UK moves India from 'red' to 'amber list' easing COVID-19 travel restrictions

·7 min read

Fully vaccinated passengers from India will no longer be subjected to compulsory 10-day hotel quarantine as the UK moved the country from its "red" to "amber" list.

Under Britain's traffic light system for international travel, returning from amber list countries means a 10-day quarantine at home.

The change, announced by the Department for Transport, comes into effect from 4 am local time on Sunday.

"The UAE, Qatar, India and Bahrain will be moved from the red list to the amber list. All changes come into effect Sun 8th August at 4 am," UK Transport Secretary tweeted.

"While it's right we continue our cautious approach, it's great news to open more destinations for people wanting to connect with families, friends and businesses across the globe, all thanks to our successful domestic vaccination programme," he said.

The decision has come as a relief for the Indian diaspora in the UK, who had been demanding the easing of travel norms between India and Britain.

Under the legal rules for countries on the amber list, passengers must take a COVID test three days before departure and book in advance for two COVID tests to be taken upon arrival in England as well as complete a passenger locator form on arrival.

On arrival in England, passengers must quarantine at home or in the place they have confirmed as their location for 10 days and take a COVID-19 test on or before day two and on or after day eight.

Under-18 and those fully vaccinated in the UK are exempt from the home quarantine, as well as those who have received two doses of Covid vaccine in the EU and US.

What happens if you are Covishield vaccinated?

Also exempt are those fully vaccinated in the UK or under the UK vaccine programme overseas; under 18 on the day you arrive in England and resident in the UK or in a country with a vaccination programme approved by the UK and part of a UK-approved vaccine trial.

Covishield, the India-manufactured Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, is likely to be covered under this exemption.

How much hotel quarantined people will have to pay?

The update of the travel list came alongside an announcement that the cost for solo travellers from destinations still on the red list staying at a quarantined hotel will go up from 12 August, from £1,750 to £2,285.

The charge for an additional adult sharing a room will increase from £650 to £1,430.

According to the government, this is to "better reflect the increased costs involved".

Meanwhile, seven countries are moving to the green list Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway and France has been moved off the amber watchlist.

For countries on the green list, people will not have to quarantine when returning from these nations, regardless of their vaccination status, although they will have to take a pre-departure test and another one-two days after arrival.

Four countries will be put on the red list: Mexico, Georgia, La Reunion and Mayotte.

The green watchlist, which gives travellers notice of countries whose green status is at risk of changing, remains in place and is unchanged with 16 countries on the list.

What colour codes of red, amber or green for coronavirus (COVID-19) signify in UK?

Amber list rules

What you must do if you have been in a country or territory on the amber list in the 10 days before you arrive in England.

Before you travel to England you must:

On arrival in England

On arrival in England you must:

  • quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days

  • take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8

Fully UK vaccinated and people under the age of 18 €" amber rules

You do not need to quarantine or take a day 8 test after you arrive in England if you are either:

  • fully vaccinated in the UK or under the UK vaccine programme overseas

  • under 18 on the day you arrive in England and resident in the UK or in a country with a vaccination programme approved by the UK

  • part of a UK-approved vaccine trial

You must have had your final dose of the vaccine at least 14 whole days before the date you arrive in England. You still need to book and take a day 2 test.

Green list rules

What you have to do if you travel to England from a country or territory on the green list. You must only have been in or travelled through a green list country or the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man in the previous 10 days. You must follow these rules even if you have been fully vaccinated.

Before you travel to England you must:

take a COVID-19 test €" children aged 10 and under do not need to take this test book and pay for a day 2 COVID-19 test €" to be taken after arrival in England complete a passenger locator form

On arrival in England

You must take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 after you arrive.

Children aged 4 and under do not need to take this test. You do not need to quarantine unless the test result is positive.

You must quarantine if NHS Test & Trace informs you that you travelled to England with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

If you have been in a country or territory on the red or amber list

If you have also been in or through a country or territory on the red list in the 10 days before you arrive in England, you must follow the red list rules.

If you have also been in or through a country or territory on the amber list in the 10 days before you arrive in England, and have not visited a country on the red list, you must follow the amber list rules.

Transit stops in amber or red list countries

When you arrive in England you need to follow the rules for the highest risk country or territory that you have been in or passed through in the previous 10 days. That can include transit stops.

A transit stop is a stop where passengers can get on or off the same part of the transport in which you are travelling. It can apply to ships, trains or flights. Your ticket should show if a stop is a transit stop.

The rules of a country or territory that you make a transit stop in could apply if:

  • new passengers get on and are able to mix with you

  • you or other passengers get off the transport you are on and mix with other people, then get on again

Making a transit stop would not affect what you have to do on arrival in England if, during the stop:

  • no new passengers, who are able to mix with you, get on

  • no-one on-board gets off and mixes with people outside

  • passengers get off but do not get back on

Red list rules

What you must do if you have been in a country or territory on the red list in the 10 days before you arrive in England.

If you have been in a country or territory on the red list in the last 10 days you will only be allowed to enter the UK if you are a British or Irish National, or you have residence rights in the UK.

You must follow these rules even if you have been fully vaccinated.

Before travel to England

Before you travel to England you must:

On arrival in England

On arrival in England you must:

With PTI inputs

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