After the recent announcement that fully vaccinated people will have more freedom to go abroad this summer, many people are wondering what the rules are for partially vaccinated travel. We’re answering the big questions about whether it’s possible to jet off after your first jab.
Note: this article was last updated on 12 July. For further information and guidance on the rapidly changing travel rules, it’s best to check the government’s official travel advice pages.
Do I need a COVID vaccine to travel?
The short answer is ‘no’. The longer answer is, it depends which country you’re travelling to. Many destinations will allow people who are unvaccinated, or partially vaccinated, to visit. That said, there may be other restrictions in place. For example, if you want to enter Spain you can either bring proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. This should be taken no more than 48 hours before entry. However some destinations, such as Malta, are only allowing visitors who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Find out more about COVID vaccine certificates for travel.
Where is travel possible, with a partial vaccination, in 2021?
The recent easing of amber list restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers doesn’t extend to those who are partially vaccinated. If you don’t want to quarantine on your return to the UK, you’re limited to a few destinations.
These places on the green list and green watchlist – those at risk of quickly shifting to amber – are the best options:
|Destination||Rules for partially vaccinated travel|
|Gibraltar||No test required|
|Faroe Islands||Must have a ‘worthy purpose’ to visit|
Test twice: once at least 48 hours before departure and again on arrival
10-day quarantine with the option to test and release on day four
|St Helena||Negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of departure|
|Madeira||Complete and submit a traveller questionnaire|
Negative RT-PCR test taken 72 hours before travel
Those who have recovered from COVID-19 within 90 days are exempt
|Balearic Islands||Fill in a health check form prior to arrival|
Negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of arrival
|Antigua and Barbuda||Negative RT-PCR test taken within seven days of travel|
Complete a Health Declaration Form on arrival
Undergo health screening (e.g. temperature checks)
|Barbados||Negative PCR test taken within three days of arrival|
Submit an Embarkation/Disembarkation card 24 hours before travel and upload their negative test result
Quarantine at an approved facility
Take a PCR test on day five. If the results are negative, they can leave quarantine
|Dominica||Complete an online questionnaire 24 hours before arrival|
Negative PCR test 72 hours before arrival
Pinprick Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) on arrival
If negative: five-day quarantine in a government-approved facility, then a PCR test
If positive: pay for PCR test, followed by 14-day quarantine in a government approved facility
After quarantine, travellers must self-isolate at their regular accommodation
|Grenada||PCR test 72 hours before travel |
Submit a Travel Authorisation Certificate.
Quarantine for seven days
Test on day five
Continue to monitor and report for seven days after quarantine
|Anguilla||Prior approval required from the Government’s Health Team (apply here)|
Negative PCR test, taken three to five days before planned arrival
Test on arrival
Quarantine for 10 to 14 days
|Bermuda||Apply for a Bermuda COVID-19 Travel Authorisation one to three days before departure|
Negative COVID-19 test, taken four days prior to arrival
Quarantine at a designated hotel, at own expense, for 14 days
|British Virgin Islands||Aplly for a BVI Gateway Traveller Authorisation Certificate ($175)|
Negative PCR test taken within five days of travel. PCR test on arrival
Quarantine for four days
Additional PCR test on day four
|Cayman Islands||Apply for pre-authorisation|
14 days of mandatory quarantine
|Turks and Caicos Islands||Apply for pre-travel authorisation via the Turks and Caicos Islands Assured Portal|
Negative COVID-19 test taken less than five days prior to planned arrival
Hold travel insurance with COVID-19 cover
Fill in a health screening questionnaire.
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What is the latest update on the vaccine rollout in the UK?
As of 8 July, more than 45.7 million people had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine; nearly 87% of the adult population. Additionally, nearly 34.5 million people – over 65% of UK adults – have had their second dose.
It’s estimated that 160,000 people are getting their second dose each day. Delivery has been sped up in reaction to the spread of the Delta variant, and the current goal is that all over 18s will be fully or partially vaccinated by 19 July, when most restrictions will lift.
There are currently four vaccines with approval in the UK. Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca and Moderna all require two doses while the latest approved vaccine, Janssen, only requires one injection. These also have European Medicines Agency (EMA) approval, so are fine for trips to EU countries like Spain, Portugal and Greece.
You can find the latest statistics on the government’s Coronavirus vaccination data portal.
Can I travel to more countries after both doses of the COVID vaccine?
Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, announced that fully vaccinated travellers from England will have more freedom to travel from 19 July. Those who have had their final dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before departure will be able to treat countries on the amber list the same as countries on the green list. This means that they will only need to do the following before returning to England:
- Take a COVID-19 test
- Book and pay for a private COVID-19 test to take on day two after returning to England
- Complete a passenger locator form
There’s no need to quarantine, unless you receive a positive test result – or if Test & Trace identifies that you’ve been in contact with someone who has.
Is partially vaccinated travel to amber list countries possible?
Partially vaccinated travel to amber list countries will be possible from 19 July for non-essential purposes, however you’ll need to follow stricter rules than fully vaccinated travellers. So, before coming back to the UK, you will need to:
- Take a COVID-19 test
- Book and pay for private COVID-19 tests to take on day two and day eight after your return
- Complete a passenger locator form
- Quarantine at home (or the place you’re staying) for 10 days
For those living in England, it’s possible to take an additional test on day five and end quarantine early under the Test to Release scheme.
Which countries are on the amber list?
The amber list has around 147 countries on it, including popular destinations like Spain, mainland Portugal and Greece. Put simply, it’s any country that isn’t currently on the red, green or green watch list for travel.
Note that travel to red list countries is still strongly advised against, and anyone visiting – regardless of vaccination status – will need to book and pay for hotel quarantine. Find out more about the UK’s hotel quarantine rules.
Partially vaccinated travel is possible, but slightly tougher
Those who have had their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine are treated the same as people who haven’t been vaccinated at all. Rules differ from country to country, so whether you wait for your second dose or book a last minute break is really up to you. Remember that rules can change quickly, so it’s always worth checking the FCDO foreign travel advice website for the most up to date information about global entry restrictions.
Discover where you can go
Making plans to get back out there? Find out whose borders are open with our interactive global map, and sign up to receive email updates when your top destinations reopen.
Want to read more?
- Coronavirus travel advice: get the latest news on taking holidays during the pandemic, from the latest green list updates to what to do if your flight gets cancelled
- How to find cheap last minute flights: ready to book a spontaneous holiday? Read our tips to get the best deal on flights
- COVID tests for travel: read our top tips from testing experts to get ready for your trip.