Green, amber or red: What are the rules for travelling to the UK?

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Green, amber or red: What are the rules for travelling to the UK?

Having greatly opened up the scope of flights in (and out) of the UK back in May, the UK Government is still running its green, amber and red lists, in terms of foreign-country-travel classifications.

Countries on the green list are those for which the least stringent restrictions are in place, countries on the amber list are those for which definite restrictions are in place (people are advised to avoid travelling to or from them) and countries on the red list are those for which the most stringent restrictions are in place (people are strongly advised to avoid travelling to or from them).

So, where, at the time of writing, do we stand? From which countries can you travel to the UK (with what restrictions and caveats, while enjoying, say, a London hotel deal) and from which can you not?

Latest developments

First and foremost, the green, amber and red lists – unsurprisingly – are in a state of near-constant flux, as different countries are affected by rising and dropping cases of Covid-19. Right now, at the time of writing, the UK Government has moved very near-neighbour France from its so-called amber-plus list to its regular amber list.

What’s the upshot of this? Well, it basically means that for travellers from France, the fully vaccinated and those under 18 won’t need to self-isolate, on arrival. Great then, for those wanting to visit London for a few days and stay at the likes of a Paddington hotel.

Also, added to the green list are now the following countries:

  • Austria
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Germany
  • Malta
  • Norway
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia

Meanwhile, India, Bahrain, Qatar and UAE have been moved from the red to the amber list, while Mexico, Georgia and Reunion and Mayotte have been moved from the amber to red list. Note: the onus is on you to check which list the country you’ll be travelling from is on; as mentioned, this is subject to rapid change, so be sure to check the UK Government website for these details.

What if you’re traveling from a green-list country?

If you’re planning to enter the UK from a green-list country, you’re no longer required to self-isolate on arrival. However, you will have to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test, book another test for the day after your arrival in the UK (not necessary for children aged four or younger) and hand in a completed passenger locator form to a customs official when you arrive in the UK. Sure, all this may be a little disruptive should you be looking to enjoy a best spa hotel London stay, but it’ll be well worth it.

What if you’re traveling from an amber list country?

Should they be fully vaccinated, those travelling from European amber-list countries (and the United States) don’t have to self-isolate on arrival. When it comes to testing, amber-list-country-travellers need proof of a negative test taken no more than three days before departure and then need to provide a negative PCR test result two days after arrival.

Note: there are specific rules in place, right now, for Covid-19 tests for under 18s in different UK countries, so you’re strongly urged to check the UK Government website for details.

What if you’re traveling from (or to) a red list country?

Like it or not, if you’re hoping to travel to the UK and you’ve been in a red-list country in the last 10 days, you’ll only be able to if you’re either a UK or Irish national or a UK resident.

You’ll also have to make sure you test negative for Covid-19 before your departure, fill out a passenger locator form and self-isolate in a UK Government-approved hotel for 10 days, immediately following your arrival. In short, at the time of writing, you really can’t come to the UK for business or tourism from a red-list country.

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