The UK Government has updated its travel lists, adding Bulgaria and Hong Kong to the green list and Croatia and Taiwan to the green watchlist, meaning passengers arriving into England after 04:00 on Monday 19 July will no longer need to quarantine on arrival. Croatia and Taiwan have been added to the green watchlist in recognition that these countries and territories are at risk of moving from green to amber.
Due to a sharp rise in the number of cases, Ministers have also taken the decision to move the Balearic Islands and British Virgin Islands from the green watchlist to amber. All classification changes are decided by ministers. These are informed by the latest data and analysis by the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) and wider public health factors. Since the last traffic light review, the case rate has more than doubled in the Balearics.
Cuba, Indonesia, Myanmar and Sierra Leone will be added to the red list from 4am Monday 19 July. Visitors who have departed from or transited through these countries and territories in the previous 10 days will be refused entry into England. Only British and Irish citizens, or those with residence rights (including long-term visa holders), will be allowed to enter and must stay in a government-approved facility for 10 days.
Before travelling to England, everyone needs to take a pre departure test and a passenger locator form regardless of where they are coming from. If arriving from a green list destination you will also be required to take a Day 2 PCR test. Arrivals from amber list countries and territories who are not fully vaccinated will need a Day 2 and Day 8 test, and to quarantine for 10 days. The Test to Release scheme remains an option for non-fully vaccinated travellers returning from amber countries and territories to shorten their quarantine period.
The implementation date will coincide with the changes to the requirements for passengers travelling to amber countries who have been fully vaccinated. As previously announced, from 19 July the following groups will no longer need to quarantine or take a day 8 PCR test if arriving from amber countries and territories, but will still need to complete a pre-departure test before arrival into England, alongside a PCR test on or before day 2 after arrival:
– Fully vaccinated through the UK vaccination programme
– On a formally approved COVID-19 clinical trial in the UK
– People aged under 18 and resident in the UK
– These measures are subject to passengers providing proof of their vaccination status and correct test results and test package bookings to carriers in advance of travel.
Carriers will have a critical role in carrying out primary checks on all passengers before boarding, checking people have the right COVID-19 certification documents to ensure we can continue to safeguard against new variants. Anyone not complying with health measures could face a fine, and carriers will be required to ensure proper checks are carried out.
Travel continues to be different this summer, and while some restrictions remain in place passengers should expect their experience to be different and may face longer wait times than they are used to – although the Government is making every effort to speed up queues safely. We will continue to rollout e-gates over the summer, with many already in operation across airports and more to be added over the coming months.
If travelling abroad, you need to take steps to keep safe and prepare in case things change before you go or while you are there. Check the booking terms and conditions on flexibility and refunds because the situation remains fluid. Many travel firms have changed their terms to be fully flexible. Check and subscribe to FCDO travel advice updates to understand the latest entry requirements and COVID-19 rules at their destination – and passengers are advised to check all entry requirements and FCDO travel advice before they book any foreign travel.
These measures will be kept under review and be guided by the latest data. Public health remains our top priority, and we will not hesitate to act should the data show that countries risk ratings have changed.
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