For a good chunk of 2021, Brits were totally forbidden from holidaying abroad. But as the UK continues to reopen, the country has finally lifted its blanket ban on foreign leisure trips. This means that, for Brits, that long-awaited holiday in the sun – or family reunion – might actually be a reality. And for the rest of the world, travel to the UK is back on.
Gone are the ‘green’, ‘amber’ and ‘red’ categories. Now, there are just two lists – and if you’re fully vaccinated, there are even fewer restrictions. Dreaming of packing your suitcase already? Popular destinations like Turkey and Maldives have been added to the ‘OK to travel’ list, meaning you can go ahead and book that trip of a lifetime.
What are the latest UK travel restrictions?
The ‘red list’
The ‘red list’ is still in place. It lays out the countries from which travel is completely banned, except for returning British and Irish citizens plus official UK residents. All those who are allowed in will have to stump up £2,285 per head to self-isolate in a government-mandated hotel for ten days.
The ‘amber list’
The ‘amber list’ has been scrapped. Travel to countries on this list was possible with PCR testing and proof of negative coronavirus tests. There's now only the ‘red’ and ‘OK to travel’ list, which is a merger of the ‘amber’ and ‘green’ lists.
The ‘OK to travel’ list, or ‘green list’
The new, two-tier set of rules will create a ‘simpler, more straightforward system’ according to the UK government. Take a look at the ‘OK to travel’ list – which includes eight previously ‘red’ countries – for the full list of destinations.
What are the rules for fully-vaccinated travellers?
Fully-vaccinated travellers from ‘green’ countries no longer need a pre-departure test before entering the UK. Travellers from the UK who are double-jabbed will be able to replace the second day PCR test with a cheaper lateral flow test later in October, too.
Full vaccination status is also recognised by the UK from a further 17 countries and territories, including Japan and Singapore.
If you’re not fully vaccinated, the rules are slightly different. A pre-departure test is still needed, alongside PCR tests to be taken on days two and eight after arrival. Travellers also have to self-isolate for ten days upon entry to Britain, although a ‘test to release’ scheme is still in place for travellers willing to pay for another test to leave quarantine on day five.
All travellers still have to fill out a ‘passenger locator form’.
Which countries are on the UK’s ‘OK to travel’ green list?
For the moment, England’s ‘OK to travel’ list covers the vast majority of the world’s countries, including popular destinations like Spain, Italy and the USA.
Previous travel updates for Scotland and Northern Ireland have been identical to England’s. Wales had introduced a similar traffic light system, though first minister Mark Drakeford has advised Welsh citizens only to travel abroad for ‘essential’ reasons for the rest of the year.
The ‘OK to travel' list now features Turkey, Pakistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh, Kenya and Egypt, which were previously on the red list.
Here is the current ‘red list’ in full:
Congo (Democratic Republic)
Trinidad and Tobago
Here’s everything you need to know about travel from the UK to Europe after Brexit.
And if you’re worried about taking the plunge? Here’s how to book an overseas holiday this year – without losing your money.