Travel advice for UK holidaymakers heading to Portgual has been updated by the Government. There had been confusion around the e-gates policy at several of the country’s major airports.
Earlier in May, anyone heading there from the UK had been informed they would be fast-tracked through check-ins, similar to EU citizens. But a further update to the advice for visitors to Portugal arriving at airports including Lisbon, Porto, Faro and Funchal, has added extra clarification.
The latest advice on the Gov.uk website states: “Check your passport is stamped by the border officer when you enter and exit Portugal as a visitor.”
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That is a small variation to the earlier version of the guidance, which previously stated: “If you use a manned booth, check that your passport is stamped by the border officer when you enter or exit as a visitor.” The “if you use a manned booth” line has since been dropped as all Brits need to get their passport stamped regardless of which gate they use.
The guidance continues: “You can use the staffed immigration booths or, if you are aged 18 and over, the e-gates designated for UK and some other non-EU nationals. Hand your passport for stamping to the border officer after you have passed through the e-gate.”
The initial update was issued to ensure that British holidaymakers are aware of the important role that passport stamps play in policing its 90-day visa-free limit for short stays.
“Border guards use passport stamps to check you’re complying with the 90-day visa-free limit for short stays in the Schengen area,” the guidance says. “If relevant entry or exit stamps are not in your passport, a border officer may presume that you have overstayed your visa-free limit.
“If you are missing entry/exit stamps, you can show evidence of when and where you entered or exited the Schengen area and ask the border officer to add this date and location in your passport. Examples of acceptable evidence include boarding passes and tickets.”
The Schengen Area is a group of 26 European countries, including Portugal, that agreed to abolish their internal borders, allowing the free and unrestricted movement of people. The western European country is a favourite holiday destination for many Brits, who make up a large proportion of their overseas visitors.
Further entry requirements relating to Covid-19 remain in place. Those who are fully vaccinated are permitted to enter the country without taking a test while Brits who are either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated will need to provide a proof of a negative Covid test, either through a PCR test taken within 72 hours before travel, or a lateral flow test taken within 24 hours of your journey.