When will UK travel restrictions be lifted? Rules for holidays abroad - and date of next travel update

Several more countries were added to the UK travel green last following the last government review
Watch more of our videos on Shots!
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

While foreign trips are allowed to a limited number of countries, the holiday industry is not expected to fully recover for a while yet, experts have warned.

Hopes of a lockdown-free summer were dashed earlier this month after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a delay to the planned ending of restrictions in England.

The initial date of Step 4 of the lockdown roadmap on 21 June was delayed by four weeks to instead take place place on 19 July.

Travel to Europe and the US is not expected to return until August (Photo: Getty Images)Travel to Europe and the US is not expected to return until August (Photo: Getty Images)
Travel to Europe and the US is not expected to return until August (Photo: Getty Images)

We want to hear from you: let us know what you think about this story and be part of the debate in our comments section below

But what does easing of restrictions mean for foreign travel?

What are the current foreign travel rules?

Under current rules, foreign holidays are permitted across the UK, but government advice recommends only visiting countries which are on the green list.

Travellers visiting green listed countries will need to take a pre-departure Covid test, plus a PCR test on or before day two of returning to the UK, but quarantine is not necessary.

At the moment, only a limited number of countries are included on the green list and strict entry requirements are in place for these destinations, so UK travellers have very limited options for holidays abroad.

While there is no law prohibiting people from travelling to an amber or red list country for a holiday, the government is still urging people only to travel to destinations catergorised as green.

Those who do travel to these destinations will be going against government advice and additional Covid checks will be required, including entering quarantine and taking a PCR test on day two and day eight of your return.

However, as of 19 July, children and adults who have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus do not have to quarantine on their return to England from amber list countries. The exception is France, with fully-vaccinated travellers still required to self-isolate on their return.

When will holidays to Europe and the US be allowed?

Bulgaria and Hong Kong were both be added to the green list from 4am on 19 July, meaning travellers will not have to self-isolate on their return to the UK, regardless of their vaccination status.

Croatia and Taiwan were added to the “green watchlist”, which means they are at risk of being moved from green to amber.

The Balearic Islands and British Virgin Islands were also be moved from the green list to amber due to a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases.

As for the red list, Cuba, Indonesia, Myanmar and Sierra Leone were added on Monday. This means that visitors who have departed from, or transited through these countries and territories in the previous 10 days will be refused entry into England.

Only British and Irish citizens, or those with residence rights (including long-term visa holders), will be allowed to enter and must stay in a government-approved facility for 10 days.

Transatlantic travel is unlikely to resume until at least August as the spread of the Delta variant is causing concern among American health officials. However, a “Transatlantic Travel Taskforce” has been established between the UK and US, which is expected to report in a few weeks.

When is the next travel update?

The latest travel update was announced at on the evening of 14 July, with the changes taking effect on 4am on Monday 19 July.

The travel reviews are scheduled to take place every three weeks, meaning the next update should take place on 4 August and may see more travel options open up.

A message from the editor:

Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going.