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Quarantine-free travel for fully vaccinated travellers returning from amber list countries

Posted on July 16, 2021 by Vicky Smith
Passenger in departure lounge in airport

Dozens of popular foreign destinations are now on the cards for holidaymakers after changes were announced to amber list travel rules.

From 19 July, fully vaccinated travellers returning from amber list countries won’t have to self-isolate when they return to the UK. 

Along with ‘all but essential’ travel advice from the FCDO being scrapped for top holiday destinations, such as Spain and Portugal, some of your favourite holidays could now be around the corner!

The new guidance means under 18’s, which is an age group that is currently not being routinely vaccinated, will also no longer need to self-isolate. 

This means that for a family with children, none of them will need to self-isolate on return from an amber list country if the adults are fully vaccinated.

Reacting to the news Heathrow’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: 

“This is excellent news that will give a much-needed boost to millions of people across Britain looking forward to a more normal summer and reuniting with family and friends abroad.”

Currently, there are 140 countries on the UK’s amber list for travel.

The current guidance (before 19 July 2021) means people arriving in the UK from an amber list country need to self-isolate at home for 10 days. This had made holidays tricky for many people who were unable to isolate due to work or other commitments.

The government had preferred people to only travel to countries on the green list, which has fewer than 30 destinations on it at the time of writing. 

This change in guidance means travel to a long list of popular holiday destinations is now possible, opening up travel to British tourism hotspots such as Cyprus and Portugal.

How are the rules changing for travel to amber list countries?

For adults:

UK residents who are fully vaccinated (two doses) through the UK vaccine rollout will not need to self-isolate on return to England from amber list countries from 19 July. 

They will still need to take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on or before day 2 after arriving in England. They will not need to take a day 8 test.

For children:

Children under 18 returning from amber countries do not need to isolate or take a day 8 test from July 19.

Children aged five to 10 only need to take a day 2 PCR test and 11 to 18 year olds will need to take both a pre-departure test and a day 2 PCR test.

Children aged four and under are exempt from testing and isolation. 

How can you prove your vaccine status? 

You will need to prove your vaccination status at the border when returning to England.

This can be done using the NHS app or by getting a NHS COVID Pass letter.

You can get a letter by calling 119. This can take up to five days to arrive by post, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time before you’re due to travel.

The NHS app is the easiest way to prove your vaccine status. Once you’re logged in simply tap the link to “Get Your NHS COVID Pass” and the record of your two vaccine doses will generate a barcode that can be scanned at the border. You can download and print this if you wish.

All passengers need to complete a passenger locator form and you will need to declare your vaccine status on this, as well as provide proof of your pre-departure test.

Remember that these rules apply to arrivals in England and that every individual country has its own set of rules for arrivals.

Always check the FCDO travel advice for the specific entry requirements of your destination.

Vicky Smith

by Vicky Smith

Vicky Smith is a journalist and freelance content creator. She loves to travel with her family. Her favourite place in the world is a sandy beach in Cornwall.