Heathrow and Gatwick: latest travel advice for Portugal, France, Italy and Cyprus as orange list is removed


After months of rule changes and confusion, new rules have been implemented today that will completely change the traffic light system.

Yesterday (Monday October 4) the red, yellow and green light system was ditched in favor of a much simpler system – which only includes red countries and all other countries.

Countries that remain on the red list are considered a Covid risk. Currently, there are 54, including Mexico, South Africa and Costa Rica.

But soon that is expected to be reduced by a fifth, leaving just nine countries on the red list. Travelers heading to Red List destinations will still have to pay for a 10-day stay in a quarantine hotel.

READ MORE: Heathrow and Gatwick: all countries now on green list and new rules around vaccines

Mexico currently remains on the red list

But perhaps the best news for keen travelers is the removal of the Amber List.

The Orange List previously included incredibly popular vacation destinations, Cyprus, Italy, Portugal and France.

Now, these countries are considered safe enough from Covid to join their Green List counterparts on the “allowed to travel” list.

This means that vaccinated travelers are no longer required to take a pre-departure test before re-entering the UK from a country not on the Red List.

But it’s important to check each country’s individual requirements before traveling, as restrictions vary wildly from country to country.

Check the travel rules for Cyprus, Italy, Portugal and France below.


UK is currently a red country on the Cyprus traffic light system

Cyprus has its own traffic light system and put the UK on its red list in July this year following an outbreak of cases.

Travelers from the UK must take a PCR test within 72 hours of their flight, with a valid certificate.

Upon arrival in Cyprus, travelers must take another test and self-isolate until the result is cleared (don’t panic, it’s usually only a three hour wait).


Italy still requires pre-departure test for travelers from UK

British travelers to Italy have an easier time if they are fully vaccinated – this entitles you to a Covid passport, which means you don’t have to self-isolate when entering Italy.

However, a PCR test with a valid certificate must always be taken within 48 hours before departure for Italy.

You can find out more here.


Portugal requires digital EU Covid certificate to avoid pre-departure test

Even though UK travelers are fully vaccinated, without an EU digital Covid certificate, you will still need to take a test before departure.

This can be either a PCR test (within 72 hours before departure) or an antigen test (within 48 hours before departure).

A valid certificate is required which means these are not NHS tests.

A passenger locator form is required for all travelers.

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Vaccinated travelers are not required to take a pre-departure test for France

The UK is currently on France’s orange list, which means those who are fully vaccinated do not need to self-isolate upon arrival in the country.

Fully vaccinated people are also not required to take a pre-departure test before traveling to Italy.

However, unvaccinated travelers require an essential reason for travel, an international travel certificate, a “sworn statement” and a negative antigen or PCR test within 24 hours. prior to departure.

Unvaccinated people are also required to self-isolate for seven days upon arrival in France.

You can find out more here.

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