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Traffic light system

From 4am Monday 4 October 2021, the rules for international travel to England changed from the red, amber, green traffic light system to a single red list of countries and simplified travel measures for arrivals from the rest of the world.

The rules for travel from countries and territories not on the red list depend on your vaccination status.

Travel from the rest of the world if you are fully vaccinated

From 4am Monday 4 October: you will qualify as fully vaccinated if you are vaccinated either:

  • under an approved vaccination programme in the UK, Europe, USA or UK vaccine programme overseas
  • with a full course of the Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna or Janssen vaccines from a relevant public health body in Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Dominica, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan or the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Formulations of the 4 listed vaccines, such as AstraZeneca Covishield, AstraZeneca Vaxzevria and Moderna Takeda, qualify as approved vaccines.

You must have had a complete course of an approved vaccine at least 14 days before you arrive in England.

Where 2 doses of a vaccine are required for a full course, you will be able to:

  • mix 2 different types of vaccine, for example Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna
  • have the 2 vaccinations under 2 different approved programmes, for example Australia and Japan, UK and USA, EU and Canada

The rules for fully vaccinated people also apply if you are either:

  • under 18 and resident in the UK or one of the listed countries or territories with approved vaccination programmes
  • taking part in an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial in the UK or USA – in due course, we expect to extend this to other countries

If you qualify as fully vaccinated you will have to:

  • book and pay for a day 2 COVID-19 test – to be taken after arrival in England
  • complete your passenger locator form – any time in the 48 hours before you arrive in England
  • take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 after you arrive in England

Under the new rules, you will not need to:

  • take a pre-departure test
  • take a day 8 COVID-19 test
  • quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days after you arrive in England

You must be able to prove that you have been fully vaccinated (plus 14 days) with a document (digital or paper-based) from a national or state-level public health body that includes, as a minimum:

  • forename and surname(s)
  • date of birth
  • vaccine brand and manufacturer
  • date of vaccination for every dose
  • country or territory of vaccination and/or certificate issuer

If your document from a public health body does not include all of these, you must follow the non-vaccinated rules. If not, you may be denied boarding.

If you are fully vaccinated in the USA, you will need to show a CDC card showing you’ve had a full course of an FDA-approved vaccine in the USA. You’ll also need to prove that you are a resident of the USA.

If you are fully vaccinated in Europe, you will need to show an EU Digital COVID Certificate (EU DCC), showing you’ve had a full course of an EMA or Swissmedic-approved vaccine.

If you are fully vaccinated, but do not qualify under these fully vaccinated rules, you must follow the non-vaccinated rules.

Travel from the rest of the world if you are not fully vaccinated

You must follow these rules if you:

  • do not qualify under the fully vaccinated rules
  • are partially vaccinated
  • are not vaccinated

Before you travel to England you must:

  • take a pre-departure COVID-19 test – to be taken in the 3 days before you travel to England
  • book and pay for day 2 and day 8 COVID-19 tests – to be taken after arrival in England
  • complete your passenger locator form – any time in the 48 hours before you arrive in England

After you arrive in England you must:

  • quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days
  • take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8

You may be able to end quarantine early if you pay for a private COVID-19 test through the Test to Release scheme.

Travel from red countries

If you have been in a country or territory on the red list in the last 10 days, you will only be allowed to enter the UK if you are a British or Irish national or you have residence rights in the UK.

Before you travel to England, you must:

  • take a pre-departure Covid-19 test – to be taken in the 3 days before you travel to England
  • book a quarantine hotel package, including 2 COVID-19 tests
  • complete your passenger locator form – any time in the 48 hours before you arrive in England

When you arrive in England, you must quarantine in a managed hotel, including 2 COVID-19 tests.

The Red list of countries
Afghanistan
Angola
Argentina
Bolivia
Botswana
Brazil
Burundi
Cape Verde
Chile
Colombia
Congo (Democratic Republic)
Costa Rica
Cuba
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
Eritrea
Eswatini
Ethiopia
French Guiana
Georgia
Guyana
Haiti
Indonesia
Lesotho
Malawi
Mayotte
Mexico
Mongolia
Montenegro
Mozambique
Myanmar
Namibia
Nepal
Panama
Paraguay
Peru
Philippines
Réunion
Rwanda
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Somalia
South Africa
Sudan
Suriname
Tanzania
Thailand
Trinidad and Tobago
Tunisia
Uganda
Uruguay
Venezuela
Zambia
Zimbabwe

We advise checking with gov.uk for the latest, most up to date information on the restrictions and make up of the red list.

The traffic light system has been put in place in order to facilitate non-essential travel in the Summer months of 2020. The restrictions do not necessarily impact business travellers. For further clarification and details, please contact your GTM Account Manager.

How do you travel to a country that’s not on the green list?

Global Travel Management managing director Scott Pawley has spelled out some examples of how business travellers can still visit – and return from – amber-listed countries.

  • Travel to green list countries is possible with few restrictions  
  • But what if the country you need to visit is outside the government’s green list?
  • And how do you navigate restrictions in destination countries? 
Business Travel Magazine includes an online version, a printed publication available in the UK and a weekly newsletter.

In the article, available here, Scott explains how Global Travel Management works with businesses to ensure that crucial business travel can take place, even to countries outside the green list.

The article discusses the United States’ work exemptions, routes avoiding countries with the greatest restrictions imposed on them, differences in self-isolation requirements and arranging Covid-19 testing at home and abroad.

Scott explained,

We have clients who need to travel to countries that are not – or not yet – on the UK government’s green list. The first thing we do is help them understand the testing requirements that currently exist. So, for an amber list county, it means pre-booking either three or four PCR tests before the trip takes place.

He also explained how each country’s restrictions must be taken into consideration

It’s crucial to ensure that regulations are being adhered to, but, equally, when travel to the United States is business-critical, we do what we can to ensure it can happen.

Scott contributed to the article to share some of the best practice required to ensure businesses that need to travel can do so with as little inconvenience as possible.

You can read the full article here.