What are the new traffic light rules for leisure travel?

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Holidays abroad are now allowed, but only travel to amber list countries in “exceptional circumstances”. In addition, countries have their own rules in place for UK visitors. 

WHAT ARE THE UK’S RULES FOR INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL?

People in England, Scotland and Wales are now able to take foreign holidays. For Wales, going abroad is only advised for ‘essential’ reasons, and Northern Ireland lifts its restrictions on Monday.

Anyone returning from red, amber and green list countries will have to follow associated rules, even vaccinated travellers.

The Governments traffic light list will be updated every three weeks.

ARE THERE RULES FOR OTHER COUNTRIES?

Before travelling, holidaymakers must check their destination is admitting tourists. This is the responsibility of the traveller.

From 24 May, Spain is lifting restrictions for UK travellers, and visitors will not need to show a PCR test upon arrival.

GREEN LIST COUNTRY RULES

Holidaymakers can visit without having to quarantine on return. The green list currently only covers a small number of destinations. Of these, only Portugal and Iceland are currently accepting UK tourists.

If returning from a green list country, you must:

• take a Covid-19 test before departure and have proof of a negative result
• book and pay for a test for day two after your return
• complete a passenger locator form

You do not need to quarantine on arrival unless your day two test is positive, or NHS Test & Trace informs you that you have travelled with someone who has tested positive.

AMBER LIST COUNTRY RULES

Most countries are currently on the amber list, including many popular holiday destinations. Travel to these destinations is legal, but the government has made clear that this should not be for leisure purposes.

Many holiday packages to amber countries do not offer a refund or exchange.

If returning from an amber list country, you must:

• take a Covid-19 test before departure and have proof of a negative result
• book and pay for a Covid-19 test on days two and eight after your return
• complete a passenger locator form
• quarantine for 10 days at home or the place where you are staying

It may be possible to end quarantine early if you pay for a further private Covid test through the test-to-release scheme.

RED LIST COUNTRY RULES

All red list countries have been identified as the highest risk from Covid, and should not be visited “except in the most extreme of circumstances”. Dozens of countries are included in the red list.

If returning from a red list country, you must:

• take a Covid-19 test before departure and have proof of a negative result
• complete a passenger locator form
• self-isolate for 10 full days in a government-approved quarantine hotel, which you must book and pay for in advance

Rates for these hotels are:

• 10 days (11-nights) for one adult in one room – £1,750
• Additional rate per adult (or child over 11) – £650
• Children aged five to 11 – £325

You can be fined £10,000 or jailed for providing inaccurate details.

Traffic light system for arrivals

DO I NEED A COVID TEST BEFORE I LEAVE THE UK?

Each country has its own entry requirements, so check the FCO advice page before departure.

Requirements can include passenger locator forms and a PCR test proving you are fit to fly. The government website has a list of test providers, from £50 to £120.

You may also need a PCR test or an alternative before returning home. There are approved suppliers for some countries, ask your Travel Management partner.

USEFUL LINKS

MIDAS Travel consultants advise all travellers and bookers on any changes affecting their trips. Should MIDAS clients wish to find out more, please contact your travel team. For any other enquiries, get in touch.

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