What are the rules for travelling to the UK from a green list country?

What are the rules for travelling to the UK from a green list country?

This information was correct as of 19 July 2021 but is subject to possible changes.

This page sets out the law and guidance which applies in England only.

What are the rules that say I must quarantine when I return to the UK?

The rules that set out what you can and cannot do when you travel into England from abroad are contained in a piece of legislation called the Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel and Operator Liability) (England) Regulations 2021.

A previous version of this legislation became law in June 2020, but that was amended a number of times to reflect the changing situation. On 17 May 2021, the Government repealed that legislation and brought in the current version.

Under these regulations, there are three sets of rules depending on whether you are travelling from a country on the red list, amber list or green list. This article will cover the green list rules.

Note: if you have also been in, or through, an amber or red list country in the 10 days before you arrive in England, you must follow the rules of that list.

The Government has also produced guidance on this, which is available here.

Government guidance sits alongside the rules and provides information in a format that is easier to read. However, government guidance is not legally enforceable in the same way that legislation is. When the guidance is summarising law, then you must follow it.

How did the travelling rules change on 19 July?

From 19 July, the restrictions in relation to travelling from amber list countries changed. Certain groups no longer have to follow the amber list rules when travelling from those countries, and can instead follow the green list rules below.

For more information, see our article on the rules relating to amber list countries here.

How do I know whether the country I visited is on the green list?

You can find each of the country lists on the government website. We have replicated the green list below. If the country you are travelling from does not appear on this list, then it will be on the amber or red list. Check our pages on the rules for red list countries and amber list countries for further information.

If you have travelled through a country from the amber or red list within 10 days before arriving in the UK, then you must still self-isolate according to the relevant rules.

These lists can change at short notice, so it may be worth double checking the list before making travel plans.

Currently, the countries on the green list are:

  • Anguilla
  • Antarctica/British Antarctic Territory
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria (from 19 July)
  • Cayman Islands
  • Croatia (from 19 July)
  • Dominica
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • Gibraltar
  • Grenada
  • Hong Kong (from 19 July)
  • Iceland
  • Israel and Jerusalem
  • Madeira
  • Malta
  • Montserrat
  • New Zealand
  • Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands
  • Singapore
  • South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands
  • St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
  • Taiwan (from 19 July)
  • Turks and Caicos Islands.

What should I do if I am returning from a country on the green list?

You must:

Be aware that failing to do any of these three things is a criminal offence (unless you have a reasonable excuse).

Taking a coronavirus test before you travel

You must take a coronavirus test, and receive a negative result, in the three days before your flight.

The test must be through a private provider (you cannot use an NHS test) and must meet certain performance standards with regards to its accuracy. The regulations about which tests are compliant can be found here, and the government guidance can be found here.

If you receive a negative result, you must carry a notification of this negative result with you, either in paper or digital form.

The negative test result notification should be communicated in English, Spanish, or French and be shown on arrival.

This notification should contain the following information:

  1. the name of the person from whom the  sample was taken
  2. that person’s date of birth or age
  3. the negative result of the test
  4. the date the test sample was collected or received by the test provider
  5. the name of the test provider and information sufficient to contact that provider
  6. a statement that the test was a PCR test, OR a statement of the name of the device that was used for the test.

If you fail to produce a notification of a negative test result, you can be required to take a test as soon as reasonably practicable and/or fined.

Travel operators are under an equivalent duty to make sure that people boarding their services to England possess a negative test result meeting the above requirements (unless they have a reasonable excuse or are exempt). This means that travel operators should deny boarding to passengers who are unable to show a negative notification.

If you receive a positive result, you therefore should not be allowed to board a vessel at all. If you are allowed to board, you will be liable to be fined when you are challenged for your negative result as you enter England. Please see below for the amounts of these fines.

Booking a travel test package

Prior to travelling, you must book a travel test package for yourself and any child with whom you are travelling. You can find a test provider here.

For green list countries, you only need to book a test to take on or before day 2 following your return (the day you return is day 0). You do not need to quarantine unless the test result is positive. See below for what to do if this happens.

Completing a passenger locator form

The form you must complete should include:

  • your personal details
  • details of your journey
  • details of the address where you intend to quarantine
  • the name of your travel test package provider and the booking reference number of your travel test package

A full explanation of the information can be found in Schedule 6 of the regulations here.

You can fill the form out here.

An immigration officer can ask you for evidence that you have completed the form.

If you do not complete a passenger locator form before travelling and you don’t have a reasonable excuse for this, this is a criminal offence. It is also a criminal offence to knowingly or carelessly provide false or misleading information on your passenger locator form. In either case you may be fined or prosecuted.

What do I have to do when I enter the UK?

If you are travelling from a green list country and have not passed through an amber or red list country in the 10 days previous, then you should not need to self-isolate.

However, if your day 2 test comes back positive, or if you are told to self-isolate by NHS Test & Trace, then you must quarantine.

What if I test positive, or the NHS Test & Trace tells me to self-isolate?

Even travelling from a green list country, you are required to take a travel test on or before the second day after your arrival. If your test comes back positive, you will need to self-isolate.

In addition, if someone else on your flight gets a positive test result on their test, you may be contacted by NHS Test & Trace and asked to self-isolate.

If either of the above become relevant, you must travel directly to the place where you intend to self-isolate. (Generally, this should be the same address you specified in your passenger locator form.)

If you’re told to self-isolate by NHS Test & Trace, follow their guidance here.

If you have tested positive, follow the NHS guidance here.

You must remain in self-isolation for 10 days, or for as long as NHS Test & Trace tell you to.

During your 10-day self-isolation period, you may only leave the place where you are isolating for the purposes of:

  • seeking medical care, including medical care for your mental health
  • going to the vet
  • fulfilling a legal obligation, such as attending a court date
  • escaping injury, illness or harm such as fleeing domestic violence
  • attending a funeral
  • obtaining basic necessities such as food and medical supplies for those in the same household (including any pets or animals in the household) where it is not possible to obtain these in any other manner
  • accessing critical public services, including social services and services for victims of a crime
  • moving to a different home that you have not specified in your passenger locator form, if it becomes very impractical to stay where you are staying.
  • moving to a different home where you have already specified this in your passenger locator form
  • taking a required coronavirus test, or posting a completed home test.

The guidance says that ideally you should have basic necessities such as food delivered, but you can leave your home to get them if you are unable to arrange this.

Who can enforce these rules?

These rules can be enforced by:

  • a police offer
  • a person designated by the Secretary of State, which may include a security guard.

Immigration officials also have powers to enforce some parts of these rules, if they reasonably suspect that you have travelled from or been in a red list country within the last 10 days.

What are the penalties if I don’t follow these rules?

If you travel from a green list country, without having travelled through a red or amber list country in the 10 days previous, then there are fewer requirements. However, if you do commit any relevant offences, the police may give you a “Fixed Penalty Notice” (FPN).

A FPN is essentially a fine. If you pay the fine within the time specified, you will not be prosecuted and it will not be recorded on your criminal record. If you don’t pay it, you may be prosecuted and have to go to court.

If you do not provide up to date information on your Passenger Locator Form, do not provide a negative Covid test without a reasonable excuse, knowingly provide false information, or obstruct an officer who is responding to any of these offences, the fine is:

  • £500 if this is your first and only offence
  • £1,000 for a second FPN for the same offence
  • £2,000 for a third FPN
  • £4,000 for a fourth and any subsequent offence.

If you do not possess or acquire a travel testing package for your Day 2 test (or that of a child you are travelling with), the fine is:

  • £1,000 if you entered the UK without one
  • £2,000 if you entered the UK without one and then did not purchase one as soon as you practically could when you entered the UK
  • £1,000 if you are responsible for an unaccompanied child and did not purchase one as soon as you practically could for them when you entered the UK.

If you fail to take your test before day 2 as required under the rules, the fine is:

  • £1,000 for a first offence
  • £2,000 for a second offence.

If you had a “reasonable excuse” for not taking your test at the correct time, you should not get a FPN. However, if you did have a reasonable excuse at the time, but then your circumstances changed so you no longer have a reasonable excuse, you must then take a test as soon as practicable. Otherwise you can still be given the above fines.

If you fail to self-isolate (e.g. if you receive a positive test result or are contacted by NHS Test & Trace) without a reasonable excuse, the fine is:

  • £1,000 if this is your first and only offence
  • £2,000 for a second FPN for the same offence
  • £4,000 for a third offence
  • £10,000 for any fourth and subsequent offence.

If you “wilfully obstruct” anyone enforcing the self-isolation rules (for example, a police officer), or fail to comply with a direction from an officer relating to these, the fine is:

  • £1,000

If you do not believe you should have received an FPN, you can challenge this in court. You would need to speak to a criminal defence solicitor.

For information on finding a solicitor, check our website.

Who is exempt from these rules?

The Government has provided a list of jobs that are exempt. See here for more information.

Doesn’t this breach my human rights?

Your human rights are set out in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR.) This is protected in UK law by the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA.) The ECHR is separate to the EU, so continues to apply despite Brexit.

  • Article 5 protects your right to liberty.
  • Article 8 protects your right to a private and family life.

This means that public authorities like police forces and border officials have to act in a way that doesn’t breach these rights. However, these rights can be restricted in certain circumstances.

The coronavirus regulations have been passed as emergency laws which allow for a restriction on certain rights in response to the current Coronavirus pandemic. The Government also have a duty to protect our right to life (Article 2 ECHR).

It is not yet clear whether these new travel regulations are a lawful and proportionate interference with our human rights. This must be determined by a court of law.

The Government and public authorities must also ensure they are complying with their duties under the Equality Act 2010. The Equality Act protects certain people from discrimination. For more information on this, see here.

These rules are brand new, so we are monitoring the situation closely. Liberty will be publishing further advice on these rules as well as anything that Liberty is doing to campaign on them. Liberty has already stated that the hotel quarantine requirements at the expense of the traveller are disproportionate.

What are my rights on this?

Find out more about your rights and how the Human Rights Act protects them

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