Foreign holidays became legal again in England on 17 May, with countries assigned a colour of red, amber or green under a traffic light system.
The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, announced the destinations that would be initially designated green and red, with the rest of the world falling into the “amber” category.
The 43 “Red list” countries are deemed the most high risk when it comes to coronavirus, and come with the tightest rules to match: travellers arriving to the UK from these countries must pay to spend 11 nights in a quarantine hotel and take PCR tests on days two and eight.
According to Shapps, red list countries are “those which should not be visited except in the most extreme of circumstances”.
The 12 “Green list” countries have the lightest restrictions on entry back into the UK, with no quarantine imposed and travellers merely required to take one PCR test within two days of arrival.
“Amber list” countries – which include the US and most of Europe – require arrivals to self-isolate at home for 10 days and pay for two PCR tests, one on day two and one on day eight.
All travellers must show proof of a negative Covid test – PCR, rapid antigen or lateral flow – before departure to the UK.
There has been much confusion over whether leisure travel to amber countries is allowed. Boris Johnson has advised against it, saying during PMQs: “It is very, very clear – you should not be going to an 'amber list' country except for some extreme circumstance, such as the serious illness of a family member. You should not be going to an 'amber list' country on holiday.”
However, there is no longer a legal ban; travellers do not have to prove an essential reason for flying to an amber list country, nor can they be fined for doing so. Some holiday companies, including the UK’s largest tour operator Tui, are still offering holidays to amber list countries. Tui said: “We will be travelling to some countries that are classified as amber where borders are open, FCDO advice allows travel and there is no quarantine on arrival in the country that can’t be forgone with a Covid test.”
Popular holiday destinations the amber category include Spain, Italy, France and Greece.
It’s been predicted that most European destinations could be moved to the green list in June as infection rates hopefully fall; the lists are due to be updated every three weeks.
Travel consultant and CEO of the PC Agency Paul Charles has previously said: “We believe Europe will mostly turn green by end of June, as will the USA.”
Here are the countries that are currently amber (this list is not exhaustive; if your destination is not on the green or red list, it should be classified as amber):
Akrotiri and Dhekelia
Antigua and Barbuda
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba
Bosnia and Herzegovina
British Antarctic Territory
British Indian Ocean Territory
British Virgin Islands
Central African Republic
Czech Republic (Czechia)
Greece (including islands)
The Occupied Palestinian Territories
Papua New Guinea
Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands
Sao Tome and Principe
Spain (including the Balearics and Canary Islands)
St Kitts and Nevis
St Martin and St Barthélemy
St Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
Turks and Caicos Islands
United States (USA)
Wallis and Futuna