From today, May 17, we are now allowed to travel abroad - to a limited number of destinations.

Thousands of people are expected to take to the skies in the days ahead, desperate for some sunkissed relaxation, as travel restrictions are eased in Wales and England.

The easing of travel rules was described as a “symbolic moment after the most difficult year in our history”, by one airports chief, as Covid restrictions ease further due to declining rates of the virus.

But there are restrictions. Following England's lead, the Welsh Government has introduced a traffic lights system which sees countries classified as green, amber and red-  depending on their rates of coronavirus

Mandatory quarantine is in place for all people returning to the UK from countries on the amber and red lists. All people returning from overseas travel must have a PCR test.

First minister Mark Drakeford said: “Wales, like other parts of the UK, will be restarting international travel. But protecting people’s health continues to be our top priority and we want to do everything we can to prevent coronavirus from being re-imported into Wales.

“This will not be like travel in the past. Everyone travelling abroad will have to have a test when they come home and for many people, they will need to quarantine when they get home. There are significant fines in place for those who do not follow the legal requirements.

“Some countries are not yet opening up travel to people from the UK. It’s my strong advice that this is the year to stay at home and enjoy all that Wales has to offer.”

The Welsh Government is still advising people to only travel overseas for essential reasons.


What locations are on the green list?

Travellers returning from a country on the green list will not need to quarantine, and will only be required to take one covid test on returning to the UK.

Currently the green list consists of Portugal, Gibraltar, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, plus several small remote islands which are British Overseas Territories.

Can I travel to anywhere on the green list?

No. Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei and the Faroe Islands have severely restricted entry criteria.

Where can I go?

Portugal plans to welcome UK tourists who have had a recent Covid negative test, have recovered from the virus and therefore have antibodies, or have had both doses of a vaccine.

Gibraltar will not require UK visitors to be tested or vaccinated, whereas Israel will  reopen its border on May 23 only to groups of foreign tourists who have had both jabs.None of these destinations will require arrivals to quarantine.

What about the amber list?

That covers the most popular holiday destinations such as Spain, France, Italy and Greece.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “You should not be travelling to these places right now”.

On Sunday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Times Radio people should not travel to places on the amber or red lists “unless it’s absolutely necessary, and certainly not for holiday purposes”.

What if I go against that guidance?

People returning from amber countries must take two covid tests when they return to the UK during their 10 days of self isolation. Compulsoary test kits costing more than £200 must be purchased before arriving back in the UK.

How about the red list?

Those returning from a red list country must stay in a quarantine hotel for 11 nights at a cost of £1,750.

Will the lists change?

The lists will be reviewed every three weeks. 

How does the Government decide which countries are on each list?

There are four tests that the government takes  into account when deciding how to categorise a country within the traffic light system: the percentage of the country’s population to have been vaccinated; the rate of infection; the prevalence of variants of concern; and the country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing.

What about vaccine passports?

Mr Shapps confirmed that people in England will be able to demonstrate they have had both doses of a vaccine through the NHS app.

The Welsh Government said vaccination status certificates will be available from Monday May 24 for people in Wales who have had both doses and need to urgently travel to a country that requires proof of having been vaccinated.