Do Brits living in Austria still have to quarantine on trips to the UK?

Do Brits living in Austria still have to quarantine on trips to the UK?
International arrivals at Heathrow Airport. Photo: JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP
The British government on Thursday announced a relaxation of its quarantine rules for fully vaccinated travellers - but this will not help most Brits who live abroad. Here's what it means and the reaction.

British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced on Thursday that, from July 19th, people visiting amber list countries including Austria would no longer have to quarantine on arrival back in England, as long as they were fully vaccinated.

However, this exemption is only aimed at UK nationals living in Britain and vaccinated there. That rules out the majority of Brits in Austria, unless they received both vaccine doses in the UK. 

What has been decided?

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “From July 19th, arrivals who have been fully vaccinated with an NHS administered vaccine in the UK (plus 14 days), or are on a formally approved UK vaccine clinical trial, returning to England from amber list counties will no longer need to quarantine.

“Passengers will need to provide proof of their vaccination status to carriers in advance of travel.” 

This means that any UK nationals living in Austria who had their jabs in the UK can travel quarantine free – but the majority who had their vaccines in France will still face a 10-day quarantine if they want to travel to the UK to visit friends and family, as well as paying around £160 for the compulsory day 2 and 8 travel testing package.

The announcement sparked fury among UK nationals living abroad, many of whom have not seen family for 18 months as they cannot afford expensive travel testing packages as well as taking an extra 10 days off work to quarantine.

What does this mean for Brits living in Austria? 

As it stands, they will still have to quarantine for 10 days – with the possibility of ending it in England after a negative test taken on the fifth day – when visiting friends or family in the UK, even if they are fully vaccinated.

UPDATE: What rules do European countries have for travellers from the UK?

The Department for Transport confirmed to The Local that this exemption is for anyone who was vaccinated in the UK or part of a UK clinical trial on vaccines.

This means that any UK nationals living in Italy who had their jabs in Britain can travel quarantine-free. 

However, those vaccinated in Austria will still face a 10-day quarantine if they want to travel to the UK to visit friends and family, as well as needing to pay around £175 – or more – for the compulsory travel testing package.

What’s the reaction from Brits in Europe?

British citizens resident in Austria and other countries in Europe reacted with anger and sadness at the news that they would not be exempt from the UK’s quarantine requirement.

The campaign group British in Europe summed up the mood when they tweeted: “We just want to see our families.”

People also questioned why some UK authorities had also agreed to let up to 1,000 football fans travel quarantine-free from Italy to London for Sunday’s Euro 2020 final.

However, there is some hope that things won’t stay the same. 

The Local spoke to an EU source about the mutual recognition of Covid certificates in the EU and the UK.

The European Commission source told us: “When it comes to the UK, the talks are ongoing at the technical level and are progressing well and going in the right direction.

“This is in particular because technically speaking the EU’s and the UK’s architectures are aligned.

“On the US, the EU continues exchanges with the US on the use of (vaccination) certificates to facilitate travel. We are also following closely how the debate on the certificates evolves in the US.”

The UK’s Department of Transport said that a further announcement on fully-vaccinated non-EU residents is expected before the end of the month.

Shapps said that ministers are “actively working” on proposals to allow people who’ve received their jabs outside the UK to be exempt from quarantine rules when travelling from amber list countries. 

He suggested people in the EU could be allowed in sooner than those in the US due to the digital vaccine pass scheme being rolled out. 

What are the rules for travelling from the UK to Austria?

Austria in June extended a ban on arrivals from the United Kingdom until August 31st, due primarily to concerns surrounding the Delta variant.

The ban applies primarily to tourist travel, with Austrian citizens and residents – along with citizens and residents of other European countries – allowed to enter Austria from the UK. 

Those who are allowed to enter will need to provide evidence of a negative test and will need to quarantine for ten days, although you can leave quarantine after the fifth day with a negative PCR test

On June 21st, Austria removed the ban on direct flights from the UK to Austria. 

READ MORE: Austria ends ban on British flights: What does this mean for travellers?

In addition to the UK, the ban also applies to other ‘virus variant’ areas, including Brazil, India and South Africa. 


Member comments

  1. I watched Grant Shapps announce this in Parliament yesterday and was shocked and angry when it sunk in that it was only for Brits that have been fully vaccinated by the NHS. That it was yet another opportunity snatched by the despicable and divisive Tories to snub the EU and reinforce the imperial mindset that is Britishness at its worst. I can only hope that Spain, Portugal and Greece change their policy when the British are in mid flight and make them quarantine for 10 days once they’ve landed!

  2. This is the most ridiculous thing since Brexit. All UK citizens living in Europe and having had the 2 jabs are being persecuted when consideration is now being given to allow non-EU residents to travel without having to quarantine. Talk about feeling like second-class citizens. We have not seen our parents since November 2019 and last year was my mother’s 90th. Birthday which we celebrated on Skype. It is time the European Union acted on our behalf. If we were diplomats’ action would be taken as reciprocation.

    1. Yes my brother and I haven’t seen our Dad and the rest of the family since the beginning of September. My brother is doubled jabbed. I am not having any jabs after being very seriously ill from a flu jab after which I was told not to have any flu/pneumonia or similar by the Doctors in my then employers health clinic. Trying to get an exemption certificate is almost impossible. My Dad is 99 and refused it. We need to get over to Wiltshire to assist our sisters on clearing the house of all the accumulated junk. My brother can’t have 4 weeks off work 2 of them in quarantine in the UK. He has so much work backlog (as a building tech). I’m retired so it doesn’t matter for me. Last time I came they didn’t even bother to look at my form at Heathrow they just brushed it aside. Germany should be on the Green List. As for only NHS jabs accepted that’s ridiculous it’s medical apartheid/discrimination. The AstraZ jab is no different in Germany to the UK AZ jab.

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