How Does the UK Government Travel Traffic Light System Work?

How can Able2Travel Travel Insurance help?

Posted in Travel Insurance Able2Travel, Travel Insurance, Traffic Light System, Government Advice on 4 June 2021

The UK government announced plans to remove its travel ban and begin reopening international travel once again via a traffic light system from May 17th 2021. Whilst holidaymakers across the country are relieved to hear the news and look forward to planning their next trip, there has been some confusion as to which countries UK tourists can visit, what each traffic light colour means and which rules for testing and quarantine are in place under each traffic light colour category.

Able2Travel Travel Insurance have broken down the traffic light system in an easy-to-digest format to ensure travellers can understand the system in place, make their own informed decision of where to travel to and gain an understanding of the obligations to be followed upon returning to the UK.

The Traffic Light System

The introduction of the Government traffic light system explains to UK citizens which countries are classed as safe to travel to and upon returning to the UK, clarifies the testing and quarantine implications for inbound passengers.

The following will apply depending on whether the destination country visited is categorised as ‘green’, ‘amber’ or ‘red’.

Green: arrivals will need to take a pre-departure test as well as a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test on or before day 2 of their arrival back into England – but will not need to quarantine on return (unless they receive a positive test result) or take any additional tests, halving the cost of tests on their return from holiday.

Amber: arrivals will need to take a pre-departure test and quarantine at home (i.e. ‘Self Isolate’) for a period of 10 days . They will need to take a PCR test on day 2 and day 8 of their quarantine, with the option for Test to Release on day 5 to end self-isolation early.

Red: arrivals will be subject to restrictions currently in place for ‘red list’ countries which include a pre-departure test, a 10-day stay in a managed quarantine hotel, and PCR testing on day 2 and 8.

Where Can I Travel to?

At the time of writing, the current countries UK travellers should visit for leisure purposes are solely those under the Green List.

The UK government are advising travellers not to travel to Amber or Red listed countries unless it is for essential purposes, such as work. Remember, any Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice, such as advice against ‘all travel’ or ‘all but essential travel’, will take precedence over the traffic light system. Many of those countries on the Amber or Red list also have an FCDO travel advisory, therefore many travel insurance policies will not cover you to travel to one of these countries.

The Traffic Light system is continually monitored and reviewed every 3 weeks. Before booking your trip, you should consider reading the latest information on Green List approved destinations here as things may have changed.

Similarly, before booking your trip, ensure that the country you intend to visit are accepting UK tourists and investigate what entry requirements are needed (such as a negative Covid test result or the need to be fully vaccinated).

How can Able2Travel Travel Insurance help?

In these uncertain times for travel, look after your pockets and your peace of mind with an extensive Travel Insurance solution from Able2Travel Travel Insurance.

Whilst it is important not to forget that Able2Travel Travel Insurance can offer protection against the following:

  • Missed Departure up to £1,000.
  • Personal Baggage up to £3,000.
  • Cancellation or Curtailment up to £5,000.
  • Emergency Medical Expenses up to £10,000,000.
  • And much more…

Able2Travel can offer protection specifically relating to Covid-19:

  • Cancellation / Curtailment – protection is in place should you receive a positive test result within 14 days of departure or if you are admitted to hospital due to testing positive to Coronavirus (Covid-19) after the purchase of your policy.
  • Emergency Medical Expenses – should you unexpectedly contract Covid-19 symptoms or receive a positive test result whilst on holiday, Able2Travel can help cover your emergency medical expenses so long as the FCDO has not advised against ‘all travel’ or ‘all but essential travel’ to your intended destination.

So, if you are planning on travelling this year, it’s important not to forget to buy your travel insurance. Able2Travel Travel Insurance can cover a large number of medical conditions and we understand that no matter what your age or medical condition, your passion for travel shouldn't get left behind. You can get a pre-existing medical condition travel insurance quote by visiting or by calling our helpful team on 01483 806 826.

This article is for information and entertainment purposes only. It does not constitute advice in any way. The information provided here is correct at the time of writing however please check the latest policy wording here for the latest policy terms, conditions and exclusions.

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