What are the UK travel rules from July 19?

Changes to England's traffic light system coincide with 'Freedom Day'

Powered by automated translation

Follow the latest updates on the Covid-19 pandemic here

England's "Freedom Day" on July 19 won't just see changes to domestic Covid restrictions, changes to the amber list of its traffic light system for travel will also be enacted.

What are the UK travel rules from July 19?

UK travel rules: green list

The rules for passengers travelling back to the UK from a green list destination will remain as they are on July 19.

Arrivals will have to take a pre-departure test as well as a PCR test on day two of their return. There is no requirement for them to quarantine unless they receive a positive test result.

UK travel rules: amber list

Passengers arriving in England who have received both vaccine doses in the UK will no longer need to isolate at home for 10 days after visiting an amber list country. This change also applies to the unvaccinated under 18s, despite levels of infection being high in this cohort.

Amber list returnees will still have to take a Covid test three days before they travel back to the UK, and are also required to take one on or before the second day of their return. The requirement to take a test on day eight has been scrapped.

Children between the ages of five and 10 are now exempt from the pre-departure test but are required to take a day two test. Children under four remain exempt from all testing and isolation requirements.

The changes open up travel to popular amber list holiday destinations such as Spain and Greece, despite Covid restrictions in these countries being ramped up to combat escalating cases of the Delta variant.

UK travel rules: red list

Red list rules also remain unchanged.

Arrivals are still required to quarantine in a managed hotel for 10 days after returning. Pre-departure testing and PCR testing on day two and eight remain mandatory.

Red list passengers must also be British or Irish nationals, or have UK residence rights in order to be allowed into the country.

Further changes to the UK travel lists are expected to be announced on Thursday.


Will face masks be needed on planes from July 19?

The requirement in England to wear face masks on public transport and in certain indoor settings will be removed from July 19.

However, airlines such as easyJet, Ryanair and British Airways have announced they will keep existing face mask rules in place to protect passengers and staff from the virus.

“At present there are no changes to easyJet’s onboard mask policy and we will continue to keep this under review," the budget airline said.

“We continue to be guided by our inhouse medical adviser and a number of key industry governing bodies that airlines follow including the WHO (World Health Organisation), Icao (International Civil Aviation Organisation), Easa (European Union Aviation Safety Agency), the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and public health authorities across Europe, and at present their guidance around the wearing of masks onboard remains unchanged.”

The stance has been adopted by London mayor Sadiq Khan who said on Wednesday that mask-wearing on London's public transport network would remain compulsory.

Can UK residents travel to Ireland from July 19 without restrictions?

Ireland is part of the common travel area and was not included on any of the UK's traffic light for travel lists. Those travelling to the UK from Ireland have thus avoided quarantine on arrival.

To date, this has not been a reciprocal arrangement with UK travellers to Ireland required to provide proof of a negative Covid test on arrival and to self-isolate for 14 days - a period which can be shortened with a negative PCR test on the fifth day.

This will change from July 19 when fully vaccinated travellers will be exempted from quarantine. With the UK not part of the European Union's Covid-19 travel passport scheme, travellers from England, Scotland and Wales will need to prove vaccination status using a different method.

Travellers from Northern Ireland aren't subject to any restrictions on crossing the border, providing they have not been abroad in the past 14 days.

Updated: July 15, 2021, 4:17 AM