What to Expect on July 19: The UK’s Post-‘Freedom Day’ Travel Rules Explained

For many in the UK, July 19th can’t come fast enough. Removed restrictions and easier travel mean that hundreds of thousands of Brits will be flocking to travel sites to book their long-awaited holidays. But what can we expect from the so-called ‘Freedom Day’? Will travel be restricted at all? And where exactly can we travel to? In this blog, we’ll look to answer all your travel queries.

What is ‘Freedom Day’?

July 19, or ‘Freedom Day’, is the day on which all UK Coronavirus lockdown restrictions will come to an end. This means that there will be no legal enforcement of social distancing, mask-wearing, or mass gatherings. Despite this, there is still much confusion surrounding the post-freedom state of travel.

How will Travel Rules Change?

According to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, from the 19th of July, fully vaccinated travellers will no longer have to quarantine upon returning to England from amber list countries. This is big news for travellers who have been waiting to travel to the likes of Spain, France and the U.S. but were unable to commit to quarantine.

However, despite the eased restrictions, it is doubtful that overseas travel will return to normal in the near future. With Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently stating that this would be unlikely to happen before 2022.

For those wishing to travel within the UK, COVID restrictions will be relatively non-existent after July 19. Meaning that trips to the Lake District, Pembrokeshire and London are well and truly on the cards for many this summer.

Where can I travel to?

The current traffic light system is reviewed every three weeks to reflect changing risk levels around the world. Please check the government site for the latest travel advice.

Green List

Currently, the government’s green travel list consists of 27 countries and territories around the world. These green-list destinations are the places that present the least risk of COVID transmission. However, it is worth noting that the vast majority of these destinations are currently on the ‘green watchlist’. This means that they are at risk of moving from green to amber.

Under current regulations, those who wish to travel to green-listed countries are required to take one PCR test before departure, and an additional test within two days of arrival in the UK. Should these tests come back negative, no quarantine period will be necessary. These regulations are unlikely to change on July 19th.

Amber List

The amber list is the longest of the three lists, including popular destinations such as Italy, Cyprus and The Netherlands. The amber list is set to see the biggest regulation changes on July 19. As mandatory 10-day quarantines will be scrapped for ‘double-jabbed’ travellers, who have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

However, for unvaccinated travellers, or those who have only had one dose of the vaccine, the current advice remains largely unchanged. In addition to taking a COVID-19 PCR test before they fly, they will also need to book and pay for Day 2 and 8 testing kits to be taken during the mandatory 10-day quarantine they must follow after they return to the UK.

Red List

The red list is populated by the countries and territories that provide the highest risk of COVID transmission. But under current regulations, travellers will only be allowed to fly to England from these destinations if they are a UK national, or if they have residence rights.

There are set to be few-to-no changes to the red list rules on July 19. Both mandatory hotel quarantine and day 2 and 8 testing kits are seemingly still in the government’s rulebook.

Still Confused?

You can find out more on the current, pre-‘freedom day’ travel rules, and a more in-depth explanation of the ‘traffic light’ system in our previous blog: Stuck in Traffic: The UK’s Traffic Light Travel Guidelines Explained.

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