Since the UK relaxed its travel rules earlier this year travel abroad has become much easier and requires much less preparation. But the Easter holidays coming up in a few weeks will be many families’ first opportunity to take advantage and take a break away to some of the UK’s most popular and closest holiday spots.
The UK’s coronavirus rules may have eased, but that doesn’t mean you can just hop on a plane tomorrow – some of Europe’s best destinations for Brits still have strict restrictions in place, and you don’t want to be caught out when you travel.
So whether it’s for a long weekend away, a city break with a few friends or that much-needed family holiday, MyLondon has gathered everything you need to know to make sure you don’t get caught out by any unexpected regulations.
All rules are accurate as of March 21.
Like the UK, France has recently relaxed its travel rules and these have not altered since February 12. The French government ditched the previous requirement for a negative PCR prior to departure, meaning no PCR or antigen tests are required for fully vaccinated people.
Visitors will still have to fill out a sworn statement, or déclaration sur l’honneur, which confirms you do not have coronavirus symptoms and have not been in contact with any active cases in the 14 days prior to departure. This applies only to fully vaccinated people over the age of 12, and you may also be asked to fill in the EU’s version of the passenger locator form.
But if someone has had both covid-19 vaccines more than nine months ago but has not had a booster, they are classed as unvaccinated. Unvaccinated travellers no longer need to self-isolate, but must provide a negative PCR result within the 72 hours prior to departure, sign the same sworn statement and fill out an international travel certificate to prove the reason for essential travel. This is not necessary for children under 12 who are travelling with vaccinated adults.
Before travelling to Spain everyone – including young children – must fill out a health control form either online or on paper. Upon entering Spain you must show the QR code generated on completion of the form.
Travellers must provide proof of full vaccination, which is classed as a full course of either a one or two jab vaccine, or a certificate proving that you have recovered from Covid-19 in the last six months. Passengers may also be subject to further checks once in Spain, and may be contacted for a mandatory PCR test. But children under 12 do not have to show proof of vaccination or Covid recovery.
All travellers to Portugal must fill out a passenger locator form before arrival for entry into Portugal and the Azores. It is also recommended for travel to Madeira. It is important to note there are different forms for Portugal, the Azores and Madeira so ensure you are filling out the correct one! Parents of children under 11 should include their child’s details on their own form.
You must show proof of vaccination upon entry into Portugal – either a full course of a vaccine no more than 270 days prior to travel, or a full course and a booster jab. Unvaccinated passengers must have a PCR test in the 72 hours prior to travel or lateral flow test in the 24 hours prior to travel – and self-administered tests do not count.
If you have had Covid in the past 180 days, proof of recovery can also be used in place of a vaccination certificate. Children under 11 do not need to show proof of vaccination or Covid-19 recovery.
Note that self-isolation is still in place in Portugal if you catch Covid-19 there – you will legally have to self-isolate for seven days at your own expense.
All passengers must complete a passenger locator form before departure to Italy, with children 11 and under being registered on their parent or guardian’s form. As of March 1 all travellers must provide, proof of vaccination, evidence of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before entering Italy or a negative rapid lateral flow test taken within the 48 hours before entering Italy, or a recovery certificate, certifying that you have recovered from Covid-19 in the last six months.
If you do not provide this information you will have to travel to your accommodation by public transport, self-isolate for five days and only leave isolation at that point if you have a negative test result. All children aged six and over must follow these rules too – so it is particularly important to do your research before travelling to Italy.
Travellers aged 12 or over entering Germany from abroad must possess either proof of vaccination, proof of recovery or a negative Covid-19 test prior to arrival. Travellers to Germany who are not vaccinated may not currently be able to enter the country at all, unless they are a German citizen, resident or have an urgent need to travel.
All children under 11 can enter Germany with a vaccinated adult, and any unvaccinated travellers allowed to enter the country must show proof of a negative test result from a test taken no more than 48 hours prior to entry. Although proof of recovery can be used, the positive test must be no longer than 90 days ago.
Travellers from high-risk areas must self-isolate upon arrival, but the UK is currently not a high-risk country.
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Greece ditched requirements for travellers to complete a passenger locator form just a week ago on March 15. Passengers arriving from the UK must show proof of full-vaccination no more than nine months prior to entry. Alternatively you can show proof of Covid-19 recovery or a negative test result from a PCR taken within 72 hours of entry or a lateral flor no more than 24 hours prior to entry. These rules apply to all passengers aged five and over.
So before you get out your sunglasses and bikinis, make sure you are fully prepared for travel! Rules may be subject to change, so make sure to check the UK government’s website for up-to-date travel guidance.
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