Despite the current global coronavirus crisis, the UK continues to offer visas to foreigners looking to study, work, and live in the country. While travel to the UK during COVID-19 remains possible, entering the UK is only allowed for those arriving from certain countries (i.e. via those countries not on the travel ban) as well as those who follow entry restrictions and post-entry requirements. If you received a visa to the UK and plan on traveling to the country soon, you should therefore know what to expect in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today’s blog will therefore discuss current UK travel conditions including UK entry requirements. In addition, you will learn the rules for Green List countries as well as the rules for Amber List countries. All this, and everything you need to know about travelling to UK, below. 

[Published on 17 June 2021]
Disclaimer: Please note that this update for UK travel conditions and entry requirements may vary from the date it was published and is subject to change.

Travel to the UK during COVID-19

  • If you are travelling to UK, regardless of what country you are traveling from, you will have to accomplish the following pre-flight restrictions: 
    • Fill out a passenger locater form. 
    • Show evidence of having tested negative for coronavirus (please note any test you take should be within three days of you entering the country).  
  • In addition to the above pre-flight requirements, you must abide by the restrictions related to whatever color list the country you are arriving from is on (see below for more info). 
  • Finally, once you arrive in the UK you must abide by the specific domestic cos in the UK country you stay in. These have historically included COVID-19 related restrictions on gatherings, mask requirements, and closures of certain public places.   
  • Your failure to follow any of the COVID-19 related pre and post entry restrictions can result in financial penalties and/or imprisonment, of up to £10,000 and ten years, respectively. For example, if you lie about having previously been in a country on the Red List in order to avoid having to follow the more onerous Red-List related restrictions. 
  • Please also note that the UK travel conditions apply differently depending on what country you are applying to. The information contained within this blog applies generally to England. For example, the entry conditions for those looking to enter England might be different from those governing entry to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. For UK country-specific information about those countries, contact us here

Country Lists: Green, Amber, and Red

  • Third party countries are separated into three COVID-19 country lists: Green, Amber, and Red. 
  • Countries on the Green List are those which are deemed the safest; travelers arriving from a country on the Green List are therefore subject to the least intense entry and post-entry requirements (relative to the Amber and Red List states). Amber List Countries are in the middle, while citizens of countries on the Red List are subject to the most stringent category of requirements. 
  • To find out what travel conditions will affect you, see what list the country you are arriving from falls on, and follow the guidelines that apply to it.  
  • If you have been in any of the states on any of the above color lists within the past 10 days before arriving in Britain, you will have to follow the requirements applying to that state—even if you did not travel directly from that country to the UK. For example, if you are arriving to the UK from a country on the Green List, but five days before your intended flight into the UK, you spent time in a country on the Red List, you will have to follow the Red List requirements. 

Rules for Green List countries

  • If you are arriving from a country on the Green List, you must fulfill the following UK entry requirements: test for coronavirus at least two days after you enter the UK. 

Rules for Amber List countries

  • If you are entering the UK from a country on the Amber List, the following requirements apply to you: test for coronavirus and self-isolate upon arrival in the country for a minimum of 10 days.  

Rules for Red List countries

  • Unless you have residency rights in the country or are an Irish or British national, you will be prevented from coming to the country if you spent time in (or are traveling from) a Red List country. 
  • If you are entering the UK from a country on the Red List, the following requirements apply to you: take two test for coronavirus while quarantining in a government-approved hotel for 10 days after arriving in the country 
  • Please note that those who have to quarantine must get a room in a hotel in advance. 
  • The rates for quarantine are as follows: £1750 for 10 days (for a single room for one adult). Please note that children who are +12 represent an additional cost of £650, while those between 5-11 are charged £325 (those under 5 are free). 
  • Finally, those who must quarantine (i.e. those arriving from Red List Countries) are only allowed to enter the UK via the following airports: Birmingham Airport, Bristol Airport Heathrow Airport, Gatwick Airport, London City Airport, and Farnborough Airport. 
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