The Government have confirmed vaccinated Brit’s will be able to enjoy quarantine-free travel to countries on the green and amber lists.

In a statement to the House of Commons this morning, Travel Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed anyone returning from geen and amber listed countries will be able to re-enter the UK without the need to quarantine.

Mr Shapps confirmed the latest easing of travel restrictions would coincide with the planned ending of restrictions in England on 19 July announcing:

I can confirm today that from 19 July, UK residents who are fully vaccinated through the UK vaccine rollout will no longer have to self-isolate when they return to England

The devolved administrations are expected to make similar announcements in the coming days.

woman in a mask standing with her luggage in an airport

Lots of summer holiday destinations will be opened up when quarantine-free travel begins

Summer holidays return

The new quarantine-free travel rules will apply to fully vaccinated travellers and children under the age of 18. It would ensure popular destinations like St Lucia, Cuba, Portugal, the Greek Islands Thailand, Mauritius and Spain would become more accessible for Brits eyeing their opportunity to snag a summer escape.

For many, the new easing of travel restrictions will make getting away this summer much easier. Especially for those who are worried about being caught out by changing guidelines when a destination moves from the green watchlist to amber.

As part of the plans, Mr Shapps also confirmed the government will be removing the “should not travel” messaging from amber list countries. However, he was also quick to state current restrictions would remain in place for red-listed nations, whether visitors are fully vaccinated or not, and warned amber destinations could move to red if the local situation worsens.

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Summer holidays are set to return following the latest government update

Changing guidelines

Under the current travel guidelines, all passengers coming into the UK from amber listed destinations must provide proof of a negative test taken no more than three days before travelling and then self-isolate on their return for 10 days, with the option to half that period by using the test to release system. Arrivals were also required to take further tests on days two and eight of their arrival.

However, from 19 July passengers returning to the UK will only need to provide a negative pre-departure PCR test and take a further test on day two of their arrival. The day eight test has been scrapped.

With regards to children. Those between the ages of five and ten will no longer need to take a day two test and children aged four and under will be exempt from testing altogether. 

The government’s traffic light system had come under scrutiny after many Brits were forced to isolate when Portugal moved from green to amber without sufficient warning or preparation time for those visiting the country.

It is thought the beginning of quarantine-free travel for fully-vaccinated passengers would ensure less disruption should similar changes happen in the future.

A palm tree on a beach in the Maldives

Scenes like this will be open to UK visitors again as amber destinations like Thailand, Mexico and Mauritius are all available without the need to quarantine on return

Good news for travel

This latest easing of restrictions comes in the wake of the Travel Day of Action activity, where professionals from the travel and aviation sector lobbied government to free up more destinations and provide structured, sector-specific support.

In his announcement to the House, Mr Shapps said:

We know that travel is important and many people have not been able to travel for the last year and a half.

This is not just about holidays, eager as we are for time in the sun, but it is also about reunited families that have been apart throughout this pandemic.

It’s about helping businesses to trade and grow and it’s about supportng aviation – a sector which hundreds of thousands of jobs rely on.

He then went on to confirm those eager to get a summer holiday booked should check FCDO travel advice for their destination before commencing their journey.

Time to fly

There are currently 147 countries on the amber list. Although plans for a review of the lists has been pencilled in for 15th July, with a further review into the efficacy of the wider traffic light system and subsequent travel restrictions planned for 31st July.

At which point the government will debate whether the system is still fit for purpose and discuss additional changes to the travel processes as a result of the pandemic ie. the wearing of masks on aircraft.