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Government travel advice lifted for 32 destinations

Written by: Emma Lunn
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has lifted its advice against all but essential travel for 32 countries and territories.

The change means people will be able to travel to a larger number of destinations with greater ease, and be covered by travel insurance policies when they do so.

Most travel insurance companies use FCDO travel advice as a reference point in their policies – typically excluding cover for places where government advises against essential travel. So the change means people will now be able to purchase travel insurance for a wider range of worldwide destinations.

The update comes as part of a simplified system for international travel which has seen the replacement of the traffic light system with a single red list, and reduced testing requirements for fully vaccinated travellers.

The FCDO will no longer advise against travel to non-red list countries on Covid-19 grounds, except in exceptional circumstances such as if the local healthcare system is overwhelmed.

Advice has been lifted in light of the improved public health in many countries and territories, better understanding of the virus, and the decreased risk to British nationals as a result of the vaccine roll out.

The FCDO will continue to advise against all but essential travel for all red list countries and territories where the risk to British travellers is ‘unacceptably high’. The government still says people shouldn’t travel to red list countries.

Liz Truss, foreign secretary, said: “These rule tweaks will make travelling more straightforward, supporting businesses and families right across Britain – and allow more of us to see friends and loved ones with greater peace of mind.

“We’re striking the right balance between keeping people safe which remains our priority and giving them the freedom to exercise personal responsibility, while supporting the travel sector as it continues to recover.”

The FCDO advises against travel when it assesses the risk to travelling British nationals to be ‘unacceptably high’, across a range of risks including safety and security. Before the pandemic, this was reserved for unstable or dangerous states or areas.

A global advisory against all but essential travel to every country and territory was introduced at the start of the pandemic in March 2020. This was lifted in November 2020 and the FCDO has been assessing Covid-19 risks country by country. Before the latest change, it advised against travel on Covid-19 grounds to 117 countries and territories.

Brits planning to travel abroad should check the entry requirements for their destination, including any proof of vaccination needed, as well as testing and quarantine rules. Travellers should also know and follow the local Covid-19 rules and restrictions for their destination.

The countries and territories the FCDO has lifted its advisory against all but essential travel to are:

  • Algeria
  • America Samoa
  • Armenia
  • Bangladesh
  • Belarus
  • Benin
  • Comoros
  • Congo
  • Tokelau & Niue
  • Djibouti
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Fiji
  • French Polynesia
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kiribati
  • Kosovo
  • Liberia
  • Madagascar
  • Malaysia
  • Marshall Islands
  • Micronesia
  • Nauru
  • São Tomé and Príncipe
  • Senegal
  • Solomon Islands
  • Togo
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Vanuatu

Rory Boland, Which? Travel editor, said: “The often contradictory advice and rules on where you should and shouldn’t travel to from different government departments have been difficult for travellers to understand and navigate. This move, which creates a more unified set of rules, is welcome news for those hoping to book holidays or visit friends and family abroad.

“It remains crucial to also check the rules of entry of the country you are travelling to, as several retain restrictions on entry by UK residents as well as having specific rules on the need for tests if you are unvaccinated. This is especially important with the half term holidays fast-approaching and many under-18s in the UK being unvaccinated. If you don’t meet the entry requirements of the country you are travelling to, you won’t be able to board the plane or get your money back.”

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