for home. The results must be negative. Otherwise, your stay will be prolonged a minimum of two weeks in quarantine—or until such time as you test negative.

The Importance of Booking Through a Travel Agent

Shopping online for low fares may cost you far more than you bargained for anymore. These days, going through a certified travel agent will not only save you time and, quite possibly, unanticipated expense, but a great deal of confusion and aggravation as you maneuver through the new, ever-changing, COVID-19 travel requirements and documents.

Be sure to book through a certified travel agent, preferably someone you have worked with before, handles travel for your company, or comes to you highly recommended. Not only will she arrange and book your itinerary, but if the airlines cancel or delay a flight—something that’s happening a lot as the airlines resume flying—she will rebook your ticket. She cannot assist you if you book your ticket yourself.

Mandatory Travel Documents going from the U.S.A. to the U.K.:

  • Print-out or digital image of your flight information
  • Valid and current United States Passport
  • Passenger Locator Form
  • COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card
  • Receipt for your Testing for All Kit


  • Flight cancellation insurance when you purchase your ticket through your travel agent. Airlines are juggling flights and schedules and there’s a chance your flight may be cancelled.
  • Medjet Global Medical Transport Membership. If you experience a medical emergency while you are far away from home, Medjet will take care of your medical needs that otherwise are not covered by regular travel insurance.

Your travel agent can provide you with your Passenger Locator Form. If she sends it to you by Email, be sure to print out a copy and keep it with your other travel documents. If you are fully vaccinated, your passenger status will be Non-Red List and your vaccine status will be Declared Full/Exempt. Again, you will need to present your Passenger Locator Form, along with your valid Passport and your original COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card (a digital image on your cellphone is acceptable. Have both) when you check in at the airport.  NOTE: Be sure to check your Passport’s expiration date is current through the date of your return. If it is not, log onto and do not wait till the last minute. The routine renewal process can take upwards of 8 to 10 weeks.

Your travel agent will order a Testing for All/Day 2 Lateral Flow/Flexible Swab PCR Test to be mailed to you at your first foreign destination, on or before the date of your arrival. One will be required for you and each member of your family. To register the test result you must have an internet-accessible cellphone, notebook, or laptop computer. Each test must be very carefully executed according to the package’s enclosed printed instructions (also available online video) and completed within 48 hours of your arrival. The cost of each test package is £38.00, including VAT (about US$50.) This is stressful to be sure, and you cannot make a mistake during the test procedure or the test result will not be valid. So, be calm and take your time.  NOTE: Failure to take the test and submit the results online will result in a fine of up to £10,000, imprisoned for up to 10 years, or both if you do not provide accurate details. If your trip did not originate in the United States, you must declare the countries you have visited in the 10 days before you arrived in the UK.

Mandatory Travel Documents going from the U.K. to the U.S.A.:

  • Print-out or digital image of your flight information
  • Valid and current United States Passport
  • Passenger Locator Form
  • COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card
  • Receipt and proof of negative results from your Testing for All Kit
  • Collinson COVID-19 Antigen Lateral Flow validated test report showing negative results.

In order to return to the United States, you must take a COVID-19 Antigen Lateral Flow test no more than 72 hours before departure. This is similar to, but not the same, as the test you will have taken to get into the U.K. Self-test kits are available however they must be the kind that connect on your cellphone live with an agent who will direct you through the process and screen your results. This is complicated and stressful. Instead, do as we did and identify the COVID-19 airport testing facility at your departure airport. Do not wait till the last minute and in fact, make an appointment the day before you leave. It takes time to process, and as more and more people travel, there may be a delay.

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