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UK’s ‘Traffic Light System’ for Travel
Your Questions Answered


UK’s ‘Traffic Light System’ for Travel – Your Questions Answered

On 17th May, the UK government introduced a new 'traffic light system' to reopen overseas travel. Our handy blog will answer all your questions on the traffic light system and aims to simplify the rules and regulations surrounding international travel. The blog will be updated as and when the UK government release further information. 


When will international travel reopen?

 International travel from the UK resumed on 17th May 2021 and a new 'traffic light system' was introduced. 


What is the new ‘traffic light system’?

The UK has introduced a ‘green’ and ‘amber’ level to the government’s previous ‘red’ list of countries making up the new traffic light system. Each destination will be categorised depending on several factors including the country’s vaccination programme, the rate of infection, the prevalence of variants of concern and the access to reliable scientific data.


What are the current testing and quarantine requirements for each category?

Each category will come with its own testing and quarantine requirements which will replace the current rules and restrictions.

The below table outlines the current requirements for green, amber and red list countries:

Measure Green Country Amber Country Red Country
Passenger Locator Form Yes Yes Yes
Pre-departure Test
(in destination)
Yes Yes Yes
Managed Quarantine at Hotel No No 10 days
Self-Isolation No 10 days
*Not applicable to fully vaccinated travellers - see below.
Test to Release No On day 5
*Not applicable to fully vaccinated travellers - see below.
PCR Testing
(upon arrival in the UK)
On or before day 2 On or before day 2 On or before 2
Further PCR Testing
(upon arrival in the UK)
No Day 8
*Not applicable to fully vaccinated travellers - see below.
Day 8


What are the rules for fully vaccinated travellers?

As of 19th July, fully vaccinated travellers returning to England from ‘amber list’ countries will no longer have to quarantine on arrival.

Passengers will still be required to take a pre-departure test up to 72 hours before they travel to England and a PCR test on day two of their arrival, but arrivals will no longer have to take a test on day eight. This means the rules for fully vaccinated travellers arriving from ‘amber list’ destinations will effectively be the same for all passengers arriving from ‘green list’ countries.

Travellers can prove their vaccination status either using the main NHS app or with an official NHS letter. They must have had two weeks pass since their second dose of the vaccine to be eligible.

Passengers returning to England will also be asked to include their vaccination status on their Passenger Locator Form to be free of self-isolation. Airlines and other transport carriers will check the passengers form is correct before they board.


Which countries are on the UK’s green, amber and red list?

Green List Countries

At present, these are the countries on the UK's 'green list':

- Anguilla 
- Antigua & Barbuda 
- Australia
- Austria 
- the Azores (as of Monday 30th August)
- Barbados
- Bermuda 
- Brunei
- Bulgaria 
- Canada (as of Monday 30th August)
- Cayman Islands 
- Croatia (green watchlist)
- Denmark (as of Monday 30th August)
- Dominica 
- Falkland Islands
- Faroe Islands
- Finland (as of Monday 30th August)
- Germany 
- Gibraltar
- Grenada 
- Hong Kong 
- Iceland
- Israel
- Latvia
- Liechtenstein (as of Monday 30th August)
- Lithuania (as of Monday 30th August)
- Madeira
- Malta 
- New Zealand
- Norway 
- Romania 
- Singapore
- Slovakia 
- Slovenia 
- Switzerland (as of Monday 30th August)
- Taiwan (green watchist) 
- Turks & Caicos Islands 

You can also check the green list countries here. The government have also stated that they will provide advance warning to travellers if it is likely that a country will move from the green list to the amber list.

Amber List Countries

A list of the most up to date amber countries can be found here. 

Red List Countries

A list of the most up to date red countries can be found here.


Where can I access the ‘Passenger Locator’ form?

All passengers entering the UK are required to complete a ‘Passenger Locator’ form before arrival. The form must be completed and submitted within 48 hours of arriving into the UK. Passengers will need to show the form when checking in to travel or board the plane, ferry or train to the UK. The passenger locator form can be found here.


Will I still need to fill in a ‘Permission to Travel’ form when travelling?

Once international travel has resumed on the 17th May 2021, travellers will no longer need to prove they have a valid reason to leave the country. As a result, the ‘Permission to Travel’ form will be removed and passengers will no longer need to fill these in.


We are here to help

If you have any questions or queries surrounding the reopening of international travel, our dedicated team are on hand to help guide you through the varying travel rules and regulations. Contact us online or call 01892 673422.

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