While it is still currently illegal to travel abroad from the UK for holidays (you can only travel internationally where you have a reasonable excuse to leave the UK, such as work), the British Government has set out a framework to chart the return of outbound international travel from 17 May.
The guide includes a green, amber and red 'traffic light' system, which categorises countries based on risk alongside the restrictions required for travel to protect the public and the vaccine rollout from international COVID-19 and its variants.
The traffic light system announced today, 7 May, lists Portugal, Iceland and Gibraltar on the Travel Green List.
Green: arrivals will need to take a pre-departure test as well as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on or before day 2 of their arrival back into England - but will not need to quarantine on return (unless they receive a positive result) or take any additional tests
Amber: arrivals will need to quarantine for a period of 10 days and take a pre-departure test, and a PCR test on day 2 and day 8 with the option for Test to Release on day 5 to end self-isolation early
Red: arrivals will be subject to restrictions currently in place for ‘red list’ countries which include a 10-day stay in a managed quarantine hotel, pre-departure testing and PCR testing on day 2 and 8.
Arrivals travelling from ‘red list’ countries should book a quarantine package before departure, and arrivals from ‘amber’ and ‘green’ countries will be required to book test packages before travelling from one of the government’s approved list of providers.
Key factors in the assessment included:
the percentage of their population that have been vaccinated
the rate of infection
the prevalence of variants of concern
the country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing
The framework shows how international travel will resume from 17 May 2021. This includes the removal of the 'permission to travel' form - meaning passengers would no longer need to prove they have a valid reason to leave the country.
The Government says risks posed by variants remain significant, and restrictions for inbound passengers, such as 10-day managed quarantine, home quarantine, and stringent testing will remain in place - but will apply to people differently depending on whether the destination visited is categorised as ‘green’, ‘amber’ or ‘red’.
The government says testing remains an essential part of protecting public health as restrictions begin to ease - with all arrivals who are not exempt required to book a pre-departure, day 2 and day 8 test before travelling.
Browse Green Traveller to plan for when travel starts up again, here are just a few of our most popular pages and sections: