Everything you need to know about the Government's traffic light system when travelling abroad
The pandemic has changed the way we travel abroad. The Government has put in place a traffic light system – green, amber, red – designed to tell you the actions that need to be taken on return from overseas travel. Other changes have been made because the UK has left the EU.
Here we answer your most frequently asked questions:
What do I need to do if I want to travel abroad?
- Check the rules and advice for the country you’re going to. Some countries require proof of a negative COVID-19 test result or a vaccination certificate. Before you return, take a COVID-19 PCR test. To board your transport to the UK you need proof of a negative result from a test taken in the three days before the service departs.
- You will also need to complete a passenger locator form and book any COVID-19 tests or quarantine hotel packages needed ahead of your return to the UK.
- The rules for testing and quarantine when you arrive back in the UK depend on which countries you’ve been in or travelled through in the 10 days before you arrive.
Are there additional requirements when travelling to and from Europe?
- Check your passport is valid using gov.uk/check-passport
- Allow plenty of time if you need to renew your passport. Check your travel insurance covers all your needs including healthcare and you have a valid Global Health Insurance Card or in-date European Health Insurance Card.
- Check you have the correct driving documentation for your destination at gov.uk/guidance/driving-in-the-eu
- Make sure you have the right documentation if you are travelling with your dog or cat.
What happens if I catch COVID while I am abroad?
- Coming down with COVID on holiday can be a big and costly problem, so it’s best to make sure you know what you must do if the worst happens - and if you can afford it. Some countries insist you enter a quarantine hotel - and you may have to pay for it.
- Make sure you have the money needed or adequate insurance before you go.
- If you do need medical treatment in a country covered by the EHIC/GHIC scheme the UK Government will fund this treatment as usual.
- Always check FCDO Travel Advice for the latest entry requirements and local COVID-19 rules for your destination country and when preparing for your return to the UK.
‘Finding out what we had to do wasn’t so bad’
Matthew Milner and his polish-born wife Maria travelled to Torun in her homeland this month to see his wife’s parents. The 38-year-old, his wife and their five-month-old son Anthony took the trip to the city which features a historic Unesco heritage site.
Matthew, who explained that the London couple have both been double vaccinated, said “My wife’s parents wanted to see their grandson. And the fact we were both double vaccinated was reassuring.”
“We knew the guidance had changed so to find out what we needed to do, we did a mixture of Googling and checking the official Government website.
“I was intending to return to work in the office on our return and we saw that being double vaccinated meant we didn’t have isolate for 10 days after our Day 2 test. We also found out we would only have to do the ‘Day 2’ test when we got back home and that made life quite easy for me to get back to work.
“Finding out what we had to do and what had changed wasn’t too bad.”
Mr Milner said that during the flight booking process passengers are also given instructions and links for what travellers have to do.
Before you book don’t forget…
Due to the nature of the pandemic, advice on travel is constantly changing. Before you book a holiday or business trip, it is wise to check the traffic-light status of your planned destination and what rules are in place for leaving and re-entering the UK. To do this visit gov.uk/travel-abroad