Portugal travel: What are the testing rules and restrictions for tourists?

·3 min read
Portugal is tightening restrictions  (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Portugal is tightening restrictions (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Portugal has tightened up some of its rules for travellers following a rise in coronavirus cases.

“It doesn’t matter how successful the vaccination was, we must be aware we are entering a phase of greater risk,” Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on 25 November, reports Reuters.

“We have seen significant growth (in cases) in the EU and Portugal is not an island.”

But what are the entry restrictions for tourists, and what public health measures are in place once in the country?

Here’s what we know so far.

Are Brits allowed into Portugal?

Yes. You can travel to Portugal for any purpose from the UK.

The current rules allow fully vaccinated Brits to enter the country without having to take a Covid test; they must simply present proof of their vaccination status via the NHS COVID Pass.

Unvaccinated travellers can present a negative antigen test, taken within 48 hours of departure, or a PCR test, taken within 72 hours of departure.

However, from 1 December the country will require even vaccinated arrivals to present a negative Covid test prior to departure.

Airlines will be fined €20,000 (£16,927) if they transport any passenger who doesn’t have proof of a negative Covid-19 test result, including those who are double jabbed.

What restrictions are in place in Portugal?

From 1 December, fully vaccinated tourists must also present proof of a negative coronavirus test to enter indoor facilities, including nightclubs and bars, and to attend large events.

The EU digital certificate will be required in order for visitors to stay in hotels, go to the gym or eat indoors at the country’s restaurants.

However, travellers will be able to eat and drink outdoors without presenting a negative test.

Visitors are required to wear a face mask indoors, particularly in shopping centres and large stores and supermarkets, in hospitals and retirement homes, on public transport, including in taxis, and at the cinema, theatre, concerts and other events.

They are also advised to wear a face mask outdoors where social distancing of 1.5m cannot be maintained (these requirements do not apply to children under the age of 12).

What are the rules for travelling back to the UK?

Portugal is on the UK’s “rest of world” list.

Requirements for returning to the UK depend on whether the traveller is fully vaccinated or not. Those who are double jabbed have no need to test before returning or quarantine – they must simply book and take a private Covid test (lateral flow is now acceptable) within two days of arriving.

Travellers who are not fully vaccinated must present a negative Covid test (lateral flow is acceptable) taken in the three days before departure, self-isolate for 10 days on arrival, and take two private PCR tests on days two and eight of quarantine. Those in England may opt to pay for a third test on day five to leave self-isolation early if the result is negative.

All travellers must fill in a passenger locator form before departure for the UK.

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