Covid data and entry rules for the UK’s top 10 overseas holiday hotspots

Holidaymakers longing for an overseas trip have a lot more to think about this summer than just packing sun cream and hopping on a flight.

The UK government’s traffic light system for travelling abroad means different rules apply depending on where you want to go, reports the Mirror.

Travellers can holiday in green list destinations without needing to quarantine on return – but those going to countries on the amber or red lists are required to quarantine for ten days, at home or in an approved hotel respectively.

So, what are the current Covid statuses of the UK’s top ten summer holiday hotspots?

Here are the coronavirus reproduction (R) values, vaccine rates and all the entry requirements you need to know about.

Figures have been sourced from Our World in Data and the entry rules are as detailed on the UK government’s website.

Portugal – Amber



The Algarve in Portugal
The Algarve in Portugal

The R-value in Portugal is currently at 1.30, meaning the number of Covid infections is on the rise.

Authorities have administered 7.2 million coronavirus jabs and fully vaccinated 2.5 million people. This is equivalent to 24.7% of the Portuguese population.

Travellers from the UK must have proof of a negative coronavirus test to travel to Portugal, except for children under two. This must be shown upon boarding, or airlines are likely to refuse entry to the aircraft.

A health screening then takes place upon landing, where your temperature must show below 38C.

As the country is on the UK government’s amber list, returning travellers must:

  • take a Covid-19 test before departure and have proof of a negative result
  • book a Covid-19 test on days two and eight after your return
  • complete a passenger locator form
  • quarantine for 10 days at home

Spain – Amber



Mallorca, Spain
Mallorca, Spain

The R-value in Spain is currently at 1.01, having dropped from 1.14 over the past week. This means the Covid infection rate is relatively stable.

The number of coronavirus jabs administered is at 34.9 million, meaning 13.6 million people there are fully vaccinated. This amounts to 29.2% of its population.

As of May 24, entry restrictions and testing requirements have been shelved for arrivals from the UK.

But provisos are in place for certain situations, such as travelling to the Balearic Islands and if you have been to a ‘risk country’.

All passengers entering Spain are also still required to complete a passenger declaration form.

As the country is on the UK government’s amber list, returning travellers must:

  • take a Covid-19 test before departure and have proof of a negative result
  • book a Covid-19 test on days two and eight after your return
  • complete a passenger locator form
  • quarantine for 10 days at home

Italy – Amber



Torbole in Italy
Torbole in Italy

Italy’s R-value is at 0.67, meaning the number of coronavirus infections is coming down and the pandemic there is shrinking.

Authorities have administered 44.4 million jabs and fully vaccinated 15.0 million residents. This is equivalent to 24.8% of the population.

Since April 7, entry to Italy from the UK is no longer restricted to Italian residents and those with absolute necessity.

But, if you wish to fly, you must present your airline with a negative Covid test taken no more than 48 hours before travel.

Quarantine is then not necessary upon landing, as long as you have proof of a negative test.

An online form must also be completed before travel. This will generate a QR code, which should be presented to your travel provider and Border Police if requested.

A paper form is also available.

Finally, everyone arriving in Italy must also call the Covid helpline for the region you are travelling within 48 hours. This is to inform them of your visit.

As the country is on the UK government’s amber list, returning travellers must:

  • take a Covid-19 test before departure and have proof of a negative result
  • book a Covid-19 test on days two and eight after your return
  • complete a passenger locator form
  • quarantine for 10 days at home

France – Amber



Riquewihr in France
Riquewihr in France

The R-value in France is currently at 0.66, meaning the pandemic there is shrinking and the number of infections is falling.

Around 46.3 million Covid vaccine doses have been administered, leaving 15.6 million French residents fully vaccinated. This equates to 23.1% of their population.

The country also has green, amber and red lists to govern the rules for arrivals.

The UK is currently on the French amber list, meaning those who are not fully vaccinated will only be permitted to travel for essential reasons.

These people will need to present several documents, including an International Travel Certificate and a completed ‘sworn statement’.

A negative PCR test must also be taken within 72 hours of departure, or an antigen test within 48 hours of departure.

There will be random antigen testing for unvaccinated arrivals.

Travellers who are not fully vaccinated will also need to self-isolate for 7 days after arrival, then take another PCR test following this period of self-isolation.

Travellers who are fully vaccinated do not need an essential reason to travel to France and do not need to self-isolate on arrival.

Fully vaccinated travellers will need to present proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure or a negative antigen test result taken within 48 hours of departure, a completed ‘sworn statement’ and proof of vaccination status.

If you live in England, France will accept the NHS app or your NHS letter to demonstrate your vaccination status.

If you live in Scotland or Wales, France will accept your respective NHS letter to demonstrate your vaccination status.

As the country is on the UK government’s amber list, returning travellers must:

  • take a Covid-19 test before departure and have proof of a negative result
  • book a Covid-19 test on days two and eight after your return
  • complete a passenger locator form
  • quarantine for 10 days at home

United States – Amber



The Grand Canyon in the US
The Grand Canyon in the US

The current R-value in the United States is at 0.83, meaning the number of infections there is falling and the pandemic is shrinking.

Leading the world in its vaccination rollout, 315.0 million jabs have been administered and 147.8 million Americans are now fully vaccinated. This is equivalent to 44.2% of the population.

It has not been possible since last March for most UK residents to enter the US if they have been in Europe within the previous 14 days.

And since January 26 all passengers aged two and above arriving by air into the USA from any foreign country are prevented from entry unless they have either a negative pre-departure test result or documentation of recovery from Covid provided by a licensed health care provider or public health official.

Anyone who is allowed into the country is recommended to quarantine for at least seven days after arriving, and to take test (NAAT or antigen) 3-5 days after arrival.

As the country is on the UK government’s amber list, returning travellers must:

  • take a Covid-19 test before departure and have proof of a negative result
  • book a Covid-19 test on days two and eight after your return
  • complete a passenger locator form
  • quarantine for 10 days at home

United Arab Emirates – Red



Dubai in the United Arab Emirates
Dubai in the United Arab Emirates

Current figures place the UAE’s R-value at 1.08, meaning the pandemic is relatively stable.

Officials have administered 14.2 million coronavirus jabs and fully vaccinated 3.84 million people, although publically available data is very limited. This equates to 38.8% of the population.

Visitors to Dubai have to register their details on the COVID-19 DXB App.

And, before flying, travellers to Dubai are also required to complete a Health Declaration Form and a Quarantine Form. These must be completed and handed over to staff upon arrival.

Visitors must have international health insurance before travelling, the government said.

Further, all arrivals in Dubai must adhere to all public health measures – including any requirements to quarantine.

The government warns that entry requirements may change at short notice and travellers are strongly encouraged to check the specifics. This includes the time frames for undertaking PCR tests before departure with their airline before they travel.

Those travelling through or from Britain and arriving in Dubai and Abu Dhabi must have a negative PCR test that was taken no more than 72 hours before departure and present the certificate at check-in.

Travellers arriving in Dubai may be required to undertake a further test on arrival and will have to isolate pending the result.

People who test positive may have to quarantine in a hotel or a government-run facility.

As the country is on the UK government’s red list, returning travellers must:

  • take a Covid-19 test before departure and have proof of a negative result
  • complete a passenger locator form
  • self-isolate for 10 days in a government-approved quarantine hotel, which you must book and pay for in advance

Malta – Amber



Valetta on the island of Malta
Valetta on the island of Malta

The R-value in Malta is currently at 0.41 – the lowest of the top 10 holiday hotspots.

Authorities have administered 0.6 million jabs and fully vaccinated 0.3 million people. As the population size is comparatively low, however, this is equivalent to 62.1% of the population.

All arrivals in Malta from the UK aged five and above are required to have evidence of a negative PCR test, dated within 72 hours prior to arrival.

Passengers are then required to present a physical copy of this at check-in and after landing.

However, as of June 1, travellers holding a Maltese certificate of vaccination are exempt.

Passengers are also required to complete a Public Health Travel Declaration Form and Passenger Locator Form, which must be shown on departure.

As the country is on the UK government’s amber list, returning travellers must:

  • take a Covid-19 test before departure and have proof of a negative result
  • book a Covid-19 test on days two and eight after your return
  • complete a passenger locator form
  • quarantine for 10 days at home

Greece – Amber



Corfu, Greece
Corfu, Greece

The R-value in Greece is now at 0.69, meaning the number of infections is falling in the country.

The government has administered 7.2 million coronavirus vaccine doses and fully vaccinated 3.1 million people. This is equivalent to 29.2% of the population.

Travellers from the UK must fill in a Passenger Locator Form later than 23:59 on the day before arriving in Greece.

They must also provide either proof of a negative PCR test – undertaken within the 72 hour period before arrival – or proof of two Covid vaccinations completed at least 14 days before travel.

Travellers with proof of either are exempted from the need to self-isolate on arrival to Greece. But failure to provide proof of either may result in your carrier not allowing you to travel and will likely result in the Greek authorities refusing you permission to enter Greece.

Arrivals into Greece may be required to undergo a rapid coronavirus test on arrival.

And if you test positive on arrival in Greece you (and those you are travelling with) will have to self-isolate in quarantine hotels provided by the authorities for at least 10 days. The expenses of the accommodation in quarantine hotels are covered by the Greek state.

As the country is on the UK government’s amber list, returning travellers must:

  • take a Covid-19 test before departure and have proof of a negative result
  • book a Covid-19 test on days two and eight after your return
  • complete a passenger locator form
  • quarantine for 10 days at home

Australia – Green



Sydney in Australia
Sydney in Australia

Official figures place the Australian R-value at 1.06, meaning the infection rate is relatively stable and the pandemic is neither growing nor shrinking.

Authorities have administered 6.2 million doses and fully vaccinated 0.8 million people, or 3.1% of the population. This is the lowest of the top 10 holiday hotspots.

Entry to Australia, however, is currently closed to most arrivals.

Travellers who have been in New Zealand for 14 days or more can travel by air to Australia and will not require an exemption.

As the country is on the UK government’s green list, returning travellers must:

  • take a Covid-19 test before departure and have proof of a negative result
  • book a test for day two after your return
  • complete a passenger locator form

Gibraltar – Green



The top of Gibraltar Rock in Gibraltar
The top of Gibraltar Rock in Gibraltar

Our World in Data has no publicly available figures about the R-value in Gibraltar.

Officials there have administered 0.08 million coronavirus jabs and fully vaccinated 0.04 million people – but as the population size is comparatively low this accounts for 100% of its residents.

Entry requirements to Gibraltar depend on whether you are fully vaccinated or not.

Entry is also dependent on the countries you have visited in the 10 days prior to your arrival, and whether they are on the green, amber or red lists.

In all instances, a Passenger Locator Form must be completed.

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From the UK, if you are fully vaccinated then you must upload your vaccination certificate on the Passenger Locator Form.

You must then book a lateral flow test before arriving, which must take place within 24 hours of arrival.

Anyone staying for more than a week must also take a second test on day five.

If you have only been in green list countries in the 10 days before arrival and are unvaccinated, you must have a pre-flight lateral flow test taken no more than 48 hours before your flight.

You then must also book a lateral flow test to be taken in Gibraltar within 24 hours of your arrival.

If you are remaining there for more than seven days, you must also take a third test on day five.

As the country is on the UK government’s green list, returning travellers must:

  • take a Covid-19 test before departure and have proof of a negative result
  • book a test for day two after your return
  • complete a passenger locator form