The United Kingdom government announced Thursday (Aug. 26) that Canada will move to its “green” list for international travellers into the country.
This means Canadians travelling to the U.K., whether fully vaccinated or not, will no longer be required to quarantine upon arrival.
The change will kick in this Monday (Aug. 30) at 4 a.m. GMT.
The British Department for Transport said Canadians will still need to show a negative COVID-19 test, taken within three days, prior to arrival and take another test two days later. Passengers will also have to complete a passenger locator form.
Visitors from green list countries pose a low risk to public health in the U.K., the department said in a release.
Each country within the U.K. may have different rules in place: visitors are encouraged to find out before arriving in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland and find more information on the traffic lightsystem and guidelines on www.gov.uk.
Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Switzerland and the Azores are also moving to the U.K.’s green list.
The loosening of the rules will likely come as welcome news to Canadians who are eager to cross the pond: last month, the U.K. (for reasons that were never fully disclosed) said fully vaccinated travellers from the European Union and United States were exempt from mandatory quarantine upon arrival. But not travellers from Canada.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland briefly touched on the subject at the time, saying that she respected the U.K.’s decision.
"I have a great deal of respect for every country's sovereign right to decide during COVID who can come into the country and on what terms," Minister Freeland told reporters on July 28.
"We are ready"
The team at VisitBritain is thrilled by the news, releasing a statement late Thursday:
“Canada is a robust and growing inbound market for Britain with strong cultural ties," stated VisitBritain Senior Vice-President, The Americas Paul Gauger. "We know Canadians have been eager to visit again, and with Britain’s tourism and hospitality businesses reopened, we are ready to welcome them back to our iconic cities, countryside, and world class cultural attractions.“
“Tourism is an extremely competitive global industry and we had already forecast a slow recovery, with overseas visitor spending in the U.K. this year of £6.2 billion compared to £28.4 billion in 2019, so being able to welcome more international visitors back by safely reducing barriers to travel is a crucial step on the industry’s road to rebuilding.”
In 2019, new records were set for both holiday visits and spend with 874,000 Canadian visits to the U.K. (the second highest on record). Canadians spent £724.36m in the UK in 2019, Visit Britain reports.
The U.K., at the same time, will also be moving some countries to its “red list,” which identifies places with high COVID-19 case counts.
Thailand and Montenegro will be added to the red list from 4 a.m. on Aug. 30, the department said, “reflecting the increased case rates in these countries and the higher risk that travel from these countries poses to U.K. public health.”
Passengers arriving in the U.K. from red list destinations are required to isolate for 10 days in a managed quarantine facility and follow the necessary testing requirements.