This statement provides an update on developments on international travel and on changes to the traffic light system made over the summer recess period.

Global Travel Taskforce July checkpoint review

As announced on Thursday 29 July 2021, and as part of the second Global Travel Taskforce checkpoint review, the government extended the policy on fully vaccinated passengers arriving from amber list countries to include those who have been vaccinated in Europe (EU member states, European Free Trade Association countries and the European microstate countries of Andorra, Monaco and Vatican City) and US residents vaccinated in the United States.

These changes came into force at 04:00 on Monday 2 August 2021 and mean that amber list arrivals vaccinated in the US and in Europe no longer have to take a day 8 test or quarantine. However, they are still required to take a pre-departure test before arrival as well as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on or before day 2 after arrival.

Children (under 18s) who are ordinarily resident in the US or Europe are also exempt from quarantine and the day 8 test, the same as children ordinarily resident in the UK. Children aged 11 and over will still need to complete a pre-departure and day 2 test. Children between the ages of 5 and 10 will only need to complete a day 2 test, and children aged 4 and under do not need to take any tests.

Passengers vaccinated in Europe with a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are required to provide proof via an EU Digital COVID Certificate and those vaccinated in the US are required to provide proof via the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccination card. The policy does not currently cover those who have proof of recovery from COVID-19.

Additional restrictions for France were applied on Monday 19 July 2021 due to the persistent presence of cases in France of the Beta variant. These temporary additional restrictions were removed at 04:00 on Sunday 8 August 2021 and the fully vaccinated policy now applies to France.

Unvaccinated passengers or passengers whose vaccines were not provided in the UK, Europe or US through Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), EMA and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved vaccines, respectively, arriving in the UK from an amber list country are required to quarantine at home, provide a valid notification of a negative test result prior to travel and take a test on day 2 and 8 after their arrival.

The government will explore how to expand this approach to other countries, where it is safe to do so.

Further to this, international cruises also fully restarted on 2 August 2021. Passengers travelling on international cruises are subject to the same rules as other international passengers and should therefore follow the traffic light system. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice has been amended to encourage travellers to understand the risks associated with cruise travel and take personal responsibility for their own
safety abroad.

Traffic light system review

During parliamentary recess there have been 2 reviews of the country allocations within the traffic light system, on Thursday 5 August 2021 and Thursday 26 August 2021.

The following countries and territories have been added to the government’s green list:

At 04:00 BST on Sunday 8 August:

  • Austria
  • Germany
  • Latvia
  • Norway
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia

At 04:00 BST on Monday 30 August:

  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Switzerland
  • The Azores

Passengers arriving from green list destinations need to provide evidence of a negative COVID-
19 test result prior to travel and take a further test on or before day 2 of their arrival in the UK.

The following countries have been added to the amber list at 04:00 BST on Sunday 8 August 2021:

  • Bahrain
  • India
  • Qatar
  • United Arab Emirates

The following countries and territories have been added to the red list, reflecting the increased
case rates in these countries as well as presenting a high public health risk to the UK from known
variants of concern:

At 04:00 BST on Sunday 8 August:

  • Georgia
  • La Reunion
  • Mayotte
  • Mexico

At 04:00 BST on Monday 30 August:

  • Montenegro
  • Thailand

Passengers arriving from these destinations, irrespective of vaccination status, are required to self-isolate in a managed quarantine hotel, provide a valid notification of a negative test result prior to travel and take a test on day 2 and 8 after their arrival.

All arrivals into the UK must continue to complete a passenger locator form.

Managed quarantine service

From Thursday 12 August 2021, the cost for staying in a managed quarantine facility when arriving from a red list country increased to £2,285 for a single adult and £1,430 for a second adult to better reflect the total costs involved. The price remains unchanged for children.


Testing remains an important part of ensuring safe international travel. The government continues to work with the travel industry and private testing providers to further reduce testing costs while ensuring travel is as safe as possible. The government has recently reduced NHS Test and Trace costs for travel testing for a second time to £68 and £136 for day 2 and days 2 and 8 testing packages respectively, to send a clear signal to industry and encourage a reduction in private sector pricing.

The Health Secretary has asked the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to conduct an urgent review of private testing providers to explore whether individual PCR providers may be breaching their obligations under consumer law; to report on any structural problems in the PCR market affecting price, reliability, or service quality; and whether there are any immediate actions that the government could take in the meantime. The CMA has also sent and published an open letter to providers of PCR tests on how they should comply with consumer law.

On 23 August 2021, the government also announced that, following a rapid review of the pricing and service standards of day 2 and day 8 testing providers listed on GOV.UK, more than 80 companies have had their misleading prices corrected on the government’s website and given a final warning, and a further 57 firms have been removed. The action will help ensure consumers can trust the testing providers listed on GOV.UK and only the most reliable companies are available.

While public health is a devolved matter, the government works closely with the devolved administrations on any changes to international travel and aims to ensure a whole UK approach.

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    Summary of updates to international travel

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