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The Lists for Travel


May 19, 2021.

Foreign holidays are allowed once again, but taking a trip is still far from straightforward.


Travellers need to know where their destination sits in a traffic light system and whether the country is accepting visitors. International travel is allowed for people who live in England, Scotland and Wales.


However, even if travel is possible, residents of Wales are being advised to go abroad only for "essential" reasons in 2021. Northern Ireland is yet to announce a relaxation of international travel rules.


A traffic light system will divide destinations into three categories - green, amber and red.

Visiting green countries involves the fewest rules and there's no quarantine when travellers return. The ranking of countries depends partly on the number of Covid-19 cases and the success of their vaccine rollout.


The Green List


The 12 countries and territories on the green list are:

  • Portugal

  • Israel

  • Singapore

  • Australia

  • New Zealand

  • Brunei

  • Iceland

  • Gibraltar

  • Falkland Islands

  • Faroe Islands

  • South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands

  • St Helena, Tristan de Cunha and Ascension Island

The list will be reviewed every three weeks. Countries can be added or removed at short notice. Not all green list destinations are open for tourism and the government says it is travellers' responsibility to check.


Before you travel back to England you must:


  • take a Covid-19 test and have proof of a negative result

  • book and pay for a test for day two after your return

  • complete a passenger locator form


You do not need to quarantine after returning unless your day two test is positive, or NHS Test & Trace informs you that you travelled with someone who has tested positive.

You must follow these rules even if you have been vaccinated.

There are similar rules for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.


The Amber List


People should not travel to amber countries, the government says, but from 17 May it will no longer be illegal.

EasyJet and Tui have said they will be offering holidays to some amber countries.

Before you travel back to England you must:


  • take a Covid-19 test

  • book and pay for a day Covid-19 test for day two and day eight of your return

  • complete a passenger locator form


On arrival in England you must quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days.

You must follow these rules even if you have been vaccinated.

It may be possible to end quarantine early if you pay for a private Covid test through the test to release scheme.

There are similar rules for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.


The Red List


You should not be travelling to red list countries, the government says.

Dozens of countries are now on the red list, including India, Pakistan, Turkey, Brazil and South Africa.

If you have been in one in the last 10 days, you can only enter the UK if you are a UK or Irish national, or UK resident.

Before arriving in England travellers must:


  • take a Covid-19 test

  • book and pay for a day Covid-19 test for day two and day eight of your return

  • complete a passenger locator form


Upon arrival in England you must self-isolate for 10 full days in a quarantine hotel. You will need to agree to book and pay in advance:


  • 10-day (11-night) rate for one adult in one room is £1,750

  • Additional rate per adult (or child over 11) is £650

  • Children aged five to 11 are charged £325


You can be fined £10,000 or jailed for providing inaccurate details.

There are similar rules for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.


How do I get a Covid test for travel?


You should check the entry requirements of your destination country well before you travel. The government has country advice pages and your airline or travel agent should provide more information.


If you travel to Portugal from England, for example, requirements include a passenger locator card and a PCR test proving you are fit to fly. The government website has a list of providers, with prices ranging from £50 to £120.


Returning home, you will need a PCR test or an alternative that meets required accuracy standards. There are lists of approved providers for some countries, such as Portugal.


Is travel insurance valid for amber and red list countries, or if I get Covid on holiday?


Anyone planning to travel to an amber or red list country should look up their proposed destination on the Foreign Office (FCO)'s country-by-country list.


If the FCO advises against travel to a certain country, then travel insurance would be invalid in nearly every case.


If not, then the cost of medical treatment abroad would be covered. In most cases that would include Covid.


People travelling to green list countries should also be aware that few policies will cover their costs if they contract Covid while away and can't fly home.


What have other countries said about holidays?


  • The European Commission has recommended allowing travel for anyone who has received the last dose of an EU-approved vaccine at least two weeks beforehand. Vaccines used in the UK would qualify

  • Greece's tourism minister has said some Greek islands should be on England and Scotland's green list

  • Spain hopes to open up from June

  • France says tourists with a French Covid-19 "health pass" (TousAntiCovid) will be allowed from 9 June


How can travellers prove they've been vaccinated?


If needed, people travelling from England who have both Covid jabs will be able to demonstrate their vaccination status via the NHS app.


A letter can also be requested.




Information, images and graphic via the BBC