Scotland international travel rules: what are the green list countries - and traffic light system explained

Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that international travel will resume from Monday 17 May through green, amber and red lists

Scots are able to look forward to sun, sea and sand once again as Nicola Sturgeon confirmed highly-anticipated changes to the restrictions on international holidays.

From 17 May, a traffic light system similar to the one introduced in England will be implemented for foreign travel, the First Minister announced on Tuesday (11 May).

There will be a “green”, “amber” and “red list” of countries - and those travelling to destinations on the green list will not need to quarantine on their return to Scotland.

There are 12 countries on Scotland's green list, which is initially the same as England's (Credit: Kim Mogg)

The new system will continue to be reviewed, with countries moving to different colours depending on the number of Covid cases and the rollout of vaccines.

So, how will the traffic light system work - and which places will be on the green list?

Here is everything you need to know.

What is the travel traffic light system in Scotland?

Here's how the traffic light system works (Credit: Mark Hall)

Under the traffic light system, holidays abroad will be permitted in Scotland from Monday 17 May.

Before the new system comes in, the current government guidance is that you should only travel to an international destination if you have “an essential reason to do so”.

Holidays abroad have been banned for months under lockdown restrictions, but people are now permitted to travel around Scotland and between Scotland and the other UK nations.

The traffic light set-up mirrors the one being rolled out by the UK Government for England.

Ms Sturgeon said a “consistent four nations position” had been taken on international travel, thanks to the UK Government arriving at cautious decisions when announcing plans for foreign holidays to go ahead this year.

However, she warned that people should think about whether they really need to travel abroad in summer.

Those returning to Scotland from red list countries will have to isolate in a government-approved hotel for 10 days, while those coming from amber list destinations will need to self isolate at home for the same amount of time and take two PCR tests.

Meanwhile, people arriving from green list countries will not need to quarantine but will need to take a PCR test shortly after arrival into Scotland.

All three colours involve filling out a passenger locator form and taking a pre-departure test at your destination.

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Which countries are on which list?

There will be twelve countries on Scotland’s green list from 17 May, and these are initially the same destinations as on England’s.

However, the list will be subject to change based on “Scotland’s specific needs”, Ms Sturgeon said.

This includes: Portugal, Israel, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Iceland, Gibraltar, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands, St Helena, Tristan de Cunha and Ascension Island.

The First Minister warned that she would be “highly cautious” when it comes to adding countries to the green list due to the risk of importing new variants of Covid.

The amber list includes popular tourist hotspots such as Greece, Malta, France and Italy.

And the red list includes countries such as India where the virus is deemed not under control or where there is a variant of concern.

Ms Sturgeon said: “We still intend to be highly cautious on international travel, given the risk of new variants, but we consider that the situation now allows us to begin a careful move away from blanket restrictions on non-essential travel.

“Everyone should think seriously about whether they really need to travel abroad this summer.

“I know for many people international travel is about family connections. But when it comes to holidays abroad, my advice continues to be to err on the side of caution and to staycation this summer.”