HomeTravelWhich amber countries will let in British holidaymakers?

Which amber countries will let in British holidaymakers?


While the latest update of the UK’s travel traffic light system added a few holiday options to the mix, with Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway upgraded to the green list, the majority of the world’s countries remain stuck on amber.

Although recreational international travel became legal again on 17 May, holidays were previously only enticing to destinations the government designated as “green” – a scant collection of countries and territories, which came with the lightest restrictions for travellers arriving back in the UK.

Most places are on the amber list, prompting harsher restrictions for returning travellers. However, since 19 July, fully vaccinated Brits and those under 18 have been able to swerve quarantine when returning from amber countries. Double-vaccinated travellers from the US and EU can also follow green list rules instead.

But now that travel is opening up further, will an amber country let you in? Here’s what we know so far.

Am I legally allowed to travel to an amber country on holiday?

Yes – at least, from the British side of things. While the government previously advised against holidaying in any country not on the green list, recreational international travel is no longer illegal in the UK. On 19 July the government also lifted its advisory not to holiday in amber list countries.

However, the destination you’re planning on travelling to will have its own rules regarding who can enter the country. The “amber list” only refers to the restrictions travellers face when they’re entering the UK – the classification has no bearing on the outbound travel requirements. Your destination might need proof that your trip is “essential”, or may only be letting in its own citizens or residents at present: check the latest entry regulations on the Foreign Office (FCDO) destination pages.

What restrictions do I face when I come back?

Unvaccinated travellers aged 18 and over entering the UK from an amber list country face three tests and a stint in quarantine. First up, before travellers are allowed to depart for the UK, they must show a negative Covid test result. This can be an antigen test (most commonly a lateral flow) or a PCR.

They must have pre-booked a package of two PCR tests to be taken upon their return, scheduled for day two and day eight from the day they arrive into the UK. Travellers are required to quarantine at home for 10 days, although in England they have the option to pay for an extra test on day five which, if negative, allows them to cut short their self-isolation under the government’s test to release scheme.

However, fully vaccinated British adults who have had their second dose 14 days prior and children under 18 can avoid the quarantine requirement, as can double-jabbed visitors from the EU and US. Instead, they will face the same lighter restrictions as green list arrivals – one pre-departure test, and a PCR within two days of entering the UK.

Which amber countries will let in British tourists?

As the amber list comprises all but 98 of the world’s countries (60 are on the red list, 37 on the green list), it would be tricky to look at them all; we’ll focus instead on key amber tourist destinations.

Even if a country’s borders are open to British holidaymakers, the levels of restriction still vary wildly: they might require proof of vaccination or a negative test, or a period of quarantine (not ideal for tourists).

Testing or proof of vaccine

Many European amber destinations will let in Brits so long as they can show they’ve had both jabs or have taken a Covid test with a negative result within a certain timeframe before arrival, often 48 or 72 hours. However, the type of Covid test required (and the timeframe) varies from country to country.

Spain was formerly flying the banner for no-restrictions entry to British holidaymakers. However, following a surge in cases of the Delta virus variant, as of 2 July it has stipulated that UK travellers must present a negative Covid-19 test or proof of vaccination.

Greece’s current rules state that arrivals from the UK must provide one of the following: proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within the 72-hour period before arrival into Greece; proof of a negative Covid-19 rapid antigen test taken within the 48-hour period before arrival into Greece; proof of two Covid-19 vaccinations completed at least 14 days before travel; or proof of recovery from Covid-19. Travellers with one of the above are exempted from the need to self-isolate on arrival to Greece.

The UK was moved to Cyprus’ Red category on 8 July. British travellers are permitted to enter the country quarantine-free if they can show proof of having received two Covid vaccinations. Fully vaccinated travellers must still obtain a Cyprus Flight Pass, available online here. Unvaccinated travellers must complete a PCR test up to 72 hours prior to departure and submit to another on arrival. The second test must be paid for by the traveller; it costs €15 at Larnaca airport and €19 at Paphos airport, and the results are available within three hours (Larnaca) or six hours (Paphos) on the digital platform covid-testcyprus.com. Travellers can continue to their destination while waiting for results. Children under 12 are exempt from testing.

On 15 June, direct flights between the UK and Morocco resumed. You will need to provide proof that you have been fully vaccinated against Covid, with the second dose administered at least two weeks prior to travel, or a negative PCR test result before boarding your flight or ferry to Morocco. The result must show that the PCR test was undertaken no more than 72 hours before arrival. For travel by ferry, you will also need to take a test during the journey. Children under the age of 11 years old are exempt from the PCR testing requirement for entry into Morocco. However, it’s worth noting that the FCDO advice states: “Demonstrating your vaccination status from the UK is not formalised for entry into Morocco, so you should follow alternative advice for entry.”

Must be fully vaccinated

Portugal was originally on the UK’s hallowed green list but got knocked off in early June. Only Brits who are fully vaccinated are welcome in without being subject to a 14-day quarantine; however, children under 18 are exempt from quarantine if they are travelling with a fully vaccinated adult. All travellers, apart from children under 12, must have proof of a negative Covid test to travel to or through mainland Portugal. The test can be: a Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT), including RT-PCR, taken within 72 hours of travel; or an antigen test that meets the performance standards set out in the EU common list of Rapid Antigen Tests, taken within 48 hours of travel.

Arrivals to France from the UK must justify an essential reason to enter the country unless they are fully vaccinated. All unvaccinated travellers from the UK, including children aged 11 and above, will need to present a negative PCR Covid-19 test result, carried out within 24 hours before departure. Self-administered tests are not accepted. They’ll also be required to self-isolate for seven days on arrival, before taking another PCR test. Exit from this self-isolation period is subject to a negative test result. Fully vaccinated arrivals do not need to have an essential reason for travel, nor do they need to self-isolate or present evidence of a negative test – but they must carry a completed ‘sworn statement’ form self-certifying they are not suffering from symptoms associated with coronavirus and have not been in contact with confirmed cases in the preceding fortnight. This can be found on the French government’s website.

Poland introduced a seven-day quarantine for British travellers, even if they have presented a negative Covid PCR test upon arrival. However, if you are fully vaccinated, you are exempt from quarantine on arrival in Poland, but must present evidence of your vaccination at the border and 14 days must have passed since your final dose.

Brits who can prove they are fully vaccinated are eligible to enter Switzerland for any travel purpose. Unvaccinated children under the age of 18 are allowed to enter Switzerland if accompanied by fully vaccinated adults.

Quarantine

Until 30 August, those travelling to Italy from the UK must self-isolate for five days upon arrival, at the end of which they must take a rapid antigen or molecular swab test and test negative for release. In addition, if you wish to fly, you must present the airline with a negative Covid-19 rapid antigenic or molecular swab test taken no more than 48 hours before travel. Children under the age of six do not need to test but still need to self-isolate.

Won’t let Brits in

The US still isn’t admitting British travellers after a ban was originally introduced at the beginning of this year. It remains unclear when this might lift.

The Canadian authorities are barring entry to Canada, including at its border with the US, to most foreign nationals, including British nationals.

Japan is not currently admitting foreign nationals without resident status who have visited the UK within the last 14 days.

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