UK Lifted The Travel Ban But Only To Some Countries

Good news - the UK is gradually coming out of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown. The government has now announced a list of 59 countries for which the UK lifts the travel ban.

However, there is some confusion regarding these new “air bridges.” One, some of the countries still don’t allow passengers from the UK to enter or require them to quarantine, and two, the FCO has provided a slightly different list.

Let’s see what is happening and where British tourists can go on holiday this summer.



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The UK travel ban and travel restrictions

From 10 July, the quarantine will be lifted for people travelling between England and designated “travel corridor” destinations.

Information for travel into Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland still has to be published by the Devolved Administrations.

Now let’s take a look at the current list. Most countries that were expected to be included are here, such as Turkey, Germany and Croatia, while other popular holiday destinations are unfortunately absent - like Portugal.

What’s interesting is that Greece is on the list, even though there isn’t yet a reciprocal agreement, meaning the UK is not on the Greek “safe list.” However, Greece will review it on 15 July and will probably include the United Kingdom this time.

The new “travel corridors” mean those travelling from the approved countries into England will no longer be required to self-isolate for 14 days unless they have visited or stopped in any other country or territory in the preceding 2 weeks.

If you have stopped off anywhere not on the list you will still have to self-isolate for two weeks when you get to the UK.

All inbound travellers, no matter if they’re tourists or UK residents, must provide a passenger locator form before their arrival into the country.

However, the situation is not necessarily reciprocal. For example, on theory, travellers won’t have to self-isolate when returning from New Zealand, but in fact, there is very little chance of them gaining entry there in the first place.


The government’s list

Here is the official list of the 59 countries exempt from quarantine on arrival into England (in alphabetical order):

  1. Andorra
  2. Antigua and Barbuda
  3. Australia
  4. Aruba
  5. Austria
  6. Bahamas
  7. Barbados
  8. Belgium
  9. Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba
  10. Croatia
  11. Curaçao
  12. Cyprus
  13. Czech Republic
  14. Denmark
  15. Dominica
  16. Faroe Islands
  17. Fiji
  18. Finland
  19. France
  20. French Polynesia
  21. Germany
  22. Greece
  23. Greenland
  24. Grenada
  25. Guadeloupe
  26. Hong Kong
  27. Hungary
  28. Iceland
  29. Italy
  30. Jamaica
  1. Japan
  2. Liechtenstein
  3. Lithuania
  4. Luxembourg
  5. Macau
  6. Malta
  7. Mauritius
  8. Monaco
  9. Netherlands
  10. New Caledonia
  11. New Zealand
  12. Norway
  13. Poland
  14. Réunion
  15. San Marino
  16. Serbia
  17. Seychelles
  18. South Korea
  19. Spain
  20. St Barthélemy
  21. St Kitts and Nevis
  22. St Lucia
  23. St Pierre and Miquelon
  24. Switzerland
  25. Taiwan
  26. Trinidad and Tobago
  27. Turkey
  28. Vatican City
  29. Vietnam
  30.  


Ireland is already exempt as part of the common travel area, and so are the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. The government has stated that 14 British overseas territories will also be exempt.

However, the list could still change. According to the government’s website, countries “may be added over the coming days following further discussions between the UK and international partners.”

Countries could also be removed from the list if there are any serious spikes in infection rates.


The FCO list

Here is what’s causing confusion and forcing travellers to cross-reference to discover where they can go.

The Foreign Office (FCO) has previously issued travel warnings and advised against all non-essential travel abroad. But now their list collides with the new list of the Department of Transport.

So one list contains countries which are exempt from quarantine, while the other lists countries where the FCO will lift its travel warning. They should be the same but they aren’t.

Moreover, the lists don’t reflect whether Brits will be allowed into the country in question or whether they will have to quarantine when they arrive. And that’s obviously important to know.

The FCO has answered that the two lists are different because they are based on different criteria: one on risks abroad, the other on the risk of importing the virus on return to the UK.

Examining the two lists, we have concluded that both travel restrictions (the FCO warning and the mandatory quarantine) have been lifted in the countries from the government’s list from above, EXCEPT:

  1. Aruba
  2. Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba
  3. Faroe Islands
  4. Fiji
  5. Greenland
  6. Mauritius
  7. New Caledonia
  8. Seychelles
  9. St Barthélemy
  10. Vatican City

Arrivals from these countries into England are exempt from quarantine, but the FCO’s travel advice is still against travelling to them in the first place.


Conclusion

Perhaps the UK will lift the travel ban for more countries soon since it will be frequently reviewing its list. However, it all depends on the rate of coronavirus infections in different countries. Some might even be banned again.

Quarantine rules might also change. There is a suggestion that a coronavirus test at Heathrow could replace self-isolation, no matter the country you’re arriving from, but we will see whether this will remain only an idea or not.


Stay updated, practice social distancing and be safe!