Going on holiday abroad now depends on which list your destination falls under – with categories forming a traffic light system of green, amber and red.
For all British travellers, holidays are allowed to a select group of green countries, without the need to quarantine. The Government changed the system on July 19 to allow fully-vaccinated Britons to visit “amber” countries under the same rules. This exemption did not apply to France, which is listed as “amber plus“. However, Boris Johnson has announced France will be removed from ‘amber plus’ list from 4am on Sunday, August 8,
Seven countries, including Germany, Austria and Slovenia, will be added to the green list, while India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which includes Dubai, will become two of the first countries to be removed from the red list, opening them up to quarantine-free travel for Britons who have had both doses of the vaccine.
From the latest update to the traffic light system there are now 36 “green” countries, but 16 of them including Croatia, Bermuda and Barbados remain on a “green watch list”.
The Government introduced a green watchlist for destinations “most at risk” of being downgraded to amber at short notice, leaving holidays in limbo.
Other destinations on the green watch list include: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the Balearic Islands, Barbados, Bermuda, British Antarctic territory, British Indian Ocean territory, the Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Israel, Madeira, Montserrat, the Pitcairn Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Holidays are permitted to these destinations but there is a risk they could be moved to the amber list at short notice, meaning returning travellers would face quarantine.
Spain’s Balearic Islands and the British Virgin Islands were moved from the green watchlist to amber.
Four countries have been added to the red list: Georgia, Mexico, La Reunion, Mayotte.
Other countries are categorised as amber or red depending on vaccination rates, infection rates, the prevalence of variants of concern and the capacity to sequence genomes.
But in better news for British holidaymakers, George Eustice has hinted that France could soon be taken off the amber plus list – though this has not been confirmed.
Additionally, passengers from green and amber list countries may no longer face Covid checks when arriving into England, it has also been reported. Under the current rules, all passengers into the UK must provide a negative Covid test taken before departure, regardless of where they are travelling from. Ministers have yet to confirm the change.
Double-vaccinated expats are now also free to travel to the UK, as the Government moved to allow UK nationals who have been vaccinated overseas to register the jabs with their GP from August 1.
The changes will clear the way for them to return to the UK to visit family and friends without having to self-isolate for 10 days and pay for two PCR tests.
It comes as the NHS is set to launch a helpline for double-jabbed people who have been locked out of getting vaccine passports due to NHS errors.
The NHS app has been used as a vaccine passport since July 19 to allow those who are fully vaccinated to return from amber list countries without being quarantined. Health officials advise patients to contact their GP if they find that the app does not offer them a “Covid pass” for travel and domestic use, despite being double jabbed.
People coming from green list countries have to provide a negative Covid test within 72 hours of departure and then pay for a PCR test on or before their second day back in the UK. You can see our full day-by-day checklist of holiday requirements here.
Those returning from an amber country have to quarantine at home for 10 days, unless they are fully vaccinated. They have to take a pre-departure test and two PCR tests when back, on days two and eight. Fully vaccinated travellers will be required to take one PCR test on their return and can avoid quarantine.
Britons returning from red countries must quarantine for 10 days in government-approved hotels at their own expense, as well as the pre-departure test and the two tests once back.
Below are the details of the destinations listed green (plus watch list) and whether they are restricting entry to British nationals.
All arrivals between the countries can dodge quarantine on arrival with proof of immunity. Israel will only accept vaccinated holidaymakers and requires a test for biological proof that visitors have been jabbed.
Bars and restaurants are open again in Gibraltar and face masks are only required on public transport. What’s more, British Airways has launched flights from London City to Gibraltar.
The British Overseas Territory is welcoming both vaccinated and non-vaccinated UK visitors.
If you have not yet received both doses of the vaccine, you must arrive with a negative lateral flow test, take another test within 24 hours of arrival and another for your fifth day should you be there for more than a week.
Fully vaccinated travellers must do the same, but do not need to arrive with a negative test.
Unvaccinated visitors to the Portuguese island must present a negative PCR test on arrival, but those who have been fully vaccinated that is not required. However, the Foreign Office says: “Some airlines may not permit you to board without evidence of a negative test – check with your airline before travelling. If you are unable to show one of these certificates you will have to take a COVID-19 test on arrival and remain in your accommodation until the results are known. This will take about 12 hours.” Mainland Portugal is not on the green list.
If you can prove you are fully vaccinated or “previously recovered” from Covid-19, you only need quarantine until you have received the result of your test on arrival. From July 1, you must wait 14 days after your second vaccination dose before visiting.
New Zealand has been shut for foreign visitors for much of the past year and is unlikely to reopen to British travellers for some time. Progress had presented itself recently when a “travel bubble” with neighbouring Australia was opened.
Health department secretary Brendan Murphy said in January: “Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus. And it’s likely that quarantine will continue for some time.”
Despite being deemed as “safe” for travel and granted a place on the green list by the UK Government, Australia will remain closed to the majority of international arrivals until at least the start of 2022, the Government has said.
“We won’t be seeing borders flung open at the start of next year with great ease,” Finance Minister Simon Birmingham told The Australian newspaper, saying “uncertainties that exist not just in the speed of the vaccine rollout but also the extent of its effectiveness to different variants of Covid, the duration of its longevity and effectiveness”.
However, if/when Britons are welcome, proof of a Covid-19 vaccination could be required.
Short term visitors from anywhere in the world are not able to enter Singapore without prior permission.
There was some confusion over whether Malta was accepting the digital NHS app as proof of vaccination (in addition to the paper NHS proof), but they have now confirmed that they “will accept proof of full vaccination from travellers arriving from the UK in the form of digital COVID passes, this includes the NHS app or the vaccination certificate in digital or downloaded PDF form.” Fully vaccinated visitors do not need to quarantine on arrival.
However, British holidaymakers were barred from boarding flights to Malta after receiving an Indian-made version of the AstraZeneca vaccine that is not licensed in the EU.
But Grant Shapps, the Travel Secretary, has since announced that Malta has amended its travel advice to allow British tourists with two AstraZeneca vaccine doses – regardless of where they have been manufactured – to enter the country.
British visitors to Bulgaria must have proof of full vaccination or a negative PCR test. There is also random screening for UK arrivals: should you test positive you will be required to quarantine for 14 days.
Hong Kong is currently prohibiting all flights from the UK, and anyone who has been to the UK within 21 days of arrival must present a negative PCR test then quarantine for 21 days at a designated hotel.
British arrivals to Croatia must present a negative Covid-19 antigen test not older than 48 hours or PCR test result not older than 72 hours, or proof of a vaccination, or a doctor’s certificate of recovery following a positive test result between 11 and 180 days prior. Under 12s are exempt from these rules. Should you not bring any of the above a PCR test or rapid antigen test can be taken after arrival in Croatia but you will be obliged to self-isolate until the results of a negative test are received.
Only residents are allowed into Taiwan as it stands. Anyone entering from UK must quarantine for 14 days, with the cost covered by the authorities.
Entry to Brunei is severely restricted. Anyone seeking to enter or exit Brunei must apply for a permit from the Prime Minister’s Office at least eight working days before the intended date of travel. See the Brunei Prime Minister’s Office website for further information, or contact the Brunei High Commission. Brunei has announced that travellers to Brunei will need to provide a negative Covid-19 RT PCR test on arrival, obtained within 72 hours of travel. Travellers who are given permission to enter Brunei will need to go into quarantine on arrival at a government-designated facility (usually a local hotel).
Fully vaccinated Britons can visit without the need to quarantine but will still be required to take PCR test and on day four of their trip. Non-vaccinated Britons will be asked to self isolate for 10 days.
Current visitor restrictions mean tourists are not permitted to visit the Falkland Islands, including via cruise vessels. Any arrivals are expected to self-isolate for a period of 14 days.
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands has restricted access and visitor permits are required.
Saint Helena, Ascension & Tristan da Cunha
All arrivals must have had a negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours prior to departing for St Helena. Arrivals are subject to compulsory quarantine for 14 days. There are no other entry restrictions in force and foreign nationals are permitted to enter St Helena provided they meet the immigration rules.
Entry requirements in Anguilla remain strict. Only fully vaccinated travellers are allowed to enter the country. You must apply for permission at ivisitanguilla.com and submit a negative PCR test from a taken three to five days before departure.
Antigua and Barbuda
Restrictions, including testing and screening on arrival, apply to all visitors to Antigua and Barbuda regardless of vaccination status and ultimately it is the decision of the Quarantine Authority on who must self-isolate or quarantine on arrival.
According to the FCDO: “All travellers from the UK must present on arrival a valid Covid-19 PCR negative test result taken no more than three days in advance of your flight’s arrival.” Rules then vary depending on inoculation status. If vaccinated: “On arrival, you will undergo a rapid PCR test either at the airport or at your government-approved accommodation. You will need to remain on the premises of your accommodation and follow the quarantine rules until you receive the results of your second test. The government aims to return results within 24 hours but it is recommended that you book two nights’ accommodation.” Those who are not vaccinated will be quarantined, with the requirement to wear a tracking bracelet, until they undergo a second PCR test on day five – if negative they will be allowed out onto the island.
According to the FCDO: “Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, all visitors from a country classified by the WHO as having community transmission of Covid-19 (including the UK) will need to apply for a Bermuda Covid-19 Travel Authorisation 1 to 3 days before departure. By applying for a Travel Authorisation, visitors and residents agree to comply with Bermuda’s quarantine and public health laws instructions at all times. As of June 20, 2021, all travellers who are not immunised and arrive in Bermuda must quarantine at a designated Quarantine Hotel at their own expense for 14 days.
“Immunised travellers with a valid negative, pre-arrival Covid-19 PCR test result must quarantine until they receive a negative result from their arrival Covid-19 PCR test. Immunised travellers without a valid negative, pre-arrival Covid-19 test result must quarantine until they receive a negative day 4 Covid-19 test.”
British Antarctic territory
If you feel so inclined to spend your holiday in the Antarctic then you may need a valid permit, which can be obtained from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office in London. Apart from that and the distance, and the harsh landscape, nothing stands in your way.
Airports in the Cayman Islands are closed to all scheduled inbound and outbound international passenger flights until further notice.
Holidaymakers are welcome in Dominica, regardless of their vaccination status, but rules do apply. The FCDO states: “Arriving passengers must complete an online questionnaire 24 hours before arrival, and have a PCR swab test with a negative result taken up to 72 hours before arrival. This result must be uploaded and submitted with the questionnaire so that your arrival can be approved by email from the Dominican Ministry of Health. Without this email you will not be allowed to board the flight coming into Dominica.” Further screening is carried out on arrival; if this returns a positive result travellers will have to quarantine.
Good news for vaccinated travellers heading to Grenada – “effective from May 1 persons providing proof of full vaccination will be required to quarantine for up to 48 hours, pending a negative result from a PCR test, administered on entry, and paid in advance.” All travellers must pre-book approved accommodation for quarantine on arrival.
All travel to or from Montserrat is via Antigua, which is now on the green list. If you are travelling to Montserrat you must comply with Antiguan entry requirements – see above.
The borders on Pitcairn are still closed to all visitors.
Turks and Caicos Islands
Holidaymakers will find eased restrictions in Turks and Caicos. The FCDO explains: “Anyone arriving to the Turks and Caicos Islands is required to obtain pre-travel authorisation via the Turks and Caicos Islands Assured Portal.” This includes a negative test, proof of travel insurance with Covid cover and a health screen questionnaire.
What is the green watchlist?
More than a dozen destinations now sit on the green watchlist – this means that holidaymakers can still travel to them without self-isolating on their return but they are also the “most at risk” of turning amber and having quarantine re-imposed.
See the full amber list, which includes most of Europe, the Caribbean and the USA.
The 60 hotel quarantine red list countries are:
- South Africa
- DR Congo
- United Arab Emirates (including Dubai)
- Cape Verde
- French Guiana
- The Philippines
- Sri Lanka
- Costa Rica
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Dominican Republic
- Sierra Leone