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The latest update from the UK Government regarding international travel is that fully vaccinated adults will no longer need to self-isolate when returning to the UK from amber list countries, after the 19th of July.

These changes will also apply to under 18s from this date as well.

What are the new UK travel restrictions for people who have had the COVID vaccine?

From the 19th of July, people in England who have had both doses of the COVID vaccine will no longer need to self-isolate for ten days when they return from countries on the amber list.

However, they will still need to take a COVID test in the country they are holidaying in three days before they leave to return home, and take a PCR Fit to Fly Test two days after returning. They will not need to take a Day 8 test.

In order to qualify for this reduction in legal requirements, passengers must be able to prove they were vaccinated at least 14 days before their holiday – either by showing the NHS COVID pass on the NHS app or through a COVID Pass letter.

Children under the age of 18 will no longer have to self-isolate either. Children aged 10 and under will not have to take a test before returning to the UK, but they will have to take a test on day 2.  Children aged 4 and under do not need to take any tests.

If you haven’t received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, then you will still be expected to quarantine on return from an amber list country, and also take tests on day 2 and day 8.

If either of these tests comes back positive, then you will need to isolate for a further 10 days from the date of your positive test result.

What are the current rules for green list countries?

The green list of countries contains a small number of destinations, and many of them are on the green watchlist – meaning they are at risk of being moved to the amber list.

If you are returning to the UK from a green list country then you need to:

  • Take a COVID test before you leave the country you are holidaying in, and have proof of a negative result from this test
  • Book a Day 2 test for your return
  • Complete a Passenger Locator Form

You do not need to quarantine, but you should be prepared for it in case you receive a positive result on your Day 2 test, or the NHS Test & Trace app alerts you that someone you have travelled with has tested positive.

What are the current rules for amber list countries?

At the moment, the UK Government is advising people not to travel to destinations on the amber list, but this advice will change on the 19th of July.

At the moment, if you are returning from a country on the amber list, you need to:

  • Take a COVID-19 test before you travel from the country you are holidaying in, and have proof of a negative result from this test
  • Book Day 2 and Day 8 tests for when you return home
  • Complete a Passenger Locator Form
  • Quarantine for 10 days at home

You may be able to reduce your quarantine time, through an additional test, known as the Test to Release.

What are the current rules for red list countries?

Red list countries are the countries that the UK government believes pose the highest risk and so, they should not be visited “except in the most extreme of circumstances.”

If you are returning to the UK from a red list country, you need to:

  • Take a COVID test before you leave the country, and have proof of a negative test result
  • Complete a Passenger Locator Form
  • Quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days, which must be booked and paid for in advance (current prices are £1750 for one adult, £650 for any additional adults or children over the age of 11, and £325 for children aged 5 to 11.)

Who decides which country goes on which list?

The decision as to which list each country should go on is taken by government ministers based on advice given to them by the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC). All countries go onto the amber list to start with unless there is strong evidence they should be moved to the green or red lists.

The lists are reviewed every 3 weeks, and the UK Government can change the status of a country quickly.

Are other countries allowing tourists at the moment?

It is up to holidaymakers themselves to check the entry rules for the destination they are planning to visit – just because a destination is on the green list does not mean it is letting travellers in. Information can change at short notice, so make sure you check it regularly.

What is the EU’s COVID passport plan?

The EU has recently launched a digital COVID certificate for citizens and residents of member states, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. This certificate acts as proof of vaccination, a negative test, or that a person has recovered from COVID.

England’s NHS COVID pass is already recognised by some destinations, but there has been no official announcement from the EU yet.

Where can I get a COVID test for travel from?

Before you return to the UK from abroad, you need to pay for a private test with high accuracies, such as an antigen or PCR test.

If you fail to provide proof of a negative test result before you fly back to the UK, you may be fined up to £500.

You can buy the PCR tests that are required after you return from Fit2FlyTest, a government-approved private provider of gold-standard PCR tests.

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