The UK’s travel restrictions are set to be updated with some major announcements to be made.

The travel traffic light system is reviewed every three weeks and is due today. A time has yet to be confirmed however updates in the past have been given out at around 5pm.

Usually, the announcement is made via Twitter but since this update is expected to be the biggest shakeup to travel advice since the traffic light system was introduced, it could be broadcast on the TV.

So far, it is anticipated that the red, green, and amber lists could be completely reshuffled with dozens of countries expected to be moved around in the latest review.

It is expected that international travel is going to be made easier for people who have had both Covid-19 vaccinations. Image by Chuttersnap.

Additionally, it is rumoured that the traffic light system will be scrapped and replaced with a simpler two-tier system that places increased focus on people’s vaccination status.

Green and amber lists are expected to be merged to form one category of low-risk countries and the number of destinations on the red list will be reduced.

Rules around testing and isolation are set to differ depending on a person’s vaccination status – though hotel quarantine will remain for everyone entering the UK from a country on the “no-go” list.

There is also speculation that fully vaccinated arrivals will no longer need to take a pre-departure lateral flow test or a post-arrival PCR test. If this goes ahead then travellers could save around £100 per trip.

The rules will be more relaxed for fully vaccinated travellers but those who have not been vaccinated could face tougher restrictions.

Currently, travellers who have not had both doses of a coronavirus vaccine must take one PCR test and are not required to self-isolate after arriving from a green list destination.

The changes are expected to come into force ahead of the October half-term break. The changes usually come into effect at 4am on the following Monday, so in this case, any new updates will most likely be enforced from 20 September.

Image by Suhyeon Choi.

Most South Asian countries are currently on the red list making travel to and from the countries expensive and near impossible. People are advised that they are not allowed to travel to red list countries “except in the most extreme of circumstances”.

Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and the Maldives make up part six of the 62 countries currently on the red list.  When returning from a red-list country, regardless of your vaccination status, you must:

  • Take a Covid-19 test before departure and have proof of a negative result
  • Complete a passenger locator form
  • Self-isolate for 10 days in a government-approved quarantine hotel, booked and paid for in advance

Government-approved quarantine hotels are expensive, with it costing £2,285 for 10 days and 11 nights for one an adult, £1,430 for every additional person over the age of 12, and £325 for children aged five to eleven.

India and Bhutan sit on the amber list which means travel to and from these countries are allowed but with strict Covid-19 testing before and after departing the destination, as well as mandatory quarantining if unvaccinated.

Until the announcement has been made, it is unknown if these countries will be shifted down to the low-risk category, allowing for cheaper and easier travel to go ahead. If any of these countries are shifted down, then it is up to the receiving country on whether they accept international travellers and what restrictions apply when you get there.