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14 Jan 2022

France lifts UK travel ban

Travellers from the UK will no longer need an essential reason to enter France
woman at airport

France has now eased its restrictions on fully vaccinated tourists from the UK

Fully vaccinated travellers from the UK will be required to take a privately purchased Covid test (PCR or lateral flow) less than 24 hours before arriving in the country.

However, if travellers are unvaccinated, they must have an essential reason to travel (and include this on their international travel form), and self-isolate on arrival in France for 10 days. They'll also need to provide a negative PCR or antigen test result taken within 24 hours pre-departure if aged 12 years and over; provide contact details and accommodation address via an online form; and complete a 'sworn statement' (declaration sur l'honneur).

The news follows Germany's lifting of restrictions on 4 January for those who are fully vaccinated or have an essential reason for travel.

Hong Kong introduced measures which prevented most travellers from the UK from entering on Sunday 9 January, and these currently remain in place.

My holiday plans are affected by my destination's entry requirements, what should I do?

Don't rush to cancel your holiday and / or flights, or you could lose your money. If your holiday is a package holiday, contact your provider to discuss your options. Any decent operator should offer you the opportunity to postpone your holiday or move it to a new destination fee-free, and some may offer you a refund.

Your flights may or may not be cancelled by the airline. If they are, you'll be entitled to your money back. If not, contact the airline to discuss your options.

Can I travel to any country on the UK's green list?

All of the countries previously on the UK's red list have been moved onto the green list, but it's not just the UK's travel rules you need to consider

When the traffic light system was introduced earlier this year, destinations around the world were assigned a green, amber or red status based on a range of Covid-19 health metrics, including vaccination numbers, infection rates and variants. The amber classification has now been removed, leaving just a green list and red list.

Fully vaccinated travellers can holiday in green list destinations without having to quarantine when they return to England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, although you do still need to take day 2 tests on return, and any other additional pre-departure or arrivals tests required by the destination. Each UK nation maintains their own green list, so check your nation's devolved government site for up-to-date information.

But before rushing to book 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. While the FCDO has warnings against travel to areas in India, Egypt and Turkey, for example. If you travel against government advice this could invalidate your insurance.

Which countries are on the travel green list?

All of the world's countriesare currently on the green list.

More details on the travel traffic light system

Is it safe to book a holiday to a green list country?

woman on laptop

There are a few other considerations before deciding whether a green list destination is suitable for a holiday - and it's always worth noting that a country's green status could change with little or no notice.

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) warnings so that you don't travel against government advice and invalidate your insurance.

Even when countries open up 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.

Since the spread of the Omicron variant, countries across the world have stepped up their travel restrictions with Spain banning unvaccinated British tourists from entering the country from December 1, for instance. Meanwhile Portugal has reinstated further testing.

See where to get cheap Covid-19 tests for travel.

Will vaccination expiry date rules affect my trip?

Austria, Croatia and Switzerland have announced a 'maximum validity period' for double jabbed travellers. This means that according to those countries , your 'fully vaccinated' status only lasts up to 270 days (around nine months) from your second jab.

Your validity can be extended by a further year with a booster shot for Croatia and Austria, but Switzerland hasn't set out its rule on boosters. Travellers who haven't had a booster shot must follow the entry rules for unvaccinated travellers, and for Austria, Croatia and Switzerland that means providing a negative PCR test before travel.

plane taking off

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.

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