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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 24/09/2021

Streamlined system merges amber and green lists and retains red list

The international travel traffic light system of restrictions put in place to protect public health is to be substantially revised to make it simpler for travellers.

Green and amber classifications will merge, but the red list will be retained for those countries deemed to have high COVID-19 case rates or variants of concern. 

Among other countries, Turkey, Egypt and the Maldives will all be removed from the red list from 4am on Wednesday 22 September.

The current amber-level restrictions will become the default for travellers from non-red countries, with eligible fully vaccinated travellers able to benefit from quarantine-free travel.

The number of countries recognised in the eligible vaccinated traveller policy (currently only UK, EU/EFTA and USA), is being expanded to recognise countries where vaccine certification meets appropriate standards.

These include Canada, Australia, Israel, and New Zealand – with these opening up from 4 October – the date the current traffic light system formally ends.

The Scottish Government recently relaxed rules, allowing people travelling from non-red list countries to choose from a variety of private test providers.

International travel testing updated

Testing for inbound international travel is to be eased and will align with the UK following consideration of the logistical, health and economic implications.

Pre-departure tests for fully vaccinated travellers will be removed. Travellers from non-red list countries who have been fully vaccinated in a country that meets recognised standards of certifications will no longer be required to provide evidence of a negative test result before they can travel to Scotland. 

For practical purposes, Scotland will also align with the UK post-arrival testing regime. Details for the UK are still being finalised and the Scottish Government will continue to engage with the UK Government ahead of confirmation as soon as possible.

Separately, in consultation with Public Health Scotland, the Scottish Government will consider how additional safeguards and surveillance of inward travel can be implemented to guard against the importation of new variants. This will be at no cost to travellers. Details will be set out in due course.

Travellers from red list countries, and those that haven’t been fully vaccinated, will need to comply with existing restrictions.

Read the full press release.

Background

People are now able to use private sector tests where they are now required when returning to Scotland. The step allows people to choose from a list of approved providers which can be found on the gov.uk website.

Countries removed from the red list from 4am on 22 September are:

  • Bangladesh
  • Egypt
  • Kenya
  • Maldives
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Turkey

Countries added to the eligible vaccinated traveller policy from 4 October are:

  • Canada
  • Australia
  • Israel
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • Barbados
  • Brunei
  • Taiwan
  • Dominica
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Qatar
  • Kuwait
  • Malaysia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Bahrain

Following a review, the existing travel regulations have been consolidated, with minor amendments, into a single instrument. The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (International Travel and Operator Liability) (Scotland) Regulations 2021 come into force on Monday 20 September, replacing the existing regulations. Policy and requirements on travellers remain the same through this change.

Read more on international travel guide on the Scottish Government website