Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Portugal removed from the UK Green List – no countries added

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

The Government has just given it first update to U.K. travel Green List.

After a lot of speculation in the media it looks like the Green List won’t be changing much – with one massive exception. Portugal will be demoted to the Amber, which will strike a blow to many people’s holiday plans.

Seven countries are being added to the Red list. Afghanistan, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Trinidad & Tobago have all been added today.

Back to Boris Bingo, baby

The change means we are back to the rigmarole of last summer – when countries were added and removed to travel corridors at very short notice. The government promised that it would be more consistent this year, which is why it set up the ‘Green watch list’. It looks like it is scrapping that plan, however.

Whilst the Government says it is ‘following the science’ it is not clear why destinations such as the Caribbean have been snubbed, despite many countries reporting extremely low case loads.

Half of all UK adults have had both vaccinations with 75% having received their first. It appears that the Government is trying its best to disincentivise travel as much as possible, whilst still claiming that you can travel. The big casualty will be the travel industry.

Portugal was pretty much the only country on the Green List welcoming UK travellers. Removing it from the Green List will put a spanner in a lot of holiday plans.

Anyone returning from Portugal from 8th June will now have to quarantine for 10 days or pay for additional testing to release early.

This applies only to England. Different rules may apply to those who live in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but no announcements have been made yet.

Each country will be labelled ‘Green,’ ‘Amber’ or ‘Red,’ with varying entry requirements when you return to the UK.

11 countries and a number of territories are on the Green List. The next update will be in three week’s time on the 24th June.

This is how the categories are defined:

Green countries: You will need to take a pre-departure test (can be lateral flow) as well as a PCR test on or before day 2 of your return into England. You will not need to quarantine unless or take additional tests unless your tests come back positive.

Amber countries: You will need to take a pre-departure test before returning to England and must quarantine at home for 10 days, taking a PCR test on day 2 and day 8. You can choose to take an additional PCR test on day 5 under the optional ‘Test to Release’ scheme, which allow you to end your quarantine early.

Red countries: You will be subject to a 10-day quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel, with testing prior to your arrival in England as well as on day 2 and day 8. You cannot reduce your quarantine period and must pay for the hotel.

In addition to the three traffic light restrictions the Government has also promised a ‘Green watchlist’. This will be used to to indicate countries that are currently categorised as Green countries but are likely to drop to Amber or Red shortly. No countries are on this list so far – and it’s not clear whether this will be kept now that Portugal has dropped straight from Green to Amber.

Which countries are on the Green List?

Here are the countries on the initial UK Government travel Green List.

  • Australia
  • Brunei
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • Gibraltar
  • Iceland
  • Israel
  • New Zealand
  • Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
  • Singapore
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

For clarity, just because a country is on the Green List does not mean that you will be allowed to enter.

You will need to meet the local requirements regarding vaccination and/or testing.

You should be able to access your vaccination status on the NHS app.

UK green list red list

Which countries are on the Red List?

Here are the countries on the Red List. Afghanistan, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Trinidad & Tobago have all been added today. Anyone returning from these countries will be required to undertake 10 days of hotel quarantine.

  • Afghanistan
  • Angola
  • Argentina
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Bolivia
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Burundi
  • Cape Verde
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • Eswatini
  • Ethiopia
  • French Guiana
  • Guyana
  • India
  • Kenya
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Maldives
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nepal
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Qatar
  • Rwanda
  • Seychelles
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Suriname
  • Tanzania
  • Trinidad & Tobago
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

What countries are on the Amber list?

Any country or territory not listed above will be on the Amber list. This will require 10 days of home quarantine.

You can see the full Amber list on this page of gov.uk.

What are the cheapest covid testing providers?

You will not be able to use NHS testing facilities for travel: you must pay for private tests.

The cheapest PCR test at present is provided by Eurofins, from £44.90 for an at-home test kit.

You can compare all Government-approved covid testing providers on this helpful page of gov.uk.

Comment

The travel industry has been unanimous in condeming the announcement. British Airways said:

“This is incredibly disappointing and confusing news, not just for aviation but also for our customers. The UK has reached a critical point and urgently needs travel with low-risk countries, like the US, to re-start the economy, support devastated industries and reunite loved ones.

With high levels of vaccinations in the UK being matched by other countries, we should see the UK Government adding destinations to ‘green’ as soon as possible – not turning its back on a traffic light model which we were led to believe was based firmly on scientific data.”

Whilst Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic said:

“UK Government’s risk-based traffic light framework won’t provide the clarity and certainty that consumers, families and businesses need if it does not follow the data. Its own evidence shows the US and Caribbean are low risk and should be added to the ‘green list’ now. We are yet to see clear and transparent guidance on the methodology and data the Government is basing these decisions on. It shouldn’t be a state secret.

“This overly cautious approach is failing to reap dividends from the UK’s successful vaccination programme, preventing passengers from booking with confidence and restricting £23 million in economic value each day with our largest trading partner. We urge UK Government to expedite talks with the Biden administration to lead the way in opening the skies ahead of G7 next week. There is no reason to delay, given that economic recovery and 500,000 jobs are at stake.”

Comments (198)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • roberto says:

    Forgive me but whom are “we” protecting currently?

    As I seem to recall all the old farts like me who are likely to die have been vaccinated and all the whippersnappers don’t really get effected. Who is left to protect? The NHS is far from being overwhelmed from what I hear with most covid wards disbanded so we not protecting them.. If you know someone who needs protecting please ask them to stay at home so the rest of us can get on with our lives.

    Now I appreciate that this virus is one nasty mother but if youre jabbed why the heck can’t you be left to your own recognisance. Sure it’s a problem in some areas with a small number of unvacinated people but mostly you would struggle to find someone with it within a mile of where you are.

    I can see people kicking off if the 21st gets postponed – it will be the last straw after today’s announcement. Its getting to the stage where the government have nowhere else to go and what happens then?

    Rant over….

    • Magic Mike says:

      We’re protecting government ministers from the media.

    • Jamie says:

      Last year we had low cases and easy travel – and there was no vaccine. This year Britain joins Belarus in being effectively closed off from the rest of the world. I’d naively thought being fully vaccinated might allow easier travel and to skip quarantine or at least some of the testing requirements. It’s starting to feel like I will never see family living abroad.

    • John T says:

      I can’t wait to see what happens on 21 June. I certainly don’t think “all legal restrictions on social distancing will be removed” as the Government ridiculously promised months ago.

      The thing is that the Government is going to run out of reasons for keeping restrictions and the public will just start ignoring the rules. The vulnerable are vaccinated, the NHS is not overwhelmed, the death rates are low. People die of preventable illnesses in the UK every single day but we don’t hide inside because of that.

      • Rob says:

        They are already being ignored. Our WeWork office has effectively given up on mask wearing.

        • Ghosty says:

          I spent the Bank Holiday Weekend in London for a play off game and the only clue of anything different was that there were fewer ‘foreign’ tourists. Tube still busy and with lots of passengers not wearing masks.

        • bafan says:

          My gym is similar. Even the staff just keep them close by in case anyone from HQ shows up I guess.

      • AndyS says:

        [quote] as the Government ridiculously promised months ago. [/quote]

        I’m sorry but they promised no such thing. The exact wording is “By Step 4 which will take place no earlier than 21 June, the government hopes to be in a position to remove all legal limits on social contact.”

        “no earlier”. How can that be construed as a promise to happen on that date?

        “hopes”. This is totally different to “promises”.

    • PaulLTN says:

      We are being protected from ourselves.
      Early data shows that the ‘so-called’ Indian variant is causing an increase in hospitalisations, even amongst the vaccinated, and it will be 10-20 days later before we see if there’s a consequential increase in deaths. The number of under-30s being hospitalised is also up with the new-new variant. And that’s before we consider the reported Vietnam and Nepal strains and not knowing if these evade the vaccines or not. When that latter genie finally, as it is inevitable, gets out of the bottle we might really be back at square one.
      Yesterday’s reported new cases was the highest daily figure since March – make no mistake, the new variant(s) is spreading fast and the only way is exponentially up unless action is taken.

      • Rob says:

        You don’t know many things though – eg what % of vaccinated people get infected after exposure (low). The fact that the ill are under 30 is proof the vaccines work.

    • Anuj says:

      People haven’t had both jabs that’s why. Surely this is obvious?

  • Harrier25 says:

    As long as EasyJet don’t cancel our flight to Funchal next Thursday morning from Bristol then we’re still going. Having 3 extra Covid tests on day 8 is only £80 more than just booking 3 day 2 tests.

    Don’t you just love this circus of a Government….we’ll continue to let flights in from India for weeks longer than we should and let them mingle with everyone else in the airport and then punish everyone else for our total incompetence!!

    • David S says:

      And all down to Boris wanting to visit India in person for a trade deal, 60 million suffer for one persons stupid mistake

  • Anthony Edwards says:

    Can’t help but feel like Malta is being shafted by this… 75% of the population vaccinated, low cases, island, member of the Commonwealth and we’re not even playing nice with them. They’re even being lumped in the “Europe is 10 weeks behind us” narrative, when clearly it’s not true.

    • John T says:

      The green list isn’t based on science or logic. Grenada hasn’t had a new covid case since February and is still on the amber list. There is literally no covid there yet it is still considered unsafe.

      • Mrs_Fussy says:

        So an insider source who heads up data operation feeding ministers said Malta wasn’t placed in the green list because Matt Hancock thought it’s wouldn’t good look given they were taking Portugal off the green list ! He infuriates me

  • Anna says:

    Decided to bite the bullet and spend £700 on 4 Ryanair flights to Spain at the end of July. Accommodation is costing us nothing so we will do any and all PCR tests & hopefully get out on day 5.
    But yikes – how expensive is car hire?! (Unless you book via some company with terrible reviews, anyway, and they are bound to charge you for a load of damage you didn’t commit, I’ll wager).
    Might just use taxis and hotel shuttles to get round instead.
    Impressed with Ryanair actually, for £24 each on top of the base fare we got 10kg of hand luggage (fine for 4 of us), plus a small bag each, plus seat selection.
    I am going to have so many FTVs, but wood rather cancel my BA bookings and avoid LHR.

    • Anna says:

      *Would!

    • Yuff says:

      They are expecting things to pick and prices will drop when they don’t.
      I hired a car in Mallorca this week and wanted to shorten it by a day, my booking cost £61 for 6 days, 2weeks ago they wanted £303 to shorten it by 1 day. The day before I was due to collect the car it was £33 extra.
      If it hadn’t have dropped mrs yuff would have dragged herself to the airport to collect it.
      I booked it a couple of months ago originally.
      Lots of Germans here

      • Anna says:

        Thanks – I think I’ll wait and see if they blink first! Otherwise I will sell it to the OH that this is a relaxing holiday where he doesn’t have to do any driving 🤣

      • Yorkieflyer says:

        Just drop the car early no problem if prepaid

    • Joe says:

      Your Amex Platinum car hire insurance should cover the damage….!

  • Ottavio Nuccio says:

    Let’s simply call it UK entry tax. This is the new normality of returning to the UK, I’m afraid. And countries will be put on amber or red lists for at least the next decade based on how they behave with the UK. You can punish every country you don’t like, with a 2 or 3 months red list. Sanctions. Easy going. Of course as well with your immediate neighbouring countries.

  • Harry Holden says:

    Seriously, the MP’s are keeping the cases down in time for a mass green list announced just before they go on their summer jollies in July.

    As for Grant Shaps saying Portugal cases doubling, they have not. They have risen for 0.7% to 1.1%. Well below UK rates.

    The desire to be seen to be being decisive is at an all time high in this inexperienced and out of their depth cabinet.

    • David S says:

      We are in Portugal and feel far safer than in the U.K. Its a bit like assuming all of the U.K. is as bad as say Bolton

      • Anna says:

        But that’s also assuming that the whole of Bolton is equally affected – there are people who have been (for example) shielding in Bolton who pose less of a risk than an infected person in Portugal!

    • sayling says:

      He didn’t say the number of cases had doubled, he said the positivity rate had nearly doubled – a different metric, Harry

  • Arran says:

    Remember when we all thought the travel corridor mess wouldn’t happen again?

  • Andi says:

    Hi HfP. Can you give us an update on what the travel insurance situation? It seems most amber list countries are still under the FCDO ‘avoid all but essential travel’ (including Spain (except the Canaries) for example). I thought this most invalidates travel insurance policies so this would add an extra barrier for travel to amber countries beyond the need to quarantine…

    • Sam G says:

      Staysure, Battleface are two that offer cover in this scenario

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.