Portugal will be removed from the “red list” of countries from where travel to England is banned after 04:00 GMT on Friday, the Department for Transport has announced.
It means returning travellers will be able to quarantine at home, rather than in a hotel at a cost of £1,750.
But Ethiopia, Oman, Somalia and Qatar will be added to the travel ban list.
Under the current rules, foreign travel from the UK is banned apart from for exceptional reasons.
The earliest date people from England will be able to travel abroad for a holiday is 17 May, when the government hopes to move to step three of its lockdown exit plan.
However, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps last week warned it was still too early to book foreign summer holidays, saying there were “lots of questions” to answer about “how safe it will be in June to travel”.
The “red list” is part of travel regulations aimed at stopping Covid variants entering the country.
After the changes come into force, British and Irish citizens or residents arriving in England from Ethiopia, Oman, Somalia and Qatar will have to quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days, and any other visitors will be refused entry.
A ban on commercial and private planes travelling from Oman, Ethiopia and Qatar will also come into force on Friday to reduce the risk of importing “variants of concern”.
In a statement, the Department for Transport added that Portugal had been removed from the red list, including Madeira and the Azores, following evidence that showed the risk of importing a variant “had reduced”…