Which countries can you visit without UK quarantine? Technically, you should not be travelling following the lockdown until 2 December (for England)
Updated 5 Nov: Sweden, Germany and Denmark removed from the travel corridor.
Every week, it’s like a lottery – which country will be added or removed is become a bit of a game.
So which countries are OK for UK travellers without having to quarantine? The UK’s list of countries not requiring a 14-day self-quarantine upon arrival are now incredibly limited. Only a handful of countries are open to UK travellers where you don’t have to self-isolate on the way back. We expect this list to get smaller by the end of this week, and lo and behold! Also, with the UK’s growing coronavirus cases, it won’t be surprising if other countries start putting restrictions on UK travellers.
Countries without UK quarantine
Below is a summary of the countries/regions you can visit without quarantine AND places where the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office has said is OK to visit. For info about other countries, visit our blog COVID: Which Countries Are OK For UK Travel?
The list of countries below are currently OK to visit without requiring to self-isolate both ways – true as of 28 September. For some, you will have to provide a COVID-19 negative test result before arrival.
- Greece – most islands are now OK
- Portugal – certain areas only
- Spain – certain areas only
The UK government reviews the data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control Department (among other data points) and looks at the numbers of cases per 100,000 reported in the last 7-days to determine whether it allows people to enter the UK without self-quarantine. Countries with figures above 20 cases per 100,000 are at risk of being added to the UK quarantine list, however, the threshold is now different.
Usually, announcements are made at 5pm on Thursdays, but it can also happen at any time! We don’t have the full data set available to the government, so can’t predict what the government will advise but we have made an assessment based on the data available online. The UK government base its decision on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks and will likely take additional factors into account. Take Turkey as an example, the decision was not based on the ECDC as there were inconsistencies with how COVID cases are reported. With no warning, Turkey got struck off the OK list.
Failing to self-isolate after returning from a country on the “no-safe” list can result in £1,000 fine. As COVID-19 cases are rising, the UK government has imposed stricter measures and failing to self-isolate can result in a fine of up to £10,000 for repeated offenders.
There are currently no restrictions for entry into Gibraltar. You won’t have to self-isolate when returning to the UK either. However, current figures are showing 72 cases per 100,000 – way above the threshold. Gilbraltar may be exempt due to it being a British Overseas Territory.
Greece – restrictions from some islands, country on the watch list
If you’re planning to visit Greece, be sure to check which regions and islands are open. At end of September, you can visit mainland Greece and the islands of Corfu, Kos and Rhodes without quarantine. On 8 October, Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Santorini, Zante and Zakinthos are exempt from the 14 day quarantine. The list was further updated with Crete and Mykonos added to the travel corridor.
You must complete a Passenger Locator Form before you travel. Failing to show the relevant QR codes, can land you with a €500 fine or sent back from the border.
This advice is the same for the WHOLE of the UK.
The current figures show that Greece is tethering at 19.6 cases per 100,000 in the last 7 days, so other regions in the country may go onto the UK government’s quarantine or watch-list imminently.
All tourists and short term visitors must present a negative PCR test for COVID-19 on arrival to Maldives. The test and negative PCR certificate must be issued no more than 96 hours prior to departure.
All travellers to the Maldives must fill in a Traveller Health Declaration form 24 hours before departure to the Maldives.
Temperature checks and screening procedures will be in place on arrival. Quarantine facilities have been set up to isolate any suspected cases of COVID-19. Travellers presenting symptoms of COVID-19 upon arrival will be subjected to a PCR test at the traveller’s cost or at the cost of the tourist facility where the traveller is booked to stay in the Maldives.
These requirements do not apply to tourists and the Government has said it has no plans to quarantine tourists on arrival.
Portugal (Azores and Madeira)
First, Portugal was a no, then it was a yes, then a no. As quickly as Portugal came off the list, it went back on again. You’ll be required to self-quarantine if you’re arriving into England. However, there are some Islands and regions which will not require you to self-isolate, which include the Azores and Madeira. For Azores and Madeira, you’re required to provide a COVID-19 negative test result taken within 72 hours before arrival.
For Scotland, there is a blanket 14 day quarantine for all arrivals from Portugal.
The ECDC’s figures show that Portugal has 46 cases per 100,000 in the last 7 days, which is above the acceptable threshold for the UK government.
Spain – Canaries
Just in time for the winter season, the UK government has added the Canaries to the UK travel corridor. No PCR test or requirements on entry into Spain.
Will we book or travel right now?
We have been following the situation closely, as we’re planning on going away in early October, which countries are OK without UK quarantine? If you do go away, be prepared that things can change at any point. We’re being super cautious and will follow the latest guidelines.
Countries can be added to the quarantine list at any point depending on the situation, so do stay vigilant. Before we book, we always make sure we have adequate insurance and understand the terms and conditions of our booking.
Do Your Research
The situation can change at any moment, so our take on the situation is to “do your research!”.While we’ve made every effort to ensure we’ve presented accurate information, the situation is changing continually. We therefore recommend you check your home and destination government websites before travelling. For more detailed information about travel to the UK during the COVID pandemic visit: https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control
There’s now a limited number of countries you can visit without UK quarantine. We suspect the list will get even smaller in the coming weeks. If you’re flying please check the latest guidance from the UK government and be aware of the differences in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
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