Travel traffic lights, testing and quarantine
From 17 May 2021, international travel restrictions are being lifted in England. The other nations of the UK – Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – are tracking differently but expected to ease their lockdown restrictions soon.
Travel corridors established in 2020 have been replaced with a ‘traffic light’ system that places overseas destinations onto different coloured lists – red, amber and green – based on their individual Covid-19 risks, travel requirements and restrictions.
The list a destination is placed onto is determined by factors such as its vaccination programme and progress, local infection rates, and how much of a concern known coronavirus variants are there. The higher the risk, the tighter the restrictions.
Green: the safest to travel to, with no need to quarantine on your return.
Amber: official government advice states you should not travel to countries on this list for leisure purposes.
Red: you should only travel to these countries in exceptional circumstances.
If you do travel to these countries, what you need to do on your return to the UK varies by list colour. This may include providing proof of negative Covid-19 tests or spending periods in quarantine. We’ve given an overview in the table a little further down this page.
There are also ‘watch lists’ of countries currently on one list that may move to another (for example, from green to amber or amber to red) as their risk increases. While the countries and territories in each colour group could change regularly, it’s hoped notice of at least a week will be given of any changes.
Check the rules for your country
Countries on the lists may differ between the devolved nations of the UK. You can check which countries are on which list for where you live here:
Always check the latest before you book in case you’re planning to visit a destination at risk of moving to the red or amber list. You may need to postpone or cancel your trip.
Remember, your travel insurance policy will typically only cover you if you travel to a destination the official advice indicates is safe. It won’t be valid if you travel against this advice.