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Travel list changes announced – UAE and France return to Amber, Spain remains Amber

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With slightly obscure timing, the Government tweeted out changes to the Green, Amber and Red travel lists at 10pm on Wednesday.

The big news for many is that France, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have moved to the Amber list. This means that Middle Eastern holidays are back on this Autumn for anyone in England who is fully vaccinated, and France is once again open for British tourists.

Green and Amber travel list changes unveiled

Here are the changes in full:

Good news:

  • Moving from Amber to Green: Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania, Norway
  • Moving from Red to Amber: India, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE
  • Moving from Amber Plus to Amber: France

Bad news:

  • Moving from Amber to Red: Georgia, Mexico, La Reunion, Mayotte

These changes take effect from 4am on Sunday 8th August.

It is important to remember that just because a country is on the Green or Amber list, it does not mean that England residents are allowed to enter. You should check the entry requirements on gov.uk.

With Amber being the same as Green for fully vaccinated travellers, the set of seven countries moving to Green has minimal impact for most people. I believe that Latvia and Slovakia are the only two countries which will admit unvaccinated visitors from England without quarantine.

Moving France back onto the Amber list opens up the country for tourism again, although you need to question the wisdom of moving it in the first place if it can be moved back so quickly.

Sean Doyle, British Airways CEO, said in a statement:

“This week we’ve witnessed emotional airport scenes as restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers from the US and EU were finally lifted, allowing loved ones to safely reunite.

“We welcome more low-risk countries being added to the Green list but urge the Government to go further, end uncertainty and allow people to benefit from our world-leading vaccination programme. The UK’s economic recovery is reliant on a thriving travel sector and right now we’re lagging behind Europe, with our more stringent testing requirements and a Red list significantly broader than our European peers.”

Green and Amber travel list changes unveiled

Extra testing ‘suggestions’ for Spain

It is reported that arrivals from Spain are “advised” to take a PCR test rather than a lateral flow as a ‘fit to fly’ test before boarding an aircraft back to the UK. This has no legal impact and simply adds additional complexity and confusion.

Current testing requirements

These are the testing and quarantine requirements currently in place:

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.  Returnees who are double vaccinated at least 14 days before they return from an Amber country, plus any accompanying children under 18, are treated as if returning from a Green country.

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.

Red list quarantine is going up by £500

In a further attempt to discourage people returning from Red list countries, the cost of quarantine is going up from £1,750 to £2,285 from 12th August. A 2nd adult staying in the same room will be an additional £1,430.

For most people it will be cheaper – and far more pleasant – to spend 10 days in a Green or Amber list country on your way back to England from a Red list country.

You can find out more about the list changes on gov.uk here.

Comments (218)

  • Charlie says:

    Anyone have any information on whether Egypt are heading in the right direction? I’ve got a holiday booked for November and was hoping they would be at least Amber by then….. thanks

  • Dave says:

    So looks like I can finally relax ever so slightly and think my holiday to Germany in two weeks will happen. I’m fully vaxxed up so think that just means a test to fly home and then a day two day test. Trying to do it the cheapest possible way.

    Thinking Qured for fit to fly home and taking it with me.

    Then Randox for day two unless anyone has found cheaper?

    • Rob says:

      Hope you have no kids aged 12-18 ….

    • Peter says:

      There are loads of free rapid tests in Germany – not need to take a test kit with you.

    • Gavin says:

      The Expert Medical at home day 2 test is cheaper, £35.99 including postage. I’ve read that the results are slow to come but that doesn’t matter for the day 2 test. There’s a list of providers on the UK government website, some are even cheaper but require collection/drop off at specific places. I also saw some £20 day 2 tests for NHS workers.

  • Sarah says:

    Do you need to be vaccinated to go to Dubai? Thank you

    • Rob says:

      You need to be vaccinated to come back, as Amber means 10 days quarantine otherwise.

      I think Dubai is happy with just a PCR test.

      • Duncan Orr says:

        Rob
        2 vaccinated Adults and an unvaccinated 16 year old go to Dubai, are we saying the 16 year old needs to quarantine on their own upon return??

        • Rob says:

          No, kids under 18 are exempt as long as travelling with vaccinated parents.

          This may – however – now change given that 16 years olds can be vaccinated, starting next week. It would be sensible for the Government to say that 16 and 17 year olds should quarantine if they refuse to be vaccinated.

          Your risk is that the rule changes before your 16 year old can have both jabs although that would be a bit illogical. You would expect that the Government would give 16/17 year olds three months or so to get double jabbed.

  • James says:

    Is antigen test acceptable for a day 2 test upon return to the U.K from Germany?

    Thanks.

    • Rob says:

      Germany is immaterial, same rules apply to all.

    • Will says:

      Slightly Les’s diplomatically than Rhys.

      RTFM…

      “ 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”

      That’s a citation directly from the article that Rob/Rhys very helpfully bothered to write.

  • Patrycja says:

    Good morning,

    Does anyone know of a website that outlines the rules of travel between EU countries?

    I am planning a trip to Croatia and then from Croatia to Poland.

    Does anyone know if there are any tests requirements travelling between these two countries?

    Many thanks!

  • mike says:

    How is India on the amber list, its the 2nd most infected country in the world and increasing in infections. The delta variant came from India too, wow we are truely doomed

    • Rob says:

      There was an interesting piece in The Times last week about why Delta is potentially the ‘last’ major variant. Nothing new has appeared in the last few months that takes ground from Delta and there is a limit as to how far it can change without losing power.

      You also seem to have forgotten that the previous major variant came from Kent 🙂

      • mike says:

        dont think so, variants will be popping out left right and centre to keep us all in a lockdown. funny how there wasnt any variants before the vaccine

        • Rob says:

          Sure we can arrange a debate between you and the eminent scientist that wrote The Times article … 🙂

          • mike says:

            no that wont be a good idea, i might give the scientist good ideas to dupe the public on

          • Dave1985 says:

            Everyone is an amateur scientist these days Rob!

        • Dave1985 says:

          Have you ever used the word “plandemic” mikey? 🤣

        • Dave1985 says:

          There’s no lockdown in England Mick. Freedom day was almost three weeks ago!

      • Mrs_Fussy says:

        I, for one, am extremely and selfishly pleased that India is off the RED list and can now visit my family in almost 2 years. Although, its totally political that India comes off but Pakistan and Maldives dont !

  • David D says:

    Quite annoyed that India etc are off the red list but South Africa is not..

    • mike says:

      what do they know??? oh yes rishi needs to send his father in law’s cronies to take over the UK IT job market

    • Anna says:

      Also Pakistan is still red but surely you can travel from there to India?!

      • mike says:

        Should be off the red list soon as Pakistan has been vaccinating its population at 1 million adults per day.

  • MilesOnPoint says:

    Whilst it’s good to see Austria on the green list, UK citizens can still not enter Austria unless for “essential reasons”. What do we think the likelihood is that this will be lifted by September/October? (For fully vaccinated visitors from UK)

    • GeorgeJ says:

      Austria are going the other way, they are now requiring arrivals from some Schengen countries to be tested (Netherlands, Cyprus & Spain).

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