After toiling through long months of lockdowns, travel restrictions and outright travel bans, travelers from the UK were handed something to cheer about on Friday. After months of speculation, the list of international destinations making the UK’s travel “green list” was finally revealed.
Whilst the list may not be as long and all-encompassing as many British travelers would have liked, it represents a return to some sort of normality and provides a platform from which more destinations can be added. Here are all the latest developments with the UK’s traffic light lists, including potential loopholes and the reaction from those in the industry.
UK’s Green List – Who Made The Cut? Information for Travelers
As predicted earlier in the week, only a few countries have made it to the first published green list, highlighting the cautious approach that the British government is taking to restarting travel.
The countries on the green list are:
- New Zealand
- Falkland Islands
- Faroe Islands
- South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
- St Helena, Tristan de Cunha, Ascension Island
This means that travelers coming from the above 12 countries will not have to stay in the UK’s pricey quarantine hotels upon their return, nor will they need to self-isolate. However, they must still fill out the passenger locator form and have a pre-departure test at their destination, and will also need to take a PCR test on or before day 2 after their return to the UK.
Speaking out the decision, the UK’s Transport secretary Grant Shapps mentioned needing to “turn the key slowly” when it came to unlocking more traditional destinations. He said:
“For now we must tread carefully, respecting the science that will guide us along the way. Our success in combating Covid here … is not yet replicated in many places abroad. We in this country have managed to construct a fortress against Covid but the disease is still prevalent in other parts of the world.”
Visiting Other Countries – Is It Possible? What Travelers Should Know
The rest of the countries in the world will be added to either the UK’s amber or red lists. Those visiting amber countries will need to self-isolate for a period of 10 days on their return to the UK, whilst those coming from red list nations will need to stay in hotel quarantine. However, there is a way for travelers to visit these countries without needing to self-isolate or quarantine at all.
According to the UK government’s website, when a traveler arrives in England they must follow the rules for the highest risk country or territory that you have been in or passed through in the previous 10 days. That means that a traveler would be able to visit a red or amber listed country and return to the UK without needing to quarantine or isolate providing they spend the final ten days of their trip in a green list country.
Given the small number of countries placed on the green list, the travel industry has referred to the recent news as air travel “in name only”, as niche destinations such as St. Helena and the Faroe Islands were included over popular holiday destinations such as France and Spain. Easyjet’s chief executive called the decision to put so few European countries on the list was not justified by data or science, whilst others said placing the US on the amber list risked the UK “falling behind”.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories