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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)

  • Harry Holden says:

    This is mostly good news, but I don’t think we will ever get to feeling more normal until quarantine free travel to North America starts again. That is when schedules will be fuller and airports will feel more normal.

    My lack of belief really falls into how on earth the government can think they cannot put somebody up in a £30 per night hotel, with airline style full board food, add in minimum wage security and an Uber and cannot make a healthy profit from £1,750. OK – maybe if it was one passenger, but when they have hotels at high occupancy, somebody is coining it in. This explains everything wrong with the public sector who thinks it costs £750 to drop a bit of tarmac in a pothole. And they will have a committee meeting to prove it. Sorry to those good eggs in the public sector.

    If the government said, “in an attempt to reduce arrivals from red list countries to absolutely must travels”, I would have more respect. However, as they say to better reflect costs, you wonder which costs they are referring to.

    • JDB says:

      I really don’t think the government or even the private sector companies are making much out of this. There are so many obvious additional costs you don’t mention including now the government paying to operate T4 as the red arrivals terminal. You can’t just factor in minimum wage security; an employer has to pay NI and other fair costs to manage the staff and overheads. PCR tests to be paid for as well etc. etc. It’s a bit like saying pizza restaurants are only putting together a bit a flour, water, tomato & cheese so are making a killing selling a pizza for £12, but they aren’t (look at their accounts) and some were going bust before covid.

    • Peter says:

      I still don’t get why anyone would pay to go into hotel quarantine in the UK. There are so many third countries where you can spend 10 days instead and will be cheaper than £2000. Maybe they don’t bother researching it?

      • Rob says:

        Can’t argue … I mean, with £4,000 to spend, a couple could have a VERY nice holiday for 10 days somewhere on the Green or Amber list.

      • Russ says:

        Apparently a second person in the room now also has to pay. Hopefully rates per person per room won’t become the new norm….

      • MinR says:

        +1

        Did just that.

        Immigration officer at LHR T5 – ‘Did you spend 11 days in Spain to get round the Quarantine Restrictions because you were in a Red list country before that?

        Me – 🙂

      • Dawn says:

        Agreed – I just spent 8 weeks in Turkey and then went to Malta for 11 nights to avoid the quarantine. Had a really easy journey, came back a week ago. Was well worth it.

      • LS says:

        A colleague of mine is in Kenya, with his Kenyan wife. He is British, wife is Kenyan (with UK spousal visa). Not vaccinated (unavailable there). He has to juggle countries which will let both a UK and Kenyan national in, unvaccinated, and ideally would be on the UK Green list, so can return without quarantine. Very few options indeed. I think he is looking in to Dubai now, but that is amber, so they have to quarantine again in UK.

        • KP says:

          I’m a Kenyan living in UK and I can assure you that the vaccine is very much available in Kenya. In fact there’s an oversupply and currently no takers. Your colleagues can quite easily get the vaccine if they’re in Nairobi

    • J says:

      It would be far cheaper to fit arrivals with electronic tags and subject them to house arrest for 10 days. I wonder how many would take up that option if it were offered.

      • LS says:

        If you have a house to yourself, that would work. Otherwise, you would also have to tag everyone else in the household. For many, would not be practical. For those with a spare place, or live on their own/with who they are travelling with, it would work. But then you would have to pay to rent the tag equipment, people to monitor it, installation etc. Wouldn’t surprise me if it were £1750 for all that

        • J says:

          It was quoted at £9 per day by the Conservatives a couple of years ago when they were pushing for more electronic tagging. Obviously there’s the pandemic premium to factor in – so probably more like £200 per day…

  • Stephen Walker says:

    Anyone have any idea what the hell is going on with Canada? I did wonder given dominic raabs understanding of dover being close to calais and not really grasping that reunion island is 6000 miles from paris whether i should point out that North America isnt a country and Canada isnt part of USA!!!
    And it isnt green yet in spite of low infections, high vaccination rates etc.
    Vested interest – my fiancees family are due in from canada for our 5th attempt at wedding in mid september – her parents are flying in on 21sr aug – if they have to self isolate its not the end of the world her brother is only due in less than a week before wedding so on current rules would be stuffed.

    • John says:

      Canada doesn’t want travel to and from the UK until 7 September so are asking the UK to align with those dates

      • Stephen Walker says:

        Hi John – first time I have seen 7th Sept mentioned. Do you have a source for that? Many thanks

      • Stephen Walker says:

        https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/news/2021/07/government-of-canada-announces-easing-of-border-measures-for-fully-vaccinated-travellers.html
        Ah ok i found this. I am still confused as to why they aren’t on the green list – the Govt dont have a problem putting Australia and NZ on green list when they won’t let us in and there are plenty of others on green list who won’t either.
        The next issue I can see is when everyone gets excited about visiting the US and then discovers they are not recognising AZ vaccine or people who have mixed and matched different vaccines but that is for another day…..

        • John says:

          Because half the routes to Australia passed through red countries until recently and Australians aren’t allowed to leave for leisure, Kiwis can leave but returning is difficult. Canadians could quarantine at home

  • Peter says:

    URGENT HELP NEEDED please!

    Can any HFP people help? My sister is flying to Spain tomorrow but the Spanish Health Declaration form isn’t accepting her vaccine which was Vaxzevira 4120Z003 – one of the codes in the press from the Indian batch.

    Has anyone successfully filled in the form with ones of the affected batch codes?

    Or any advice on what to do?

    I know the press says Spain is accepting these codes but I can’t bear the thought of her being turned away without a QR code.

    (Apologies for also posting this on chat thread).

    Thanks.

    • Sean says:

      My mum filled it and traveled with no issues last week with similar indian batch vaccine.

    • ChrisBCN says:

      Are you sure that is the reason that the form isn’t being accepted? Have you tried using a different browser?

    • Dan Dodex says:

      The Spanish form does not ask for batch numbers so that is not the reason it is being rejected

      • Peter says:

        Thanks for your help everyone. So much appreciated. In the end I did a dummy run. Turns out my sister had been ticking that she had an EU vaccine certificate. I pointed out we are not in the EU. 🙄. Two hours wasted! But a holiday assured at least!!

    • Harry T says:

      It doesn’t ask for batch numbers – the type of vaccine should be in the drop down list.

  • mutley says:

    So I travel to Mexico, ( now red) stay for 14 days, then enter the US, stay for 4 days and return to UK either direct or via Amsterdam, I’m guessing as the last two countries are amber then I’m good with day 2 testing?

  • mutley says:

    sorry USA for 14 days!

  • DBEV says:

    Am i right in thinking that India going Amber is currently no good to anyone other than Indian nationals who are in the UK? Seems that India isn’t issuing visas for arrival from the UK . My business visa has run out and I have a ticket to India next week which I currently won’t be able to use as a British national.

    • KP says:

      I thought India-UK are in the travel corridor and hence youre ok to apply for a visa ?

      • DBev says:

        UK or anything appropriate isn’t on the list of nationalities list when trying to apply for an e-business visa. Hope that changes over the coming days as it’s impossible to speak to anyone regarding it.

  • Anna says:

    Why is our government incapable of banning travel for other than essential reasons to red list countries instead of faffing around with hotel quarantine?

    • JDB says:

      A great many of the red list arrivals are simply returning UK citizens or residents (non resident foreigners are not currently allowed from red list countries) many of whom have been away for a long time for many legitimate reasons. I don’t think many of those limited number of people who are flying out to red list countries to quarantine on return are doing so for holidays/fun.

    • John says:

      The government shouldn’t be banning travel anywhere unless it’s stay at home or stay within 10 miles of your home etc

      • Anna says:

        Plenty of other countries’ governments have!

        • John says:

          And those governments shouldn’t have either, or are known to disregard human rights.

  • KP says:

    Want to book BA to DUbai but can only see one flight a week. Im guessing theyll load more flights soon as it has turned amber. When can we expect them to load more flights? Want to book ASAP for Aug bank holiday !!

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