UK Travel Update: UK’s ‘Amber’ Travel List
In preparation for reopening travel, the British government has published a “traffic light” system assigning a level of red, amber, or green to every country in the world.
Currently, the UK rules prohibit travel out of the country for non-essential purposes, meaning holidays and visits to family members in other countries are not possible, although there is an exemption in the rules for second-home owners.
However, the rules will be updated as the restriction for international travel will be lifted from 17 May, and the “traffic light” system for international travel will kick in.
This involves giving each country a designation – red, amber or green – based on data including case numbers and vaccination rates in the country.
The list published applies to England only. To see the countries that made it to the green list to be quarantine-free upon return to the UK, read up on the UK’s Green List for International Travel.
The devolved nations of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have not announced when they will lift travel restrictions but have not so far indicated that they intend to impose different rules than England.
Upon Arrival in the UK
The amber list covers the most popular British holiday destinations.
People from amber list countries can enter the UK for any reason as there is no need to prove that your trip is essential and entry is not limited to UK nationals or residents.
However, there are rules on testing and quarantine in place.
- Have a negative COVID test to show at the border
- Complete the passenger locator form
- Quarantine for 10 days – this can be done in a location of their choice
Arrivals also have to pay for travel-testing kits which cost around £200 per person. They need to take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 of self-quarantine. They can reduce the self-quarantine time if they take an additional negative test on day 5.
It should also be noted that the UK government advises against travel to amber list countries for leisure or tourism reasons. This isn’t a travel ban, but this kind of official advice can invalidate travel insurance, so check your policy before you travel.
Most countries require a negative COVID test for arrivals from the UK and some have quarantine in place, so check carefully the rules of the country you are travelling to or from.
Countries on the Amber List
From 17 May, the following countries will fall on the UK’s amber list.
- Akrotiri and Dhekelia
- Antigua and Barbuda
- the Bahamas
- Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- British Antarctic Territory
- British Indian Ocean Territory
- British Virgin Islands
- Burkina Faso
- Cayman Islands
- Central African Republic
- Cook Islands
- Costa Rica
- Côte d’Ivoire
- Czech Republic (Czechia)
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- Equatorial Guinea
- French Polynesia
- Greece (including islands)
- Hong Kong
- Marshall Islands
- Myanmar (Burma)
- New Caledonia
- North Korea
- North Macedonia
- the Occupied Palestinian Territories
- Papua New Guinea
- Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands
- San Marino
- Sao Tome and Principe
- Saudi Arabia
- Sierra Leone
- Solomon Islands
- South Korea
- South Sudan
- Spain (including the Balearics and Canary Islands)
- Sri Lanka
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Martin and St Barthélemy
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- United States (USA)
- Wallis and Futuna
- Western Sahara
The government says the ratings will be revised every 3 weeks from 17 May, and some countries can also be put on a ‘watchlist’ if they are set to change to a different rating. So do not despair if your destination falls on this list and cross your fingers that it will be moved to a better category soon.
You can check the updated list on the official government website.
UK’s Vaccine Passports
The UK has not so far come to any agreements on recognition of vaccine passports with other countries thus even fully vaccinated people will still need to comply with testing rules. Other countries or territories determine their own border health rules, which may include COVID-19 vaccination status.
The EU’s ‘digital health pass’ is set to launch in mid-June, while France has set a date of 6 June for its own health pass however, countries need to agree to mutually recognise each other’s vaccine passports, with Spain testing out their vaccine certificates on domestic travellers this month.
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