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Greece Not on England’s ‘Green’ Travel List

Photo source:

Photo source:

The UK government on Friday announced that international travel will gradually resume from May 17, allowing citizens to travel for non-essential reasons (leisure) to ‘green’ list countries without having to quarantine upon return to England.

Greece is not on the announced ‘green’ list and has been included on the ‘amber’ list, meaning that restrictions will apply to people returning to England after visiting the country.

Speaking during a Downing Street press conference, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps outlined how strict border control measures will remain in place as international travel gradually resumes.

As explained by Shapps, different levels of restriction will be applied to individuals returning to England from countries based on the traffic light system set out by the Global Travel Taskforce.

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. Photo source:

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. Photo source:

The UK’s traffic light system categorises countries based on risk alongside the restrictions required for travel. Restrictions for inbound passengers, such as 10-day managed quarantine, home quarantine, and stringent testing will remain in place – but will apply to people differently depending on whether the destination visited is categorised as ‘green’, ‘amber’ or ‘red’.

‘Green’ list

People traveling to countries on the ‘green’ list will need to only take a pre-departure test up to 72 hours before their return travel, and a single PCR test on or before day 2 of arrival into England. However, they will not have to quarantine upon return (unless they have tested positive).

The following 12 countries and territories are on the UK’s ‘green’ list: Portugal; Israel; Singapore; Australia; New Zealand; Brunei; Iceland; Gibraltar; Falkland Islands; Faroe Islands; South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; and St Helena, Tristan de Cunha, Ascension Island.

“Our priority remains to protect public health, which is why the ‘green’ list is currently very small, with only 12 countries and territories. As the epidemiological situation improves worldwide, it is expected that there will be more opportunities for leisure travel with a greater number of destinations added,” Shapps said.

‘Amber’ and ‘Red’ lists

Strict rules on testing and quarantine will remain in place for people arriving to England from countries on the ‘amber’ and ‘red’ lists “to protect public health and our vaccination programme”, Shapps said, adding that people should not travel to ‘amber’ and ‘red’ countries for leisure.

Greece, Cyprus on England’s ‘amber’ list

Greece and Cyprus are on the ‘amber’ list, meaning that those returning from the two countries to England will have to (home) quarantine for 10 days.

More specifically, arrivals to the UK from ‘amber’ countries will need to quarantine for a period of 10 days and take a pre-departure test, and a PCR test on day 2 and day 8 with the option for Test to Release on day 5 to end self-isolation early.

‘Red’ list

Arrivals from ‘red’ countries will be subject to restrictions which include a 10-day stay in a managed quarantine hotel, pre-departure testing and PCR testing on day 2 and 8.

During the press conference, Shapps announced that the Maldives, Nepal and Turkey will be added to the red list from 4am Wednesday, May 12.

It is noted that passengers coming from any destination will still be required to fill out a passenger locator form (PLF) before traveling back to England.

Photo source: Heathrow Airport

Photo source: Heathrow Airport

England’s ‘green’, ‘amber’ and ‘red’ lists will be reviewed every 3 weeks, informed by public health advice, including the Joint Biosecurity Centre’s assessment of the latest data.

“These regular review points will allow the government to balance helping the public to understand COVID requirements when travelling to England while allowing us to constantly evaluate the risk for different countries,” Shapps said.

He added that a green watchlist will also be published in the future, to provide an indication when a country is identified as a candidate for moving from one list to another.

Click here for all ‘green’, ‘amber’ or ‘red’ list rules for entering England.

IATA: ‘The green list is very disappointing’

Following the announcement of England’s green list of countries, the director general of the  International Air Transport Association (IATA), Willie Walsh, expressed his disappointment via twitter.

WTTC: The UK is being too cautious

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) said it welcomes the first initial step by the UK government to begin opening the door to international travel, but said the country was being too cautious.

“Holidaymakers and business travellers will be disappointed by today’s news, with so few countries on the ‘green list’, while Europe steals a march on the UK by continuing to open up and welcome visitors back,” WTTC President & CEO Gloria Guevera said.

She added that the WTTC is disappointed that UK travellers are expected to pay for expensive PCR tests, even when traveling from countries on the green list.

“This will make foreign holidays totally unaffordable for many families,” she said.

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About the Author
Nikos is Greek-American born in New York, USA, and has lived in Greece for over 30 years. He is the managing editor of Greece's leading monthly travel and tourism guide, the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) since June 2008 and of news site GTP Headlines since its launch in September 2012. Nikos has also served as international press officer for the City of Athens and for the mayor. He has a degree in Mass Media and Communications, specializing in Journalism. Nikos is a native English speaker and speaks Greek fluently.
  1. Mastifarian Reply

    The standard PCR Tests Kits for leaving the UK are now down to £44.90 offered by a company called Eurofins.
    They guarantee the test results within 24 hours of receiving the samples, which is doable with the 72 hour deadline if you live near enough to their designated drop off postboxes. There are around 7 or 8 of these spread around the UK at present.

  2. Alasdair Gibson Reply

    This is the new world of Covid travel. Get used to it. Countries with advanced vaccine programmes and/or very low infection rates are not about to risk further imported infection surges. Examples apart from the UK are Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong the USA, most of SE Asia etc – all extremely difficult, costly or impossible to get into, or back into once left. This is likely to remain the case until the rest of the world catches up with suppressing the virus and vaccinating populations. We can rant about the situation until blue in the face but Greece had the chance to be ‘green’ along with Portugal. Public non compliance with Covid measures despite and during lockdown blew it!
    As for the “clown” in No.10, if he and his cabinet of fools had clamped down on travel and locked down earlier we might not be where we are today…and with perhaps a lot fewer than 127,000 deaths, still rising.
    My main criticism of the UK’s travel measures now are the Government’s inability or unwillingness to crack down on the testing rip off scandal, exempt vaccinated travellers and deal with the preposterously dangerous and lengthy queues at immigration.

  3. Roy Ferguson Reply

    Traffic light system is a nonsense, Greece is amber at the minute, if you ate on holiday and it changes to Red, you have to spend 10 days in a Hotel on arrival in the UK at over £1700.
    Even on amber the costs of tests will put people off, for us £240 before we go and £480 when we get home, we are booked to fly too Greece end of June, but are thinking its better if it was cancelled, the extra cost and stress of tests is not worth it.
    We love Greece have been going for years but the Clown in Number 10 moved the goal posts daily.

  4. Emma Critchlow Reply

    I thought a negative lateral flow was ok to exit the UK and proof of vaccine was ok for entrance to Greece?

  5. Nick Reply

    There is not a single word or comment on vaccinated people! Why the UK Government ignores them but insists on expensive tests! Why this so called green certificate takes so long?

  6. Pete Bowley Reply

    This is not good news for Greece but the UK government did tell us that they would follow the science and the fact that Jet2 cancelled all holidays last month was writing on the wall to tourists that it was not going to be so easy to travel at this early stage in the year. Why this saddens us here at Corfu Tourist is we also need to look at how the UK stands up against Europe at this present time with regards to its vaccination roll out along with how our R rate is falling while around us its rising. What do we do?? Its about keeping us all safe and not locking us down again, as we really can not afford it here in the UK let alone any country in the EU or further afield.

  7. Roy Ferguson Reply

    This is a disaster, amber will cost us £720 for six PCR tests, we have our flight paid for all we can hope is the idiot in Number 10 puts Greece on the Green list, otherwise we may have to rebook our flight for a later date, which would be cheaper than paying for virus test kits, Not only do you have the stress of maybe a positive test before you travel, but more tests, my wife cannot get the time off work, wish Countries would follow the science, 99.9% recovery rate, still wanting tests many of which are false positives, keeping the cases total high.

    • Stephen Reply

      You still need PCR tests departing to and returning from green list destinations

      • Roger Collins Reply

        For departures from the UK I thought you didn’t need PCR test if f you have proof of vaccinations?

        • Mark brealey Reply

          What is not clear at the moment is the entry criteria for Greece. Last I heard the tourism minister was saying the appointment vaccination cards if both vaccinations completed would be sufficient. I am assuming PLF as well and another one on ferries

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