UK travel list update: Which countries are now on the green list?

24 June 2021, 19:40 | Updated: 24 June 2021, 23:34

The new update to the UK travel list will be welcomed by tourists and the travel industry.
The new update to the UK travel list will be welcomed by tourists and the travel industry. Picture: PA

By Joe Cook

The government has updated the UK travel list, adding destinations including Ibiza, Majorca and Malta to the green list but leaving off many major locations.

16 new destinations have been added to the green list, permitting British tourists to travel to major holiday locations for the first time since Portugal was moved to the amber list at the beginning of June.

Boris Johnson has not ruled out a summer holiday aboard himself this summer, in comments that will be welcomed by the struggling travel industry.

But, in a blow to holidaymakers, Portugal, France and Greece are still on the amber list, requiring travellers to quarantine on return to the UK.

So what are the rules on foreign travel restrictions? Which countries have been added to the green list? Can I travel if double jabbed? And can I travel to amber list countries?

Which countries have been added to the green list?

New destinations have been added to the green list by the government, including multiple Caribbean islands, Malta and the Balearic Islands - including Majorca and Ibiza.

The full list of countries on the travel green list is:

  • Anguila (from 4.00 am on Wednesday 30 June)
  • Antigua and Barbuda (from 4.00 am on Wednesday 30 June)
  • Australia
  • Balearic Islands (from 4.00 am on Wednesday 30 June)
  • Barbados (from 4.00 am on Wednesday 30 June)
  • Bermuda (from 4.00 am on Wednesday 30 June)
  • British Antartic Territory (from 4.00 am on Wednesday 30 June)
  • British Indian Ocean Territory (from 4.00 am on Wednesday 30 June)
  • British Virgin Islands(from 4.00 am on Wednesday 30 June)
  • Brunei
  • Cayman Islands (from 4.00 am on Wednesday 30 June)
  • Dominica (from 4.00 am on Wednesday 30 June)
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • Gibraltar
  • Grenada (from 4.00 am on Wednesday 30 June)
  • Iceland
  • Israel and Jerusalem
  • Maderia (from 4.00 am on Wednesday 30 June)
  • Malta (from 4.00 am on Wednesday 30 June)
  • Montserrat (from 4.00 am on Wednesday 30 June)
  • New Zealand
  • Pitcairn Islands (from 4.00 am on Wednesday 30 June)
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
  • Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
  • Singapore
  • Turks and Caicos Islands (from 4.00 am on Wednesday 30 June)

However, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei and the Faroe Islands have all severely restricted entry criteria, which has effectively ruled out holidays abroad for Brits there.

All of the new additions to the green list, aside from Malta will also join the "green watchlist".

This means they could soon be moved back to the amber list, forcing holidaymakers to quarantine on return to the UK.

Read more: Merkel's call for Brit travellers to quarantine in EU is 'unjustified' - minister

What are the travel rules for green list countries?

The rules on foreign travel, introduced on 17 May, were meant to be clear, using a new "traffic light" system that designates countries as green, amber or red.

In green destinations, arrivals will have to take a pre-departure test and another PCR test on or before day two of their return to the UK. No quarantine or additional tests will be needed unless a positive result comes back.

In amber countries, arrivals must quarantine for 10 days, take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on day two and day eight after their return, with the option of a "test to release" on day five to end self-isolation early.

For red destinations, travel to these countries will be restricted along the same lines as the government's current "red list", meaning returning travellers must stay for 10 days in a quarantine hotel, as well as take a pre-departure test and a further PCR test on day two and day eight after returning.

Read more: Portugal moved to UK's amber travel list forcing tourists to quarantine on return

Party island Ibiza is amongst the new destinations that are on the UK's green list.
Party island Ibiza is amongst the new destinations that are on the UK's green list. Picture: PA

Can fully vaccinated people avoid quarantine?

Alongside announcing the changes to green list, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has confirmed plans for fully vaccinated travellers to be able to avoid quarantine when returning from an amber list country.

Mr Shapps tweeted: "Thanks to our successful vaccination programme, our intention is that later in the summer. UK residents who are fully vaccinated will not have to isolate when travelling from amber list countries."

In a major change to the traffic light system, the Department for Transport added: "At the same time, we intend to remove the guidance that people should not travel to amber countries."

A spokesperson said: "We expect this to occur in phases, starting with UK residents. They will still be required to take a pre-departure test and a test on Day 2, and any positive results will be sequenced to continue to manage the risk of importing variants."

Decisions are still ongoing on how this will apply to under-18s, who have yet to be offered the vaccine.

More details on how this would work and when it will come into force are set to be outlined next month, the government said.

It follows earlier comments from Prime Minister Boris Johnson who told reporters: "I think that the real opportunity we all have now is to open up travel through the double jab.

"I'm not going to claim that this summer, for travel purposes, is going to be like any other summer. I don't want to cast a pall over things but, as I said the other day, it will be different."

Can I travel to amber list countries like Portugal?

Portugal was infamously added to the green list and then moved to amber with little warning, leaving many holidaymakers scrambling to get home.

The government's guidance currently states that "the public are recommended against travel to amber and red countries".

It is not illegal to travel to amber list countries for a holiday, but those who ignore the guidance will be required to take two post-arrival tests and self-isolate for 10 days. This can be reduced if they take an additional negative test on day five.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and the prime minister have all been clear that travel to amber or red countries should be avoided.

Brits should not visit amber countries "unless it's absolutely necessary, and certainly not for holiday purposes," Mr Hancock has said.

However this could change this summer, according to the Department for Transport.

A spokesperson said they intend to remove the guidance not to travel to amber list countries at the same time as fully vaccinated travellers from amber destinations are made exempt from quarantine.

Are countries accepting tourists from the UK?

There are a very limited number of countries that Brits can travel to from the UK if it is for holiday purposes.

Of the green list destinations, Malta, the Balearic Islands and Gibraltar are the main destinations accepting or preparing to accept Brits.

Greece, Spain and Portugal allow travellers from the UK to enter without quarantine.

But the rules in Europe could get tighter as concerns grow over the possibility of British tourists spreading the Delta variant, which is now dominant in the UK.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has led calls for EU states to force all UK travellers to enter quarantine when they arrive, due to concerns about the more transmissible variant.

Italy, Germany and France have already announced quarantine rules for UK travellers no matter what their vaccination status. Poland will only allow fully vaccinated UK travellers in without a requirement to quarantine.