All you need to know ahead of UK Government travel list changes

Boris Johnson has warned the UK Government will have “no hesitation” over moving countries off the green quarantine-free travel list.

He said it will “wait and see” what the recommendations of the Joint Biosecurity Centre are before announcing changes to the lists.

Mr Johnson has insisted there is “nothing in the data at the moment” to stop the country veering away from ts roadmap to recovery – but new variants of the Covid-19 virus have raised concerns over the full resumption of foreign travel.

The vaccination programme is seen as key in the bid to reopen the UK and beyond. The Government will update its travel lists on Thursday, but what will the announcement mean for holidaymakers?

Here are 10 key questions ahead of the travel list review.

Traffic light map of Europe

– What are the travel lists?

The Government has created a risk-based traffic light system with red, amber and green ratings for countries around the world. The ratings determine the quarantine and coronavirus testing requirements people face when returning to the UK.

– What are the rules?

People returning from green destinations do not need to quarantine, but those arriving from amber locations must self-isolate at home for 10 days. Arrivals from a red tier country must enter a quarantine hotel.

– Do the rules cover people in England, Britain or the whole of the UK?

The Government’s lists and rules only apply in England, but have been largely mirrored by devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

– What countries are on the lists?

The green list is limited to 12 countries and territories, with Portugal the only viable major tourist destination. Most popular holiday locations such as Spain, France, Italy and Greece are on the amber list.

– What changes are expected on Thursday?

There is speculation that some Spanish and Greek islands, plus Malta, will be added to the green list, whereas some Asian nations will be put in the red tier.

– Will the changes be enforced immediately?

It is likely to be several days before new rules apply. This gives travellers in countries added to the amber or red lists time to return home to avoid quarantine requirements.



Jet2 cabin crew ready to welcome passengers back on board
Jet2 cabin crew ready to welcome passengers back on board

– Can I visit an amber country as long as I quarantine at home when I get back?

Although there is no law prohibiting people from travelling to an amber list country for a holiday, the Government is urging people not to do so.

– Can I book a trip to amber locations?

Although online travel firm On the Beach has stopped selling summer holidays due to a lack of “certainty or clarity”, many companies are selling and operating trips to amber countries.

Get the latest travel and staycation news sent straight to your inbox



Dreaming of when you may be able to go on holiday again and where that might be? Want the latest travel and staycation news sent straight to your inbox to help you plan ahead?

Sign up here for regular updates on the latest travel advice, plus top destinations and wonderful places to stay post-Covid.

When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use you data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.

– If I cancel my trip because the destination is on the amber list, will I get a refund?

Most travel companies are refusing refunds in those circumstances, although some firms, including Exodus, Kuoni and easyJet Holidays, have been praised by consumer group Which? for their flexible policies.

– Will destinations let me in?

Some green list countries, such as Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, are closed to international tourists.

But many popular hotspots are open. Portugal requires visitors to show evidence of a recent negative test, whereas Spain has lifted all restrictions on UK tourists.