When can we go abroad on holiday?

The question on everybody’s lips at the moment is “When can we go abroad on holiday?” This is generally followed by “Where can we go?” Also, what about Covid passports? And essential travel? Who is allowed to travel now and what reasons are they giving?

There is certainly reason to hope for a holiday this year, as the government indicates that we have a route map out of lockdown, although official advice is that we don’t book a trip abroad just yet.

One thing that remains clear for the time being is that it is illegal to go on holiday abroad at the moment. In fact, travellers leaving Britain are required to carry a completed Travel Declaration Form, stating their reasons for travel.

Traffic Lights System

That looks set to change, however, as Boris Johnston announced plans to allow international leisure travel from 17 May, at the earliest.

When the ban is lifted, a traffic light system will come into effect, classifying countries as Green, Amber or Red, depending on how safe the UK government considers each country.

Green: holidaymakers will require to test negative 72 hours before their return trip and upon return but will NOT require to quarantine at home upon return.

Amber: Test before return to the UK and 10 days home quarantine upon return. Tests on day 2 and day 8. Option of paying for an extra test on day 5 to be released early if negative. Maybe no quarantine if traveller is fully vaccinated (to be confirmed).

Red: The government will strongly discourage travel to these countries and direct flights are banned:  Enforced 11 days hotel quarantine, costing up to £1,750 per person.


The government has not yet announced which countries are Red, Amber or Green.

But travel experts, including Simon Calder, expect most countries to be classified Amber, with maybe Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Gibraltar, Iceland, Israel some Caribbean Islands, UAE, Bahrain and perhaps even the USA making it onto the Green list. Closer to home, Portugal, Malta and, if the UK agrees to classify regions of Spain separately, then the Balearic Islands – Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera – stand a good chance, too.

Of course, this is just one half of a possible story. We don’t know yet what entry requirements each country might demand, although it is hoped that negative tests prior to travel and/or a vaccine passport should satisfy most resort border controls.

Vaccine passports

Boris Johnston has confirmed that we will definitely need a vaccine passport for international travel, perhaps similar to the Digital Green Certificate rolling out in EU countries, or the Israeli Green Pass system.

The government will reveal more details later this month.

For advice and professional assistance regarding travel abroad for business, essential purposes or leisure, please contact our legal team. We are fluent in English, Polish, Hindi, Gujarati, Punjabi and Urdu.


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