All 11 countries and territories that are on the UK’s green list
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Editor’s note: This story has been updated with the latest information.
Non-essential international travel is an option once again. As of 17 May, Britons can head off on their long-awaited — and much-deserved — holidays to sandy beaches and warmer temperatures.
The U.K. government is using a traffic light system for categorising countries based on their risk levels. The highest-risk countries are categorised as red, medium-risk countries are categorised as amber and the lowest-risk countries are categorised as green.
Then on Thursday, 3 June, the government made changes to its lists. Most notably for the green list, Portugal will be moved from green to amber as of 4 a.m. on 8 June, leaving just 11 countries and territories on the green list.
Red countries are an extension of the travel ban list as we’ve come to know it. Non-British nationals or residents travelling from red countries are not permitted to enter the U.K. Those who are eligible to travel to the U.K. have to undergo a 10-day quarantine in a government-supervised hotel, which costs £1,750.
Those arriving from amber countries will be required to undergo a 10-day quarantine at home. They will also be required to undergo two tests during their quarantine: one on day two and one on day eight.
Meanwhile, those coming from the lowest-risk green countries will not need to quarantine for 10 days. However, they will still need to test two times: once prior to departure, which can be a lateral flow test, and once post-arrival, which must be a PCR test.
This is a notable difference from summer 2020 when the U.K. employed a travel corridor policy, which permitted arrivals from low-risk countries to not have to quarantine or test at all. Some airline industry executives have highlighted that a two-test approach to the lowest-risk countries will price some families out of travelling abroad.
However, pressure from the travel industry has resulted in testing companies lowering the prices of their PCR tests. One of the largest test manufacturers Randox, which is based in Northern Ireland, announced that it was lowering the cost of its PCR COVID-19 tests for travel from £120 apiece to £60 apiece. Other manufacturers have followed suit in an effort to make testing more affordable for the masses, which sees many PCR tests hovering around the £50 mark.
Note that if summer 2020 is any indication, it’s entirely possible that the U.K. will list a certain destination as green, but that country’s government may determine that it will not allow Britons to enter. In fact, of the green list countries, there are only three that will not require travellers to quarantine on either end of their trip from the U.K.
There are still plenty of details to work out regarding vaccine passports and whether or not travellers will have to show proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 status. It’s entirely likely that entry requirements will vary from country to country and will rely on the traveller to do their research. However, we do now know that England will use the NHS app as a vaccine passport for travellers to show proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test result.
The 7 May announcement of traffic light designations met expectations that the green list is limited in numbers at launch, though the government said it’s going to be reviewing its list often. Every three weeks, the government said it will review the countries on its green list. It will also implement a “watch list” for travellers to know if a country is near a move from one level to another. For example, a “green watchlist” will show if a country is at risk of moving from green to amber.
See the following other lists for the countries in the green and red categories:
- All 167 countries and territories that are on the UK’s amber list
- All 50 countries that are on the UK’s travel red list
These are the 11 countries and territories that will be on the green list as of 4 a.m. on 8 June, requiring no quarantine on return to England, noting that Portugal will be on the list up to that date:
- St Helena, Ascension, Tristan Da Cunha
Much of southern Africa still remains on the U.K.’s current travel ban list — or red list. It’s unlikely that there will be much movement to that list in the next few weeks as variants continue to be a concern.
Americas and Caribbean
- Falkland Islands
- South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
All of South America remains on the U.K.’s current travel ban list — or red list
The United Arab Emirates is currently on the travel ban list, and the U.K. government has indicated that it will likely remain on the red list because of the massive transit hubs of Dubai (DXB) and Abu Dhabi (AUH). The same can be said for Qatar and its Doha (DOH) hub.
Australia and Pacific Islands
- New Zealand
- Faroe Islands
The first iteration of the list was a good first step to the resumption of wide-ranging international travel. However, it’s discouraging that Portugal has already been removed from the green list. It’s widely believed some summer holiday hotspots such as Greece, France and Italy could soon be given green status in the coming weeks. Some experts are predicting that holiday destinations like Spain and Greece may not grace the green list until late June or even July.
Some of these destinations have already made clear that they plan to let Britons in this summer. Greece, for example, has said that tourists are now able to enter. With an amber distinction from the U.K. government, that would mean travellers would have to think about and plan for a quarantine on return home.
This is a developing situation and one that will likely change often. There’s one thing for certain: Travel this summer will carry with it another level of risk. If, for example, where you’re holidaying suddenly changes from amber to red, you’ll have to worry not only about quarantining for 10 days, but paying at least £1,750 in order to do so in a government-approved hotel.
We’ll continue to follow the developments in the traffic light system and keep this list updated.
Featured photo by Anna Bryukhanova/Getty Images.
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