UK Travel Update: UK’s ‘Amber’ Travel List

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.

Arrivals must:

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 19 July, the following countries will be on the amber list:

Akrotiri and DhekeliaFijiLuxembourgSan Marino
AlbaniaFinlandMacaoSao Tome and Principe
AlgeriaFranceMadagascarSaudi Arabia
AndorraFrench PolynesiaMalaysiaSenegal
ArubaThe GambiaMarshall IslandsSlovakia
AzerbaijanGermanyMauritaniaSolomon Islands
The BahamasGhanaMauritiusSouth Korea
BelarusGreece (including islands)MayotteSouth Sudan
BelgiumGreenlandMexicoSt Kitts and Nevis
BelizeGuadeloupeMicronesiaSt Lucia
BeninGuatemalaMoldovaSt Maarten
BhutanGuineaMonacoSt Martin and St Barthélemy
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaGuinea-BissauMontenegroSt Pierre and Miquelon
Bosnia and HerzegovinaHondurasMoroccoSt Vincent and the Grenadines
Burkina FasoHungaryNauruSweden
CameroonIraqNew CaledoniaSyria
Central African RepublicJamaicaNigerThailand
ChinaJordanNorth KoreaTogo
ComorosKazakhstanNorth MacedoniaTonga
Cook Islands, Tokelau and NiueKosovoThe Occupied Palestinian TerritoriesTuvalu
Côte d’IvoireKuwaitPalauUkraine
CuraçaoKyrgyzstanPapua New GuineaUnited States (USA)
Czech Republic (Czechia)LatviaPortugal (including the Azores)Vanuatu
DjiboutiLiberiaRomaniaWallis and Futuna
El SalvadorLibyaRussiaWestern Sahara
Equatorial GuineaLiechtensteinSamoaYemen

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.

Note: Remember to check the updated list on the official government website.

 UK vaccination programme

The UK amber list rules only apply if you are either:

  • fully vaccinated in the UK or under the overseas UK vaccine programme
  • participating or have participated in a formally approved clinical trial of a coronavirus vaccine in the UK
  • ordinarily resident in the UK and under the age of 18 at the time you arrive

You must have had your final dose of the vaccine at least 14 whole days before you arrive in England. The day you have your final dose of the vaccine does not count as one of the 14 days. You may have had one dose of the vaccine in the UK and one dose under the UK vaccine programme overseas.

The UK vaccine programme overseas applies to:

  • residents of the British overseas territories, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man with the UK government, and their dependants who are under 18 years old
  • crown servants, UK government contractors or other personnel posted or based overseas under the FCDO staff COVID-19 vaccination programme and their dependants
  • military or civilian personnel, UK government contractors and their dependants at a military posting overseas, including the British overseas territories, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, under the vaccination scheme provided or approved by the UK Defence Medical Services

If you are not fully vaccinated under the UK vaccination programme, you must follow the amber list rules for people who are not fully UK vaccinated.

Amber List Rules for the Fully UK Vaccinated

These rules only apply if you are fully vaccinated under the UK vaccination programme above.

If you are not fully UK vaccinated, or you have been in France in the 10 days before you arrive in England, you must follow the amber list rules for people who are not fully UK vaccinated.

Before travel to England

Before you travel to England you must:

  • take a COVID-19 test (children aged 10 and under do not need to take this test)
  • book and pay for a day 2 COVID-19 test after arrival in England
  • complete a passenger locator form

You will need to:

  • declare that you have been fully UK vaccinated on your passenger locator form, or are taking part or have taken part in a formally approved UK COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial for COVID-19 vaccine, or you are under 18 and resident in the UK
  • show proof of your vaccination status to your carrier (ferry, airline or train) when you travel

On arrival in England

You must take a COVID-19 PCR test on or before day 2 after you arrive. Children aged 4 and under are exempted from taking this test.

You must quarantine if this test result is positive.

You must quarantine at home or in the place you are staying if NHS Test & Trace informs you that you travelled to England or otherwise come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

If you arrived in England before 4am on Monday 19 July, you must continue to quarantine for 10 days and take day 2 and day 8 COVID-19 tests.

Amber List Rules for Those Not Fully UK Vaccinated

These rules apply if you are not fully vaccinated under the UK vaccination programme above, and for those who have been in France in the 10 days before arriving in England, even if fully vaccinated under the UK vaccination programme.

Before travel to England

Before you travel to England you must:

  • take a COVID-19 test (children aged 10 and under do not need to take this test)
  • book and pay for day 2 and day 8 COVID-19 tests after arrival in England
  • complete a passenger locator form

On arrival in England

On 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

Children aged 4 and under do not need to take the day 2 or day 8 test but must still quarantine at their home or in the place that they are staying.

You may be able to end quarantine early if you pay for a private COVID-19 test through the Test to Release scheme.

If you have been in a country or territory on the red list

If you have also been in or through a country or territory on the red list in the 10 days before you arrive in England, you must follow the red list rules.

Transiting Through Amber or Red List Countries

Upon arriving in England, you will need to follow the rules for the highest risk country or territory that you have been in or passed through in the previous 10 days. That can include transit stops, which is defined as a stop where passengers can get on or off the same part of the transport in which you are travelling. This applies to ships, trains or flights. Your ticket should show if a stop is a transit stop.

The rules of a country or territory that you make a transit stop in could apply if:

  • new passengers get on and are able to mix with you
  • you or other passengers get off the transport you are on and mix with other people, then get on again

Making a transit stop would not affect what you have to do on arrival in England if, during the stop:

  • no new passengers, who are able to mix with you, get on
  • no-one on-board gets off and mixes with people outside
  • passengers get off but do not get back on

Private Vehicles or Coaches Travelling Through Amber or Red List Countries and Territories

If you are travelling to England in a private vehicle, the rules of the countries and territories you drive through apply. For example, if you drive through an amber list country, then you must follow the amber list rules when you arrive in England.

This applies whether you stop in the country or territory or not. You need to record the countries and territories you drive through on your passenger locator form.

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Does your summer destination part of the amber list? Talk to us in the comment section below.

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