Travel restrictions are changing for some travellers again – so keep up to date with our guide to the latest rules.
Every three weeks, ministers review the traffic light system that grades countries across the world on their case, vaccine and variant rate, then decide on changes to the green, amber and red list.
Those decisions were announced on Wednesday and will come into force from 4am this coming Sunday. They will initially apply to England only, with the devolved administrations considering whether to follow suit.
It is mostly good news for travellers, with no countries taken off the green list that means passengers do not need to quarantine when they arrive in the UK – regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated or not.
New countries added to the green list are: Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway.
Several places that have been on the red list for some time are also being upgraded to the amber list: India, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE (which includes Dubai and Abu Dhabi). This means anyone double-jabbed can avoid isolating, while those who have not had both doses still need to quarantine for up to 10 days at home. France was also moved from the “amber-plus” list to the regular amber one.
However, there was some bad news, with Georgia, Mexico, La Reunion and Mayotte added to the red list – meaning incoming travel for all but UK residents and nationals is banned, who themselves must quarantine in a hotel for 11 nights.
The cost of a quarantine hotel is rising substantially, in a move that will put off those allowed to still travel to the UK from red list countries from coming even more.
From 12 August, the cost for one adult will rise from £1,750 to £2,285, while the additional rate for further adults or children over the age of 11 in the same party will rise from £650 to £1,430. Kids over five will still pay the same rate of £325.
The mooted “amber watchlist” that ministers were considering introducing has been officially killed off. This would have been for countries at risk of going red, to warn travellers in advance of any changes. Despite some initial support from the Foreign Office and Department for Transport, other cabinet ministers, Tory MPs and aviation industry figures said it would have complicated the traffic light system further by adding a sixth tier – and put more people off heading abroad.
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Sun-seekers and those who have waited 18 months to see family and friends have largely welcomed the opening up of travel further.
However, Tory MPs have targeted the expensive testing regime that passengers are still required to fork out for, and demanded the government does more to bring the prices of these down.
A Labour MP, Yasmin Quereshi, has also hit out at Pakistan not being moved to the amber list after India was. She said the reason for red list changes seemed political, with ministers deciding to move Qatar and the UAE because they are richer countries, and India was seen as a significant trade target.
Quereshi added Pakistan was “not a country that was going to achieve our rates of vaccination” and so it was “complete discrimination” not to move the country to the amber list.