Scotland travel rules explained – Traffic light system scrapped but testing remains

Nicola Sturgeon says Scotland ‘must resist' Westminster control

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Scotland has relaxed its international travel restrictions to merge the amber and green lists into one, meaning more destinations abroad are now open to UK travellers. The red list will remain in place, though eight countries including Turkey, Egypt and the Maldives will be removed from 4am on Wednesday, September 22.

The change from the Scottish Government follows similar changes made by the UK earlier this week.

However, Scotland will not follow in the changes to testing.

National clinical director Prof Jason Leitch said Scotland would “take a little bit more time” to consider the risks of changing the testing system.

He told Radio Scotland’s Drivetime: “We’re a little bit more concerned about that, that’s why we’re taking a little bit more time. That feels like quite a big step at this stage in the pandemic for Scotland.”

Will I still need to take tests before and after travelling?

All travellers from Scotland will still need to have a negative test prior to departure.

They will also need to have a negative PCR test on day two after arrival back in Scotland.

The Scottish Government says the decision not to scrap testing rules as England has done has been made due to “significant concerns at the impact on public health.”

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Why are the rules different in Scotland and England?

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “A UK Government decision to implement proposals to remove the requirement for a pre-departure test in England and to use lateral flow tests on day two have not been adopted at this stage in Scotland due to significant concerns at the impact on public health.

“The testing of international travellers, both before and after travel, is an important part of our border health surveillance to minimise the risk of importing variants of concern.

“The Scottish Government aims to maintain a four nations approach to international travel restrictions, but will need to carefully consider the risks associated with aligning with the UK Government.”

Which countries have been removed from the travel list?

From 4am on September 22, the following countries will be added to the new ‘safe to travel’ lists:







Sri Lanka


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