Holiday quarantine: Which countries are exempt and could future changes affect my booking?

3 September 2020, 18:54 | Updated: 4 September 2020, 16:10

Portokali beach in Sithonia Chalkidiki, near Sarti, Greece
Portokali beach in Sithonia Chalkidiki, near Sarti, Greece. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Portugal and Greece will remain on England's safe travel corridor list despite rising cases of coronavirus in both countries, but visitors returning to Wales will have to quarantine,.

People arriving from Portugal to England will not have to self-isolate for 14 days, but those landing in or travelling onwards to Wales or Scotland will have to remain at home for two weeks.

But which countries do require you to self-isolate upon return, and what happens if a country you have booked to visit has its travel corridor removed?

Read more: Portugal and Greece remain on England's travel corridor list

Read more: Mum furious after spending £900 to change flight home from Portugal

Which countries are on the UK quarantine list?

Travellers returning from the following countries must self-isolate for 14 days:

Andorra, Aruba, Austria, The Bahamas, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Jamaica, Malta, Monaco, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands.

There are different rules in place across England, Scotland and Wales for Portugal, Gibraltar, French Polynesia and several Greek islands.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said people travelling anywhere abroad this summer should keep their "eyes open" to the prospect of having to quarantine on return, pointing to his own experience of having been "caught out" when Spain was removed from the safe travel list while he was in the country last month.

Two-week quarantine rules for all UK arrivals came into force on June 8 to tackle the spread of coronavirus, with a number of countries added to and removed from the safe list - meaning self-isolation is not required - as the weeks have gone by.

Why are countries added to the list?

If the number of cases per 100,000 people passes 20, countries have their travel corridor removed.

However, Portugal and Greece have remained on the safe travel list, despite a rising number of cases.

Do I need to self-isolate?

Anyone returning to the UK from a country on the Foreign Office quarantine list is required to self-isolate for 14 days.

The rules vary between the nations, so it's best to check ahead of travel.

I've got a holiday booked to a country which has been added to the quarantine list, will I get a refund?

The FCO advises British nationals against "all but essential travel" to the countries on the quarantine list.

When Spain was added to the quarantine list, LBC's Nick Ferrari asked the Independent's Travel Editor Simon Calder if people could get their money back if they chose not to travel.

He revealed a very mixed picture, with some travel companies offering refunds, while others offered vouchers.

Mr Calder said Tui "were very quick to say they understood people may not want to spend two weeks in quarantine, so therefore, if you are booked in the next two weeks, they will give you a full refund."

But other airlines, such as Ryanair, are saying "'Use it or lose it.'Your seat is there, if you don't want to use it, then that's just tough, we're keeping your money.'"

I've got a holiday booked to a country which is currently exempt, do I need to do anything?

People should continue to check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's travel advice and their insurance policies before embarking on any overseas travel.

Ministers had previously warned that travel corridors could be closed if coronavirus rates escalated in other nations.

Travellers, even those from exempt destinations, are still required to complete a passenger locator form when they arrive in the UK.

Which countries are exempt from quarantine?

Akrotiri and Dhekelia


Antigua and Barbuda




Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba

British Antarctic Territory

British Indian Ocean Territory

British Virgin Islands


Cayman Islands

the Channel Islands






Falkland Islands

Faroe Islands



French Polynesia (different rules for different UK nations)

Gibraltar (different rules for different UK nations)


Greece (different rules for different UK nations)




Hong Kong




the Isle of Man






Macao (Macau)




New Caledonia

New Zealand


Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands


Portugal (after 4am August 22 and different rules for different UK nations)


San Marino




South Korea

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

St Barthélemy

St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

St Kitts and Nevis

St Lucia

St Pierre and Miquelon

St Vincent and the Grenadines



Vatican City State