The UK is moving to a new system for foreign travel, meaning that from October 4th foreign countries will either be classed as high risk (requiring hotel quarantine in the UK for travellers returning home) or low risk.
On September 17th the UK Government announced it would be replacing the existing traffic light system for foreign travel, with the new two-tier system.
The previous green and amber lists of countries will be merged into a new category called “rest of world” from October the 4th. All countries that are not on this list will be on the “no go” list – meaning arrivals into the UK from these countries will have to enter into hotel quarantine on their return.
There is some good news though – eight countries were removed from the red list on September 22nd – and these were
- Sri Lanka
- The Maldives
This means that holidays to Egypt, Oman, the Maldives and Turkey are back on for UK holidaymakers who are fully vaccinated. The rules around holidays to Kenya and Sri Lanka are trickier but not prohibitive, and Bangladesh requires UK passengers to enter into a 14-day quarantine on arrival into the country.
Under the new system, from the 4th of October, fully vaccinated travellers from so-called “safe” countries will no longer have to take any COVID test before getting on their flight home to the UK, and from late October they will only need to take a test on their second day back in the UK.
However, those travellers who are not vaccinated will face even tougher restrictions than they do now, with a new requirement to quarantine at home for ten days when returning to the UK from any country – even those on the green list. They will also have to take a COVID test before boarding their flight home and on Day 2 and Day 8 after returning. However, they are still eligible for the Test to Release test on Day 5 which could see them ending quarantine five days early, on receipt of a negative result.
So, here is everything you need to know about travelling to a country on the “rest of world” list including tests and entry requirements. The rules may differ if you are returning to Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales so in that case, it would be advisable to check their government websites separately.
What tests do I need to take to visit a country on the “go” list?
Travellers who are fully vaccinated will need:
- A pre-departure COVID test for return to the UK – until October the 4th
- A lateral flow test , taken within 48 hours of returning to the UK – this will need to be a PCR test until late October
- Complete a Passenger Locator Form before returning to the UK
Travellers who are not fully vaccinated will need:
- To take a COVID test before travelling back to the UK
- To self-islate at home for 10 days
- To take a Day 2 PCR test within 48 hours of arriving back into the UK
- To take a COVID Day 8 PCR test on day 8 after arriving back into the UK
On top of these requirements, each country has its own entry requirements for British Nationals with many requiring some combination of:
- evidence of full vaccination (such as the NHS COVID pass)
- evidence of recent recovery from COVID-19
- a recent negative PCR test
Below, we will lay out the requirements for some of the more popular “go” destinations
Which countries are currently on the Green list?
- Antarctica / British Antarctic Territory
- Antigua and Barbuda
- The Azores
- British Indian Ocean Territory
- Cayman Islands
- Falkland Islands
- Faroe Islands
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oneo Islands
- South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands
- St Helena, Ascension and Tristan de Cunha
- Turks and Cacos Islands
Are all of these countries open to holidaymakers from the UK?
No. Many of these countries are closed to arrivals from the UK or have prohibitive quarantine rules in place.
When will the next global travel update be?
The two categories are due to be updated every three to four weeks – in a similar way to the traffic light system. Traffic light system updates were delivered every three weeks and tended to be announced by Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary.
Can countries still be moved on to the hotel quarantine list?
Yes. Countries that are in the “low-risk” category can be moved to the hotel quarantine category at any point.
Which countries on the “go” list are open to holidaymakers from the UK?
#Canada – Holidays to Canada have been back on the cards for fully vaccinated UK holidaymakers since September the 7th – with stipulations of course! Children aged 12 and under who are travelling with adults who are double-jabbed are exempt from quarantine requirements, but must still meet the pre-entry, arrival and day 8 testing requirements. Travellers aged 12 and above who are not fully vaccinated must adhere to all of the quarantine and testing requirements
#Barbados – All travellers from the UK need to present a valid COVID-19 PCR test result taken no more than three days before your flight’s arrival.
#Gibraltor – This British Overseas territory is welcoming both vaccinated and non-vaccinated travellers from the UK. However, if you have not received both doses of the vaccine you must arrive with a negative result from a lateral flow test and take another test within 48 hours of arrival. If you are going to be there for more than 7 days, you will also need to take another test on the fifth day.
#Madeira (Portugal) – Visitors to this Portuguese Island who are unvaccinated must present a negative PCR test result before departure. This is not a requirement for fully vaccinated travellers, instead, you need to prove you are fully vaccinated in the form of some NHS vaccine certification. If you are vaccinated, you will undergo a PCR test on arrival either at the airport or your accommodation, you must then quarantine until you receive the results. If you are unvaccinated you must quarantine for five days, and wear a tracking bracelet until you have taken a second test on day 5 – where you will then be allowed out of quarantine if your result is negative.
#Pakistan – You need to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken up to 72 hours before you board your flight, and you may be subject to rapid antigen testing on arrival. You must also provide contact information through the Pass Track App or a web-based form.
#Switzerland – Holidaymakers who are fully vaccinated can enter Switzerland. If you haven’t had both doses of the vaccine then you must have an exemption, and be able to prove you have recovered from COVID in the last 6 months or you had a negative result from a COVID test taken before departure. There are no quarantine requirements for UK holidaymakers arriving in Switzerland.
#Turkey – Travellers arriving from the UK must provide a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours of your flight to Turkey – regardless of whether you are fully vaccinated or not. You will also be expected to undertake medical evaluation for symptoms of COVID-19 on arrival – including random PCR testing and temperature checks.
Here at Fit2FlyTest we can provide you with a variety of tests to meet your testing needs, including a PCR Fit to Fly Test (with digital Fit to Fly Certificate), Day 2 Testing Kit, Day 8 Testing Kit, and Test to Release tests.