Updated: UK Approves 75 Destinations For Travel Without Quarantine

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If you think Netflix is full of drama, you need to pay more attention to the news. The UK Government became the washing machine of solutions to safely resume travel, with new ideas tossed and overturned by the minute. But now, there’s finally some clarity for travel, with an official published list of countries which won’t be subject to the 14 day quarantine upon arrival into the UK, both for returning residents and visitors.

From the days of a curious quarantine; to talks of air bridges, here’s the fresh list of 75 places, made up of countries and British Territories from which travelers will not have to quarantine when they land in the UK, and all the answers to all the questions you may inevitably have, like travel insurance.

Official: 75 Approved Destinations Without UK Quarantine, 66 No Longer Only For Essential Travel

On June 8th, 2020, the UK initiated a mandatory quarantine for any visitors and returning residents coming from abroad from virtually all destinations, in a move which effectively killed travel.

The move, which was highly unpopular with nearly all in the business and travel communities was said to have gone too far, and that instead, simply creating quarantine requirements for travelers returning or coming from a few select “at risk” destinations, like the USA, Brazil and Russia, would’ve been the easier approach, and enabled travel to destinations with lower rates of infection or concern.

To quell concerns from holidaymakers and business leaders alike, the UK Government then floated the idea of air bridges, which would nix the quarantine for both inbound and returning travelers coming from a small selection of mostly European destination, but then those plans were nixed too.

The now: The UK has scrapped air bridge plans, and instead, will offer a list of countries where quarantine on arrival into the UK won’t be necessary. It’s basically go back to square one, but with a newly designed makeover to add clarity about where you can travel from, or return from, without quarantine on arrival into the UK.

Who does this apply to? Anyone entering the UK, including citizens, visitors, returning residents, family members and so forth. Unlike most of Europe, the UK is still accepting visitors from the United States, but anyone coming from the USA would be required to quarantine, since the country isn’t on the approved ‘quarantine free’ list below.

Stoplight System For Travel Countries

The UK has a new stoplight system with green, yellow and red countries. Those in the “green” or “orange” will be able to enter the UK without quarantine.

To make things simple, the UK Government added a dedicated web page highlighting the current countries where no quarantine will apply to returning Brits, or to visitors coming from these countries. Basically, you can travel like the old days, if you’re coming from one of these places.

It’s worth noting that the 75 destination list includes many countries where Brits, and travelers from many other nations are not currently welcomed, or may face quarantine of their own when they get there – like Singapore, or Australia. The list just means that they won’t face one when they return to the UK, or if they wish to visit the UK from any of these countries. Here’s how to know if you’re eligible to enter a country right now.

The newly published list of countries exempt from essential travel, meaning countries where leisure travel is ok, and insurance will once again be valid has also been published. In the latest update, Serbia was removed. The UK has also published its list of “Travel Corridors” from which you won’t need to quarantine on arrival into the United Kingdom, starting July 10th.

The no quarantine policy applies to both visitors from these countries and also to UK residents returning from these selected countries, and includes…

What about all the other countries?

“Red” countries, with rates of covid-19 infection higher than the UK will still need to quarantine, and if the country you’d like to visit, or visit from, is not currently on the list, it means you can expect a mandatory 14 day quarantine upon arrival into the UK. Here’s full details on what the 14 day quarantine entails.

When Is It OK For Brits To Travel Again, And Visitors To Arrive?

The new UK list of 66 countries where travelers will not face quarantine upon return or entry into the UK kicks in July 10th, 2020 and is in effect until any changes are made. Countries can be added or taken off the list based on a variety of factors, but any countries currently on the list are expected to stay.

Basically, you can travel any time from July 10th, 2020 or later to or from these destinations without quarantine on arrival into the UK. Since July 10th has passed, you can now travel to or from these places.

For the 66 country list which no longer bans all but essential travel, those changes kicked in July 4th, 2020, so you can travel from that date without breaking government travel advice. Virtually all airlines are requiring passengers to wear a mask, and we’ve got a variety of safety tips if you do plan on flying.

What About Travel Insurance For The UK Approved Country List?

Crucially, the new system eases government advice on travel to the list of 67 countries, where essential travel only no longer applies. The Foreign Travel Office no longer states essential travel only, which will make travel insurance valid again for places on the approved list, and allow leisure travel to return. This has been a key hurdle in resuming traveler confidence.

Notably, Sweden, Russia, Brazil, Portugal and the USA are expected to be on the “red” list of countries where a mandatory quarantine will continue, which creates a significant impact on travel between key trading partners.

GSTP Take

A cynic could say that if you closed your eyes and imagined a time before covid-19, as infections increased, the UK could’ve just created a list of countries for which a mandatory quarantine, or entire travel ban would exist. The move would’ve taken a matter of hours, rather than months, and enacted months ago could’ve done a lot of good, without spooking people about booking future travel.

Travel for the rest of the world, the majority of which had far lower rates of infection could’ve carried on as normal, but that ship has sailed, and hopefully on the good, and impressively clear news from the UK Government people will be able to travel with confidence once again. The question is: where?