Travel expert Simon Calder’s 34 answers to your urgent questions on international journeys

The journey correspondent of The Independent is rarely happier than when sipping koumiss (fermented mare’s milk) together with his nomadic buddies from essentially the most unique, and essentially the most regularly misspelt, nation on the UK’s “amber list”: Kyrgyzstan in central Asia.

They are presently making ready his typical yurt and camel for his subsequent go to, following the announcement that restrictions from greater than 150 medium-risk nations on the amber checklist will likely be eased for individuals who have been absolutely vaccinated by the NHS. The want to self-isolate on return to the UK has been eliminated.

Between exchanging urgent Telex messages by way of an middleman in Bishkek, he paused for an hour to reply readers’ urgent questions on the summer time’s journey prospects.

Vaccination holidays

Q: The announcement mentions vaccinated Britons. Does this embrace British residents vaccinated outdoors of the UK? What about vacationers from amber checklist nations? Will their vaccines be recognised in the event that they search to go to the UK on tourism or enterprise?


A: Anyone who lives within the UK and has been vaccinated by the NHS – or who’s on a “formally approved UK vaccine clinical trial” – is not going to want to quarantine in the event that they arrive from an amber checklist nation from 4am on Monday 19 July.

The qualification is just not to nationality, however the place the vaccines had been administered. The authorities says that originally it needs to make sure that a system for travellers resident within the UK can work. It can confirm vaccination standing with the NHS database however can not entry these of different nations.

There are hopes that the NHS certification system may very well be linked with the EU Digital Covid (*34*) to enable freer motion for European guests.

On Friday morning the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, stated he was working on accepting this European Union cross. (Interestingly, he made sound as if was nonetheless in improvement; the EU Digital Covid (*34*) has been in operation since 1 July in every single place besides Ireland.) Mr Shapps stated he’ll make an announcement in a few weeks, so I think about it would take impact within the first half of August.

Q: If a household with double-jabbed mother and father return from an amber nation with an over-18 who is just single-jabbed, will the entire household nonetheless have to self-isolate for 10 days if all of them dwell on the identical handle?

Simon 67

A: No, the one scenario by which households have been affected was when there was a scare final autumn about Denmark – particularly a variant of Covid that appeared to be borne and transmitted by mink.

The authorities says generally: “The people you’re staying with do not need to quarantine, unless they travelled with you; you or someone in the place where you’re staying develop symptoms of Covid-19; you get a positive test result for your day 2 or day 8 test.

”If any of these items apply, your family should quarantine with you, following the identical guidelines and for a similar size of time as you.“

Q: My son is currently in Greece and due to fly back on Saturday 17 July. Will he still need to quarantine and have day 2 and 8 tests? He is double vaccinated but only had second vaccine on 29 June which doesn’t yet show on his NHS App. I understand it won’t show until 14 days after it was administered.

Lindy Lou

A: Yes, he would need to complete the whole quarantine if he does come back on 17 July. As with questions on Mastermind, once you have started Covid self-isolation you have to continue. The only ways to cut it short: in England, by paying for an extra “test to release” on day 5 of quarantine; and wherever within the UK, by leaving

But why doesn’t he keep just a little longer and return on 19 July? I’m seeing Ryanair from Athens to Stansted for £51 on that day – across the worth he would pay for a day eight check alone.

Meanwhile his NHS jabbed standing ought to seem on 13 or 14 July.

Q: We fly again from an amber nation on Saturday 17 July (absolutely vaccinated). We will nonetheless have to do the the complete 10 day quarantine and take the day 8 check?

DJH 50

A: Yes, you would want to full the entire quarantine. As above, why not prolong your keep by a few days?

Q: What is the scenario for individuals who have obtained one of many AstraZeneca vaccines reported to have been made in India to journey to France? The NHS app exhibits these as Vaxzevria which is listed on the French authorities web site as permitted, But there seems to be no official steering on whether or not individuals can journey to the EU as “vaccinated” if they’ve obtained this vaccine.

Ali H

A: I’ve heard completely no reviews of any British individuals being turned away from France due to the batch quantity on their AstraZeneca vaccines. The transport operators I’ve contacted report the identical.

Malta, nevertheless, has simply imposed restrictions. An announcement from the federal government stated: “The AstraZeneca vaccine from the batch numbers: 4120Z001, 4120Z002 and 412Z003, also known as Covishield, will not be an accepted proof of vaccination for entry to Malta.”

I’m urgently making an attempt to discover out why the Mediterranean nation has imposed this restriction.

Q: I get my second jab every week earlier than travelling to Cyprus for my wedding ceremony in August. I’m involved that if the NHS app is just manner to show it, then it received’t be up to date till two weeks after the jab.

Sean Emson

A: In your place I might do all I might to transfer the second jab ahead – together with standing by on the vaccination centre in case there are any spare doses.

Q: We have booked to go to Venice for my son’s 18th birthday. We’re solely there for 2 nights. He’ll be 17 after we fly out and 18 after we return. He received’t have been vaccinated. Will he have to isolate on our return as he’ll be 18?

Caroline Okay

A: Yes. He will want to quarantine. Can you not presumably transfer the dates a few days earlier? Anyway joyful birthday to him.

Q: Will Sinopharm vaccines obtained overseas, for instance by British expatriates, show helpful in swerving quarantine?


A: Not at this stage. The Chinese vaccines Sinopharm and Sinovac haven’t been permitted by the MHRA within the UK, and each seem a great distance from being accepted.

In any occasion, as talked about above the federal government says solely UK residents vaccinated within the UK are ready to swerve quarantine when coming back from amber checklist nations.

“Traffic light” modifications

Q: What are the probabilities of France and Canada getting on the subsequent inexperienced checklist?


A: Both nations are far safer to be in than the UK in the meanwhile. Each is managing a profitable vaccination programmes and good genomic sequencing functionality. However that isn’t a assure of inclusion on the inexperienced checklist. All I can say is that the brand new well being secretary seems to be much less in opposition to international journey than his predecessor.

Q: With a really low variety of coronavirus circumstances and over 40 per cent of the inhabitants having been jabbed, how doubtless is it that Germany makes the reduce for the inexperienced checklist?


A: I agree Germany is an efficient candidate to go inexperienced on the subsequent evaluate of “traffic light” classifications on 15 July, together with places reminiscent of Italy and Poland.

The authorities within the UK assures everybody that each one selections are based mostly on the science.

The journey trade, and lots of potential guests to present amber and crimson checklist nations, is determined to see the governments working. The topic of a court docket case involving Manchester Airports Group. I will likely be following the case with curiosity.

Q: Spain’s Covid charges appear fairly excessive (although decrease than ours). Do you assume there’s a danger they could be put on the crimson checklist in August?


A: I feel the prospect of any main tourism vacation spot going on the crimson checklist at very quick discover is low. Apart from the rest there would have to be probably lots of of 1000’s of lodge rooms prepared and ready, with all of the attendant safety and medical care, and many others.

Q: Is it cheap to anticipate a couple of days’ discover if inexperienced watchlist places flip amber on 15 July or will they alter with instant impact as they will change “without warning”?

We are double-jabbed, in inexperienced watchlist Majorca which might change to amber due to rising circumstances. We are returning to England on 17 July (two days earlier than the brand new amber isolation guidelines) and hoping that the Balearics will nonetheless be inexperienced after we return.

Helen P

A: My sense is that you’ll in all probability get 5 or 6 days warning. The UK authorities has introduced in instant crackdowns solely very often, and I sense it barely wished it had not been so hasty.

Q: What date will new inexperienced checklist additions made on 15 July be carried out?


A: Assuming the identical sample as earlier critiques is adopted, it’ll take impact on Wednesday 21 July at 4 am.

Q: Do you assume any EU nations will likely be positioned on the crimson checklist in subsequent week’s evaluate? It would appear harsh given the quantity of circumstances right here and the rising vaccinations in Europe if any had been added to crimson.

Roger 573

A: The main candidate seems to be Cyprus.

People vaccinated overseas

Q: Grant Shapps said yesterday that the brand new guidelines had been for UK residents solely as a result of different nations couldn’t show their vaccination standing. This is wrong. In each Switzerland and the EU we’ve got a public Covid certification app that does the identical factor because the NHS one, in addition to a second app that lets us confirm the QR code of the certification app.

Why is the UK making it so exhausting, placing leisure journey above household reunification? European faculty holidays finish mid-August for a lot of, so ready for additional deliberation from the UK authorities is just not useful.


A: Families and companions who’re determined to come to the UK could have to wait till the federal government is nice and prepared, I’m afraid. In addition, the UK used to have a really flourishing inbound tourism trade, price £28 billion yearly, however the authorities seems to regard it as disposable.

There is not any urgency about inviting both British expatriates or abroad vacationers being welcomed in with out quarantine.

Q: I’m a Brit residing in Turkey, which is on the crimson checklist. I’ve simply obtained my third vaccine shot as I’m over 60. Assuming Turkey will get a protracted overdue improve to the amber checklist on the subsequent visitors mild system evaluate, will I nonetheless want to self isolate for 10 days?


A: Yes. Even if Turkey goes amber, your non-UK jabs will likely be disregarded.

Q: I’m residing in India, double vaccinated (Moderna) and hoping to lastly get again to see my mum in Europe and son in UK. Can I keep away from lodge quarantine. Would my unvaccinated Aussie associate additionally with me right here in India additionally have the opportunity to come?

P T Lloyd

A: If you might be in India, I counsel you discover a inexperienced checklist nation that can enable you to enter, then spend 10 days there earlier than continuing to the UK – whereupon you’ll not want to quarantine. As has been beforehand talked about any non-UK vaccinations are irrelevant.

Recovery mode

Q: The journey standing for individuals who have had Covid just lately after which could have had one vaccine is unclear. We are travelling to France in mid-August with younger individuals (aged 21) who’ve just lately had Covid however received’t have had their second jab till after our journey.

Will their restoration standing enable them to journey with out quarantining on return?

“Mom in Wales”

A: Other nations, and the European Union as an entire, have lengthy stated that proof of restoration from Covid is equal to vaccination. The UK authorities, as a part of its continued exceptionalism, has by no means regarded restoration as of significance. The language utilized by ministers signifies that there will likely be no haste in any respect in opening up choices for simpler journey.

Testing occasions

Q: I learn your journey e-newsletter this week and it had a photograph of a Ryanair flipchart at Liverpool Airport exhibiting obligatory journey paperwork for every vacation spot. On Ireland, Portugal and Spain it had “No NHS” – you additionally talked about it.

What does “No NHS” imply please on this case? Is it simply the truth that you cant use an NHS testing facility to have a check or one thing extra technical – It wasn’t listed in opposition to France for instance the place you can simply “check in” or Bulgaria the place it referenced a vaccine certificates.

David G

A: The reference to “No NHS” is completely to reinforce the purpose that assessments offered by the organisation can’t be used for international journey.

Q: I see some airways, reminiscent of Tui, are doing their very own PCR assessments at decrease value. Would you have the opportunity to present an inventory of UK airways doing the identical?

Gary Murphy

A: Many airways – and vacation firms – supply tie-ins with check suppliers that provide diminished charges. Tui goes one higher and really seems to subsidise testing packages for its vacation clients. Whichever firm you might be travelling with, they’re virtually certain to have a take care of somebody.

Q: I’ve a question in regards to the check prior to returning to England from a vacation break in France. How do I make sure the pre-departure Covid check is appropriate to UK Border Force? On the web site there’s a detailed technical specification, however it appears unlikely a pharmacy in rural France can be aware of UK authorities laws.


A: I agree that the British authorities’s specification for a “test-to-fly” seems very daunting. However pharmacies overseas seem to be au fait with the UK guidelines and competent at assembly them. Also the excellent news is that French is among the three official languages (together with Spanish and English) by which the pre-departure check might be written.

Q: An identical query to HPCP above. I’m planning to take a UK bought lateral stream check to France to full earlier than returning to the UK, I’ll add outcomes and obtain a certificates. Several firms seem to meet the eligibility standards for this however I’ve seen feedback just lately about french border pressure rejecting UK bought assessments, this goes in opposition to recommendation. Can you shed any mild? Thank you.

Hana 2015

A: Many travellers have efficiently used kits that they’ve introduced from the UK to “test-to-fly” on their return dwelling. “Order your test before your trip and take it in your suitcase,” says Qured, which sells them for £39. “Results in just 20 minutes, overseen on video call by a health advisor.”

I’m not certain why French border pressure would reject UK bought assessments to be used as pre-departure assessments earlier than travelling dwelling.

But there have been some circumstances of individuals being denied boarding with such assessments. Personally I might all the time get a regionally sourced check to keep away from any potential issues.

Q: Do the free lateral stream assessments from the NHS rely as a “fit-to-fly” check to return to the UK earlier than reserving a PCR check on day two? If these are dependable sufficient to be utilized in colleges and work locations, are they accepted for match to fly functions?

Lisa S

A: No. The solely journey context by which I imagine NHS lateral stream assessments could also be used is for journey from the Scottish mainland to the islands – three days forward of departure and on the day itself. All different journey associated assessments have to be acquired and paid for privately.

This is just not as a result of NHS assessments are considered ineffective in any manner – it’s simply that the UK needs to confirm how

Q: I’m flying from UK to Germany on 6 August at 11am, and will likely be again within the UK by 7am the next morning. Can I take a check in UK and use the identical outcomes on my return? Does it have to be a PCR check ?


A: Vaccinated travellers to Germany needn’t take a check earlier than arrival. On such a brief journey, it’s smart to take the “test-to-fly” for the UK earlier than you have got even left – on 4, 5 or 6 August. An inexpensive and fast lateral stream check will likely be wonderful.

Q: I will likely be in Sikinos after which Sifnos within the Cyclades within the 72 hours earlier than travelling dwelling from Athens (no stopover on the mainland). I can’t discover something about how to get a PCR check in both of these islands. Can you assist? There have to be numerous individuals travelling to extra distant islands however there doesn’t appear to be any data out there.

Teresa R

A: Sounds an ideal journey. Happily, as you might be travelling again by way of Athens, there isn’t any drawback. You can barely transfer for testing choices at Athens airport, together with a fast antigen facility on the arrivals degree between exits two and three that’s open 24 hours.

Q: Exemption from quarantine for absolutely vaccinated individuals returning to the UK is an efficient begin, however what likelihood an exemption from testing (pre-travel and following arrival) too? The expense and inconvenience make them prohibitive.

Very Old Bill

A: I problem the fruitfulness of a number of assessments for vaccinated arriving travellers, however the authorities is totally set on sustaining the duty. There remains to be vital opposition amongst ministers to opening up international journey at scale, and insisting on rising prices by imposing assessments is an excellent manner of dampening demand.

Q: Do you assume the massive testing corporations like Randox and Collinson will likely be ready to deal with all of the individuals needing PCR assessments earlier than/after journey?


A: The PCR check trade is having a fantastically good summer time, financially, and I’m fairly certain that the massive corporations could have plans in place to deal with a big enhance in individuals travelling – and a consequent sharp rise of their income.

I’m not certain that the federal government’s argument that they need to sequence PCR assessments from returning travellers is especially legitimate; the variety of constructive assessments from inexperienced checklist nations which were sequenced may be very low. So anticipate to see low-cost and fast lateral stream changing PCRs quickly.

I additional predict that from the second the UK authorities says you don’t want a PCR check on return from a inexperienced checklist the nation (or amber checklist in case you’re jabbed) the worth of PCR assessments will plummet.

Q: Like many others I m determined to see my relations (in France) after a yr. Do you assume the French authorities will drop the adverse check necessities on entry for vaccinated travellers from the UK any time quickly?

Also, I presume EU residents residing within the UK (with settled standing) have the identical proper as vaccinated Britons when returning to the UK after a visit to an amber nation?

Celine P

A: 1 I think about the French guidelines for vaccinated travellers will likely be eased quickly.

2 Yes, the check is: the place did you get your jabs? If UK by way of NHS, you’re able to swerve quarantine from amber checklist nations reminiscent of France.

Passing by means of

Q: Do you have got any data on the Iata Travel Pass? Like when it’ll go dwell for all, which airways and nations will use it? Seems to me that this may very well be the worldwide customary, possibly?

HK guidelines

A: Soon after the coronavirus disaster started, organisations with an curiosity in journey persevering with had been swift to work on methods to cut back boundaries.

The International Air Transport Association (Iata) was manner forward of the curve in creating programs for certification, however its system remains to be struggling for worldwide acceptance.

Instead, it’s (virtually) each nation for itself. The closest we’ve got received to multinational acceptance is the EU Digital Covid (*34*).

Q: What’s the present finest guess on EU recognition of the NHS vaccine certificates and vice versa? Talks are ongoing however is there an settlement coming in July or August?

Ciaran O’C

A: Because each European Union nation is sovereign, those that are eager to entice British guests are already nicely up to pace on accepting NHS certification of vaccination.

In the wrong way the UK could get one thing working by, say, early August, to enable EU guests to use their digital Covid certificates to swerve amber-list quarantine on arrival in Britain.

Q: Disruption at airports has been forecast with queues of up to six hours, based mostly on the truth that Brits vaccinated within the UK can now journey freely. Should Brits who weren’t vaccinated within the UK anticipate much less disruption going by means of Heathrow to return dwelling to their households, or do they get to undergo by means of the entire chaos and none of the advantages?


A: The Immigration Services Union has warned of very lengthy queues, and on Friday the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, stated, “people should expect more disruption than usual” on the UK border. But private expertise over the previous eight weeks suggests queues are transferring swiftly even at busy airports at peak occasions.

Q: We are double-vaccinated and would love to journey on the P and O ferry from Hull to Rotterdam in order that we are able to go to Holland and Germany. It doesn’t appear as if Holland will allow us to in but. Is this doubtless to change quickly?

Anne C

A: According to the Dutch, the UK is a really high-risk nation. Vaccinated or not, you’ll not get in except you have got residence within the Netherlands.

Q: I’m a UK citizen, absolutely vaccinated in France. I want to return to the UK for someday solely. Do I want Day 2 check booked to get into the UK after 19 July?

Jamie 9

A: Being absolutely vaccinated in France is of no curiosity to the UK. If you may get out and in of the UK in a day, then it’s easy to achieve this with out a lot of a fuss. If you might be staying in a single day, then you have got to register for a check.

American journey

Q: To enter the US we’d like to spend 14 or extra days outdoors the British Isles or the Schengen Zone instantly prior to arrival.

Would time spent on a transatlantic cruise meet this check? We are crusing on P&O’s Britannia, departing Madeira on 26 October and arriving in St Lucia on 13 November.


A: The related metric for avoiding US restrictions on guests from throughout the Atlantic is: have you ever been within the UK or the European Union throughout the previous 14 days? Therefore the clock begins ticking if you depart Madeira (or if the ship is asking within the Azores, these Portuguese islands). Either manner, it seems clear you’ll have 14 full days away from the UK/EU and, topic to different US laws on admission.