What do I need to know about travel to amber list countries?

There has been quite a bit of confusion around travel to countries on the Government’s amber list with comments from Government Ministers saying that people shouldn’t travel internationally. 

The reality is that it is no longer illegal to travel overseas. 

Instead, the Government has introduced a new traffic light system which puts each foreign country into a green, amber or red category, with different requirements on testing and whether you need to quarantine when you return to the UK. You can read more about the requirements here

The purpose of the traffic light system is to manage the risk of reimporting Covid-19 virus back into the UK, and amber list countries are assessed as a medium risk. It is not about the risk of catching coronavirus in destination.

It is the Foreign Office advice that assesses the risk to travellers in that destination. Therefore, package holiday providers don’t usually operate holidays to a destination where the Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel, which is the case for some destinations on the amber list.

It is the Foreign Office advice that determines a right to a refund

If you have travel plans booked to an amber destination you need to check the Foreign Office advice to see if the destination has any entry restrictions that would prevent your holiday from going ahead, or quarantine requirements in destination which could significantly affect your holiday. In these cases, your package holiday provider should offer the option of an alternative holiday, if available, or a refund. Also, if the Foreign Office is advising against travel to your destination, you would normally be entitled to a refund.

If none of these apply, then it is your personal choice as to whether you continue with your holiday as planned. There are people who will still want and be able to travel, knowing that they can manage the testing and quarantine requirements on return.  

But for others, the quarantine arrangements may be difficult, particularly if you have a job where you can’t work from home or your have children in school or childcare.

It is worth noting that there has never been more flexibility in terms of travel booking conditions - many travel companies are currently going above and beyond what they are required to do by the package travel regulations, allowing people to change their plans free of charge. 

The traffic light lists will be reviewed every three weeks

People are more likely to have travel booked for the peak summer months.  If this applies to you, our best advice is to wait to see what happens. The traffic light country list will be reviewed on a three-weekly basis, so it may well be that your destination is moved onto the green list by the time you are due to travel.

You can find more answers to the most commonly asked questions about travelling during the pandemic on our webpage: COVID-19: Your holiday questions answered.