Visa nationals require a visa before travelling for visits to the UK. It is really critical that COP26 attendees who need a visa take the necessary steps to apply for their UK visa as soon as possible to ensure their application is processed in time for their journey to the UK.
Visa applications are usually processed in 15 working days. Chargeable priority services are available at most Visa Application Centres. We would now encourage applicants to make use of these services if their travel date is in less than 15 working days to ensure their application is processed in time.
Please follow this short guide to immigration and visa requirements for those attending COP26. Visas are free for those who have an official acknowledgement from the UNFCCC and apply via the COP26 visa form.
There is no link between vaccines and visas – there is no requirement to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to apply for a UK Visa.
Once applicants have submitted their application, they must make an appointment to give their biometric details at the nearest visa application centre. Participants who are either members of national negotiating delegations (“parties”) which are led by a Minister, or are employees of certain International Organisations do not need to submit biometric information.
We urge delegates to book their accommodation for their time at COP26 as soon as possible. A range of accommodation options are still available in Edinburgh which is 48 minutes away and served by regular trains.
Our corporate booking partner MCI has filled all their contracted accommodation, but delegates are still able to book directly with accommodation providers or through third party booking websites.
Glasgow and the surrounding area are well served by public transport and the main COP venue is served by its own train station, Exhibition Centre Station. We will be working closely with Glasgow City Council to ensure that delegates have a range of smooth running, affordable and sustainable ways to reach the COP venues.
As the train is the most sustainable way to reach COP, we encourage those that can to take this method of travel.
Travel And Border Exemptions
The COP26 travel regime is a special set of measures put in place in England and Scotland to protect public health while ensuring an inclusive summit.
We encourage all COP participants to read our guidance on planning your journey to COP26 and to familiarise themselves with the measures that will apply to them. This supporting FAQs document will be updated regularly in response to frequent queries.
Guidance on how to book your stay in Managed Quarantine is now available.
Guidance on how to complete your Passenger Locator Form is also available.
We hope that this level of clarity will enable those coming to Glasgow to make timely progress with their travel plans.
In summary the rules are:
- everyone must be able to show evidence of pre-arrival COVID-19 negative test result
- everyone must complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF)
- everyone must participate in the COP26 daily test programme
- anyone who has been in a red-list country or territory in the 10 days immediately prior to arrival into England or Scotland (see current list) must undergo Managed Quarantine at port of entry. Delegates that are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 must quarantine for 5 days. Unvaccinated delegates must quarantine for 10 days. A bespoke booking process is in place for COP26 attendees, and you must be registered on the UNFCCC website to begin the process of booking. Further guidance is now available.
- if you have not been in a red list country or territory you do not have to quarantine
To support these measures, uniquely for COP:
- The UK Government will fund the required Managed Quarantine stays for all Registered COP Attendees (party delegates, observers and media) who would otherwise find it difficult to attend COP, including those from the Global South. The MQS guidance explains how to access funding.
- The UK and Scottish Governments will recognise all COVID-19 vaccinations, and declaration through the UNFCCC registration process as evidence
- The UK Government will provide a supporting named invitation letter confirming that you are travelling to attend COP26 to help facilitate your travel.
Test, Trace and Isolate
Test, Trace and Isolate protocols will play a key role in reducing the risk of COVID-19 infections at COP26.
We have a robust testing protocol in place for COP26 that mandates testing for all COP26 and World Leaders Summit registered attendees. All attendees are required to comply with the testing regime, which includes pre-departure testing, tests in the days following arrival and daily testing during the conference. The testing regime (which will include both arrival PCR testing for international attendees and daily LFDs) will apply to all registered attendees and staff, whether fully vaccinated or not.
Evidence of a negative, self-administered rapid test (known as a Lateral Flow Device test) will be required to enter the Blue Zone and associated venues each day. These tests need to be self-administered in accommodation before travelling to the event venue. Test kits will be provided (either through delivery to major hotels or collection) to attendees in order to facilitate testing ahead of attending the event.
Those who return a positive test will be provided with public health guidance which they must follow. This may include a requirement to isolate for a minimum period, take a follow up polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, and provide details to assist with contact tracing.
COP26 Vaccine Programme
As part of our commitment to making COP26 both inclusive and COVID-19 safe, the UK Government has been working to provide COVID-19 vaccines to COP delegates that would otherwise not be able to access them.
We have now contacted all those who expressed an interest in vaccination to either arrange appointments or set out next steps. There will not be a choice of which vaccine each delegate receives, it is determined by the logistics of this complex programme.
For those delegates receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine, the first doses have been completed and second doses started on 11th October. For participants receiving the single dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine, vaccination is also underway.
We have contacted those delegates in countries where we have identified a viable in-country option. Our embassies are supporting these participants with access, where required. The contact details for additional assistance have been provided to all of these individuals by UNFCCC.
COP26 Confirmation Letters
COP26 participants should register on the UNFCCC portal as soon as possible. As part of this they should update their vaccination status and confirm that they will comply with the COP26 COVID-19 Code of Conduct. Once completed, participants will receive a confirmation letter which may be requested by travel operators or UK Border Force.
The COP26 Code of Conduct provides that Ministerial Heads of Department plus two essential support staff who are all part of their national delegation do not need to undergo managed quarantine, provided that they are named on a confirmation letter issued by the UK Government. Ministers and their retinue of two will not be able to rely on the carve-out from Managed Quarantine Service if they do not have a copy of this letter and a copy of their UNFCCC registration letter with them for their journey into England and Scotland.
World Leaders’ Summit
We are also progressing logistical plans for the World Leaders’ Summit.
World Leader Summit contact points should have received a detailed note on the current logistical plans through the UK Diplomatic Network.
A process to provide confirmation letters for World Leader Summit delegations is currently underway