England is to move to a new system for foreign travel under which countries will either be categorised as high risk, requiring hotel quarantine for returning Britons, or low risk.
The UK Government announced on September 17 that it would be replacing its traffic light system for foreign travel with a two-tier system.
The previous green and amber lists will be merged into a ’rest of the world’ category, effective October 4. All other countries will be on the red or ‘no go’ list; arrivals from these countries will need to enter hotel quarantine on their return.
Eight countries – Turkey, Pakistan, the Maldives, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh and Kenya – were removed from the quarantine hotel list on September 22.
This means, for fully vaccinated UK travellers, holidays are back on to Turkey, the Maldives, Egypt and Oman. Rules are trickier for Kenya and Sri Lanka, but not prohibitive. Bangladesh requires UK travellers to enter a 14-day quarantine on arrival.
Additionally under the new regime, effective from October 4, double-jabbed travellers from ‘safe’ countries will no longer have to take any sort of test before they get on a flight home from overseas; and from late October, only a lateral flow on their second day back in the UK, rather than a costly PCR test.
However, unvaccinated travellers face even tougher restrictions than before; with the requirement to quarantine at home for up to 10 days when returning from all countries (even those currently on the green list) – and, as before, will have to take a Covid test before boarding a flight home, and on day two and eight after returning. The five-day test-to-release option still stands.
Here is everything you need to know about travelling to a country on the ‘go’ list, with information on tests, entry requirements and travel insurance. The rules can differ for return to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, so it is advisable to check their Government websites.
What tests do I need to take to visit a country on the ‘go’ list?
Vaccinated travellers will need:
A pre-departure test for return to the UK until October 4
A lateral flow test, taken within 48 hours of arriving back in the UK (until late October this will need to be a PCR test)
To complete a Passenger Locator Form before returning to the UK
Unvaccinated travellers will need (on October 4, additional quarantine and testing requirements will come into effect for countries that are currently on the green list, as well as those on the amber list):
To self-isolate for 10 days
A Covid test before boarding a flight home
To complete a Passenger Locator Form before returning to the UK
A PCR test within 48 hours of arriving back in the UK
A Covid test on day eight
On top of this, each country has its own entry requirements for British arrivals, with many requiring any combination of: evidence of full vaccination (via the NHS Covid Pass), evidence of recent recovery from Covid-19, or a recent negative PCR test result. We lay out the requirements of some of the major ‘go’ countries in this article.
Which countries are on this list?
Antarctica/British Antarctic Territory
Antigua and Barbuda
British Indian Ocean Territory
Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands
South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands
St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
Turks and Caicos Islands
Akrotiri and Dhekelia
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba
Bosnia and Herzegovina
British Virgin Islands
Central African Republic
Cook Islands, Tokelau and Niue
Czech Republic (Czechia)
Greece (including islands)
The Occupied Palestinian Territories
Papua New Guinea
Sao Tome and Principe
Spain, including the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands
St Kitts and Nevis
St Martin and St Barthélemy
St Pierre and Miquelon
St Vincent and the Grenadines
United Arab Emirates
United States (USA)
Wallis and Futuna
Are all these countries open to British holidaymakers?
No. A number of countries on the go list are closed to British arrivals or have prohibitive quarantine rules in place.
Will I be insured if I travel to a country on the ‘go’ list?
This depends on the FCDO advice for your chosen destination, which is separate to its Covid-19 travel list status. If the Government warns against non-essential travel, then your holiday insurance will likely be invalidated (check with your supplier). This information is available on the individual country pages on the FCDO website.
When will the next update be?
The ‘no’ and ‘no go’ categories will be updated every three to four weeks. Traffic light updates were delivered every three weeks and were typically unveiled by Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, via Twitter.
Can countries move onto the hotel quarantine list?
Yes. Countries that are in the UK Government’s low-risk category could move to the hotel quarantine category.
Which countries on the ‘go’ list are open to British holidaymakers?
Fully vaccinated Britons can enter Switzerland. Arrivals who have not received a full course of the vaccine must have an exemption. Those who do qualify for entry must provide proof of recovery from Covid in the past six months, or a negative Covid-19 test before departure. There are no quarantine requirements for arrivals in Switzerland.
Holidays to Canada are back on from September 7, for fully vaccinated Britons. There are stipulations, of course. Under-12s travelling with double-jabbed adults are exempt from quarantine, but must still meet testing requirements (pre-entry, arrival and day eight tests). Unvaccinated travellers aged 12 and above must follow all testing and quarantine rules.
Everyone aged 12 and above must either provide proof of a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before departure, and upload to a passenger questionnaire, or show proof of full vaccination more than 14 days before travel. Health screenings on arrival, and mandatory tests for anyone who arrives in the country without evidence of a negative PCR result or vaccination.
British nationals travelling to Lithuania are exempt from pre-departure tests or self-isolation on arrival if they are fully vaccinated. Everyone else must take a PCR test 72 hours before travel, then enter a mandatory ten-day quarantine, with a test between days three and five of isolation. You can shorten isolation by taking a third PCR test on day seven. Children under the age of 12 are exempt from self-isolation and testing requirements. Children aged 12 to 16 must take a PCR test or antigen test before travel.
Switzerland handles border matters for the German-speaking microstate of Liechtenstein, meaning double-jabbed Britons can enter the country restriction free. You should report your arrival to the Liechtenstein government within two days. Unvaccinated Britons are not permitted to enter, unless they meet certain criteria.
According to the FCDO: “If you are travelling to Finland from the UK, you will need proof of being fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to arrival or a certificate of recovery from within the past six months.” Anybody who is not double jabbed will need a ‘compassionate reason’ to visit, as well as a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours prior to arrival and/or a first dose of a vaccine received at least two weeks prior to arrival – there will be further tests on arrival too.
The UK is currently rated ‘orange’ by Denmark, meaning double-jabbed Britons can visit for any reason. However unvaccinated visitors need “a worthy purpose” and must test no more than 72 hours before they enter. They must then take another test on arrival and go into quarantine for 10 days, with the option to test to release after four days.
Since July 7, Germany has designated the UK a “high-incidence area”. British travellers can enter the country for any reason if they are fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated children under 12 years of age are allowed to enter Germany if they present proof of a negative test result and travel with at least one fully vaccinated parent.
According to the UK Government, individuals who are not fully vaccinated may only enter Germany from the UK if they are a German citizen; the spouse/partner/child under 18 of a German citizen; a resident of Germany; the spouse/partner/child under 18 of a resident of Germany; serve in an important role; or have an urgent need to travel.
Further information about possible exceptions for non-residents is on the Germany’s Federal Interior Ministry website – but note that the decision on whether to allow entry in such circumstances is at the discretion of border guards. Travellers who are not fully vaccinated and do not meet one of the exemptions outlined above may not currently enter Germany from the UK.
Travellers from the UK are now permitted to enter Austria. The rules vary depending on your inoculation status. If you can prove you are fully vaccinated and can prove you received your second injection no more than 270 days before arrival, you do not need to quarantine. Unvaccinated arrivals need to provide a negative PCR test and quarantine for 10 days (with the option of it ending early if a Covid test is negative on day 5). All travellers must complete a Pre-travel Clearance Form.
Since July 15, Slovenia has stopped using its colour-coded system for international arrivals. Instead travellers may enter from anywhere as long as they are able to provide one of the following:
- A negative PCR test not older than 72 hours
- A rapid antigen test taken with 48 hours of departure
- A positive PCR test that is older than 10 days but not older than 6 months, confirming the traveller has had Covid-19 and not more than 6 months have passed since the first symptoms.
- Proof of full vaccination against Covid-19, administered at least 14 days before
Slovakia is open to fully vaccinated travellers from the UK. Everyone aged 12 and above arriving from all countries by all means of transport must register in advance of travel by completing the “Ehranica” form on the Slovak government’s website. After registering, you will receive a confirmation which you should show at the border, and the British Government recommends that you carry it with you during your stay, in case the authorities ask to see it.
Those who aren’t double jabbed are only allowed to enter Slovakia in certain cases, with full details available here.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Latvia, travellers (including children aged 12 and above), entering the country are required to present evidence of a negative PCR test taken within the 72 hours before boarding, or an antigen test, taken not earlier than 48 hours before boarding or before crossing the Latvian border. Passengers who are unable to present evidence of a negative Covid-19 test will be denied boarding or entry into Latvia. The certification must be in English, French, Russian or in the official language of the country from where the journey begins.
The UK is on Romania’s red list, which means unless you can show proof of full vaccination arrivals from Britain must quarantine for 14 days. If you’re only leaving the country again within 72 hours you can avoid quarantine if you are travelling with proof of a negative PCR test (taken within the 72 hours before departure).
Norway accepts the English and Welsh digital NHS Covid Vaccine passport to enable Britons to visit restriction free. People from England and Wales who have been fully vaccinated can enter Norway without any mandatory testing or quarantine – the same also applies to people who have recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months.
For those who are not double jabbed entry restrictions continue to apply. You will not be allowed to enter Norway unless you meet certain exceptions and will face mandatory testing and hotel quarantine. For further details on quarantine hotels, including the cost, see the HelseNorge website.
The UK is currently on Israel’s list of countries with high risk of Covid-19. All travellers from ‘at risk’ countries must enter quarantine, regardless of vaccination status, and present a negative test to their airline.
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 before departure, but those who have been fully vaccinated that is not required – instead, they must have proof of inoculation in the form of an NHS vaccine certificate. According to the FCDO: “Your airline may deny boarding if you cannot show one of these documents when you check-in for your flight. Check with your airline before you travel.”
If you can prove you are fully vaccinated or “previously recovered” from Covid-19, you must present a negative PCR taken within 72 hours of your time of departure to Iceland in order to enter. 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.
However, any border changes will not be made until “the new year” – ie 2022 – Prime Minister Ardern announced on August 12. When the country does reopen to travel, it has been proposed that international arrivals should be assessed on their vaccination status, and whether they have travelled from a country deemed high, medium or low risk.
Despite being deemed as “safe” for travel by the UK Government, Australia will remain closed to the majority of international arrivals for the foreseeable.
There’s is fresh hope that his could be before the end of 2021. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said Australia will reopen its borders and end lockdowns when 80 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated and Qantas has announced that it aims to restart flights to and from Britain in mid-December, in plans linked to the vaccine rollout.
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.
Only fully vaccinated people can travel to Malta from the UK (you can provide the NHS Covid app as proof). Children aged 5 to 11 can travel if they accompany vaccinated parents or legal guardians provided they provide a negative PCR test carried out within 72 hours before arrival in Malta. Children aged 12 to 18 will only be able to travel if they have proof of full vaccination, which is not offered for children aged 12 to 15 in the UK.
Britons are currently prohibited from visiting Bulgaria. The UK is categorised as a ‘red zone’ country, which means that only Bulgarian nationals and permanent and long-term residents in Bulgaria, as well as their immediate family members, will be eligible to enter the country.
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.
Currently, Britons travelling to Croatia must meet one of the following criteria for entry:
- A negative PCR (taken within 72 hours before arrival at the border) or antigen test (taken within 48 hours of arrival).
- A vaccination certificate showing the final dose taken more than 14 days ago
- Proof of recovery from Covid more than 11 days and less than 180 days ago
As an additional measure for people arriving from the UK, a negative (Covid-19) test is required regardless of whether they are vaccinated or have already had a disease.
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. 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).
According to the FCDO: “All UK resident travellers to the Faroe Islands must have a worthy purpose to enter in line with the Danish government’s stricter requirements.” Regardless of your vaccination status you must have a negative test at least 72 hours before departure and self-isolate for 10 days after arrival in the Faroe Islands – even if the test taken at arrival is negative. You can leave quarantine after a negative PCR test, taken no earlier than on the fourth day.
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.” All arrivals face quarantine and further testing but rules vary depending on vaccination status and test results. Further information can be found on the local Government website.
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: “All travellers from the UK must present on arrival a valid COVID-19 PCR negative test result taken no more than 72 hours in advance of your flight’s arrival. Arriving passengers must complete an online questionnaire 24 hours before arrival. The PCR test 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.” Fully vaccinated travellers face further screening on arrival to avoid quarantine, while those without two jabs must isolated at a government facility for five days, when a negative test can permit them to leave.
Good news for vaccinated travellers heading to Grenada – “Persons providing proof of full vaccination will only 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. 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.
Arrivals must present a negative PCR test certificate from a test taken no more than 72 hours before travel. Passengers arriving from London Heathrow can use a PCR result from a test taken out up to 96 hours prior to departure. Children under six are exempt from the test rule.
Proof of a negative PCR test taken within a specific time frame (depending on the length of the traveller’s flight); completion of a pre-registration form; upload Covid-19 vaccine certification and PCR test result, both containing QR codes; proof of travel health insurance that covers at least 30 days of Covid-19 treatment. Those who do not have a negative test result with a QR code may be required to take a test on arrival and wear an electronic tracking bracelet and self-isolate until they receive a negative test result. The UK’s letter version of the NHS Covid Pass for travel is required for proof of vaccination. Further rules apply to those who do not meet the requirements for proof of vaccination. Under-18s and under are exempt from the testing and vaccine proof requirements.
Evidence of a negative Covid-19 test taken up to 72 hours before the start of travel; air travellers are subject to rapid antigen testing on arrival at airports in Pakistan (those who test positive will be subject to quarantine rules). Travellers must also provide their contact information through the Pass Track App or a web-based form. Children under 12 and disabled passengers are exempt from the test requirement and the Pass Track App rule. They will need to complete a health declaration form on arrival.
Travellers arriving from the UK must have a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours of arrival to Turkey regardless of their vaccination status. There is a medical evaluation for symptoms of coronavirus on arrival, including temperature checks and random PCR testing. Travellers must also complete a passenger locator form prior to arriving in Turkey.
Visitors must present a negative PCR test result on arrival, issued no more than 96 hours prior to departure. They must fill in a Traveller Health Declaration form 24 hours prior to departure and complete a Immigration Arrival Card on arrival. Temperature checks and screening procedures will be in place at the airport. UK travellers who are not visiting as tourists (such as residents) who have completed two doses of vaccination will need to provide a negative PCR test result, but will not face quarantine. Those who are not fully vaccinated will need to self-isolate for 14 days.
Travellers will face 14 days of quarantine, carried out “at home” if fully vaccinated or at a government nominated hotel if not. In addition to quarantine, to enter from the UK, travellers need: a negative PCR test result (for all travellers aged 10 or over); confirmation of vaccination status; a completed health declaration form and a passenger locator form.
All passengers aged five or over travelling from the UK must have a negative PCR test certificate from a test taken within 96 hours of travel. They must also self-isolate for seven days upon arrival and take a PCR test four days after arrival. They must also submit daily health information, including the results of their day four test, on the Jitenge Platform/App for 14 days. In addition, they must complete a Covid-19 Travellers Health Surveillance Form before their arrival: travellers will be sent a QR code after submitting the form, which they will have to show on arrival.
All travellers must take a PCR test while staying in a quarantine hotel or centre. If the test comes back negative and the traveller is fully vaccinated that won’t have to undergo further quarantine. Unvaccinated travellers must take the test but also undergo a mandatory quarantine of 14 days with a PCR test on day 14.
The 54 hotel quarantine red list countries are:
Trinidad and Tobago
Reader Service: Don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go away. Find out more about the Telegraph Media Group Travel Insurance Service.