International travel is set to reopen on 17th May. The UK government will introduce a new 'traffic light system' on this date to safely restart international travel.

This handy blog answers your questions on the new traffic light system and aims to simplify the rules and regulations surrounding the reopening of overseas travel. All information is subject to change, but we will keep you up to date on the latest details as they unfold.


What is the new ‘traffic light system’?

The UK will introduce a new ‘green’ and ‘amber’ level to the government’s existing ‘red’ list of countries making up the new traffic light system. Each destination will be categorised by green, amber or red, depending on several factors. These include the success of the country’s vaccination programme, the current rate of infection, the prevalence of variants of concern and the access to reliable scientific data.

When the new traffic light system is launched on the 17th May, the ban on non-essential travel will be lifted.


What are the testing and quarantine requirements for each category?

Each green, amber and green category will come with its own testing and quarantine requirements. These will replace all existing travel rules and regulations.

The below table outlines the current requirements for green, amber and red list countries:

Measure Green Country Amber Country Red Country
Passenger Locator Form Yes Yes Yes
Pre-departure Test
(in destination)
Yes Yes Yes
Managed Quarantine at Hotel No No 10 days
Self-Isolation No 10 days N/A
Test to Release No On day 5 No
PCR Testing
(upon arrival in the UK)
On or before day 2 On or before day 2 On or before 2
Further PCR Testing
(upon arrival in the UK)
No Day 8 Day 8


Which countries are on the UK’s green, amber and red list?

Green List Countries

At present, these are the countries on the UK's 'green list':

- Australia
- Brunei
- Falkland Islands
- Faroe Islands
- Gibraltar
- Iceland
- Israel
- New Zealand
- Portugal including Madeira and the Azores
- Singapore

The government have also stated that they will provide advance warning to travellers if it is likely that a country will move from the green list to the amber list.

Amber List Countries

Once the amber list has been announced, we will update you with the latest information. 

Red List Countries

A list of the most up to date red countries can be found here.


Where can I access the ‘Passenger Locator’ form?

Even after 17th May, all passengers entering the UK must complete a ‘Passenger Locator’ form before arrival. The form must be completed and submitted within 48 hours of arriving into the UK. Passengers will need to show the form when checking in to travel. The passenger locator form can be found here.


Will I still need to fill in a ‘Permission to Travel’ form when travelling?

Once international travel has resumed on the 17th May 2021, travellers will no longer need to prove they have a valid reason to leave the country. As a result, the ‘Permission to Travel’ form will be removed and passengers will no longer need to fill these in.


We are here to help

If you have any questions or queries surrounding the reopening of international travel, our dedicated team are on hand to help guide you through the varying travel rules and regulations. Contact us online or call 01892 673435.