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Government reveals green list as it confirms travel restart date

The UK government’s green list countries for ‘safe’ overseas travel as part of its traffic light system for international travel has been revealed.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps confirmed ovearseas travel can resume from May 17 in a Downing Street briefing this evening – meaning international travel for leisure will no longer be illegal from that date.

The 12 destinations and territories making the green list for travel after May 17 are: Portugal (including the Azores and Madeira); Australia; New Zealand; Singapore; Brunei; Iceland; Faroe Islands; Gibraltar; Falkland Islands; Israel (and Jerusalem); South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands; and St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.

These destinations will move to green from the amber list at 4am, May 17. Arrivals in England before then need to follow the amber list rules.

Turkey, the Maldives and Nepal will be added to the red list from 4am on Wednesday, May 12.

The green watchlist is yet to be confirmed and the government said people “should not be travelling to ‘amber’ and ‘red’ countries for leisure”.

All other destinations, except for those already on the red list, will be classified as amber.


More: Shapps says green list ‘necessarily cautious’

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Mixed response to list from trade

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The traffic light lists will be updated every three weeks, the DfT confirmed. It said: “These regular review points will allow the government to balance helping the public to understand Covid requirements when travelling to England while allowing us to constantly evaluate the risk for different countries.”

Arrivals from green list countries will need to take a pre-departure test before their return flight as well as a PCR test on or before day two of their return to the UK 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, a PCR test on day two and day eight, with the option for Test to Release on day five to end self-isolation early.

Those arriving from red list countries will be subject to a 10-day stay in a managed quarantine hotel, pre-departure testing and PCR testing on day two and eight.

The confirmation of the Department for Transport’s traffic light lists indicates that they will not be aligned with Foreign Office (FCDO) travel advice.


More: Trade bodies urge clarity over Foreign Office travel advice


Passenger Locator Forms will remain in place for all arrivals into the UK, and the DfT warned travellers “may notice longer than usual queues” but said “it is vital we maintain our stringent border checks” to keep variants out of the UK.

However, the government also committed to “increasing Border Force resources to manage increased demand”.

The DfT also confirmed that individual countries will decide whether they require proof of Covid vaccination for entry, and that it is the traveller’s responsibility to check individual requirements.

It clarified: “If needed, people in England who have both vaccine doses will be able to demonstrate their Covid vaccination status via the NHS app from May 17.”

Those without access to the NHS app can request a letter from the NHS proving their vaccination status by calling 119, from May 17.

Test results will not be stated in the app and the process for booking and presenting test results for travel remains unchanged.

The UK government said it is working with the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure this facility is available to everyone across the UK. It currently only applies to England.

Shapps said: “Today marks the first step in our cautious return to international travel, with measures designed above all else to protect public health and ensure we don’t throw away the hard-fought gains we’ve all strived to earn this year.

“This is a new way of doing things, and people should expect travel to be different this summer – with longer checks at the borders, as part of tough measures to prevent new strains of the virus entering the country and putting our fantastic vaccine rollout at risk.”

MoreShapps says green list ‘necessarily cautious’

Don’t book without a refund guarantee and expect queues at the border

Mixed response to list from trade

Aviation sector bemoans ‘missed opportunity’

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