UK reopening - travel restrictions

UK to reopen for tourists from 12 countries without quarantine on May 17

Visitors arriving in the U.K. must bring a negative COVID-19 test result and undergo a mandatory 10-day quarantine at a government-managed facility if they come from a red-listed country. (Exceptions apply to essential workers). 

Also, travelers need to book quarantine accommodation within the 14 days prior to arrival. It’s not possible to book before that. 

The UK Reopening – Latest Updates

May 8 – The UK will only reopen for tourism to 12 countries

Effective May 17, the UK will reopen to travelers from 12 countries without quarantine requirements. (See list below).

Traditional commercial allies and neighboring countries such as Spain, France, Italy, the United States and Turkey were left off this exclusive list. The government has also announced this list will be reviewed every 3 weeks. This means that potential visitors will have a few opportunities to plan their summer holidays.

When coming back home, Britons will have to submit 2 negative COVID-19 tests, to be allowed entry without quarantine.   

April 21 – The U.K., economy reopening thanks to its outstandingly successful vaccination campaign 

If things continue as planned, every single adult would have been offered a vaccine against COVID-19 by August in the U.K. So far, more than 10 million UK nationals and residents have received two doses of one of the approved vaccines. This means that 1 in 5 adults in the UK are already immunized. 

The UK health system has administered 43,084,487 million vaccines between 8 December and 18 April. 

“I want to thank the brilliant staff and volunteers involved in the rollout, and urge all those who are called to keep coming forward.” Said Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week.

As a natural consequence, the unemployment rate has fallen for second month in a row (see reopening plan below)

Vaccination rollout in the UK 1
Vaccination rollout in the UK 2

Red-listed countries – Updated May 7 

Visitors coming from any of these countries will be denied entry to the U.K., unless they are nationals or resident permit holders. In that case, they must quarantine at a government-approved hotel for 10 days at their own expense. (Source:

  • Angola             
  • Argentina                   
  • Bangladesh                
  • Bolivia              
  • Botswana                   
  • Brazil            
  • Burundi            
  • Cape Verde                
  • Chile             
  • Colombia                    
  • Congo (Democratic Republic)              
  • Ecuador                      
  • Eswatini                      
  • Ethiopia                      
  • French Guiana            
  • Guyana            
  • India             
  • Kenya            
  • Lesotho                      
  • Malawi             
  • Maldives – Currently on the amber list. Will move to the red list 4am, 12 May 12.
  • Mozambique             
  • Namibia                      
  • Nepal – Currently on the amber list. Will move to the red list 4am, May 12.
  • Oman            
  • Pakistan                      
  • Panama                      
  • Paraguay                    
  • Peru              
  • Philippines                  
  • Qatar            
  • Rwanda                      
  • Seychelles                  
  • Somalia            
  • South Africa               
  • Suriname                    
  • Tanzania                     
  • Turkey – Currently on the amber list. Will move to the red list 4am, May 12.
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE)                 
  • Uruguay                      
  • Venezuela                  
  • Zambia             
  • Zimbabwe

Green-listed countries (from May 17)

Effective May 17, visitors coming from any of these countries will be allowed to visit the UK. Passengers from any of these territories must complete a passenger locator form, take a COVID-19 test, book and pay for a day 2 COVID-19 test.

  1. Australia
  2. Brunei
  3. Falkland Islands
  4. Faroe Islands
  5. Gibraltar
  6. Iceland
  7. Israel and Jerusalem
  8. New Zealand
  9. Portugal (including the Azores and Madeira)
  10. Singapore
  11. South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands
  12. St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

Amber-listed countries 

The rest of the countries belong in the Amber list. Travelers are advised to consult the entry rules with their embassies since they can change without prior notice.

What steps are needed to enter the UK?

  • All travelers must complete the Public Health Passenger Locator Form in the 48 hours before landing. 
  • Bring a negative COVID-19 test result taken 72 hours before arrival.
  • And book a managed quarantine facility up to 14 days prior to arrival.

Can travelers transit through the UK?

Yes. Transit passengers won’t need to quarantine as long as they don’t go through border control. 

What places have reopened in the U.K? 

uk travel restrictions

London and other major cities are under strict lockdown. These are the provisional steps to easing the restrictions. 

Step 1: From 29 March, outdoor gatherings of up to six people or two households are allowed.

Step 2: From 12 April, all shops, zoos, drive-in cinemas, sit outdoors for a meal or drink at hospitality venues are allowed from the same household or bubble. 

Step 3: From 17 May at the earliest, outdoor gatherings of groups of up to 30 people will be allowed. Additionally, indoor attractions such as museums, galleries, pubs, bars, restaurants and theatres can reopen. 

Step 4: From 21 June at the earliest, all social contact restrictions would be lifted. 


What is the current COVID-19 situation in the UK?

As of May 8, the U.K. has reported 4,433,090 COVID-19 cases and 127,603 deaths caused by the virus. The situation is gradually getting better thanks to its successful vaccination campaign.

At the moment there are between 900-1000 new cases per day. (Source)

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France remains open for tourism with new travel restrictions