On 17 March, the Foreign Office (FCO) issued an unprecedented advisory: it warned against all non-essential international travel.
The advice was given in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which saw borders closed around the world and travellers stranded abroad.
It didn’t make leaving the UK illegal as such, but it did mean travel insurance was largely invalidated for those who went abroad against the advice.
Since then, the FCO has softened its rules, with certain countries deemed “low risk” put on an exemption list.
This list has evolved drastically since early July, with new destinations added and struck off as Covid-19 infection rates rose and fell around the world.
Recent high-profile removals include holiday hotspots such as Spain, France, the Netherlands, Malta, Austria and Croatia.
Destinations can be removed at the last-minute with little warning for travellers; the FCO says: “All our advice will remain under constant review to take into account the latest situation in each country.”
While these countries might be deemed ‘safe’, it’s worth remembering that quarantine restrictions may apply to British travellers returning from some of these destinations.
To complicate matters further, such measures may differ for holidaymakers returning to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Check the full list here.
Here’s the full list of countries currently exempt from the FCO’s advice against ‘all but essential’ international travel:
Greece (not including Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Mykonos, Crete, Santorini and Zakynthos)
Madeira and the Azores (not including mainland Portugal)
South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands
St Martin and St Barthélemy
St Vincent and The Grenadines
British Indian Ocean Territory
St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
British Antarctic Territory