What was once turning up at the airport with a plane ticket in one hand and passport in the other is now a heavily taxing process taking several months and many headache-inducing regulations.
Naturally, the travel industry suffered some of the hardest cuts during the pandemic, with international arrivals dropping by 74% in 2020 according to the World Tourism Organisation (UNTWO). The movement of individuals between countries has been noted as one of the predominant causes of new COVID-19 outbreaks due to the airborne nature of the virus.
As an Australian, the firm closure of our borders was one of the more drastic measures seen over the globe. Since March 2020 and only as of November 2021, our international borders remained closed to travellers as well as limiting the return of some Australian residents living overseas. Furthermore, while Australian residents living abroad were kept away, those wishing to leave Australia were kept in.
My own journey to the UK was a 14-month-long process. Leaving Australia on a work visa to the UK is not normally so tedious, yet, with the continued setbacks regarding new COVID-19 statistics and the concerns of those around me, the entire process proved an effort in perseverance. But finally, on the 30th October 2021, I turned up at the airport with a folder of certificates, letters, confirmation emails and government-regulated permission forms and boarded a plane.
It comes as no surprise that the landscape of international travel has had to drastically change: especially now that COVID-19 vaccinations have been distributed throughout the globe. And even though being double vaccinated by a recognised clinic is strongly advised and even imposed by certain regions, you are able to move between areas if you have not been vaccinated. The required documentation for proving your vaccination status is not particularly hard to come by – at least from my experience in Australia – however, the sheer number of paperwork is a little overwhelming. Even though I had scoured through the conditions of entry lists of both the airline and the United Kingdom’s websites, I still turned up at the airport with a document missing and that was with the added advisory of a travel agent.
When you arrive in the UK you will need to comply with the post-arrival COVID-19 conditions which can include: self-isolating or taking a swab test on either day 2 or day 8. The conditions also depend on your country of origin, vaccination status, countries you have transited through and your selected airline.
Although the process of immigrating is tedious and taxing at any time – not to mention during a pandemic – it is understood by the traveller that all these steps are required for a safe and secure transition. And it is likely that with the passing of time and the lessening of COVID’s impact that the pre-pandemic world will begin to emerge once again.
To learn more, visit the gov.uk website.
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