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New Updates Coming To UK Travel Restrictions

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The United Kingdom is set to change its travel restrictions on August 25th. 

Although the U.K has removed almost all COVID-19 restrictions within the country, the British Government still runs a traffic light system. The UK assigns all countries in the world on a green, amber, or red list. 

For fully vaccinated people, there is now little difference between the green and amber lists. You’ll need a pre-departure test and a PCR within two days of arrival.

However, the red list means you’ll have to spend 10 days in an official government hotel and it's at the traveler's expense.

The Possible Changes 

The next updates are due on August 25th and since early June, the U.K has changed its traffic light system every three weeks. It roughly takes around five to six days for the new restrictions to come into place, and that gives returning British travelers the opportunity to avoid quarantine. 

Many travel experts suggest that Spain — which has seen massive growth in COVID-19 cases — may go onto Britain’s red list.

Currently, Spain is on the amber list, and cases in Spain seemed to have peaked in recent weeks. Therefore, some experts believe Spain will stay on Britain’s amber list this time around. 

Some travel experts predicted that Cyprus could go onto the red list in recent weeks, but cases are starting to fall in Cyprus and it looks set to stay on amber.

In addition, Turkey is currently on Britain’s red list, meaning travelers have to pay for an official government hotel for a 10-day quarantine on arrival (regardless of vaccination status.) 

Many experts believe Turkey will move to the amber list, and British travelers will be able to skip quarantine if they're fully vaccinated.

Turkey now sits among Portugal, France, and Greece regarding case levels, and those countries are all on the amber list. Furthermore, many travel experts predict that various Caribbean nations will go on the UK’s red list. These include:

  • St Lucia 
  • Dominica 
  • Jamaica 

Experts also believe Morocco could be added to Britain’s red list in the coming days. 

It’s important to note that COVID-19 cases are lower pretty much everywhere in Europe than in the United Kingdom. So, it seems unlikely that any EU nations will go on the red list.

That said, the UK government has continually surprised its population with its travel restrictions in the previous 18 months. 

The Reaction From The Travel Industry 

The U.K government had received stern criticism from the public and the travel industry over its traffic light system. The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated his desire to “get the travel industry moving again.”

However, the reality that countries can switch to the red list and travelers would need to face an expensive 10-day quarantine is preventing many travelers from traveling outside of Europe. 

Empty Heathrow Airport During COVID-19

In addition, although the UK has very high vaccination rates, the country still has high cases of COVID-19 compared to much of the world. So many countries are adding harsh restrictions on U.K travelers. 

Various British companies and travel experts have warned the British government that the travel industry is in danger of being left behind because of the travel light system. Also, various companies are taking advantage of consumers with expensive PCR tests. 

Happy woman traveling by train wearing a facemask

Unfortunately, this is hampering the recovery of the British travel industry. The U.K only reopened to vaccinated EU and U.S travelers without quarantine last month, and visitors have already started to return. 

However, unless the British government scraps the expensive PCR tests and the traffic light system, you have to wonder when the British travel industry will return to normal again.

Read More:

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This article originally appeared on

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

Ellen Feldman

Monday 6th of September 2021

Will a rapid antigen test conducted at CVS fulfill the entry requirements to the UK? We are flying British Airways.

Graham Carslake

Thursday 26th of August 2021

Why isnt Canada on the green list v high vacination rates from 12 and up and few cases Political?

Cathryn Low

Wednesday 25th of August 2021

Waiting for a change from Amber to Green for we Canadians , with travel plans made more than two years ago. Our vaccination numbers are better than the UK or USA . Seeing our travel fund diminishing with cancellation fees, while we wait for some common sense to prevail. Being older, in 70’s, time passing us by for window of opportunity to see some special parts of England. Please…by September 1!!


Wednesday 25th of August 2021

There should be unlimited travel without any testing and Quarantines for all those who are fully vaccinated and this unlimited travel between countries with substantial vaccination rates and higher.

Dine Chop

Wednesday 25th of August 2021

Why isn't Covishield considered in approved vaccine in UK? It is after all the same as astrazenica and oxford vaccine. Strange? Too much politics in vaccines..