Spain reopens to UK travellers - but stays on the amber list

·4 min read
Spain has relaxed its restrictions for British travellers (Getty)
Spain has relaxed its restrictions for British travellers (Getty)

Spain has lifted its travel restrictions to British tourists this week, allowing us to visit without proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test.

However, the holiday hotspot remains on the UK’s amber list along with the majority of European nations, which means that Brits are discouraged from visiting for leisure travel.

Read more: What to do if you've booked an 'amber list' holiday

Despite the amber list presence, The Sun estimates that up to 100,000 Brits could be heading to Spain this week, which would see them face a mandatory 10-day quarantine on return as well as having to present a negative coronavirus test before boarding a flight back to the UK.

Official advice states that no one should be travelling to an amber-listed country, but with only 12 countries and territories currently on the UK’s green list - including Portugal and Iceland - will Spain soon be moving up the traffic light system?

What is the traffic light travel system?

The traffic light system categorises countries based on risk, with green, amber and red lists.

The different rules for each of these lists are as follows:

Green: Those heading back to England and Wales from green-listed countries will need to take a pre-departure test before returning, as well as a PCR test on day two after arrival back in the UK. They will not need to quarantine unless they receive a positive COVID result.

Amber: Arrivals from amber countries will need to take a pre-departure test before returning to England and Wales, then quarantine for 10 days. They will also need to take a PCR test on days two and day eight of quarantine with an option to test to release on day five.

Red: Arrivals from red-listed countries will need to stay in a government-regulated quarantine hotel for 10 days after arriving back in the UK. This stay is at a personal cost (£1,750 for a single adult) and pre-departure tests and PCR tests on days two and eight are also required.

Blue Lagoon in Oludeniz, Mugla, Turkey (Getty)
Turkey is currently on our red list (Getty)

Is leisure travel currently allowed?

Yes, but only to green-listed countries and only if the intended country is allowing British travellers in. Depending on the country, you may need to quarantine on arrival.

As it stands, the list of green-listed countries include: Portugal, Israel, Gibraltar, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Brunei, the Falkland Islands, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore as well as South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.

When will the green list next be revised?

When the initial green list was announced, it was also revealed that the green list would be revised roughly every three weeks, so we should expect to see the first update between the 1 - 4 of June.

Read more: How travel insurance will be affected by vaccine passports

The Department of Transport says: “These regular review points will allow the government to balance helping the public to understand Covid requirements when travelling to England, while allowing us to constantly evaluate the risk for different countries.”

The government is also said to be publishing a green watchlist in the coming weeks to show which countries could be at risk of moving from green to amber.

What’s the advice for visiting amber-listed countries?

Despite people jetting off to holiday in amber-listed nations, the advice is not to travel to any countries on the amber list, which currently includes Spain, France, Greece and Italy.

Watch: Why Britons will get an extra bank holiday in 2022

Last week, prime minister Boris Johnson said that people should not be holidaying in amber list countries.

He added: "I think it's very important for people to grasp what an amber list country is: it is not somewhere where you should be going on holiday, let me be very clear about that.

"And if people do go to an amber list country, (if) they absolutely have to for some pressing family or urgent business reason, then please bear in mind that you will have to self-isolate, you'll have to take tests and do your passenger locator form and all the rest of it."

What countries are allowing British tourists to visit?

Of the green-listed countries, only Iceland and Portugal are allowing British tourists in without quarantine - although they do still have some regulations you need to follow.

Read more: Everything you need to know about flying this summer

Other European nations welcoming Brits include Greece, Croatia, Cyprus and Turkey. However, we’re currently advised against visiting any of these as the former three fall on our amber list while Turkey is currently on the red list.

Will I have to quarantine after coming back from holiday?

If you are returning from a green-listed country - the only tier of countries that you should be visiting for leisure travel currently - then no you don’t have to quarantine but you will need to take a Covid test prior to returning to England and on day two after arrival.

Those returning from amber and red-listed countries are required to quarantine for 10 days.

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