The UK has a traffic light system for foreign travel, categorising countries as green, amber or red based on their Covid-19 risk status.
There are 43 destinations listed as green, including latest additions Liechtenstein, Finland, Denmark, Lithuania, Switzerland, Canada and the Azores.
Here is everything you need to know about travelling to a green list country, with information on tests, entry requirements and travel insurance.
What tests do I need to take to visit a green-listed country?
Anyone travelling to a green list country must take two Covid-19 tests:
- A pre-departure test, taken 72 hours before travelling home. This can be a lateral flow or PCR test. The FCDO lists accredited testing companies for each country. You may be denied boarding if you do not have evidence of a negative Covid-19 result.
- A PCR test, taken within 48 hours of arriving back in the UK. You can find a full list of Government accredited companies here.
On top of this, each country has its own entry requirements for British arrivals, with many requiring any combination of: evidence of full vaccination (via the NHS app), evidence of recent recovery from Covid-19, or a recent negative PCR test result. We lay out the requirements of some of the major green-listed country at the bottom of this article.
Which countries are on the green list?
The following countries are on the UK’s green list, or green watchlist.
- Anguilla (green watchlist)
- Antarctica/British Antarctic Territory (green watchlist)
- Antigua and Barbuda (green watchlist)
- The Azores
- Barbados (green watchlist)
- Bermuda (green watchlist)
- British Indian Ocean Territory (green watchlist)
- Cayman Islands (green watchlist)
- Croatia (green watchlist)
- Dominica (green watchlist)
- Falkland Islands
- Faroe Islands
- Grenada (green watchlist)
- Hong Kong
- Israel (green watchlist)
- Madeira (green watchlist)
- Montserrat (green watchlist)
- New Zealand
- Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands (green watchlist)
- South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands
- St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
- Taiwan (green watchlist)
- Turks and Caicos Islands (green watchlist)
What is the green watchlist?
Countries on the green watchlist are “most at risk” of being downgraded to amber at short notice. All of the Caribbean islands on the green list have ‘watchlist’ status, plus Croatia, Madeira and Israel.
Are all green list countries open to British holidaymakers?
No. A number of green-listed countries, including Australia, Bulgaria and New Zealand, are closed to British arrivals.
Will I be insured if I travel to a green list country?
This depends on the FCDO advice for your chosen destination, which is separate to Covid-19 traffic light status. If the Government warns against non-essential travel, then your holiday insurance will likely be invalidated (check with your supplier). This information is available on the individual country pages on the FCDO website.
What is the difference between green and amber?
If you are double vaccinated, there is no difference between travelling to a green-listed country or an amber-listed country when it comes to the arrival home process. Double-vaccinated amber arrivals must also take a test before flying home, and a test within 48 hours of returning. However, most countries have different entry requirements based on your vaccination status.
When will the next traffic light update be?
Traffic light updates come every three weeks. The latest travel update was August 26, with changes coming into effect on August 30. We can expect the next travel announcement to come on Thursday September 16 or Friday September 17. The announcement is typically unveiled by Grant Shapps, via Twitter.
What will happen in the next update?
It is expected that the following rule changes are being considered in this week’s travel announcement:
- Day two PCR test changes to lateral flow, for fully vaccinated
- The pre-departure 72-hour test is dropped for fully vaccinated
- The green and amber lists could be merged, leaving only ‘OK’ and ‘red list’
- Potentially stricter rules on unvaccinated arrivals from green listed countries, including a day eight test
- A number of countries could emerge from the red list
Can countries move from green to amber?
Yes. In previous updates, destinations including the Balearic islands have been demoted from green to amber.
Can countries move from amber to green?
Yes. On August 26, countries including Liechtenstein, Finland, Denmark, Lithuania, Switzerland, Canada and the Azores were promoted to green.
Can countries move from green to red?
No country has slipped from green to red, although it is presumably possible were a country to see a sudden, significant outbreak of a variant of concern.
Which green list countries are open to British holidaymakers?
Fully vaccinated Britons can enter Switzerland. Arrivals who have not received a full course of the vaccine must have an exemption. Those who do qualify for entry must provide proof of recovery from Covid in the past six months, or a negative Covid-19 test before departure. There are no quarantine requirements for arrivals in Switzerland.
Holidays to Canada are back on from September 7, for fully vaccinated Britons. There are stipulations, of course. Under-12s travelling with double-jabbed adults are exempt from quarantine, but must still meet testing requirements (pre-entry, arrival and day eight tests). Unvaccinated travellers aged 12 and above must follow all testing and quarantine rules.
Everyone aged 12 and above must either provide proof of a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before departure, and upload to a passenger questionnaire, or show proof of full vaccination more than 14 days before travel. Health screenings on arrival, and mandatory tests for anyone who arrives in the country without evidence of a negative PCR result or vaccination.
British nationals travelling to Lithuania are exempt from pre-departure tests or self-isolation on arrival if they are fully vaccinated. Everyone else must take a PCR test 72 hours before travel, then enter a mandatory ten-day quarantine, with a test between days three and five of isolation. You can shorten isolation by taking a third PCR test on day seven. Children under the age of 12 are exempt from self-isolation and testing requirements. Children aged 12 to 16 must take a PCR test or antigen test before travel.
Switzerland handles border matters for the German-speaking microstate of Liechtenstein, meaning double-jabbed Britons can enter the country restriction free. You should report your arrival to the Liechtenstein government within two days. Unvaccinated Britons are not permitted to enter, unless they meet certain criteria.
According to the FCDO: “If you are travelling to Finland from the UK, you will need proof of being fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to arrival or a certificate of recovery from within the past six months.” Anybody who is not double jabbed will need a ‘compassionate reason’ to visit, as well as a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours prior to arrival and/or a first dose of a vaccine received at least two weeks prior to arrival – there will be further tests on arrival too.
The UK is currently rated ‘orange’ by Denmark, meaning double-jabbed Britons can visit for any reason. However unvaccinated visitors need “a worthy purpose” and must test no more than 72 hours before they enter. They must then take another test on arrival and go into quarantine for 10 days, with the option to test to release after four days.
Since July 7, Germany has designated the UK a “high-incidence area”. British travellers can enter the country for any reason if they are fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated children under 12 years of age are allowed to enter Germany if they present proof of a negative test result and travel with at least one fully vaccinated parent.
According to the UK Government, individuals who are not fully vaccinated may only enter Germany from the UK if they are a German citizen; the spouse/partner/child under 18 of a German citizen; a resident of Germany; the spouse/partner/child under 18 of a resident of Germany; serve in an important role; or have an urgent need to travel.
Further information about possible exceptions for non-residents is on the Germany’s Federal Interior Ministry website – but note that the decision on whether to allow entry in such circumstances is at the discretion of border guards. Travellers who are not fully vaccinated and do not meet one of the exemptions outlined above may not currently enter Germany from the UK.
Travellers from the UK are now permitted to enter Austria. The rules vary depending on your inoculation status. If you can prove you are fully vaccinated and can prove you received your second injection no more than 270 days before arrival, you do not need to quarantine. Unvaccinated arrivals need to provide a negative PCR test and quarantine for 10 days (with the option of it ending early if a Covid test is negative on day 5). All travellers must complete a Pre-travel Clearance Form.
Since July 15, Slovenia has stopped using its colour-coded system for international arrivals. Instead travellers may enter from anywhere as long as they are able to provide one of the following:
- A negative PCR test not older than 72 hours
- A rapid antigen test taken with 48 hours of departure
- A positive PCR test that is older than 10 days but not older than 6 months, confirming the traveller has had Covid-19 and not more than 6 months have passed since the first symptoms.
- Proof of full vaccination against Covid-19, administered at least 14 days before
Slovakia is open to fully vaccinated travellers from the UK. Everyone aged 12 and above arriving from all countries by all means of transport must register in advance of travel by completing the “Ehranica” form on the Slovak government’s website. After registering, you will receive a confirmation which you should show at the border, and the British Government recommends that you carry it with you during your stay, in case the authorities ask to see it.
Those who aren’t double jabbed are only allowed to enter Slovakia in certain cases, with full details available here.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Latvia, travellers (including children aged 12 and above), entering the country are required to present evidence of a negative PCR test taken within the 72 hours before boarding, or an antigen test, taken not earlier than 48 hours before boarding or before crossing the Latvian border. Passengers who are unable to present evidence of a negative Covid-19 test will be denied boarding or entry into Latvia. The certification must be in English, French, Russian or in the official language of the country from where the journey begins.
The UK is on Romania’s red list, which means unless you can show proof of full vaccination arrivals from Britain must quarantine for 14 days. If you’re only leaving the country again within 72 hours you can avoid quarantine if you are travelling with proof of a negative PCR test (taken within the 72 hours before departure).
Green-listed Norway accepts the English and Welsh digital NHS Covid Vaccine passport to enable Britons to visit restriction free. People from England and Wales who have been fully vaccinated can enter Norway without any mandatory testing or quarantine – the same also applies to people who have recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months.
For those who are not double jabbed entry restrictions continue to apply. You will not be allowed to enter Norway unless you meet certain exceptions and will face mandatory testing and hotel quarantine. For further details on quarantine hotels, including the cost, see the HelseNorge website.
The UK is currently on Israel’s list of countries with high risk of Covid-19. All travellers from ‘at risk’ countries must enter quarantine, regardless of vaccination status, and present a negative test to their airline.
Bars and restaurants are open again in Gibraltar and face masks are only required on public transport. What’s more, British Airways has launched flights from London City to Gibraltar.
The British Overseas Territory is welcoming both vaccinated and non-vaccinated UK visitors. If you have not yet received both doses of the vaccine, you must arrive with a negative lateral flow test, take another test within 24 hours of arrival and another for your fifth day should you be there for more than a week.
Fully vaccinated travellers must do the same, but do not need to arrive with a negative test.
Unvaccinated visitors to the Portuguese island must present a negative PCR test before departure, but those who have been fully vaccinated that is not required – instead, they must have proof of inoculation in the form of an NHS vaccine certificate. According to the FCDO: “Your airline may deny boarding if you cannot show one of these documents when you check-in for your flight. Check with your airline before you travel.” Mainland Portugal is on the amber list, not the green list.
If you can prove you are fully vaccinated or “previously recovered” from Covid-19, you must present a negative PCR taken within 72 hours of your time of departure to Iceland in order to enter. You must wait 14 days after your second vaccination dose before visiting.
New Zealand has been shut for foreign visitors for much of the past year and is unlikely to reopen to British travellers for some time. Progress had presented itself recently when a “travel bubble” with neighbouring Australia was opened.
However, any border changes will not be made until “the new year” – ie 2022 – Prime Minister Ardern announced on August 12. When the country does reopen to travel, it has been proposed that international arrivals should be assessed on their vaccination status, and whether they have travelled from a country deemed high, medium or low risk.
Despite being deemed as “safe” for travel and granted a place on the green list by the UK Government, Australia will remain closed to the majority of international arrivals for the foreseeable.
There’s is fresh hope that his could be before the end of 2021. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said Australia will reopen its borders and end lockdowns when 80 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated and Qantas has announced that it aims to restart flights to and from Britain in mid-December, in plans linked to the vaccine rollout.
However, if/when Britons are welcome, proof of a Covid-19 vaccination could be required.
Short term visitors from anywhere in the world are not able to enter Singapore without prior permission.
Only fully vaccinated people can travel to Malta from the UK (you can provide the NHS Covid app as proof). Children aged 5 to 11 can travel if they accompany vaccinated parents or legal guardians provided they provide a negative PCR test carried out within 72 hours before arrival in Malta. Children aged 12 to 18 will only be able to travel if they have proof of full vaccination, which is not offered for children aged 12 to 15 in the UK.
Britons are currently prohibited from visiting Bulgaria. The UK is categorised as a ‘red zone’ country, which means that only Bulgarian nationals and permanent and long-term residents in Bulgaria, as well as their immediate family members, will be eligible to enter the country.
Hong Kong is currently prohibiting all flights from the UK, and anyone who has been to the UK within 21 days of arrival must present a negative PCR test then quarantine for 21 days at a designated hotel.
Currently, Britons travelling to Croatia must meet one of the following criteria for entry:
- A negative PCR (taken within 72 hours before arrival at the border) or antigen test (taken within 48 hours of arrival).
- A vaccination certificate showing the final dose taken more than 14 days ago
- Proof of recovery from Covid more than 11 days and less than 180 days ago
As an additional measure for people arriving from the UK, a negative (Covid-19) test is required regardless of whether they are vaccinated or have already had a disease.
Only residents are allowed into Taiwan as it stands. Anyone entering from UK must quarantine for 14 days, with the cost covered by the authorities.
Entry to Brunei is severely restricted. Anyone seeking to enter or exit Brunei must apply for a permit from the Prime Minister’s Office at least eight working days before the intended date of travel. Travellers to Brunei will need to provide a negative Covid-19 RT PCR test on arrival, obtained within 72 hours of travel. Travellers who are given permission to enter Brunei will need to go into quarantine on arrival at a government-designated facility (usually a local hotel).
According to the FCDO: “All UK resident travellers to the Faroe Islands must have a worthy purpose to enter in line with the Danish government’s stricter requirements.” Regardless of your vaccination status you must have a negative test at least 72 hours before departure and self-isolate for 10 days after arrival in the Faroe Islands – even if the test taken at arrival is negative. You can leave quarantine after a negative PCR test, taken no earlier than on the fourth day.
Current visitor restrictions mean tourists are not permitted to visit the Falkland Islands, including via cruise vessels. Any arrivals are expected to self-isolate for a period of 14 days.
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands has restricted access and visitor permits are required.
Saint Helena, Ascension & Tristan da Cunha
All arrivals must have had a negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours prior to departing for St Helena. Arrivals are subject to compulsory quarantine for 14 days. There are no other entry restrictions in force and foreign nationals are permitted to enter St Helena provided they meet the immigration rules.
Entry requirements in Anguilla remain strict. Only fully vaccinated travellers are allowed to enter the country. You must apply for permission at ivisitanguilla.com and submit a negative PCR test from a taken three to five days before departure.
Antigua and Barbuda
Restrictions, including testing and screening on arrival, apply to all visitors to Antigua and Barbuda regardless of vaccination status and ultimately it is the decision of the Quarantine Authority on who must self-isolate or quarantine on arrival.
According to the FCDO: “All travellers from the UK must present on arrival a valid Covid-19 PCR negative test result taken no more than three days in advance of your flight’s arrival.” Rules then vary depending on inoculation status. If vaccinated: “On arrival, you will undergo a rapid PCR test either at the airport or at your government-approved accommodation. You will need to remain on the premises of your accommodation and follow the quarantine rules until you receive the results of your second test. The government aims to return results within 24 hours but it is recommended that you book two nights’ accommodation.” Those who are not vaccinated will be quarantined, with the requirement to wear a tracking bracelet, until they undergo a second PCR test on day five – if negative they will be allowed out onto the island.
According to the FCDO: “Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, all visitors from a country classified by the WHO as having community transmission of Covid-19 (including the UK) will need to apply for a Bermuda Covid-19 Travel Authorisation 1 to 3 days before departure. By applying for a Travel Authorisation, visitors and residents agree to comply with Bermuda’s quarantine and public health laws instructions at all times.” All arrivals face quarantine and further testing but rules vary depending on vaccination status and test results. Further information can be found on the local Government website.
British Antarctic territory
If you feel so inclined to spend your holiday in the Antarctic then you may need a valid permit, which can be obtained from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office in London. Apart from that and the distance, and the harsh landscape, nothing stands in your way.
Airports in the Cayman Islands are closed to all scheduled inbound and outbound international passenger flights until further notice.
Holidaymakers are welcome in Dominica, regardless of their vaccination status, but rules do apply. The FCDO states: “All travellers from the UK must present on arrival a valid COVID-19 PCR negative test result taken no more than 72 hours in advance of your flight’s arrival. Arriving passengers must complete an online questionnaire 24 hours before arrival. The PCR test result must be uploaded and submitted with the questionnaire so that your arrival can be approved by email from the Dominican Ministry of Health. Without this email you will not be allowed to board the flight coming into Dominica.” Fully vaccinated travellers face further screening on arrival to avoid quarantine, while those without two jabs must isolated at a government facility for five days, when a negative test can permit them to leave.
Good news for vaccinated travellers heading to Grenada – “Persons providing proof of full vaccination will only be required to quarantine for up to 48 hours, pending a negative result from a PCR test, administered on entry, and paid in advance.” All travellers must pre-book approved accommodation for quarantine on arrival.
All travel to or from Montserrat is via Antigua, which is now on the green list. If you are travelling to Montserrat you must comply with Antiguan entry requirements – see above.
The borders on Pitcairn are still closed to all visitors.
Turks and Caicos Islands
Holidaymakers will find eased restrictions in Turks and Caicos. The FCDO explains: “Anyone arriving to the Turks and Caicos Islands is required to obtain pre-travel authorisation via the Turks and Caicos Islands Assured Portal.” This includes a negative test, proof of travel insurance with Covid cover and a health screen questionnaire.
The 62 hotel quarantine red list countries are:
- South Africa
- DR Congo
- Cape Verde
- French Guiana
- The Philippines
- Sri Lanka
- Costa Rica
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Dominican Republic
- Sierra Leone
- La Reunion