Changes to UK green list open up options for expats in the UAE

British expats looking to travel home now have more stop-over options for quarantine-free travel

Read also: UK’s green watch list and double-vaccinated traveller plans explained

People from the UAE looking to visit the UK for the summer now have a wider range of stop-over options after the British government added several European countries to its green list.

Passengers arriving from Malta, Madeira, the Balearic Islands – comprising Ibiza, Menorca, Majorca and Formentera – and several Caribbean islands can now enter the UK without having to quarantine.

The changes take effect from 4am on Wednesday, June 30.

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We have witnessed increased traffic and enquiries for these destinations

In the past, the UK was one of the UAE's top five destinations for holidays and room nights, said Emily Jenkins, head of dnata Travel Leisure.

However, since mid-January, the Emirates have been on the UK's red list, meaning anyone travelling from the UAE must isolate in a managed hotel for 10 days.

To avoid this requirement, people in the UAE who want to travel home to the UK to visit friends and family are travelling first to a green or amber list country to see out the 10 days.

Passengers from amber list countries must quarantine at home for 10 days, but can test and release on day five if clear.

Ms Jenkins said dnata travel agents have already noticed the impact of the UK's update on Thursday night.

"With the recent announcement that Malta and the Balearic Islands will be added to the UK's green list from June 30, we have witnessed increased traffic and enquiries for these European destinations," she said.

"Travellers are now seeking clarity on the travel guidelines and details regarding flight paths. For example, flights to Malta with Emirates will begin from July 14, so anyone travelling prior to this date would need to transit via another destination."

The UK also announced plans to remove the self-isolation period for travellers from amber list countries who are fully vaccinated, with full details to be set out next month.

Currently, there is a mandatory 10-day isolation for passengers from amber countries but it can be done at home.

The UK has four vaccines approved for use: Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-​AstraZeneca, Moderna and Janssen.

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