Foreign holidays became legal again in Britain on 17 May, with countries assigned a colour of red, amber or green and given restrictions to match under a traffic light system.
The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, announced the destinations that would be initially designated green and red in early May, with the rest of the world falling into the “amber” category.
Since then, there have been two “reviews” to the lists: one on 3 June, and the latest one on 24 June.
Madeira, Malta and the Balearic Islands were among the 16 destinations added to the quarantine-free green list in the most recent reshuffle.
The 56 “red list” countries, meanwhile, are deemed the most high risk when it comes to coronavirus, and come with the tightest rules to match: travellers arriving to the UK from these countries must pay to spend 11 nights in a quarantine hotel and take two PCR tests.
According to Mr Shapps, red list countries are “those which should not be visited except in the most extreme of circumstances”.
The 27 “green list” countries have the lightest restrictions on entry back into the UK, with no quarantine imposed and travellers merely required to take one PCR test within two days of arrival.
“Amber list” countries – which include the US and most of Europe – require arrivals to self-isolate at home for 10 days and pay for two PCR tests, one on day two and one on day eight.
All travellers must show proof of a negative Covid test – PCR, rapid antigen or lateral flow – before departure to the UK.
There has been much confusion over whether leisure travel to amber countries is allowed. Boris Johnson has advised against it, saying during PMQs: “It is very, very clear – you should not be going to an 'amber list' country except for some extreme circumstance, such as the serious illness of a family member. You should not be going to an 'amber list' country on holiday.”
However, there is no longer a legal ban; travellers do not have to prove an essential reason for flying to an amber list country, nor can they be fined for doing so.
Government ministers have confirmed that they are “working on” plans to scrap quarantine for amber list arrivals who have been fully vaccinated. It is hoped the measure might be introduced in August.
Popular holiday destinations in the amber category include Spain, Portugal, Italy, France and Greece.
Here are the countries that are currently amber (this list is not exhaustive; if your destination is not on the green or red list, it should be classified as amber):
Akrotiri and Dhekelia
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Central African Republic
Greece (including islands)
The Occupied Palestinian Territories
Papua New Guinea
Sao Tome and Principe
Spain (including the Balearics and Canary Islands)
St Kitts and Nevis
St Martin and St Barthélemy
St Vincent and the Grenadines
United States (USA)
Wallis and Futuna