If you’re looking to head away this year, the latest travel news makes for positive reading. That’s because seven more countries will soon be added to the government’s ‘green list’ of destinations. But which countries are now deemed low risk? Here’s what you need to know.
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What is the ‘green list’?
The government’s traffic light system dictates which countries are safe to visit.
- If you travel to a green list country, you’ll have to take a pre-departure test before flying back to the UK. You’ll also have to book and pay for another PCR Covid-19 test on or before day 2 after your arrival in the UK. Crucially, however, you won’t have to quarantine.
- If you travel to the UK from an amber list county and you are fully vaccinated in the UK, the USA, or most of Europe, you can also follow the green list rules (though if travelling from France before 8 August, you’ll have to quarantine). Other travellers must take a pre-departure test, book and pay for a PCR test on day 2 and day 8 after arriving in the UK, and self-isolate at home for 10 days.
- Travel to the UK from a red list country is not advised. That’s because if you travel from a high-risk country, you’ll have to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days, at great expense, and take two Covid tests.
Keeping on top of the latest travel news can be difficult, and rules for entering the UK may change in the future. See the gov.uk website for the latest information.
Which countries are on the green list?
The following countries and territories are currently on the UK’s green travel list:
- Antarctica/British Antarctic Territory
- Antigua and Barbuda
- British Indian Ocean Territory
- Cayman Islands
- Falkland Islands
- Faroe Islands
- Hong Kong
- Israel and Jerusalem
- New Zealand
- Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands
- South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
- St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
- Turks and Caicos Islands
Travel news: the green list from 8 August
Following the latest travel news, from 4am on 8 August, the following seven countries will be added to the green list:
Other travel news: what else is changing?
Aside from changes to the government’s green list, in other travel news, it was announced that those returning from France from 4am on 8 August will no longer have to quarantine. As a result, it effectively puts an end to the government’s much-criticised ‘amber-plus list’.
Meanwhile, India, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE are set to move from the red list to the amber list. In addition, Georgia, Mexico and French islands Reunion and Mayotte will join the red list.
Those returning to the UK from a red list country will also have to pay more for the privilege of quarantining in a hotel. The price for single adult travellers will increase from £1,750 to £2,285 from 12 August, while additional adults will have to pay £1,430.
The government says the increase in the cost of quarantine packages, which covers transport to the hotel, accommodation, food and PCR Covid tests, more accurately reflects the costs involved.
It’s important to understand that just because the government now deems a country as being safe to visit, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can visit that country without having to quarantine, or even at all.
For example, green list counties, such as Australia and New Zealand, do not currently permit entry to UK travellers. Likewise, green list country Taiwan currently has a temporary ban on foreign nationals entering or transiting its territory.
In other words, while the UK government says countries on its green list are safe to visit, some of these countries aren’t open to taking the risk of allowing UK travellers to enter their country.
Does the travel news apply across the UK?
Travel restrictions vary and depend on which part of the UK you live in. For example, while the governments in Scotland and Northern Ireland have agreed to adopt recent changes to the green list, the Welsh government has said it is considering whether to follow the latest changes.
Wherever you live in the UK, if you do decide to travel during these uncertain times, make sure you take the time to compare travel insurance to ensure you’re covered for any Covid-related disruption.