travelling to the UK

The annual run to the sun has started, but many people are still left asking, “What do I need to do to travel out of the UK?”
The traffic light system changes all the time, as are the travel rules for each destination. Here we cover the rules of travel currently in place and provide you with an up to date of the government’s traffic light system.

What do I need to do to travel out of the UK?

Plan your travel with plenty of time for any applications you may need, and don’t forget to check your passport!
The rules around travel are changing daily, so check the status of your trip daily on the lead up to departure. You can keep up to date with all the rule changes by subscribing to the travel advice email alerts provided by the Government, which are specific to your destination and any countries you will transit through. The emails will provide important information such as safety, security, entry requirements, and travel warnings.
You can also check for entry restrictions, testing, or quarantine requirements by contacting the UK-based embassy for your destination country.

Can I travel now I have had both vaccinations?

Some countries will want to see proof of vaccination. Again you can check this on the government website – Foreign travel advice.
If you have had the entire vaccine course (2 vaccinations), you will be able to demonstrate your COVID-19 vaccination status using the NHS App. All links to these services will appear at the bottom of this article.
If you do not have a smartphone or prefer a paper form, you can request this by dialling 119, asking for a letter to be sent to your address.
You may only request this if you plan to travel outside of the UK, are fully vaccinated and can not obtain these details using the App.
The letter can take up to 7 days to arrive and should only be applied for four weeks before travel.

Can I travel if I have not been vaccinated?

Make sure you check the entry requirements of the country to which you are travelling. Although there has been much talk about travel passports and fit to fly certificates, we currently do not have a requirement to produce proof of vaccination; however, some countries will require this before you arrive. So ensure you research the conditions of your destination and keep informed by subscribing to the email alerts.

Do I need to wear a face mask while on a flight?

Your airline will inform you of measures they have in place to minimise the transmission of coronavirus. Airlines do have the right to refuse you if they believe you are not fit to fly.
Many airlines will require you to wear a mask. If you can not wear a mask due to a medical condition, the airline may consider this as “not fit to fly”, and you will not be able to board the aircraft.

Do children have to wear a face mask when on a flight?

Again, currently, rules differ but, most, if not all, airlines will require everyone, including children from as little as two years old, to have a suitable facemask on.
It is important to check this with the company with whom you are flying.

Will my travel insurance be valid for travel?

Be sure to contact your insurer about your travel cover. Make sure you are well informed about –

  • The level of healthcare cover they include
  • What travel disruption cover it includes
  • The full terms and conditions

Make sure you take a copy of your insurance documents, your policy number and the emergency assistance telephone number provided by your insurer.

Will I need to show a negative covid test when travelling?

You must have proof of a negative coronavirus (COVID-19) test to travel to England; this includes returning home from a holiday abroad.
Proof of a negative test to enter a country or territory may differ, so it is best to keep records of all your tests and ensure you take a test 3 days before travelling to or from the UK.

Do I need to take a Covid test even if I have been vaccinated?

Yes. If you are travelling back to the UK, you must take a test even if:

  • You have been vaccinated
  • You are travelling from a country or territory on the green list
  • You are a UK citizen

The test should be taken three days before travel.

If you do not either take a test or have proof of a negative test, you can be refused entry to any country, including the UK; if you arrive in the UK without proof, you can also be fined up to £500.

Where and how do I get a covid test for travel?

You must make sure that the test provider you choose can meet the standards for pre-departure testing. The test must meet performance standards of ≥97% specificity, ≥80% sensitivity.

Your test results must include the following information –

  • Your name as it appears on your travel documents
  • Age
  • Result of your test 
  • Date the test was taken
  • The name and contact details of the test provider 
  • Information regarding the test device 

If your test comes back as inconclusive, you will have to take another test.

Please note – NHS tests cannot be used for the purpose of pre-departure testing before travelling to England.

You cannot take an NHS test abroad with you to use on yourself before you return.

Book your covid travel test

Dr Wayne Cottrell & Co are a UK Government accredited testing provider for:

  • Day 2 only testing (green list countries)
  • Day 2 and 8 testings (amber list countries)
  • Day 5 Test and release
  • COVID PCR Pre-Departure testing
  • General population screening
  • Currently traffic light list 

You can book today for any of our testing systems and find out more about what you need to do before travelling.

Green list of countries and territories

  • Australia
  • Brunei
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • Gibraltar
  • Iceland
  • Israel and Jerusalem
  • New Zealand
  • Portugal (including the Azores and Madeira)
  • Singapore
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
  • St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

Amber list of countries and territories

  • Afghanistan  
  • Akrotiri and Dhekelia  
  • Albania  
  • Algeria  
  • Andorra  
  • Anguilla  
  • Antigua and Barbuda  
  • Armenia  
  • Aruba  
  • Austria  
  • Azerbaijan  
  • The Bahamas  
  • Bahrain  
  • Barbados  
  • Belarus  
  • Belgium  
  • Belize  
  • Benin  
  • Bermuda  
  • Bhutan  
  • Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba  
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina  
  • British Antarctic Territory  
  • British Indian Ocean Territory  
  • British Virgin Islands  
  • Bulgaria  
  • Burkina Faso  
  • Cambodia  
  • Cameroon  
  • Canada  
  • Cayman Islands  
  • Central African Republic  
  • Chad  
  • China  
  • Comoros  
  • Congo  
  • Cook Islands  
  • Costa Rica  
  • Côte d’Ivoire  
  • Croatia  
  • Cuba  
  • Curaçao  
  • Cyprus  
  • Czech Republic (Czechia)  
  • Denmark  
  • Djibouti  
  • Dominica  
  • Dominican Republic  
  • Egypt  
  • El Salvador  
  • Equatorial Guinea  
  • Eritrea  
  • Estonia  
  • Fiji  
  • Finland  
  • France  
  • French Polynesia  
  • Gabon  
  • The Gambia  
  • Georgia  
  • Germany  
  • Ghana  
  • Greece (including islands)  
  • Greenland  
  • Grenada  
  • Guadeloupe  
  • Guatemala  
  • Guinea  
  • Guinea-Bissau  
  • Haiti  
  • Honduras  
  • Hong Kong  
  • Hungary  
  • Indonesia  
  • Iran  
  • Iraq  
  • Italy  
  • Jamaica  
  • Japan  
  • Jordan  
  • Kazakhstan  
  • Kiribati  
  • Kosovo  
  • Kuwait  
  • Kyrgyzstan  
  • Laos  
  • Latvia  
  • Lebanon  
  • Liberia  
  • Libya  
  • Liechtenstein  
  • Lithuania  
  • Luxembourg  
  • Macao  
  • Madagascar  
  • Malaysia  
  • Mali  
  • Malta  
  • Marshall Islands  
  • Martinique  
  • Mauritania  
  • Mauritius  
  • Mayotte  
  • Mexico  
  • Micronesia  
  • Moldova  
  • Monaco  
  • Mongolia  
  • Montenegro  
  • Montserrat  
  • Morocco  
  • Myanmar (Burma)  
  • Nauru  
  • Netherlands  
  • New Caledonia  
  • Nicaragua  
  • Niger  
  • Nigeria  
  • North Korea  
  • North Macedonia  
  • Norway  
  • The Occupied Palestinian Territories  
  • Palau  
  • Papua New Guinea  
  • Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands  
  • Poland  
  • Réunion  
  • Romania  
  • Russia  
  • Samoa  
  • San Marino  
  • Sao Tome and Principe  
  • Saudi Arabia  
  • Senegal  
  • Serbia  
  • Sierra Leone  
  • Slovakia  
  • Slovenia  
  • Solomon Islands  
  • South Korea  
  • South Sudan  
  • Spain (including the Balearics and Canary Islands)  
  • Sri Lanka  
  • St Kitts and Nevis  
  • St Lucia  
  • St Martin and St Barthélemy  
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines  
  • Sudan  
  • Sweden  
  • Switzerland  
  • Syria  
  • Taiwan  
  • Tajikistan  
  • Thailand  
  • Timor-Leste  
  • Togo  
  • Tonga  
  • Trinidad and Tobago  
  • Tunisia  
  • Turkmenistan  
  • Turks and Caicos Islands  
  • Tuvalu  
  • Uganda  
  • Ukraine  
  • United States (USA)  
  • Uzbekistan  
  • Vanuatu  
  • Vietnam  
  • Wallis and Futuna  
  • Western Sahara  
  • Yemen

Red list of countries and territories

  • Angola  
  • Argentina  
  • Bangladesh  
  • Bolivia  
  • Botswana  
  • Brazil  
  • Burundi  
  • Cape Verde  
  • Chile  
  • Colombia  
  • Congo (Democratic Republic)  
  • Ecuador  
  • Eswatini  
  • Ethiopia  
  • French Guiana  
  • Guyana  
  • India  
  • Kenya  
  • Lesotho  
  • Malawi  
  • Maldives  
  • Mozambique  
  • Namibia  
  • Nepal  
  • Oman  
  • Pakistan  
  • Panama  
  • Paraguay  
  • Peru  
  • Philippines  
  • Qatar  
  • Rwanda  
  • Seychelles  
  • Somalia  
  • South Africa  
  • Suriname  
  • Tanzania  
  • Turkey  
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE)  
  • Uruguay  
  • Venezuela  
  • Zambia  
  • Zimbabwe

(This list was in place as of the 17th of May 2021).

Remember – This list is set to change and will be in constant review. You can check on the government website for an updated list.

For more detailed rules on your specific destination please check the government website for Foreign travel advice


More information on testing before you travel to England –