The UK’s just eased summer travel: Here’s where you can go — but mind the rules

There are still a few weeks left of summer and the government has announced another update to its travel list, making holidays easier in a handful of European countries.

The changes, announced on 5 August, will come into effect at 4am on Sunday 8 August in England.

They will be welcomed by the travel sector, which has been one of the worst hit through the pandemic. Planes have been grounded for months as lockdowns were rolled out by governments battling with the spread of coronavirus. Continuing travel restrictions to combat new and emerging virus variants persist.

READ EU launches vaccine passport as UK prepares to update travel green list

“The entire UK travel and tourism sector, the many thousands of British travellers already in France, and those with future plans, will be breathing a sigh of relief now that returning fully jabbed Brits won’t need to quarantine, and that the confusing and disruptive amber plus list has been effectively abandoned,” said Virginia Messina, acting chief executive of the World Travel & Tourism Council.

“We are committed to opening up international travel safely, taking advantage of the gains we’ve made through our successful vaccination programme, helping connect families, friends and businesses around the world,” added the UK’s transport secretary Grant Shapps in a statement.

“While we must continue to be cautious, today’s changes reopen a range of different holiday destinations across the globe, which is good news for both the sector and travelling public.”

What does the travel list look like now and what are the rules? 

Here’s a look at what has changed, and what you can expect from 8 August.

Green list: changes, quarantine, tests

The green list has seen a few countries join its ranks:

• Austria

• Germany

• Latvia

• Norway

• Romania

• Slovakia

• Slovenia

Travellers coming from any country on the green list — which also includes Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan — will not have to quarantine upon arrival in England. They will have to take a Covid-19 PCR test before arrival in England, and on the second day after their return.

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Amber list: changes, quarantine, tests

New additions:

• Bahrain

• France

• India

• Qatar


All of the above countries except for France, which was “amber plus”, have moved up from the red list.

For amber list countries, those fully vaccinated with jabs that were authorised and administered in the UK, US or Europe do not need to quarantine. Fully vaccinated arrivals travelling from France to England will now no longer need to quarantine, aligning the country with the other European countries.

READ Double-jabbed Brits won’t have to quarantine on return from amber-list countries from 19 July

Otherwise, travellers coming from an amber list country who have not met the vaccination criteria above will have to quarantine at home for 10 days upon arrival, doing tests on day 2 and 8.

Test to Release option: Travellers may opt to pay for an extra PCR test on the fifth day, which will allow them to leave quarantine if their test comes back as negative.

Red list: changes, quarantine, tests

New additions:

• Georgia

• Mayotte

• Mexico

• Reunion

Hotel quarantine required: These four countries slid into the red list, meaning people travelling to England from those countries will have to quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days for the price of £1,750.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Bérengère Sim

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