International travel: Just waiting for the green light

Added 08/04/2021

‘People in England can start thinking about booking foreign holidays again this summer’, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said.

We don’t yet know when or where we can travel, but we do know a green list of countries is coming soon, with an announcement now due by early May.

The government has confirmed that it wants to see a return to international travel from England as soon as possible (17 May at the earliest) and to keep travellers safe, it will be introducing a three-tier traffic light system. Under the new system countries will be classified as green, amber, or red according to their covid-19 risk.  

Although it is currently too soon to know how individual countries will be classified, here is a brief guide to how the classifications will work:

Green:   Passengers will not need to quarantine on return, but must take a pre-departure test, as well as a PCR test on return to the UK.

Amber:  Travellers will need to quarantine for 10 days at home, as well as taking a pre-departure test and two PCR tests once back in the UK.

Red: Non-essential travel will be banned. Passengers will have to pay for a 10-day stay in a managed quarantine hotel, as well as a pre-departure test and two PCR tests.

To avoid a repeat of last summer’s last-minute changes, a ‘Green Watchlist’ will be introduced to highlight countries at risk of moving from the low-risk green category to amber.

The government has also expressed its intention to push the cost of PCR tests for travel down to avoid a system where only the rich can afford to go on holiday abroad.

An initial country list is due to be published by early May alongside confirmation of the restart date.
We are now all waiting to see which countries will get the green light!

Although the number of green countries may be low to start with, it is believed that as the vaccination roll-out gathers pace around the world, many more countries will be added to the green list by the peak summer holiday period.

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