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Coronavirus travel advice

Latest coronavirus travel advice: The EU will scrap quarantine for fully vaccinated travellers on 1 July, but UK holidaymakers may still be subject to some restrictions due to concerns over the Delta variant

Information is changing every day which can make it hard to keep up with the facts that are most relevant to you. We’re continually keeping this page up to date regarding the current coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19, and what impact it might have on your travel plans. So whether you need it now, or in the near future, it’s worth a bookmark.

We strongly recommend reading the coronavirus travel advice from your local authorities and governments, such as the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), as well as the guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO). Check our weekly travel briefing for additional coronavirus travel news.

This page was last updated on 16 June 2021. To our knowledge, the information on this page was correct at the time of publication.

Coronavirus travel: green, amber and red list countries

Some international travel from the UK resumed on 17 May, implementing a traffic light system that ranks foreign destinations either green, amber or red. Countries with lowest coronavirus rates and high vaccination take-up have fewer restrictions.

  • Green: Green-listed countries are exempt from quarantine measures, although a pre-departure PCR test and a secondary test two days after your return to England will be required. There are currently 11 green list countries, including Gibraltar and Iceland as viable holiday destinations.
  • Amber: Holiday favourites such as France and Spain did not make the green list, and have instead been ranked amber. Arrivals from amber destinations must quarantine for 10 days and take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on days two and eight – with the option to ‘test to release’ on day five to end quarantine early.
  • Red: UK citizens returning from red list destinations must quarantine in a hotel for 10 days on their return, at their own expense and with mandatory testing on days two and eight. Non-UK citizens are not allowed to travel from these countries to the UK.

As of 17 May, it is no longer illegal to go on holiday, but the Department of Transport has announced that holidays to amber list countries should not be taken. Despite this, some travel operators and airlines are planning to launch holidays to amber list countries that are allowing foreign visitors, choosing to follow the advice of the FCDO instead. Visitors to those countries have to quarantine for 10 days on their return to the UK.

Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have their own entry requirements – for example, all arrivals into Scotland must quarantine in a hotel, and all have mandatory passenger locator forms – but share England’s green, amber and red lists for travel.

The UK government will review the green list every three weeks.

Where can I go on holiday?

While there are 11 countries on the UK’s green list, it doesn’t follow that all of them are open to holidaymakers. At the moment, only Iceland and Gibraltar are viable holiday options. Before booking travel, make sure your bookings are refundable in case of changes and check the entry requirements for the destination you’re travelling to.

For example, countries like New Zealand and Australia are on the UK government’s green list, but the borders are strictly closed to non-residents, so holidays will not be allowed there. On the other hand, Spain opened to British holidaymakers without needing proof of a negative COVID test on 24 May, and France has removed quarantine and testing requirements for vaccinated arrivals, but they’re both currently on the UK’s amber list. It’s not illegal to go on holiday to amber list countries, but it is advised against by the UK government and you’ll have to quarantine for 10 days after getting back to the UK.

If you do travel to amber list countries, remember that each individual destination has rules for entry. France has introduced mandatory quarantine for British arrivals, for example.

The EU plans to allow fully vaccinated British travellers to visit Europe without restrictions, although each member nation may have its own rules about what proof of vaccination is needed. European travellers will be able to travel restriction-free from 1 July using a Digital Green Certificate, which is currently being trialled by seven EU countries including Germany, Greece and Croatia. The UK government has confirmed that the NHS health app will hold proof of vaccination and will therefore be able to be used as a vaccination certificate for English residents. At present, Scottish and Welsh residents must request a printed vaccine certificate from the NHS and Northern Ireland is working on its own certification system.

COVID tests and entry requirements for the UK

Before entering the UK, you must take a COVID-19 test up to three days before departure. You will need to show a negative test result to enter the UK. Both LAMP and PCR tests are valid, but failure to comply results in a £500 fine, and spot checks will be carried out. There are some variations between testing requirements for entry into EnglandScotlandWales or Northern Ireland from abroad.

All arrivals into the UK must fill in a passenger locator form up to 48 hours before their departure.

If you are returning to the England from a country on the red list, or you have transited through a red list destination within the previous 10 days, you must book to stay in a managed quarantine hotel.

If you are returning to England from a destination on the amber list, or you have transited through one in the past 10 days, you must book COVID-19 tests to take on days two and eight after you arrive. The tests cost between £65 and £120 and results come back within 24-48 hours. Under the ‘test to release’ initiative, the 10-day quarantine period can reduce to just five days provided that you test negative for COVID-19 five days after arriving back, purchased privately.

If you are returning to England from a green list country, you must book a day two COVID-19 test.

Check the separate testing requirements if you are returning to Scotland or Wales. Note that some people are exempt from UK border restrictions due to their work.

Hotel quarantine for red list countries

Since 15 February, anyone travelling to England from 40 ‘red list’ countries has to pay £1,750 for a mandatory 10 days’ quarantine in hotels supervised by private security guards. While in quarantine, it’s compulsory to take a COVID test on days two and eight of your stay. 16 contracted hotels are available to pre-book through a dedicated government portal.

As of 23 April, international visitors who have been in India in the previous 10 days will be refused entry into the UK. Only British and Irish citizens or residents will be allowed to enter and they must stay in a government-approved quarantine facility for 10 days. Turkey, Nepal and the Maldives were added to the red list on 7 May.

All arrivals into Scotland from red list countries must stay in a hotel quarantine and non-UK residents are banned from entering the UK from red-list countries.

There are strict penalties if you don’t comply with the new rules. Fines range from £5,000 to £10,000 for arrivals who fail to quarantine in a designated hotel, and steep fines apply to anyone who doesn’t undergo COVID testing there. Anyone who attempts to hide any travel from a ‘red list’ country on their PCR form could face a £10,000 fine or 10 years in prison.

Domestic travel within the UK

As of 17 May, some coronavirus restrictions on leisure and hospitality are being further eased in England, Wales and most of Scotland. In England, pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants can serve customers indoors, while museums, galleries, cinemas, theatres, concert halls and sports stadiums can reopen. All holiday accommodation, including hotels and B&Bs, can now open.

In Wales and Northern Ireland, hotels and indoor hospitality have resumed, but Scotland has opted for a tiered system of restrictions.

COVID vaccine news UK

On 7 December, the UK became the first western country to start rolling out a COVID-19 vaccine. Now, both the Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccines are being rolled out to the British public, starting with frontline workers and the most vulnerable groups. So far, over 39 million British adults have had a first vaccination of two.

The coronavirus vaccine should have been made available to all by the summer. According to our research, the news of a COVID vaccine in the UK has resulted in 41% of the population feeling increased confidence in the prospect of travelling abroad within the next six months.*

*The survey for Skyscanner was carried out among 2,152 adults by AudienceNet between 27 and 29 November 2020.  

To keep an eye on which countries are open to the UK, you can visit our map with the latest travel restrictions.

Green list travel destinations and entry requirements

After initially being added to the UK’s green list for travel, Portugal was placed on the amber list just three weeks later, although the country has scrapped PCR tests for entry and only requires cheaper antigen tests instead.

Here’s the full list of quarantine-free destinations for UK travellers:

  • Israel (small group trips of vaccinated travellers began on 23 May)
  • Singapore (not currently open to tourists)
  • Australia (not currently open to tourists)
  • New Zealand (not currently open to tourists)
  • Brunei (not currently open to tourists)
  • Iceland (open to tourists)
  • Gibraltar (open to UK holidaymakers from 17 May)
  • Falkland Islands (not currently open to tourists)
  • Faroe Islands (open to vaccinated tourists)
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (you need a visitor permit to enter)
  • St Helena, Tristan de Cunha, Ascension Island (you need a negative COVID test to enter and must quarantine for 14 days on arrival)

Latest information on coronavirus travel and flight cancellations

Countries have imposed travel restrictions due to the coronavirus outbreak. Check the FCDO website for daily updates on specific destinations.

To find out about specific airline route information, as well as current coronavirus flight cancellations, rebooking or refund policies, you can find all the latest news and travel updates on their websites or check with the International Air Travel Association. While flights are being cancelled more regularly than usual, it’s likely that you won’t be entitled to a refund if your flight is not cancelled but you can’t fly due to restrictions.

Flights are exercising social distancing and mandatory mask wearing. Quarantine on arrival often applies as well as other measures such as temperature checks and proof of a negative COVID test. Check the entry criteria for each destination before travelling, on the IATA information page.

  1. Ryanair: If your flight gets cancelled due to coronavirus you will be given the option to rebook, request a travel voucher valid for 12 months or a refund via their refund application form. Those who choose not to fly due to FCDO rules on flights that are running will not be eligible for a refund. There’s a zero-change fee offer on all bookings made before the end of September for travel before 31 December 2021.
  2. easyJet: easyJet Holidays resumed holidays on 17 May, with holidays to green list destinations going ahead as planned. If your destination is on the amber list for departures up to and including 30 September, you can choose to change your booking for free up to 24 hours before you’re due to travel. The airline has launched a ‘protection promise’, offering a refund guarantee for flights and holidays if they’re cancelled, or for plans that are impacted by travel bans. Flights can be changed free of charge up to two hours before departure.
  3. Jet2: The airline has cancelled all flights and holidays until 24 June. Customers whose travel plans are affected by these cancellations will be given an automatic, full refund. If you book a holiday but need to self-isolate due to NHS Test and Trace, you can rebook to a later date for free.
  4. Wizz Air: If your flight gets cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions you will be offered a refund or credit for a future flight plus a booking incentive. You can rebook to an alternative destination provided it is not subject to travel restrictions.
  5. Emirates: If your flight is cancelled due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, you can request a refund or complete a Travel Voucher request form to re-book your flight up to 24 months later. Flights are currently suspended between the UK and Dubai.
  6. Norwegian: Norwegian Airlines is operating a limited flight schedule until further notice. If your flight is cancelled you will receive confirmation via SMS and email. You can request a refund of your unused ticket, or opt for flight credit and get an extra 20% towards a future trip. 
  7. TUI: TUI has cancelled all holidays to red and amber list countries up to and including 13 June, with all impacted customers receiving an automatic refund or given the option to rebook. For those who are travelling, TUI has confirmed that they are offering 5-star Defaqto insurance from AXA Insurance. If your destination is put on the amber list after booking, you can rebook for free. Any previous bookings for red list countries will be refunded. Tui will only refund customers if the FCDO advises against travel to the destination booked.
  8. KLM: Existing bookings can be rebooked free of charge for travel, and if your flight is cancelled by the airline you can request a refund. Refund and rebooking options differ depending on when the flight was booked and scheduled for departure.
  9. Virgin Atlantic: If you want to change your booking for flights and holidays up to 30 April 2022, you can rebook as many times as you like for travel before 30 April 2023. If your flight is cancelled, you can apply for a refund, rebook onto a different route or date, or your ticket can be converted into a voucher valid until 30 April 2023.
  10. Vueling Airlines: You’ll receive an email from the airline if your flight is cancelled, as well as a URL to a form where you’ll be able to reschedule your flight for free or request a refund. The airline has removed all change fees from website and app bookings.
  11. British Airways: If your flight has been cancelled you will be offered a voucher to the value of your booking or a refund. BA offers refunds to destinations that the FCDO advises against travelling to. Travellers can change their booking without having to pay a change fee and if you decide you don’t want to travel at all, you can cancel and receive a voucher to the same value for future travel up to 30 April, 2023.
  12. Finnair: Bookings made up to 31 August 2021 can be rescheduled free of charge, thanks to the airline’s Book with confidence policy. If your flight is cancelled you will be contacted by the airline to discuss rebooking or refund options, which are also available via this form. Customers travelling from Finland who book by 30 June 2021 get complimentary Corona Cover (additional coronavirus-related travel insurance).
  13. Turkish Airlines: Bookings made after 20 March 2020 can be rescheduled for free until 31 December 2021.

Have you been impacted by coronavirus flight cancellations? Get more useful advice in our article on what to do if your flight is cancelled or delayed.

Coronavirus travel FAQs

Here are four coronavirus travel need-to-knows:

What precautions should I take while travelling during the coronavirus disease outbreak?

There are a lot of practical steps you can take. Regularly wash your hands (with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand gel), avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth and stay at least two metres away from someone who is coughing or sneezing. Airlines that are in operation are enforcing social distancing, and mask-wearing is usually mandatory. Read more.

I want to cancel my travel plans due to the coronavirus. How do I do this and can I get a refund?

First of all, call the airline, hotel or online travel agent you booked with. Not sure which company you used? You’ll see their name on your bank or credit card statement as well as the email you received from them to confirm the booking. You’ll find more details, including contact information, on our help page.

My flight has been cancelled due to the coronavirus. How do I get a refund?

Call the airline or online travel agent. With so many travel plans changed, it may take longer than usual to speak to someone who can help but keep trying. If the airline or online travel agent tells you that a refund isn’t available or they’ve stopped trading, it might be worth getting in touch with your credit card company if that’s how you booked. If you have travel insurance, get in touch with your provider as well.

Will my travel insurance cover coronavirus-related flight cancellations?

It depends on your policy. Check their website or give them a call to find out more.

For more answers to commonly asked questions on coronavirus (COVID-19), click here. We have also responded to the top questions from our traveller community in a Q&A which is available here.

This page was last updated on 16 June 2021. To our knowledge, the information on this page was correct at the time of publication. However, given the nature of the COVID-19 crisis, information will vary by location and change at short notice and over time. We will do our best to keep this page up-to-date, however this cannot be guaranteed.

This page has been created for general guidance only and has not been designed for you or any specific circumstances relevant to you. It is highly recommended that you check your government’s latest travel advice before travelling or making any decisions to travel.