Which countries can you visit without UK quarantine?

Which countries can you visit without UK quarantine? No many!

Updated 22 Oct: Denmark (UK residents can’t enter unless you have a “worthy reason”, Maldives and the Canaries added to the travel corridor, Lichstenstein (which you can’t enter anyway) removed.

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 (10 8 7 countries and regions to be precise!). 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.

Heathrow Airport
Heathrow Airport

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.

  • Cyprus
  • Denmark – you need to have a “worthy reason” to enter
  • Germany
  • Gibraltar
  • Greece – most islands are now OK
  • Italy
  • Poland
  • Maldives
  • Portugal – certain areas only
  • San Marino
  • Spain – certain areas only
  • Sweden
  • Turkey

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.

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.

Arrival into Heathrow Terminal 5

Crete

Cyprus

You must complete a COVID-19 PCR test no more than 72 hours before you enter Cyprus. The latest data show that coronavirus cases are roughly at 7.45 cases per 100,000 for the last 7 days.

Germany

Germany is classifying UK as “high-risk”, and arriving from the UK means that you’ll need to quarantine for 14-days. You can take a PCR COVID-19 test to shorten the quarantine duration

There are currently no restrictions if you come from Germany and you won’t have to self-isolate.

Gibraltar

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 added to the travel corridor.

Returning from Crete, Mykonos will require you to self-isolate for 14 days.

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.

Mykonos
We took this photo on our trip to Mykonos before COVID. Mykonos is now on the UK quarantine list

Italy – on the watch list

Although the numbers are rising steadily, COVID-19 cases are not rising as quickly as other parts of Europe. The country remains open to visitors and there are no quarantine restrictions when returning to the UK. If you plan to visit Sardinia, you’ll need to register with the authorities for your trip in advance.

By our calculation, Italy is at 18.3 cases per 100,000 for the last 7 days before 28 September 2020. With the figures close to 20, it could go on the Government watch list. We’ll review the guidance weekly, and update this section as things progress. Given COVID cases are only going to rise, it not surprising if Italy is struck off the “safe” list of countries.

Maldives

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.

Poland – on the watch list

No quarantine restrictions when visiting and returning from Poland. With rising cases, it’s currently on the “watch” list (i.e. Poland is at risk of being added to the quarantine list). Cases are currently at 20.1 cases per 100,000 – above the UK’s government threshold of 20 cases per 100,000.

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.

San Marino – on the watch list

There are no entry restrictions for San Marino for most European countries. However, there are no airports in San Marino, so you’ll have to fly into Italy and travel via land.

Although, according to the latest figures, San Marino are recording 36 cases per 100,000 in the last 7 days – which means it can go on the quarantine list at any time. As it’s a microstate completely enclosed by Italy, we suspect the guidance will change in accordance with what happens to Italy.

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.

Sweden – on the watch list

There are no restrictions for travelers from and to Sweden, however, the latest data suggest that Sweden’s infection rates for the last 7 days per 100,000 has gone above the acceptable threshold at 24.7 cases per 100,000. It’s on the watch list and could be put back on the quarantine list this week.

Turkey

There are currently no quarantine restrictions for visitors to Turkey, but you’ll have to complete a health assessment form when visiting the country. If you demonstrate symptoms, you may be required to conduct a COVID-19 test on arrival.

  • All arrivals into Turkey will be subject to a medical evaluation for symptoms of coronavirus, including temperature checks
  • If you show symptoms on arrival, you’ll be required to undergo a PCR test coronavirus.

By our calculation, Turkey is currently at 13.99 cases per 100,000 for the last 7 days before 28 September 2020. With the latest figures, it should be OK this week… but with the rising numbers of COVID cases, it’s bound to change in the future.

We took this picture while on a speedboat at the Turkish resort of Marmaris in 2016

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: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-corridors

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