UK to Allow International Travel as Early as May 17

international travel

As the threat of COVID-19 still rages on all over the world, many countries, including the UK, are hoping that the pandemic is already at its tail-end as vaccination rates go higher by the minute. With lockdown restrictions gradually being eased and people are becoming inoculated, international travel to the UK will finally resume due to a framework released by the UK’s Global Travel Taskforce. If you’re planning to go on a trip to the UK, now’s probably the time to start your passport renewal application.

Travel Ban to Be Lifted

According to the Taskforce, international travel to the country could resume, at the earliest, on May 17, 2021. This is based on the framework they released to chart The Safe Return of International Travel to the UK. The Taskforce made assurances that resuming travel privileges will be done in an accessible and affordable manner.

Safe Return Framework

According to the published framework, a “traffic light” system will be implemented that will categorise countries based on the level of risk. Some of the key factors, according to the framework, include:

  • Percentage of the population that has been vaccinated.
  • Rate of infection.
  • Prevalence of variants of concern.
  • The country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing.

Any inbound travellers will still be subjected to stringent testing and mandatory quarantine. The duration and application of these measures all depend on whether the destination visited is categorised as “red,” “amber,” or “green.” This risk-based approach will classify countries under different colours in the traffic light system, which means:

  • Red: High-risk countries (currently known as the “red list”)
  • Amber: Moderate-risk countries
  • Green: Low-risk countries

Countries in the red category are all required to stay in a managed quarantine hotel. Pre-departure testing and PCR testing are also needed. More details will be announced in May regarding the complete list of countries and their categories.

Risk Assessment

At this point in time, it’s still too early to definitively say which countries will be included in the green category. The Global Travel Taskforce is still in the process of studying which countries to put in the three-tier traffic light system, and their decision will be driven by the data and the evidence at the time.

Other Measures

Aside from the framework released by the Taskforce, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned other possible measures being considered in a press conference. He spoke to the possibility of incorporating  “COVID-19 passports” or “COVID Status Certifications” that could be used as an added security measure. 

However, the government was apparently still working through some ethical and practical issues in that particular idea. The prime minister didn’t mention any specifics on how the application process would look like for their certification idea. The implementation of such measures on the so-called COVID-19 certification and passport renewal should also be considered.


Lifting the travel restrictions in the UK is another big step for the country after ramping up its vaccination efforts early this year. They are currently considered to have one of the highest vaccination rates globally and is actually the highest in Europe. Because of that accomplishment, the British government’s next agenda would be to reopen international travel back into the country.

For more travel updates about the UK and other countries, turn to Travcour, a specialist on travel and visa applications in the UK. Our team will help you with your Visa, legalisation and passport applications whenever you need them. Contact us today and get your passport and Visa approved easily!