India moves to UK's 'amber list' today. Here's what it means for travellers

Passengers from India will now take a Covid-19 test three days before departure and book in advance for two Covid-19 tests to be taken upon arrival in England as well as complete a passenger locator form on arrival.
Travellers walk through Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport, amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak in London, Britain. (File Photo / REUTERS)
Travellers walk through Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport, amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak in London, Britain. (File Photo / REUTERS)
Published on Aug 08, 2021 05:52 AM IST
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Written by Joydeep Bose | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The United Kingdom has announced that it is moving India, which was so far on its high-alert 'red list' for entering England, to the medium-risk 'amber list' from today (i.e. August 8, Sunday). According to foreign travel advice issued by the Government of UK, the changes came into effect from 4am on Sunday, August 8. This means that people travelling from India to the UK will have a relatively easier time than before, with fully vaccinated passengers no longer obligated to adhere to the 10-day hotel quarantine rule.

Also Read | UK, Spain, UAE: Countries that have eased travel restrictions for Indians

Here's what the new changes mean for travellers flying to the United Kingdom from India:

UK's traffic light system

The United Kingdom incorporates a 'traffic light' system for international travel, under which there are separate coronavirus disease (Covid-19)-related rules and protocols for each of the coloured lists, classifying zones according to the risk they pose:

Red list

When a certain country is on the United Kingdom's 'red list' (like India was till now), passengers from that country cannot freely travel to England. Only British and Irish nationals, or those who hold residency rights in the United Kingdom, are allowed to enter the country from places on the red list. Moreover, British citizens are also advised to not travel to countries on the red list.

In the context of quarantine rules, passengers travelling to England from any of the red-listed countries are required to go under quarantine at a hotel for 10 days and take a total of three Covid-19 tests, which includes one before departure from the origin country.

Most of India's neighbours, with the exception of Bhutan, are on the United Kingdom's 'red list' for travel. This includes Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives.

Amber list

Countries on UK's 'amber list' (where India has presently moved to) are categorised as medium-risk zones and passengers can find it relatively easier, as far as travel guidelines are concerned. Although entering England from the amber-listed countries still require a passenger to take three Covid-19 tests in total, the hotel quarantine rule is not mandatory.

Passengers from India, which is now on the amber list, can now quarantine at home or a place of their choice for 10 days after arriving in the UK. They will retain the option to 'Test to Release' after five days of quarantine.

For passengers from amber-listed countries, the first coronavirus test must be taken at least three days prior to departure. The second is to be taken on the day of arrival or before the second day of stay. The third must be taken on or after the eighth day of stay in the UK, according to the official foreign travel advice. If the said passenger is a UK national, they are also not required to take the eighth-day Covid-19 test.

India and Bhutan are currently on the United Kindom's 'amber list' for travel.

Green list

There is another category in the United Kingdom's traffic light system for international travel -- the 'green list'. As is apparent from the name, this includes countries in zones that the Government of UK considers relatively the safest in terms of travel amid the Covid-19 situation.

Passengers travelling from green-listed countries to England have to take a total of two coronavirus tests. The first one must be taken before entering the UK, while the second has to be taken on before the second day of arrival. The passenger will be asked to undergo quarantine only if the Covid-19 test result returns positive.

Click here to read complete instructions and foreign travel advice on the Government of UK's official website for passengers from India.

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Saturday, November 27, 2021