Traffic Lights For Travel – April Update

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Over the past year, our website blog posts have been a little different to those pre pandemic.  Our aim has been to fill you full of travel inspiration, to keep you dreaming of those wonderful destinations still to be discovered and to bring you the most up to date travel advice.

Originally promised for Monday 12th April, the Global Travel Task Force has released their report a few days early and we have broken this down into an easy to digest set of questions and answers.

Please find below the most relevant details about how (we understand) that International travel will commence.

There are still some elements that are unknown and we believe that these will follow over the next couple of weeks.  

The transport secretary, Grant Shapps said on the BBC this morning “this is the first time I can come on and say that I am not advising people not to go away this summer” – what excellent news!


Q:  Will international travel resume on 17th May?

A:  This is the earliest date that international travel will resume.  At this point it will no longer be illegal to travel and the ‘permission to travel form’ will be removed, meaning travellers would no longer need to prove they have a valid reason to leave the country.

Q: Where can I go from 17th May?

A: This is not yet clear, but in a BBC interview this morning, the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that it would be 2-3 weeks before it was……I will update you, as soon as I know more.

Q: What does the traffic light system mean?

A:  When international travel commences, countries will be classified as Green, Amber or Red, with the addition of a new category ‘Green Watchlist’ .

Green – Arrivals will need to take a pre-departure test (likely a lateral flow test) as well as a PCR test on or before day 2 of their arrival back into the UK, BUT will not need to quarantine on return (unless they receive a positive result) or take any additional tests, halving the cost of tests on their return from holiday.

Amber – Arrivals will need to quarantine for a period of ten days and take a pre-departure test, a PCR test on day 2 and day 8.  There is also the option for Test to Release on day 5 to end self-isolation early.

Red – Arrivals will be subject to restrictions currently in place for “red list” countries which includes a 10 day stay in a managed quarantine hotel, pre-departure testing and PCR testing on day 2 and 8

Green Watchlist – To give passengers more certainty when travelling, a “Green Watchlist” will be introduced to help identify countries most at risk of moving from Green to Amber. The watchlist will provide greater assurance for those who wish to travel abroad. The allocation of countries will be kept under review and respond to emerging evidence, with a particular focus on Variants of Concern


Q:  What about cruising? 

A: The UK government has confirmed that domestic cruises will restart in England no earlier than 17 May. This report sets out a framework for a risk-based approach to managing a safe restart of international travel, underpinned by analytical evidence. Therefore, the UK government will restart international cruises alongside the wider restart of international travel, in line with the “traffic light” system.

Q:  How will the government / scientist decide which countries are on which list?

A: Key factors in the assessment of a country will include 1.  the percentage of their population that have been vaccinated, 2.  the rate of infection, 3.  the prevalence of variants of concern and 4.  the country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing.

Q:  Where can I get a PCR test and how much will it cost?

A: The cost and availability of PRC testing has faced much criticism as the prices in the UK far exceed those in other countries.  The government have advised that they are working with the private sector to drive these costs down and increase availability.  If you have a holiday booked with Haslemere Travel and it is necessary for you to take a PCR test, we will provide you with a list of facilities where you can book these.

​Q: Will I need a ‘Vaccine Passport’?

A: The UK will also play a leading role in the development of international standards around a digital travel certification system. The Department for Transport is working across government to consider the role certification could play in facilitating outbound travel, for those countries, which have systems in place. Work also continues to develop a system that would facilitate travel certification for inbound international travel.

Q: How often will the restrictions be reviewed?

A: Restrictions will be formally reviewed on the 28 June to take account of the domestic and international health picture and to see whether current measures could be rolled back. Further formal reviews will take place at checkpoints no later than 31 July and 1 October

Q: Will I still need to complete a PLF (Passenger Locator Form)?

A: To ensure the UK’s borders remain safe and efficient when passenger flows increase, the Government has also announced plans to digitise the Passenger Locator Form, integrating it into the UK border system and enabling checks to take place at e-gates by Autumn 2021.

Q:  What is the best way to ensure that I am fully informed and my holiday is fully protected?

A: Simple – book with a fully bonded and financially protected travel company, like us.  We will always provide you with honest and impartial advice and guidance from our first conversation and until you return home.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps:

“International travel is vital – it boosts businesses and underpins the UK economy – but more than that, it brings people together, connects families who have been kept apart, and allows us to explore new horizons.

“The framework announced today will help allow us to reopen travel safely and sustainably, ensure we protect our hard-won achievements on the vaccine roll out and offer peace of mind to both passengers and industry as we begin to take trips abroad once again.”


For any further questions, please call us on 01428 658777 or email


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