Amber list rules UK: travel restrictions for amber countries explained - including India, Dubai and Qatar

Fully vaccinated travellers no longer have to quarantine on return to the UK from amber list countries
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Changes to the traffic light system for travel were announced by the UK government on Wednesday (4 July) evening, with new countries to be added to the amber list.

India, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will move from red to amber at 4am on Sunday 8 August, thanks to the improving Covid-19 situation in ech of these destinations.

However, the government has warned that data for all countries will be kept under constant review, meaning countries could change travel status in the event of a rise in cases.

Chanegs to the amber list will come into effect on Sunday 8 July (Photo: Getty Images)Chanegs to the amber list will come into effect on Sunday 8 July (Photo: Getty Images)
Chanegs to the amber list will come into effect on Sunday 8 July (Photo: Getty Images)

But what are the rules for amber countries? Here’s what you need to know.

Can I travel to amber countries?

Travellers who visit an amber list destination must take two post-arrival Covid-19 PCR tests, taken on day two and day eight of their return.

It is also a requirement to self-isolate at home for 10 days after arrival in the UK, although this period can be reduced if a negative test is taken on day five. If the result from your test is inconclusive you must continue to quarantine, or you can choose to take another privately provided test to find out if you can stop self-isolation early.

The test to release scheme is not available to those travelling to Scotland.

As of 19 July, fully-vaccinated UK residents and under 18s are no longer required to quarantine when returning from amber list countries.

Anyone who is not fully vaccinated, and who does not quarantine at home after international travel can be fined £1,000, which may increase to up to £10,000 for repeat offences.

Will travel to amber list countries be covered by insurance?

As the The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office is currently advising against travel to amber listed countries, it is likely that travellers will not be able to get adequate insurance to cover their trip.

Hannah Isitt, Travel insurance expert at GoCompare, told NationalWorld: “There is no travel insurance product that covers against the traffic light system, only a change in the FCDO advice.

"The traffic light system does not impact the insured travel policy – the coverage is dependent on the FCDO advice. One example at the moment is Israel – which is on the green list - but no cover as FCDO advise against all travel, whereas Rhodes, which is amber, is covered as FCDO isn’t advising against travel.

“If the policy holder is on their trip when there is a change in traffic light, from green to amber, and if the insured person stays on the trip they will continue to get the same cover as when they travelled.

"Insurers will not cover the costs for testing, unless it’s part of a medical claims, or quarantine costs.”

Helen Chambers, Travel Insurance Expert at MoneySuperMarket, advised that the traffic light list should not impact travellers’ insurance, although there is a risk that any changes that are made to the list could result in holidays being cancelled. In the event a trip is cancelled, insurers will not cover this cost.

Ms Chambers told NationalWorld: “If your country is on the amber list but the FCDO say that it is safe to travel then you are covered from an insurance perspective.

"However, it’s worth keeping in mind that if the country you are travelling to goes from the green list to an amber or red list and you decide not to travel, your insurer will not cover the cancellation of your holiday.

"Some package tour operators have advised that they will be continuing to operate holidays to countries that are classed as ‘amber’. This is on the provision that the FCDO does not advise against ‘all but essential’ travel to these areas.

"We recommend that consumers book using tour operators to give them more confidence. This is also essential if you want to be covered by ATOL or ABTA schemes. In doing so, this will give consumers more financial protection and flexibility, should anything change as a result of the pandemic.

"It is necessary to follow the FCDO’s travel guidance as you’ll find that most policies will not cover you if you ignore their advice, travel and then try to submit a claim later on – it will invalidate your claim.’

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