Wintry weather is on the way for Ireland, with Met Eireann forecasting subzero temperatures and snow for parts.
It’s left some people considering jetting off to sunnier climates for a New Year break.
However, there’s been a post-Christmas surge in Covid-19 cases in many countries due to the transmissible Omicron variant, forcing new travel advice and rules for some areas.
The Department of Foreign Affairs says: “There are risks associated with international travel generally in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, and this is likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future.
“Citizens should exercise a high level of caution in any decisions about international travel, taking account of their overall health, their vaccine status, and the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 Variant B.1.1.529 (Omicron) variant in other countries.
“All citizens should carefully consider the necessity of their travel at this time and be aware of the risk of testing positive for Covid-19 while abroad. If you contract Covid-19 when abroad, you may face delays and additional costs before returning to Ireland.”
With this in mind, we’ve taken a look at Spain, Portugal, France, Italy and Germany’s current travel rules for the start of 2022.
These are the restrictions listed on Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs website as of January 5, but travellers should be aware they are subject to change at short notice.
Passengers with an EU Digital Covid Certificate, as well as all arrivals coming from countries not considered at risk, must complete the Health Control Form before their departure and obtain a “FAST CONTROL QR code” to present at boarding.
Passengers will not be subject to further testing or quarantine requirements on entry to Spain provided they hold an EU EU Digital Covid Certificate as evidence of vaccination against Covid-19, recovery from Covid-19 or a negative/not detected result on a Covid-19 diagnostic test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival for a Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (including RT-PCR, TMA or LAMP) or no more than 48 hours prior to arrival for a Rapid Antigen Detection Test.
Passengers from third countries who meet the requirements to enter Spain as listed on the Government’s website or passengers that do not hold an EU Digital Covid Certificate must complete the Health Control Form before their departure.
These passengers may travel by presenting any of the following certificates: A certificate of vaccination against Covid-19, a negative/not-detected Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (including RT-PCR, TMA or LAMP) taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival or a Rapid Antigen Detection Test taken no more than 48 hours prior to arrival, or a certificate of recovery from Covid-19.
Passengers also need to check if there are local restrictions, such as curfews or limits on social gatherings in effect in the region or community you are staying in.
All passengers need to fill out a Passenger Locator Card before departure to Portugal
From 1 December 2021, passengers arriving into Portugal by air must hold a negative Covid-19 test result even if they are fully vaccinated.
The following passenger categories are exempt from this negative test result requirement:
- Holders of a valid EU Digital Covid Certificate of recovery from Covid-19 (issued less than 180 days before travel)
- Children under the age of 12
- Essential workers (defined by Portugal as workers in transport, emergency and security services)
- Cross-border workers (working within 30 km of Portugal’s border)
If you arrive in Portugal without a valid negative test result (and you do not fall into one of the exempt categories listed above), you will need to take a PCR or Rapid Antigen Test on arrival at your own expense.
If you test positive, you will need to complete a mandatory isolation.
The same regulation applies to visitors entering Portugal by land or sea.
The conditions and requirements for entering France depend on your country of departure and your vaccination/recovery status. As of 16 December 2020, Ireland is on France’s green list.
France accepts the EU Digital Covid Certificate.
If you are travelling from Ireland and are fully-vaccinated, or you have a negative antigen or RT-PCR test result taken less than 24 hours prior to departure, or you have proof of recovery from Covid-19, you are permitted to enter France without being subject to further restrictions or quarantine.
These requirements can be evidenced by your EU Digital COVID Certificate.
Anyone considering travel to Italy should check the latest information from the local authorities regarding requirements for international passengers arriving in the country.
Entrants to Italy from EU member states, including Ireland, are required to produce all three of the following: A Passenger Locator Form, a Covid-19 ‘green pass’ or EU Digital Covid Certificate based vaccination or recovery and a negative antigen test (taken within 24 hours prior to arrival) or PCR test (taken within 48 hours prior to arrival – for those who cannot provide proof of vaccination or recovery).
Anyone unable to produce a valid Covid-19 ‘green pass’ or EU Digital Covid Certificate must observe five days of isolation at the address on their passenger locator form.
The requirement to test applies to all travellers over the age of six, with certain limited exceptions for special categories including those in transit and cross-border workers.
As of 21 November, all of Ireland is designated a High Risk Area meaning all arrivals to Germany from Ireland, aged six or over are obliged to have proof of full vaccination, or proof of recovery from Covid-19 in the last six months, or a recent negative Covid-19 test result prior to travel, regardless of mode of travel (plane, road, ferry, train etc).
All arrivals, regardless of age, are also required to complete the German Government’s digital pre-registration form.
Arrivals must also upload to the digital pre-registration platform their proof of vaccination, proof or recovery, or negative test result.
In addition, travellers aged six and over arriving from a High Risk Area (including all of Ireland) on the basis of a negative test result (i.e. who are not fully vaccinated or recently recovered) will have to spend ten days in quarantine immediately after their arrival, which can be terminated with a negative test from the fifth day after entry. Children aged under six are also obliged to quarantine for five days after arrival. This quarantine may be finished five days after entry, without the need for a further test.