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UK confirms seafarer keyworkers exempt from mandatory Covid test rules for inbound travel

13 January 2021

The UK government has confirmed that seafarers who are travelling for employment are exempted from the requirement to take a PCR or equivalent Covid-19 test not more than 72 hours before boarding their mode of transport to the UK. 

The exemption applies when seafarers arrive in the UK:

  • On their ship as members of the crew
  • As passengers to join their ships
  • As passengers when being repatriated

The Department for Transport (DfT) has confirmed that masters, pilots and all crew employed or engaged in any capacity onboard any ship are exempt.

Seafarers are also exempt from the requirement to complete a Passenger Locator Form unless they work on a vessel that carries passengers and they travel in a part of the vessel that is accessible to passengers.

The requirement to obtain a test not more than 72 hours before boarding the mode of transport will enter into force at 0400 hours on Friday 15 January. It will be phased in for those already in transit. 

A lateral flow test will not be accepted.

All other travellers arriving in the UK will need to provide proof of when they took the test and of a negative result. A paper certificate or electronic record, such as a text message, will be accepted.

Airlines could be fined £2,000 per person for allowing passengers onto flights without a verified PCR test.


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