International Travel Resumes

The Traffic Light System

As of today, May 17th, foreign travel will begin to resume with new international travel regulations in place. The traffic light system introduced by the Government splits countries into either Green, Amber or Red dependant on their level of coronavirus cases. These classifications establish the restrictions that people will face when travelling from these countries into the UK and will be reviewed every three weeks. These rules apply to everyone apart from those in job roles which are on the Governments exemption list. This includes roles such as drivers of goods vehicles, infrastructure workers and those who can evidence that the critical nature of their work cannot be done remotely. Social distancing measures will remain in place in airports and travellers are advised to expect longer queues at borders as thorough checks are carried out to prevent new coronavirus strains from entering the country.


The Green List

There are 12 countries on the green list including Australia, Portugal and Singapore, among others. Travel from these countries requires individuals to complete a passenger locator form, take a PCR COVID-19 test before returning to England and another within two days of arrival. Destination countries may also have different restrictions in place, so you must check their entry requirements before travelling.

The Amber List

People are advised to avoid leisure travel to amber listed countries. However, if travel is necessary, additional restrictions apply. Travelling from an amber listed country requires individuals to self-isolate for ten days and take three PCR COVID-19 tests; one before departure, one with two days of arrival in England and a third eight days after arrival in England. You also have the option to do a test on the fifth day and may end your isolation if it is negative.

The Red List

Only British nationals will be permitted entry into England from any country on the red list. Travellers will be required to quarantine for ten days in a government approved hotel costing £1750, in addition to the same testing requirements applied to amber listed countries.


The Government has suggested that more countries will move into the green and amber lists as more people receive the vaccine over the coming months. The lists will be updated every three weeks, essentially giving people three weeks’ notice, for countries moving between categories. This means you will have time to rearrange plans should your intended destination move into the red list, for example. Most travel companies are offering flexibility in regards to this so that you can change your booking as the Government are advising that you do not travel to an amber or red listed country unless it is essential. Some travel insurance policies may also be void when travelling to red listed countries so travellers must choose policies carefully to protect themselves.

Click here for the full traffic light system of countries.