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France travel restrictions eased in latest 'traffic light' system shake-up – fully vaccinated holidaymakers WON'T have to quarantine on their return

France is to be moved back on to the Government's standard 'amber' travel list for holidaymakers returning to the UK from Sunday. The change means travellers who are fully vaccinated or under 18 will not have to self-isolate on their return.

Those returning to the UK from France have faced extra restrictions since 19 July, when France was excluded from the normal amber list rules and turned 'amber plus'. It's meant all travellers returning from France have had to self-isolate for 10 days and take an additional 'day 8' Covid test, regardless of vaccination status.

But the UK, Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh governments have confirmed that these extra restrictions are to be lifted for fully vaccinated travellers from 4am on Sunday 8 August. Those who haven't been fully vaccinated will still have to self-isolate.

Other changes announced to the traffic light system, all also effective from Sunday 8 August, include:

  • Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway will be added to the green list.
  • India, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates will be moved from the red to the amber list.
  • Georgia, Mexico, La Reunion and Mayotte will go on the red list.

Of course, when it comes to international travel at the moment, traffic lights are only half the story, as they only determine the rules for your return. The other big question is whether the country you're going to will let you in. For example, France currently only lets in holidaymakers who are double-vaccinated (or under-18s travelling with them). For more help, see our list of the big holiday destinations' entry requirements.

Spain remains on the amber list – but the Government now advises using a PCR test before returning

Despite a lot of speculation that Spain would be moved to the red list, it is not moving between categories and remains amber for now. But the Government is now advising those returning from Spain to use a PCR test as their pre-departure test "wherever possible". It says this is intended as a precaution against rising cases in the popular holiday destination.

However, other types of tests, such as the generally cheaper rapid antigen tests, WILL still be accepted provided they meet the performance standards set out in the rules.

For help cutting the cost of tests for travel, see our Cheap Covid Tests guide.

Hotel quarantine for 'red list' travel will become more expensive

Since February, most people arriving in the UK from a red list country have had to book a stay in a managed quarantine hotel for 10 days. Currently, this costs £1,750 for a solo traveller, but will increase to £2,285 from 12 August. The table below shows how rates will change in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland – Wales is yet to announce any changes.

Managed quarantine costs in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland

  Bookings made on or before 11 Aug Bookings made on or after 4am on 12 Aug
Cost for one adult in one room for 10 days (11 nights) £1,750 £2,285
Cost for an additional adult or child over 11 (over 12 in NI/ Scot) £650 £1,430
Cost for an additional child aged 5 to 11 (5 to 12 in NI/ Scot) £325 £325

How the traffic light lists work

As part of the 'traffic light' system of rules on international travel, countries are placed into one of three categories. This table sets out the current position (with the upcoming 8 August changes highlighted):

Traffic light system – summary of the rules for those returning to the UK

Category Destinations on list Rules on returning to England/ Northern Ireland/ Scotland/ Wales


29, incl Australia, Barbados (1), Bulgaria, Croatia (1), Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel (1), Malta, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan (1)

From Sun 8 Aug: 36, also incl Austria, Germany, Norway and Romania

See full Eng list / NI list / Scot list / Wal list

• Must take pre-departure test before returning

• Must also take PCR test within two days of returning to the UK

• DON'T need to quarantine on return, unless you get a positive result


140+, incl much of Europe (eg, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain incl Balearics) and the USA

From Sun 8 Aug: Also incl India, Bahrain, Qatar and UAE

See full Eng list / Scot list / Wal list (no separate NI list)

Those fully vaccinated in the UK, US or most of Europe (or u18s who normally reside there) can follow the green rules above - except arrivals from France until 8 Aug, who must follow the amber rules below

• Must take pre-departure test before returning

• Must also take PCR test on day two AND day eight after arriving back in the UK
• Must self-isolate for 10 days after arrival – can be at home
• You can end self-isolation early on day five by taking extra test (Eng only)


60, incl Brazil, Cuba, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Maldives, South Africa, UAE, Tunisia and Uganda


From Sun 8 Aug: 60, also incl Georgia, Mexico, La Reunion and Mayotte

See full Eng list / NI list / Scot list / Wal list

• Must take pre-departure test before returning
• Must also take PCR test on day two AND day eight after arriving back in the UK
• Must undergo 10 days of managed quarantine in hotel, which could be pricey (currently single adult travellers are charged £1,750)

Day two/eight tests and managed quarantine packages must be booked before departure. If booking tests, see our Covid test cost-cutting tips. Also see help booking hotel quarantine packages in EnglandNorthern IrelandScotland and Wales. (1) These countries are on England's 'green watchlist' and so could revert to amber at short notice.

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