Amber list: What are the rules for holidays and which countries are on it?

8 July 2021, 12:47 | Updated: 3 August 2021, 12:24

Travel rules for amber list countries have been relaxed
Travel rules for amber list countries have been relaxed. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

The amber watchlist has been scrapped ahead of the next travel review, but rules for the amber list are still in place.

Rules for amber list countries vary depending on traveller age and vaccine status.

Previously, anyone who returned from an amber list destination had to self-isolate for 10 days after coming back to the UK.

It meant some of the most viable holiday destinations, such as mainland Spain and Greece, were effectively impossible to travel to unless tourists had the ability to shut themselves away for more than a week.

However, rules have been relaxed for some making their journey abroad.

Here is the latest on the amber list, the rules and the countries eligible people can travel to without quarantining.

What is the amber list?

Countries designated as amber are countries which have a Covid situation considered to be less safe than green list countries.

The Government uses a variety of factors to decide this, including vaccinations, case rates and the presence of variants.

Green list countries require no quarantine, just tests, for travellers when they return. Amber list countries require tests for people coming back home and, until recently, a 10-day isolation period.

Red list countries, considered the places with the most risky Covid situations, require a hotel quarantine.

Can tourists avoid quarantine?

Fully vaccinated UK residents can return from amber list countries without isolating.

A person is considered fully vaccinated 14 days after their second vaccine dose. However, Downing Street has confirmed it doesn't apply to all British citizens - just those who have been vaccinated by the NHS, as opposed to Brits who got a dose abroad.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced the changes ahead of England's unlocking on 19 July.

Read more: Quarantine scrapped for double-jabbed UK residents returning from Amber list countries

Read more: PM unveils plan for fully-vaccinated people to no longer isolate after amber list holiday

It was revealed that under 18s would not need to isolate on return either.

Guidance telling people not to travel to amber list places has since been lifted.

"In essence, this means that for fully vaccinated travellers the requirements for green and amber list countries are the same," Mr Shapps told the Commons.

PCR tests will still need to be taken three days before departure and on or before day two of arrival. They will no longer be required on day eight for people who are fully vaccinated or children.

However, those arriving in England from France will still need to quarantine for 10 days and take both the day two and day eight Covid tests, even if they have been fully vaccinated.

It is part of what has been labelled the 'amber plus' list, due to concerns over rising cases over the Beta variant.

Which countries are on the amber list?

Many popular tourist destinations are on the list, which is being regularly reviewed.

However, travellers should check the entry requirements for the country they want to visit, in case they put restrictions or extra demands on UK visitors.

The countries are:

Akrotiri and Dhekelia

Albania

Algeria

Andorra

Armenia

Aruba

Austria

Azerbaijan

The Bahamas

Belarus

Belgium

Belize

Benin

Bhutan

Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba

Bosnia and Herzegovina

British Virgin Islands

Burkina Faso

Cambodia

Cameroon

Canada

Central African Republic

Chad

China

Comoros

Congo

Cook Islands, Tokelau and Niue

Côte d’Ivoire

Curaçao

Cyprus

Czech Republic (Czechia)

Denmark

Djibouti

El Salvador

Equatorial Guinea

Estonia

Fiji

Finland

France

French Polynesia

Gabon

The Gambia

Georgia

Germany

Ghana

Greece (including islands)

Greenland

Guadeloupe

Guatemala

Guinea

Guinea-Bissau

Honduras

Hungary

Iran

Iraq

Italy

Jamaica

Japan

Jordan

Kazakhstan

Kiribati

Kosovo

Kuwait

Kyrgyzstan

Laos

Latvia

Lebanon

Liberia

Libya

Liechtenstein

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Macao

Madagascar

Malaysia

Mali

Marshall Islands

Martinique

Mauritania

Mauritius

Mayotte

Mexico

Micronesia

Moldova

Monaco

Montenegro

Morocco

Nauru

Netherlands

New Caledonia

Nicaragua

Niger

Nigeria

North Korea

North Macedonia

Norway

The Occupied Palestinian Territories

Palau

Papua New Guinea

Poland

Portugal (including the Azores) Madeira is on the green watchlist.

Réunion

Romania

Russia

Samoa

San Marino

Sao Tome and Principe

Saudi Arabia

Senegal

Serbia

Slovakia

Slovenia

Solomon Islands

South Korea

South Sudan

Spain (including the Canary Islands - the Balearic islands are on the green watchlist)

St Kitts and Nevis

St Lucia

St Maarten

St Martin and St Barthélemy

St Pierre and Miquelon

St Vincent and the Grenadines

Sweden

Switzerland

Syria

Tajikistan

Thailand

Timor-Leste

Togo

Tonga

Turkmenistan

Tuvalu

Ukraine

United States (USA)

Uzbekistan

Vanuatu

Vietnam

Wallis and Futuna

Western Sahara

Yemen

What was the amber watchlist?

Ministers were said to be considering a new category for the traffic light system, labelled the amber watchlist. It was intended to include nations at risk of being moved to the red list.

However, the government has since scrapped the plans, after a backlash from Tory MPs, ministerial concerns and complaints from the travel industry.

Minister Gillian Keegan told LBC on Tuesday that they had "explored all options" but wanted the system to remain as simple as possible.