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Holidays overseas are currently operating under a traffic light system – so which countries are now on the green list?

traffic light system for foreign travel

The UK currently has a traffic light system in place for foreign travel, which categories countries as red, amber or green based on their perceived COVID-19 risk status.

There are now 43 destinations on the green list, including seven new additions from the 30th of August:

  • the Azores
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Swizerland

Here is everything you need to know about travelling to a green list country, with information on entry requirements, tests needed and travel insurance.

Which countries are on the green list now?

The following countries are on either the UK’s green list or green watchlist:

  • Anguilla (green watchlist)
  • Antarctica / British Antarctic territory (green watchlist)
  • Antigua and Barbuda (green watchlist)
  • Austria
  • Australia
  • The Azores (from 4am on Monday 30th of August)
  • Barbados (green watchlist)
  • Bermuda (green watchlist)
  • British Indian Ocean Territory (green watchlist)
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada (from 4am on Monday 30th August)
  • Cayman Islands (green watchlist)
  • Croatia (green watchlist)
  • Denmark (from 4am on Monday 30th of August)
  • Dominica (green watchlist)
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • Finland (from 4am on Monday 30th August)
  • Germany
  • Gibraltor
  • Grenada (green watchlist)
  • Hong Kong
  • Iceland
  • Israel (green watchlist)
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein (from 4am on Monday 30th of August)
  • Lithuania (from 4am on Monday 30th of August
  • Madeira (green watchlist)
  • Malta
  • Montserrat (green watchlist)
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands (green watchlist)
  • Romania
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands
  • St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
  • Switzerland (from 4am on Monday 30th of August)
  • Taiwan (green watchlist)
  • Turks and Caicos Islands (green watchlist)

What is the green watchlist?

Countries that are listed as being on the green watchlist are those that are considered to be most ‘at risk’ of being downgraded to the amber list at short notice. All of the Caribbean islands on the green list have the status of being on the green watchlist, as does Croatia, Israel and Madeira.

Are all of the countries on the green list open to UK holidaymakers?

No. A number of green list countries, including Australia, Bulgaria and New Zealand, are closed to arrivals from the UK.

What COVID tests do I need to take to travel to a country on the green list?

Anyone wanting to travel to a green list country needs to take two COVID-19 tests:

  • A pre-departure test, taken at least 72 hours before travelling home. This can be either a lateral flow test or a PCR tests. You may be denied entry to the aircraft if you do not have evidence of a negative COVID-19 result.
  • A PCR test take within 48 hours of arriving back into the UK.

On top of these requirements, each country has its own individual entry requirements for arrivals from the UK, with many of them requiring some combination of:

  • evidence of full vaccination (via the NHS app)
  • evidence of recent recovery from COVID-19
  • a recent negative PCR result

Will I be insured if I travel to a green list country?

This depends on the FCDO advice for your chosen destination, which is completely separate from the traffic light status of a country. If the UK government is warning against non-essential travel to your chosen destination, then your holiday insurance will likely be invalid – but you should check with your provider.

What is the difference between the green and the amber list?

If you have had both of your vaccination injections, then there is no difference between travelling to a country on the green list and one on the amber list – when it comes to arriving back in the UK. Double-vaccinated arrivals from amber list countries must also take a test before flying home, and a test within 48 hours of returning.

However, most countries will still have different entry requirements based on your vaccination status.

When will the next traffic light update be?

Traffic light travel updates are scheduled to happen every three weeks. The last travel update took place on the 26th of August, with the changes coming into effect on August 30th. So, the next traffic light update should be somewhere around the 16th of September.

Can countries move from the green list to the amber list?

Yes. In past announcements, destinations including the Balearic islands have been moved from the green to the amber list.

Can countries move from the amber list to the green list?

Yes. In the latest travel announcement on August 26th, seven countries including the Azores, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, and Switzerland were promoted to the green list.

Which green list countries are open to British holidaymakers then?

Anguilla

Entry requirements remain strict with only fully vaccinated travellers being allowed to enter the country. You must also apply for permission to enter at ivisitanguilla.com and submit a negative PCR test taken three to five days before departure.

Antigua and Barbuda

Restrictions, including screening on arrival and testing, apply to all visitors regardless of vaccination status. The Quarantine Authority ultimately decide who must quarantine.

Australia

Although Australia is on the green list in the UK, it is still closed to the majority of foreign travellers for the foreseeable future. Their Prime Minister recently announced that would end lockdown and reopen borders when 80% of the population is vaccinated, although when this happens British travellers will probably need to show proof of a COVID vaccination.

Austria

Travellers from the UK are now permitted to enter Austria but the rules may vary based on your vaccination status. If you can prove you have been fully vaccinated and received your second injection no more than 270 days before arrival, you do not need to quarantine.

Unvaccinated arrivals need to provide a negative PCR test and quarantine for ten days (with the option of ending quarantine early if a COVID test is negative on day 5).

All travellers to Austria must complete a Pre-travel Clearance form.

The Azores

Everyone aged 12 or above who wants to enter the Azores, must provide proof of a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before departure, and upload a passenger questionnaire – or they must be able to show proof of a full vaccination more than 14 days before the date of travel. Health screens on arrival and mandatory tests are in place for anyone who arrives in the Azores without evidence of a negative PCR result or vaccination.

Barbados

All Uk travellers must present a valid COVID PCR negative test result taken no more than three days in advance of arrival.

Fully vaccinated travellers must undergo a rapid PCR test at the airport or at their government-approved accommodation and remain on the premises until the results are received.

Travellers who are not vaccinated must quarantine and wear a tracking bracelet until they undergo a second PCR test on day five.

Bermuda

All travellers to Bermuda have to apply for a Bermuda COVID-19 Travel Authorisation between one and three days before departure. All arrivals also face quarantine and further testing but rules vary depending on test results and vaccination status.

British Antarctic Territory

If you want to holiday in the Antarctic, then you need to apply for a valid permit from the FCDO in London.

Brunei

Entry to Brunei is severely restricted and anyone seeking to enter must apply for a permit from the Prime Ministers office at least 8 working days before the intended date of travel.

Bulgaria

Travellers from the UK are currently not permitted to visit Bulgaria, as the UK is categorised as a reds zone country.

Canada

Holidays to Canada are back on for double vaccinated British travellers from September the 7th – with stipulations of course! Any under 12s who are travelling with adults who are double-jabbed are exempt from quarantine, but must still meet the testing requirements – pre-entry, arrival and day eight tests. Unvaccinated travellers aged 12 and above must follow all quarantine and testing rules.

Cayman Islands

Airports in the Cayman Islands are closed to all international passenger flights until further notice.

Croatia

UK travellers to Croatia must meet one of the following criteria:

  • A negative PCR test (taken within 72 hours of arrival) or a negative antigen test (taken with 48 hours of arrival)
  • A vaccination certificate showing the final does was recieved more than 14 days ago
  • Proof of recovery from COVID more than 11 days and less than 180 days ago

An additional measure in place for UK travellers is a negative COVID test result regardless of whether they are vaccinated or have already had the disease.

Denmark

The UK is currently on Denmark’s orange list, meaning fully vaccinated Briton’s can visit for any reason.

Unvaccinated visitors will need a “worthy purpose” to visit and must take a test no more than 72 hours before entry. They must also take another test on arrival, and go into quarantine for 10 days with the option to test to release after four days.

Dominica

Holidaymakers are welcome in Dominica although some rules do apply regardless of vaccination status.

Falkland Islands

Current visitor restrictions mean that tourists are not permitted to visit the Falkland Islands, including via cruise ships.

Faroe Islands

All UK travellers must have a “worthy purpose” to enter. Regardless of vaccination status, you must have a negative test taken at least 72 hours before departure and quarantine for 10 days on arrival (even if you test taken at arrival is negative).

Finland

The official information from the FCDO states that “If you are travelling to Finland from the UK, you will need proof of being fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to arrival or a certificate of recovery within the past six months.”

Anyone who is not fully vaccinated will need to have a “compassionate reason” to visit, as well as a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of arrival and/or the first dose of vaccine received at least two weeks prior to arrival. There will be further tests undertaken on arrival too.

Germany

Germany has stated that the UK is a high-incidence area since July the 7th, but British Travellers can enter the country for any reason as long as they are fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated children under the age of 12 are only allowed to enter Germany if they travel with at least one fully vaccinated parent and can present proof of a negative test result.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar, the British Overseas Territory, is welcoming both vaccinated and non-vaccinated UK visitors. If you are not fully vaccinated, however, you must arrive with a negative lateral flow test result, take another test within 24 hours of arrival, and another on the fifth day if you are there for more than a week.

If you are fully vaccinated you do not need to arrive with a negative test result, but you do need to take the other two tests.

Grenada

Travellers who can provide proof of full vaccination are only required to quarantine for up to 48 hours – pending a negative result from a PCR tests administered on entry and paid for in advance.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is currently prohibiting all flights from the UK, and anyone who has been in the UK within 21 days of arrival must present a negative PCR test and then quarantine for 21 days at a designated hotel.

Iceland

If you can prove you are fully vaccinated or previously recovered from COVID then you can enter Iceland, as long as you can also present a negative PCR test result, taken within 72 hours of your departure. You must wait 14 days after the second dose of vaccination before visiting.

Israel

The UK was added to Israel’s list of countries with the highest risk of COVID-19 on July the 30th, which means that travel to and from the UK is prohibited. All travellers from restricted countries must enter quarantine, regardless of vaccination status, and present a negative test to their airline.

Latvia

Travellers aged 12 and above entering Latvia need to present evidence of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before boarding, or an antigen test taken no earlier than 48 hours before boarding or before crossing the Latvian border.

Passengers who are unable to present evidence of a negative COVID test will be denied boarding, or entry into Latvia.

Liechtenstein

Switzerland handles all border matters for the German-speaking microstate of Liechtenstein, meaning if you are double jabbed you can enter the country restriction-free. You do need to report your arrival to the Liechtenstein government within two days though.

If you are unvaccinated then you are not permitted to enter, unless you meet certain criteria.

Lithuania

British nationals travelling to Lithuania are exempt from pre-departure tests or quarantine on arrival as long as they are fully vaccinated. However, every traveller must take a PCR test at least 72 hours before travel, then enter into a mandatory 10-day quarantine, with a test between day three and day five. You may be able to shorten the length of your quarantine by taking a third PCR test on day seven.

Children under the age of 12 are exempt from quarantine and testing requirements. Children aged 12 to 16 must take a PCR test or antigen test before travel.

Malta

Malta is only allowing fully vaccinated travellers from the UK to enter – who can provide the NHS COVID app as proof. Children aged 5 to 11 can enter if they accompany their vaccinated parents or legal guardians, and provide a negative PCR test carried out within 72h hours before arrival. Children aged 12 and above can only enter if they have proof of full vaccination – which is not currently being offered to children aged 12 to 15 in the UK.

Madeira

Unvaccinated visitors to Madeira must present a negative PCR test before departure, although this is not required if you are fully vaccinated – you must show proof of vaccination in the form of the NHS vaccine certificate.

Monserrat

All travel to and from Monserrat is via Antigua, and so you must comply with the Antiguan entry requirements.

New Zealand

New Zealand has been shut to foreign visitors since the first outbreak of COVID, and is unlikely to reopen its borders for some time. However, they have recently opened a “travel bubble” with their neighbour Australia which shows some progress.

When the country does reopen to travel, possible sometime in 2022, then it has been proposed that international arrivals are assessed on vaccination status and whether they have travelled from a country deemed low, medium or high risk.

Norway

Norway is accepting the English and Welsh digital NHS COVID vaccine passport to allow Britons to enter restriction free. People from England and Wales who are fully vaccinated can enter Norway without any mandatory quarantine or testing – as well as people who have recovered from COVID in the past six months.

If you haven’t been fully vaccinated then entry restrictions will continue to apply and you won’t be allowed to enter Norway unless you meet certain exceptions and you will also face hotel quarantine and mandatory testing.

Pitcairn Islands

The Pitcairn Island borders are still closed to all visitors.

Romania

The UK is still on Romania’s red list which means unless you can show proof of full vaccination you must quarantine for 14 days on arrival. However, you can avoid this if you are planning to leave the country again within 72 hours of arrival and you have proof of a negative PCR test taken with 72 hours of departure.

Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

All arrivals must have had a negative COVID test result within 72 hours of departing for St Helena, and arrivals are subject to compulsory quarantine for 14 days.

Singapore

Short term visitors from anywhere in the world are not allowed to enter Singapore, without prior permission.

Slovakia

Slovakia is open to entry from fully vaccinated travellers from the UK, but everyone aged 12 and above must register in advance of travel using the “Ehranica” form on the Slovak government’s website. After registering, you will receive a confirmation which you should show at the border. The UK government also recommends that you carry it with you during your stay, in case the authorities ask to see it.

If you are not fully vaccinated then you will only be allowed to enter Slovakia in certain circumstances.

Slovenia

Slovenia has stopped using its colour-coded system for international arrivals, from July the 15th. Instead, travellers from anywhere can enter as long as they are able to provide one of the following:

  • A negative PCR test no older than 72 hours
  • A eapid antigen test taken within 48 hours of departure
  • A posirtive PCR tests that is older than 10 days but not older than 6 months, confirming the traveller has had COVID-19 and not more than 6 months has passed since the first symptoms
  • Proof of full vaccination against COVID, administered at least 14 days before

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

Restricted visitor access and visitor permits are required.

Switzerland

Any fully vaccinated UK traveller can enter Switzerland. Arrivals from the UK who have not received a full course of the vaccine must provide a valid reason for exemption. Those travellers who do qualify for entry into the country must also provide proof of recovery from COVID in the past six months, or a negative COVID test taken before departure. There are no quarantine requirements for travellers who arrive in Switzerland.

Taiwan

Only residents are allowed into Taiwan as it stands.

Turks and Caicos Islands

Restrictions in the Turks and Caicos Islands have recently eased although travellers are still required to obtain pre-travel authorization via the Turks and Caicos Islands Assured Portal – including proof of a negative test, a health screen questionnaire and proof of travel insurance with COVID cover.

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