a bridge over a river with a clock tower in the background

England took a big step in reopening the battered travel industry today.

From July 19th, all fully vaccinated Brits can visit not only ‘green list’, but also ‘amber list’ countries, without a need to quarantine upon return to England. It’s huge news for Brits hoping to bag an escape to a favorite destination, but unfortunately, the good news isn’t being extended to one key group: visitors.

UK Travel Quarantine Changes

The UK is making it easier for Brits to travel abroad from England, but not for visitors from most countries to travel to England.

From July 19th, fully vaccinated UK residents will be able to bypass any quarantine upon return from ‘amber list’ countries, opening up a significant number of options, including Spain, Greece, Italy, Portugal and North American hotspots including the USA.

Well, once the USA drops entry restrictions against Brits, of course.

a bridge with a statue of a dolphin and a fountain

The ‘quarantine free’ news is a welcome step change from the UK government, but it’s also left airlines and potential visitors wanting much more. At least for the time being, visitors from ‘amber list’ countries are not excluded from quarantine, or day 2 and 8 testing. Only UK residents can enter without quarantine.

This means arrivals from the USA and other amber list countries are still welcome to enter, but they must quarantine for 10 days and take an expensive battery of covid-19 tests, or pay extra to quarantine for just 5 days, with an even more expensive setup.

One Way Street For Travel

Airlines and tourism industry officials have urged the government to open quarantine free travel to all arrivals from all ‘green’ and ‘amber’ list countries, not just returning residents. It’s expected that the policy could be reviewed before the end of July, but for the time being, it’s simply a welcome boost for outbound UK tourism, mostly to ever popular areas of Europe.

Travelers on both sides of the pond are eager for a gridlock between the USA, EU and UK to come to an end. The United States continues to ban most tourist arrivals from the European Union and UK, despite the EU dropping restrictions against the USA and adding the country to its ‘safe list’. For now, quarantine free returns from ‘amber’ list countries is a significant boost for UK residents.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

Join the Conversation


  1. Perhaps I’m missing something here but the only reason I can think of to enact this policy is because the UK government thinks that only foreigners can carry disease to Britain. That would fit with BoJo’s racist viewpoints so I hope I’m mistaken.

    1. Yawn, racist rofl. Look at the all white EU ffs. if you read further reports you would know they are trying to find ways to also accept evidence other than the NHS app etc. This is also just England. Not the other 3 countries I believe.

  2. My understanding it is only for UK citizens and residents who had BOTH jabs through the National Health Service. The reason (and I see the rationale – though I don’t agree with it) is that the UK have used the NHS app for tracing, test results and vax certificates. So anyone with an NHS number can prove their vax to be legimate.
    As a Brit living in Canada, it looks like i can’t travel home without quarantine, where as as US citizen living in the UK with access to the NHS can, as they have the app and proof.
    I assume that an effort will be made to address this, as the UK Government appears to be discriminating against UK citizens and those with a right to live in the UK, but live elsewhere as I can’t prove that my Oxford and moderna jabs administered in Ontario are legit.
    It makes sense if an arriving aircraft pax are either divided at the immigration border )if they have the app to prove it, or the UK government can link the NHS info to the border agency.
    Given Canada is part of the commonwealth with a new Governor General (representing the Crown) announced only this week – the irony is not lost on me. Sort it out Boris !!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *