UK Moves Cautiously To Reopen International Travel

In case you were wondering both Canada and the U.S. are on the Amber list of the United Kingdom’s new travel traffic light list as that country makes cautious moves towards reopening for international travel.

The UK government in announcing the new system said that given that the virus is still spreading in many parts of the world, people should not be travelling to amber and red countries for leisure.

And it said that 10-day managed hotel quarantine requirements will remain in place for those permitted to return to England from ‘red’ countries, and quarantine at home alongside stringent testing will be required for those returning from ‘amber’ destinations.

[Check the red, amber and green lists by going to]

The program was unveiled by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps who explained that international travel can begin to safely reopen from May 17, allowing people to go on foreign holidays to green list countries.

On May 17, the ‘Stay in the UK’ regulation will be lifted, meaning that leisure travel from England will no longer be illegal.

However, Transport Secretary Shapps indicated that strict border control measures will remain in place as international travel gradually resumes. Different levels of restriction will be applied to individuals returning to England from countries based on the traffic light system set out by the Global Travel Taskforce.

People are being guided on where they can safely visit without needing to quarantine on return to England – starting with the additions of Portugal including the Azores and Madeira, Israel and Jerusalem and Singapore among others to the ‘green list.’

Those travellers will still need to take a pre-departure test up to 72 hours before their return travel, and a single PCR test on or before day 2 of arrival into England – this can be booked in the same way as is in place now, through private test providers.

The Transport Secretary said that the priority remains to protect public health, which is why the ‘green’ list is currently very small and as the epidemiological situation improves worldwide, it is expected that there will be more opportunities for leisure travel with a greater number of destinations added.

In total, 12 countries and territories have been added to the green list. Some of these include: Portugal including the Azores and Madeira; Australia; New Zealand; Singapore; Brunei; Iceland; Faroe Islands; Gibraltar; Falkland Islands; and Israel and Jerusalem.

However, many ‘green list’ countries will continue to place restrictions on UK travellers, including quarantine measures, so passengers are encouraged to check all requirements and FCDO travel advice before they book any foreign travel.

The lists will be reviewed every 3 weeks, informed by public health advice, including the Joint Biosecurity Centre’s assessment of the latest data. 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.

The government will also be publishing a green watchlist in the future, to provide an indication when a country is identified as a candidate for a changing country. All measures will be kept under review and further action may be taken to protect public health.

Countries will decide whether they require proof of COVID vaccination for entry, and it is the traveller’s responsibility to check individual requirements.