Foreign travel from 19 July: What has changed?

Covid restrictions in England and Scotland have finally been lifted from 19 July – almost a month after it had been postponed.

Face coverings have been made voluntary, and the limits on the number of people allowed to meet have been limited.

Similarly, many previous COVID-19 restrictions are no longer legal obligations, nor will they be enforced. However, much of the foreign travel guidance remains in place with some new revisions.

Queue at Heathrow Airport

What has changed for international travel?

  • Official advice against travel to amber list countries is eliminated
  • Fully vaccinated individuals and all under-18s are exempted from self-isolation when visiting most amber list countries (to be considered fully vaccinated, both doses must be from the NHS and the final one received at least 14 days prior to travel)
  • UPDATED on 2 July: Travellers who have been fully vaccinated in the US and EU (exemptions apply) are no longer required to self-isolate on arriving in the UK when travelling from amber list countries except France. They must still take a pre-travel COVID-19 test and one more on Day 2 of arrival in the UK.

What remains the same?

  • Unvaccinated or part-vaccinated travellers returning to the UK from amber list countries must take Day 2 and Day 8 PCR tests and self-isolate for 10 days
  • Red list country returnees must self-isolate at government-approved hotels and take Day 2 and Day 8 PCR tests
  • Regardless of restrictions easing in the UK, many popular travel destinations are still observing strict COVID-19 restrictions such as quarantine on entry or total travel bans. For instance, while Bulgaria is on the UK’s green list, the country has banned UK arrivals, and countries such as Austria, France and Italy, among others, require UK arrivals to quarantine for varying lengths on entry.
  • Rules regarding vaccinated travellers are different for each country, i.e., proof of full vaccination may be sufficient for entry into one country. At the same time, another might not deem it sufficient, and visitors may have to undergo PCR testing to meet entry requirements. It is strongly advised that travellers confirm entry requirements with travel operators before planning a trip abroad.

The most significant change in foreign travel regulation is the exemption from self-isolating for fully vaccinated travellers visiting amber list country with the exception of specific amber list countries. However, it must be noted that those who are exempt from quarantine are still required to take a PCR test within 72 hours of travelling back to the UK and another PCR test on Day 2 of arrival to the UK. Essentially, the same rules as the ones for travelling to green list countries.

Foreign travel information on VIVO Clinic’s travel system

VIVO Clinic’s newly updated travel portal takes into account the recent changes made by the UK government when providing foreign travel information.

The information offered on the travel system is specifically tailored for travellers from the UK as opposed to generic foreign travel guidance.

UK travellers will be able to easily check entry and return requirements based on each individual country’s traffic light category.

Furthermore, users can alter the search parameters by specifying their vaccination status to see how the entry requirements of each country are affected.

This includes precise and up-to-date information on which amber list country visits will exempt the fully vaccinated and under-18s from post-return quarantine and which countries will not.

It is strongly recommended that VIVO Clinic’s travel information system be used in conjunction with the government’s foreign travel information before planning overseas trips.