Updated Information on the country traffic light system

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The government introduced the country traffic light system on 7th May 2021 to allow the reopening of international travel from England. The traffic light system allows you to identify the countries you can or cannot visit, and the measures in place for the red, amber and green destinations on return. We take a closer look at the current advice for each of the coloured bands.

Red

If you’ve been in a country or territory on the red list in the last 10 days you will only be allowed to enter the UK if you are a British or Irish National, or you have residence rights in the UK. These rules apply even if you have been vaccinated.

  • Before you travel to England you must take a COVID-19 test. You must take the test in the 3 days before the service on which you will arrive in England departs. If you cannot prove you’ve tested negative you may be refused travel. You will need to find a private provider in the place where you start your journey or another country on your way to England if you break your journey. Full details on GOV.UK/covid-19-testing.
  • Book a quarantine hotel package including 2 COVID-19 tests. The basic cost for one adult in one room is £1750 and this includes travel to the hotel and the two required covid tests. There are charges for extra adults and children. Full details of hotel quarantine packages can be found on GOV.UK/guidance/quarantine-hotel
  • Complete a passenger locator form. You will need a quarantine package invoice number to complete this form. It must be submitted 48 hours before you arrive in the UK and you will need to show the form when you check in to travel.

If you’ve had a transit stop in a red list country anytime in the 10 days before you return to England you must follow the red list rules.

The current advice for red list countries is you should not travel.

Amber

If you are returning to England from an amber country that you have visited in the 10 days before you arrive, you must follow the current rules:

  • Before you travel to England you must take a COVID-19 test. You must take the test in the 3 days before the service on which you will arrive in England departs.
  • You must book and pay for COVID-19 tests for day 2 and day 8 of your return. These must be booked before you travel to England. You must use private tests and you can find all the available providers on GOV.UK/find-travel-test-provider. The cost of the tests start from £45.00 and you can book using the same portal.
  • Complete a passenger locator form.
  • On arrival in England you must quarantine at home or a place you are staying for 10 days and take the pre-booked 2 day and 8 day tests.

The current advice for amber countries is the same as red list countries that you should not travel.

Green

If you have been in a green list country you must follow the rules below. You must only have been in or travelled through a green list country or the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man in the previous 10 days. These rules apply even if you’ve been vaccinated.

  • Before you travel to England you must take a COVID-19 test.
  • Book and pay for a COVID-19 test to be taken on day 2 of you arrival in England. You do not need to quarantine unless you test positive. In this case you must quarantine for 10 days at home or the place you are staying.
  • Complete a passenger locator form.

There are exemptions for some or all of the requirements for medical or compassionate reasons and for work related travel. There are different rules for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The full guidance on this and a full list of all the red, amber and green countries and territories can be found on GOV.UK/guidance/red-amber-and-green-list.

Vaccination status

People in England who have had a full vaccine course can demonstrate their COVID-19 vaccination status for outbound international travel. Other countries or territories determine their own border health rules, which may include COVID-19 vaccination status. Check the entry requirements for your destination before travelling.

 COVID-19 vaccination status will be available via the NHS app. from 17th May to people who live in England.

Posted by Graham Morley

Graham Morley

Graham is the Business Development Manager for Compare Holiday Money.

4 Comments

  • Avatar Patrick McGuigan says:

    Where can I get a NHS App as I live in N, Ireland UK?

  • Graham Morley Graham Morley says:

    Hi Patrick
    Thanks for your comment it has highlighted an important point. At the moment the NHS app is only available in England and Wales. Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own NHS contact tracing apps and the information on the NI one can be found on the StopCOVID NI information page. Unfortunately, there has not been a joined up response from all of the devolved UK Governments throughout the pandemic so sometimes the messages can be confusing for different areas. I hope that helps you to find the information you need.

  • Avatar David Magalhaes says:

    This article is very clear and very useful! Congratulations for your lovely work and to help me to know what I should do on my case.

    Regards

  • Graham Morley Graham Morley says:

    Thanks for your comment David. We’re glad you found it helpful!

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