UK travel update: More
destinations added to
green list

On 17 May 2021, the UK eased COVID-19 restrictions on international travel and introduced a new traffic light system for individuals travelling abroad on essential and non-essential trips.

Under the system, countries are categorised under three lists: a red list for the highest risk countries, an amber list for medium risk countries, and a green list for the lowest risk countries. Those travelling abroad are required to follow certain procedures depending on which category their destination falls under.

On 24 June, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced a number of measures to continue ‘cautiously reopening international travel in a safe and sustainable way’. The measures include the expansion of the green list, making it the longest it has been since the traffic light system was introduced this year. From 4am on Wednesday 30 June, several more countries and territories will be added to the green list, having met the necessary criteria to be reclassified.

Announcing the changes, Shapps said: “We’re moving forward with efforts to safely reopen international travel this summer, and thanks to the success of our vaccination programme, we’re now able to consider removing the quarantine period for fully vaccinated UK arrivals from amber countries – showing a real sign of progress.

It’s right that we continue with this cautious approach, to protect public health and the vaccine rollout as our top priority, while ensuring that our route out of the international travel restrictions is sustainable.”

All additions to the green list, with the exception of Malta, will also join the ‘green watchlist’, as will Isreal and Jerusalem, meaning that these countries are at risk of being moved from green to amber.

Which countries will join the green list?

Under the UK’s traffic light system, travelers are permitted to travel to a green list country for leisure and tourism purposes with no need to quarantine upon return to the UK. The expansion will see several European destinations as well as some UK overseas territories and Carribean island join the pool of available holiday destinations.

From 4am on 30 June, the full green list will be as follows:

  • Anguilla
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Balearic Islands (Formentera, Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca)
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • British Antarctic Territory
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Brunei
  • Cayman Islands
  • Dominica
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • Gibraltar
  • Grenada
  • Iceland
  • Israel and Jerusalem
  • Madeira
  • Malta
  • Montserrat
  • New Zealand
  • Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands
  • Singapore
  • South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands
  • St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
  • Turks and Caicos Islands

The government will continue to review countries on the green list, and any sudden changes in conditions could result in a destination being moved between lists without warning.

What are the UK travel rules?

Currently, the travel advice for each category is as follows.

Red list countries

Before travelling to England from a red list country, you must:

  • Complete a passenger locator form
  • Take a COVID-19 test
  • Book a quarantine hotel package, including 2 COVID-19 tests

Upon arrival in England, you must:

  • Quarantine in a managed hotel for 10 days, including 2 COVID-19 tests

Amber list countries

Before travelling to England from an amber list country, you must:

  • Complete a passenger locator form
  • Take a COVID-19 test
  • Book and pay for day 2 and day 8 COVID-19 tests

Upon arrival in England, you must:

  • Quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days
  • Take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8

Green list countries

Before travelling to England from a green list country, you must:

  • Complete a passenger locator form
  • Take a COVID-19 test
  • Book and pay for a day 2 COVID-19 test

Upon arrival in England, you must:

  • Take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 after you arrive
  • You do not need to quarantine unless the test result is positive.
  • Self-isolate if NHS Test & Trace informs you that you travelled to England with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Quarantine-free travel for fully vaccinated passengers from amber list countries

As part of the Global Travel Taskforce’s checkpoint review, the government intends to remove the quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated passengers arriving in the UK from an amber list country. This is expected to be rolled out in phases, starting with UK residents later in the summer.

Furthermore, the government intends to remove the guidance that people should not travel to amber countries, and will set out rules for children and those unable to be vaccinated.

Smith Stone Walters anticipates hearing further details on these measures and dates on which they will be introduced from the government in due course.

However, until these measures are introduced, all passengers must continue to comply with quarantine rules for returning to the UK from overseas, and the recommendation not to travel to amber list countries still applies.

Individuals who fail to comply with quarantine rules following international travel could face a fine of £1,000, increasing up to £10,000 for repeat offences.

Get the latest travel advice

The information in this article is correct at the time of publication. However, please note that travel guidance is subject to change at short notice by the government. With this in mind, Smith Stone Walters recommends checking the website for the latest advice before travelling.

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