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Please Note: information is correct at time of writing and we endeavour to update this page as changes are announced but we strongly advise you to check the information about your specific destination on the Gov.uk Official Foreign Travel Advice Page before booking tests and travel arrangements.


Last updated 17:27, 7th May 2021

Which pre and post travel tests do I need for Green, Amber and Red Routes (England only) when non-essential travel is allowed after May 17th?

  • Green routes require all travellers to take a PCR Test both before they leave, a test before they fly home and a Day 2 PCR Test after arriving back in England. Travellers will only be required to quarantine if their test shows a positive result. 

  • Current Green Destinations include: Portugal, Israel and Gibraltar. Check the full Green List on the Government website.

  • Most travel routes are currently categorised as Amber. For Amber routes, travellers will need to take a PCR Test before they depart, then when they come back, they will be required to go into a 10 day quarantine at home and take PCR tests on Day 2 and Day 8.

  • There is also the possibility of choosing to take an additional test on Day 5 of your quarantine, which is being called a 'Test to Release', and if that comes back as negative, you’ll then be able to cut your quarantine short, You will still need to take and return your Day 8 Test.

  • Amber status countries currently include the USA, Germany, Greece, France, Spain and China. You can check the full list on the Government website here.

  • Travel destinations where the data indicate either a very high level of current COVID-19 cases or a variant of concern that the Government is keen avoid are categorised as Red, and the government advised 'extra caution' against visiting them. These destinations require a pre-departure PCR Test and require a strict hotel quarantine for 10 days when you arrive home. You will also need to perform the Day 2 and Day 8 PCR tests before ending your quarantine, with no option to 'Test and Release' early on Day 5. Destinations currently designated Red include: India, South Africa, Brazil, the UAE, Turkey, the Maldives and Nepal. You can check the full list of Red destinations on the Government Website.

  • For all of these routes...

    ...you may also require tests when you land in your holiday destination and before you leave to come home – you can check these requirement for each individual country on the Government Foreign travel advice website.

Border News

  • In the UK, passengers will soon be able to use digital passenger locator forms when they return from abroad.
  • From 17 May, people in England who are fully vaccinated will be able to demonstrate their vaccination status for outbound international travel. Other countries or territories determine their own border health rules, which may include COVID-19 vaccination status. Check the entry requirements for your destination before travelling.
  • When you arrive in England, you need to follow the rules for the highest risk country or territory that you have been in or passed through in the previous 10 days. That can include transit stops.

What do we know so far about Vaccine Passports?

  • Many countries are in the process of developing their own vaccine passport systems for travel and events. In Denmark, for example,  a digital app on your phone, which shows whether you have had a negative test result within the last 72 hours, a certificate of vaccination or proof of a previous infection two to 12 weeks earlier is currently being accepted as proof that someone is safe to enter a public venue or large event.
  • Canada looks set to back coronavirus ‘vaccine passports’ to allow residents to travel internationally, according to the country’s health minister.
  • In parts of the US, it is reported that similar schemes are being attempted  at state level, although a number of states are against the idea of vaccine passports, citing concerns about privacy and personal freedom.
  • The EU is reportedly aiming for a scheme that would apply across the bloc - and the European Parliament is making progress towards agreeing what that will look like.
  • More information on the various pilots schemes being trialled across the world can be found in Business Traveller's recent feature.

What can we expect travel to look like this summer?

  • Travel from England, for leisure purposes or to visit family abroad, was given the go ahead to restart on 17th May. Where you are travelling to and from will determine which tests you need to take and whether or not you need to quarantine when you come back; these travel destinations are being grouped into Green, Amber and Red categories – which the so-called traffic light system. Just because travel to a destination is allowed, it does not meant the country in question is currently accepting visitors, so do check entry requirements on the Government Website.
  • Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says Green List countries will be placed on a "watch list" if there are any concerns, and the government will not hesitate to withdraw their green status.
  • We also know that individual islands are going to be treated separately from mainland countries, which means that island holiday destinations will be considered on a case-by-case basis, rather than the government imposing a blanket colour category to countries and all of their islands and territories.
  • We’ve also been told that the Government intends on moving countries between colour statuses every three weeks, rather than weekly to hopefully avoid some of the disruption that was caused by last minute status changes last year. 

Please Note:

Information is correct at time of writing and we endeavour to update this page as changes are announced. We strongly advise you to check the information about your specific destination on the Gov.uk Official Foreign Travel Advice Page before booking tests and travel arrangements.