Johan Lundgren: It’s legal to travel to amber list countries
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Travel kick-started once again on May 17 under the Government’s “traffic light” system. While the Prime Minister has encouraged Britons to only travel to “green” countries, many European holiday hotspots have recently unveiled plans to welcome back UK holidaymakers, despite being on the “amber” list.
What is the latest Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice for Spain, Portugal, Greece and France?
Spain announced it will be welcoming back UK tourists for “non-essential” purpose, including leisure travel, from Monday 24 May.
What’s more, arrivals from the UK will not be required to present a negative COVID-19 test in order to gain entry, according to the Spanish Tourist Office in London.
However, Spain remains on the UK’s “amber” list.
What’s more, the FCDO currently “advises against all but essential travel to Spain, including the Balearic Islands but excluding the Canary Islands, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.”
Though the FCDO has updated the “entry requirements” for Spain, in a new update it warns: “No changes have been made to the level of our travel advice for any regions of Spain.”
The Government of Spain website explains all travellers from “risk” countries will need to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test in order to travel.
The UK is exempted from this list as of May 24.
According to the Government of Spain website: “All passengers arriving in Spain by air or sea must undergo a health control before entering the country.
“Those controls may include a temperature control, a documentary control and a visual control of the passenger’s condition.”
The FCDO adds: “From 00:00 on 24 May, current entry restrictions and testing requirements for arrivals from the UK to Spain will no longer apply.
“However, travellers from the UK should be prepared to present evidence of a negative test if they have travelled to a country on Spain’s list of ‘risk countries’ in the 14 days prior to travel.”
All Britons returning to the UK from Spain are required to self-isolate at home for 10 days, and take three Covid tests – once before departure and twice during their quarantine period.
Portugal is one of the few nations which has made it onto the UK “green list”.
This means Britons can jet off to Portugal on holiday without the need to quarantine upon their return home, however they must take a lateral flow or PCR test before they depart back to the UK.
The FCDO states: “Non-essential travel from the UK resumed on 17 May. Entry restrictions and requirements continue to apply.”
However, some entry restrictions apply.
The FCDO continues: “There are no restrictions on travelling to Portugal from England and Scotland.
“All passengers, excluding children up to the age of two, travelling to or through Portugal in transit, must show a negative RT-PCR test result for SARS/COVID-19 at the time of boarding.
“The test must have been taken within 72 hours of departure. Your airline is likely to deny boarding if you cannot provide this at check-in.”
All passengers travelling to Portugal will also be subject to a health screening on arrival.
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“If your temperature is 38 degrees Celsius or over or you show signs of being unwell, you may be required to take a further RT-PCR COVID-19 test and remain at the airport until you receive your test result,” explains the FCDO.
“You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test.
“Make sure you have a COVID-19 test that uses the RT-PCR methodology.
“Check your test result identifies the type of test taken and gives your name, date of birth, the date and time the sample was collected and the date of the result.”
Travellers returning from Portugal will not be required to self-isolate but will need to take a Covid test before departing back to the UK.
Although Greece is currently on the UK’s “amber” list for travel, the nation is allowing UK arrivals to enter for “non-essential purposes”.
The FCDO explains: “UK nationals are permitted to enter Greece if they are a permanent resident in the UK, Greece, another EU/EFTA state, or in one of the following countries; Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Thailand, Rwanda, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Russian Federation, United States, Serbia, Israel, North Macedonia, Canada, Belarus, Bahrain, Qatar, China, Kuwait, Ukraine or Saudi Arabia.”
Despite this, the FCDO continues to advise “against all but essential travel to Greece, except for the islands of Rhodes, Kos, Zakynthos, Corfu and Crete, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.”
While Britons are allowed to enter Greece, they must follow strict entry rules.
“Anyone travelling to Greece must comply with the Greek authorities’ requirements, including completion of a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) before you travel,” explains the FCDO.
“Arrivals from the UK must provide either; proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, undertaken within the 72 hour period before arrival into Greece, or proof of two COVID-19 vaccinations completed at least 14 days before travel.
“Travellers with proof of either are exempted from the need to self-isolate on arrival to Greece.
“Failure to provide proof of either may result in your carrier not allowing you to travel and will likely result in the Greek authorities refusing you permission to enter Greece.”
For travellers who live in England, they can prove their vaccination status by showing either the NHS app or their NHS letter.
“You should not use your NHS vaccine appointment card to demonstrate your vaccine status,” warns the FCDO.
The FCDO adds: “In addition, arrivals into Greece may be required to undergo a rapid COVID-19 test on arrival.
“If you test positive on arrival in Greece, you (and those you are travelling with) will have to self-isolate in quarantine hotels provided by the Greek state for at least 10 days.
“The expenses of the accommodation in quarantine hotels are covered by the Greek state. Local authorities will be able to offer further advice on self-isolation requirements.”
Travellers returning from Greece to the UK must self-isolate for 10 days and take one pre-departure test and a further two PCR tests during their self-isolation period.
France is currently on the UK’s “amber” list for travel.
The FCDO currently “advises against all but essential travel to the whole of France based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.”
Despite this, arrivals from the UK do not need to justify an essential reason to enter France.
This means Britons can visit for holiday purposes.
However, they must follow strict entry regulations.
“Arrivals from the UK will need to complete a ‘sworn statement’ (déclaration sur l’honneur) form self-certifying they are not suffering from symptoms associated with coronavirus and have not been in contact with confirmed cases in the preceding fortnight,” explains the FCDO.
“All travellers from the UK, including children aged 11 and above, will need to present a negative PCR COVID-19 test result, carried out less than 72 hours before departure.”
It adds: “Passengers arriving in France from the UK will also be required to self-isolate for seven days on arrival, before taking another PCR test. Exit from this self-isolation period is subject to a negative test result.”
Recently, France also put in place a new rule for people who are travelling to the country to stay with friends or family.
Britons heading to France to visit friends or family will need to pay a €30 fee, show proof of an invitation and be registered at the local town hall thanks to post-Brexit rules.
The UK is now regarded as a third country outside the EU, so visitors are required to show an acceptance certificate (attestation d’accueil) to prove they have been invited into the country.
A UK Government spokesperson said: “British nationals visiting France should be prepared to show proof of accommodation at the border such as a hotel booking confirmation or an ‘attestation d’accueil’ certificate, if staying with a host.
“British nationals should check FCDO travel advice for details of entry requirements and travel restrictions that may be in place because of Covid-19. Currently, the FCDO advises against all but essential travel to France.”
Britons returning from France must self-isolate at home for 10 days. They must also take one Covid test before their departing flight from France, as well as two during their self-isolation period once they are back in the UK.
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