The government has added seven destinations, including the Azores, Canada, Switzerland and Denmark to the green traffic light list, meaning travellers won’t need to quarantine after returning home. The new additions join the list from 30 August.
However, Canada is currently not allowing in British Nationals, and Denmark and Switzerland will only let in UK residents who are fully vaccinated.
Destinations around the world have been assigned a green, amber or red status based on a range of Covid-19 health metrics, including vaccination numbers, infection rates and variants.
Green list status and amber list status (if double-jabbed) means you can go on holiday there without having to quarantine when you return to England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, although you do still need to take two tests.
Each UK nation maintains their own green list, although currently the lists are almost identical. The key difference is England also operates a green watchlist.
However, before rushing into booking a holiday to a green list destination, you still need to consider the country’s entry requirements. Some green list countries or territories do not currently allow leisure travel from the UK.
Hong Kong and Australia, for instance, will not allow entry to anyone from the UK. Romania, Latvia and Slovenia have FCDO warnings against travel there, which means your travel insurance would be invalid should you visit. If you travel against government advice this could invalidate your insurance.
Thinking of booking a holiday to a green list destination? Use our holiday company checker tool to find a company with the best refund and rebooking policy
Which countries are on the travel green list?
- Antigua and Barbuda – currently on the green watchlist
- Azores (Portugal) – from 30 August
- Barbados – currently on the green watchlist
- Bermuda – currently on the green watchlist
- British Antarctic Territory – currently on the green watchlist
- British Indian Ocean Territory
- Canada – from 30 August
- Cayman Islands – currently on the green watchlist
- Croatia – currently on the green watchlist
- Denmark – from 30 August
- Dominica – currently on the green watchlist
- Falkland Islands
- Faroe Islands
- Finland – from 30 August
- Germany – from 30 August
- Gibraltar – currently on the green watchlist
- Hong Kong
- Israel and Jerusalem – currently on the green watchlist
- Liechtenstein – from 30 August
- Lithuania – from 30 August
- Madeira – currently on the green watchlist
- New Zealand
- Pitcairn Islands – currently on the green watchlist
- Saint Helena, Tristan de Cuna and Ascension Island
- South Georgia and Sandwich Islands
- Switzerland – from 30 August
- Taiwan – currently on the green watchlist
- Turks and Caicos Islands
Is it safe to book a holiday to a green list country?
It’s safer to book a country on the green list rather than the green watchlist. While green list country statuses are reviewed by the government every three weeks, countries on the green watchlist can be downgraded to amber or red at any time.
You also need to check entry requirements before booking. For example, Australia is on our green list, but it won’t allow Brits to enter the country.
Finally, check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advice. The FCDO advises against non-essential travel to most places in the world currently. The practical implication of this is that if you were to travel your travel insurance wouldn’t be valid. Currently, the FCDO doesn’t advise against non-essential travel to green list countries, but that may not always be the case when new countries are made green. If you’ve booked through a good package holiday company, you should be entitled to a refund if the FCDO advice changes after you’ve booked.
Even when countries open to UK travellers, they may still require you to provide proof of a negative PCR test on arrival (or proof of two vaccine doses). Tests are an additional cost to the holiday and each country will have different requirements. Always check entry requirements and add up the additional costs of testing to see whether it’s affordable before booking. See where to get cheap Covid-19 tests for travel.
Will vaccination expiry date rules affect my trip?
Austria and Croatia have announced a ‘maximum validity period’ for double jabbed travellers. This means that according to Austria (which is on the green list) and Croatia (which is on the green watchlist), your ‘fully vaccinated’ status only lasts up to 270 days (around nine months) from your second jab. No other EU countries have announced vaccine expiry dates. The UK government has not announced any plans for booster jabs, meaning those attempting to travel to Austria or Croatia may face problems from 270 after their second dose.
Which countries are on the travel amber list?
There are currently 140 countries on the amber list, which includes: Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Mauritius, Morocco, Poland, mainland Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Thailand and the USA.
Can I take a holiday to countries on the amber list?
Yes, but the rules and costs are different for those vaccinated and unvaccinated.
If you are fully vaccinated, you will not need to quarantine when you return home, however you will need to take a pre-departure test before your flight. You will also need to undergo a PCR test on or before day two of arriving back in the UK.
If you are not vaccinated, you’ll need to quarantine at home for a period of 10 days on your return to the UK after visiting an amber country. You’ll also need to take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on day two and day eight. Alternately, you can pay for an additional Test to Release on day five to end quarantine early. The majority of countries around the world are on the amber list.
Additionally, you need to consider the FCDO advice. If the FCDO advises against travelling to a specific amber country, you’ll find it very difficult to get travel insurance. You also need to consider whether the country will allow you to enter.
Later this summer, UK residents who are fully vaccinated won’t have to isolate when travelling from amber list countries, according to the government. No date has been announced.
Can I take a holiday to countries on the red list?
The government strongly advises against travel to red countries, except in ‘extreme circumstances’. You’ll need to pay for a 10-day stay at a government-managed quarantine hotel on your return– that currently costs £2,285 for a single adult and £1,430 for a second adult. You’ll also have to pay for pre-departure testing and PCR testing on days two and eight.
If you’re abroad when the country is added to the red list, you may need to pay for a flight home before the change takes place (with airfares likely to be very high). Alternatively, you could return as planned and pay for hotel quarantine. A good package holiday provider should offer to bring you home early, but check the terms and conditions before you book.
Should a country’s status change to red before you go, you will likely be allowed to change the date/location or get a refund. But always check your tour operator’s T&Cs before you book.
From 30 August, Thailand and Montenegro will be added to the red list. See the full list.
For advice on travelling to amber countries, read our amber list country Q&A
What happens if I book a holiday to a green list country and it’s changed to amber?
It depends. Residents of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland who have had both Covid-19 vaccinations are currently able to holiday in amber list countries without having to quarantine.
If the holiday destination you’ve booked does change to amber, and you aren’t vaccinated and don’t want to quarantine, you aren’t legally entitled to a refund if the holiday isn’t cancelled – and it often won’t be. Almost all airlines and plenty of holiday providers are still taking people on holiday to amber list destinations. Many will allow you a date or destination change if the country changes to amber from green, but not all. These amendments, while advertised as free, are usually costly because the new dates are more expensive.
A limited number of holiday companies, such as Explore, Kuoni and Trailfinders will offer refunds if your destination is changed from green to amber or red. Better airline policies, such as that from British Airways, allow you to cancel and claim a voucher.
Choose your package holiday company carefully, too. Loveholidays and On The Beach said last year that they wouldn’t offer refunds for packages if flights were still operating to a destination. Read our reviews of the best and worst holiday companies who have committed to refunds.
For more unbiased news and advice, sign up to Which? Travel