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No more amber list! Here’s the UK’s new and simplified travel rules

No more amber list! Here’s the UK’s new and simplified travel rules
Image source: Getty Images


Wave goodbye to the amber list! The government has decided to scrap its traffic light system and introduce some new, simplified UK travel rules. Now there are red list countries – and nothing else.

Here’s what you need to know.

What are the new UK travel rules?

As of 4 October, there are no more green or amber lists. Instead, there is now a single red list. Plus testing rules have been eased for those travelling from non-red list destinations.

Rules for travellers from red list countries

Travellers arriving from red list destinations will still need to quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days. The cost of this is £2,285 for one adult. For a full list of red list countries, check out the gov.uk website.

Rules for travellers who are fully vaccinated

If you are double jabbed and good to go, then entering the UK has become that bit easier. Those who have been vaccinated in the UK, the EU, the US or one of 18 other recognised countries can avoid self-isolating on entry into the UK.

However, everyone (except for the under-fives) will still have to pay for a PCR test two days after arrival.

According to reports, from later in October, fully vaccinated people coming into England will no longer have to do the PCR test on day two and can just take a cheaper lateral flow test. But no specific date for this change has been announced yet.

Rules for travellers who are not fully vaccinated 

If you haven’t been vaccinated, then you are required to do the following to enter the UK:

  • A pre-departure test
  • A PCR test on day two and day eight after arrival in the UK
  • Self-isolate for 10 days at home

How does this affect your travel plans?

If you are fully vaccinated, then not much changes. Double-jabbed travellers were already able to visit amber countries without having to quarantine on their return.

However, you will still have to pay for a PCR test on day two. And with research showing that tests can add up to £876 for a family of four, your half-term break may still prove to be costly!

The big news is that vaccinations from outside the UK are now being recognised under the new UK travel rules. This could provide a welcome boost for the travel industry.

Unvaccinated travellers still have to jump through the same hoops. But with more than 80% of the population now vaccinated, travel will be much easier for the majority of us.

What else do you need to know?

It’s important to understand that these are travel rules are for the UK. Other countries are likely to have their own rules and regulations. You may find you need to quarantine or undergo testing on your arrival at your destination, no matter what your vaccination status. It may well be that you won’t be let in at all.

Therefore it is best to check out the latest FCO foreign travel news and advice before booking. This way you can avoid any surprises later on.

Speaking of surprises, taking out travel insurance can help to protect you against them. A good policy will cover medical expenses if you are taken ill abroad, or compensate you if you lose your luggage. A very good thing to have!

Finally, in our increasingly cashless society, it’s also a good idea to have a travel credit card. This is a card that doesn’t charge you a foreign transaction fee if you use it in another country or if you make a cash withdrawal. It’s a much cheaper way to spend while on holiday.

Looking for a top-notch travel credit card?

Some credit cards can charge foreign transaction fees of up to 3%. To help you sidestep those charges while travelling, we’ve assembled our top-rated travel credit cards that don’t charge you any extra fees when spending abroad.

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