Which countries could be added to the green list?

As the next traffic light review approaches, we look at the top contenders

Which international travel rules have changed?

The next tri-weekly review of the UK’s traffic light system for travel is fast approaching.

An update is expected on 26 August, with the potential for more countries to be added to the government’s green list of “safe” holiday destinations.

There are 36 territories on the green list, many of which do not currently let in British travellers or are impossible to reach directly, thereby necessitating travel through an amber country.

Follow travel news live: Green list update expected today

On 4 August, seven destinations - Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway - were added to the green list, with the changes coming into effect on 8 August, while none were removed.

Green list in full

  • Anguilla
  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • Austria
  • Australia
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • British Antarctic Territory
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Cayman Islands
  • Croatia
  • Dominica
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • Germany
  • Gibraltar
  • Grenada
  • Hong Kong
  • Iceland
  • Israel
  • Latvia
  • Madeira
  • Malta
  • Montserrat
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Pitcairn Islands
  • Romania
  • Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
  • Taiwan
  • Turks and Caicos Islands

Sixteen of these destinations are on the green watchlist, meaning they are at risk of moving from green to amber:

Green watchlist destinations

  • Anguilla
  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • British Antarctic Territory
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • Cayman Islands
  • Croatia
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Israel
  • Madeira
  • Montserrat
  • Pitcairn Islands
  • Taiwan
  • Turks and Caicos Islands

When will the green list be updated?

The lists are being updated “every three weeks”. That timeframe indicates that the next list review will be on Thursday 26 August, with changes coming into effect within the week after that date.

Amends to the lists will be informed by public health advice, including the Joint Biosecurity Centre’s assessment of the latest data.

“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,” according to the Department for Transport (DfT).

Which countries might be added to the green list?

As always, this comes with the caveat that anything can happen on traffic-light day – no forecaster has so far been anywhere near completely accurate when making predictions on this score.

But some analysts and experts have thrown out suggestions based on current infection rates.

Poland, Bhutan, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Saudi Arabia have all been touted as destinations with low enough Covid figures to warrant a move to the green list.

Research by the PC Agency reported on 22 August showed that declining cases in these countries meant they were likely to be considered for an upgrade from amber to green.

The figures are based on Covid infection rates, the proportion of tests coming back positive and the level of vaccination.

After the last green list review, CEO of the PC Agency, Paul Charles, named several countries which could or should have been added based on the same criteria.

"When you take the criteria of the seven countries added to the [green] list today, then actually they equally apply to the countries that haven’t been added – like Poland, for example, or the Czech Republic or even Canada,” Charles pointed out.

However, though some countries may qualify for a move in terms of low case numbers, government sources have warned that many won’t make the grade.

Data analyst and journalist Tim White highlighted Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary as the European countries that have a good chance of going green.

He also predicted that Spain and Greece will not join the UK’s green list.

White suggested the two holiday favourites will stay amber and that, based on current figures, they certainly “shouldn’t be going red”.

CEO of the PC Agency, Paul Charles, agreed on Spain: “I’ve had many followers asking about Spain - do not worry. It won’t be going red at the next review,” he tweeted.

“Rates on every level are falling quite sharply, and the vaccination rollout is going strongly, with over 65 per cent of the population fully-jabbed.”

Which countries might be removed from the green list?

In terms of countries being downgraded from green to amber, Tim White identified Antigua & Barbuda, Grenada, Dominica, Croatia, Iceland, Israel and Madeira as possible candidates for removal from the green list.

The PC Agency’s research predicts that eight countries and territories in total may move off the green list and onto amber: Israel, Croatia, Madeira and Lithuania, and the Caribbean islands of Anguilla, Antigua, Montserrat and Turks and Caicos.

What about holidaymakers who are fully vaccinated?

The green list restrictions will not be affected by a person’s vaccination status. However, British travellers entering the UK from amber list countries no longer have to quarantine and can follow green list rules instead, as long as they have been fully vaccinated - with two doses of the same vaccine, for the double-jabbed - in the UK, US or EU at least 14 days prior, or are an an accompanying minor (under 18 years old).

What are the restrictions for travellers returning from green countries?

Green list countries currently have the lightest restrictions for inbound travellers to the UK, with no quarantine imposed and just one PCR test required within two days of arrival.

All travellers must also show proof of a negative Covid test – PCR, rapid antigen or lateral flow – before departure to the UK.

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