Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic update

21 December 2021

Article: 55/5101

International travel continues to be impacted due to COVID-19, and the number of variant strains which have emerged globally. Guidance on international travel is available for people living in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

On 15 December 2021, all countries were removed from the international travel red list, meaning travellers to the UK from countries previously on the list will no longer have to stay in hotel quarantine for ten days on arrival. Despite no countries remaining on the red list, the policy is continuing in Scotland and some managed quarantine capacity will stay in place in order to react to any change in assessment that would see a country added to the list.

It should be noted that the travel lists may be amended at short notice, and do not indicate which destinations are currently allowing UK travellers to enter their country, nor if the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advises against travel to these countries. Information relating to this can be checked on the relevant FCDO foreign travel advice country pages.

All passengers aged 12 years or over, arriving in Scotland, must take a pre-departure COVID-19 test in the two days before they depart for the UK, and must take a PCR test on or before day two, and self-isolate until they receive a negative result. They must also complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF).

Testing and quarantine rules may differ in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, therefore travellers must ensure they comply with the rules appropriate to the UK nation they will be arriving in and reside in, if different.

Country specific COVID-19 risk

The fitfortravel (for the general public) and TRAVAX (for health professionals) country pages include a COVID-19 country specific risk-rating, which identifies the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for UK travellers. This information is listed in the Alerts section on each country page of fitfortravel and the Emerging Health Risks section of every TRAVAX country page. This risk-rating identifies each country as having either: 

  • a high risk of exposure to COVID-19 for UK travellers, or 
  • a risk of exposure to COVID-19 for UK travellers

For all countries, travellers should be aware that the risk of COVID-19 may change at short notice. Countries categorised as having a high risk of exposure to COVID-19 either have a high risk of exposure for travellers to COVID-19, or a high risk of emerging or known variants of coronavirus. Travellers should be advised to avoid non-essential travel to high risk countries, even if fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Advice for travellers

Prior to booking any international travel, travellers must first check if the country they are travelling to is currently accepting UK travellers. 

  • The FCDO foreign travel advice country pages have up-to-date information on entry rules, in response to coronavirus (COVID-19), under the Entry Requirements section. 
  • Travellers should be aware that some countries or territories may require proof of COVID-19 vaccination status for entry. Guidance for demonstrating COVID-19 vaccination status is available for those living in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

It is advised that travellers are aware of all travel restrictions, self-isolation rules and precautions they should take, in order to reduce their risk of exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) before, during and after travel, as detailed on the fitfortravel COVID-19 health considerations for travel page.

Source: TRAVAX, December 2021