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Latest Travel Updates on International Travel – Your Questions Answered

shutterstock_Greece during covid-19

Latest travel updates: When can I travel overseas? Do I need a pre-departure test? What if I can’t travel? These, and lots more of your frequently asked questions, answered here.

Hallelujah! We are finally able to travel overseas again! From the 19th of July Ireland will operate the EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) for travel originating within the EU. This will allow us to travel freely within the EU if we have been vaccinated, recovered from Covid, or have proof of a negative test result. We should also be able to travel to other countries outside the EU with a similar model, but there may be exceptions in place for countries considered as ‘ high risk’ – see more on the latest travel updates below.
 

 

 
It is important to note that measures can change at any time, so if you are planning on travelling overseas, make sure you have flexible booking options. Most airlines and hotels have these in place, and your travel agent will be able to recommend the best booking options for you.

You can also keep an eye on this post where I will have the latest travel updates, but always check the Gov.ie website, and your airline / travel agent before travelling, to ensure there have been no changes to travel restrictions. 
 

 

 

What is a Digital Covid Certificate?

travel updates due to coronavirus

The EU Digital COVID Certificate (previously known as the Digital Green Certificate),  is designed to facilitate the safe free movement of citizens within the EU during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be valid in all EU Member States, including Ireland. The certificate can be in digital or paper format and is proof that a person:

    • is vaccinated against COVID-19;
    • has recovered from COVID-19 ( no longer than 180 days after a positive PCR test); or
    • has a negative test result

It is important to note that the EU Digital COVID Certificate is not a travel document and will not be a precondition to travel. Individual Member States will determine how the DCC will be used as part of national public health measures. 
 

 

 
The system will be used throughout the EU and is also open to Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Iceland. The recommendation is that vaccinated visitors, or people who have recovered from Covid-19 within 180 days of departure, will not need proof of a negative test to travel within the EU.   

However, each member state may have different entry requirements depending on the epidemiological situation at the time of travel. Member states can introduce an Emergency Brake, where additional restrictions could be applied to countries considered high risk.

It is also important to point out that most countries require passenger locator forms to be filled out in advance of travel, so it is vital that check with your airline or travel agent the exact requirements required before departure.
 

 

 

If I am not vaccinated what test will I need to produce to travel?

Passengers arriving into Ireland from the EU with a DCC will not have to undergo quarantine. However proof of a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival is required for non-vaccinated travellers, including children aged seven and above. 

Ireland requires proof a negative PCR test, an Antigen test is not sufficient. Antigen tests may be acceptable in other EU countries. 
 

 

 

What about UK, USA, and other countries outside of the EU?

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)


A passenger who has been in a non-EU country in the 14 days prior to arrival into Ireland will be subject to the rules applying to that country. According to the Gov.ie website, the following applies from the 19th of July:
 

 

 
Ireland will also broadly align itself to the EU approach to non-essential travel into the EU from third countries. To protect its citizens against importation of variants, an ‘emergency brake’ mechanism will be coordinated at EU level to react swiftly to the emergence of a variant of concern or variant of interest.

Government advice will be to avoid travel to a country where the emergency brake has been applied.

 

Scenario 1 – journey originates in a country to which the EU has not applied an ‘Emergency Brake’

If passenger has valid proof of vaccination, no travel-related testing or quarantine will be necessary.

If passenger does not have valid proof of vaccination, they will need to:

  • present evidence of a negative PCR test result within 72 hours prior to arrival into the country
  • self-quarantine
  • undergo post-arrival testing – this will be provided through the HSE

 

 

 

Scenario 2 – journey originates in a country to which the EU has applied an ‘Emergency Brake’

If passenger has valid proof of vaccination, they will need to:

  • produce a negative result from a PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival
  • undergo self-quarantine
  • undergo post-arrival testing – this will be provided through the HSE

If passenger does not have valid proof of vaccination, they will need to:

  • produce evidence of a negative result from a PCR test undertaken no more than 72 hours before arrival
  • undergo mandatory hotel quarantine
  • undergo post-arrival testing

 

There will be no restrictions on travel to or from Northern Ireland. Passengers arriving from via Northern Ireland who have been overseas in the 14 days prior to arrival in Ireland, must also comply with these restrictions.

It is also important to point out that travel restrictions vary from country to country. Many countries outside the EU will still require proof of a negative PCR test even if vaccinated. It is vital that check with your airline or travel agent the exact requirements required before departure.

travel updates on summer travel

 

What is Ireland’s current position on overseas travel?

    • There is a Government Advisory in place against all non-essential international travel before 19th July, with fines of €2,000 issued for those caught travelling overseas for non-essential reasons.  
    • A negative PCR test is required for all visitors coming into Ireland that has been taken within 72 hours of arrival. Visitors from Northern Ireland, essential workers and children under six are exempt – more information visit Gov.ie.
    • Mandatory hotel quarantine has been introduced for arrivals who have been in any high risk country in the previous 14 days, or who fail to produce a negative PCR test on arrival. This list of countries is subject to change and will be updated here.
    • Arrivals from all other countries have to self-quarantine at home for 14 days, but may exit quarantine with a negative or ‘not detected’ PCR test taken 5 days following their arrival at the earliest. 

Read: Mandatory Hotel Quarantine in Ireland – What are the Costs, Conditions and Countries Involved
 

 

 

What happens if I don’t want to travel and my flight is still operating?

 

does travel insurance cover coronavirus

The reply to this question depends on the airline, hotel, or travel agency that you booked with.  Some airlines are happy to change your booking for free, or offer a voucher, others will charge you for the privilege. In general terms, if a flight or holiday is cancelled you ARE entitled to a refund, if you decide you don’t want to travel, but the flight is operating, you are NOT entitled to a refund.
 

 

 
Airlines will contact you by email if they are cancelling your flight. I suggest waiting until closer to the departure date to see if your flight is cancelled. If the flight is cancelled you will receive a refund, if not, you will have have to change departure dates. 
 

 

 

I am booked to fly abroad with Ryanair during the summer, can I change my flight for free?

travel updates re vouchers and refunds with Ryanair

Ryanair have different policies in place, depending on when the initial booking was made. New bookings made before 3oth September 2021 are permitted two free changes for travel before 31st December. Changes must be made 7 days before the original scheduled dates to avail of this. As with any airfare or holiday booked, if the fare associated with new flight dates is more expensive than the original fare, the customer must pay any difference.

Note: For anyone who booked before 10th June 2020, standard change fees apply. See more here.
 

 

 

I received a voucher from Ryanair, can I exchange it for cash now?

Ryanair have been allowing passengers who booked directly on the Ryanair website the ability to change their voucher for cash, as long as they haven’t officially accepted the voucher. If you have received an email with a voucher, but have not accepted it, you should be able to exchange it for cash by filling out this form. However Ryanair have updated their website to say that 

“Once a reimbursement voucher has been accepted, the claim for reimbursement has been fully and finally settled.”
 
Read: How to get a refund from Ryanair
 

 

 

I am due to fly with Aer Lingus this summer, can I get a refund?

latest travel updates with Aer Lingus

If your flight is cancelled you can apply for a refund using this form. If your flight is not cancelled you can change your flight, regardless of when it was booked, for free, before 31st December.

Read: Aer Lingus allow free changes across all flights up to 31st December 

If you have accepted an Aer Lingus voucher, you cannot apply for a refund. However, Aer Lingus vouchers are valid for five years.
 

 

 

I am due to travel in July or August and am unsure whether to pay the balance of my holiday

Despite most booking conditions stating that balances are due 10 weeks before departure, few travel companies are adhering to this rule. Most tour operators and travel agencies have adapted flexible policies and few are actively chasing balance payments. I have not heard of any bookings being cancelled due to lack of payment.
 

 

 
However, if you do not pay your balance by the due date, you are technically breaking your contract. It is important to keep in close contact with your agent who will be aware of the latest travel updates. Advise them of your position and try to wait to see if the flights are cancelled closer to the departure time.
 

 

 

What can I do if I still haven’t received a refund from a cancelled holiday / flight ?

latest travel updates on cancelled flights.

If you have been trying to source a refund from your airline or travel company since 2020 and are still awaiting a response, you can make a complaint to the Commission of Aviation regulation and they will take up the case on your behalf. You will need to prove that you applied for a refund and it has not been forthcoming. 

Listen to our exclusive interview with Air Passenger Rights Manager Sarah Fischer, she tells us how to get a refund if your flight is cancelled.
 

 

 
I understand that in most cases travel agencies have refunded their customers where possible. However, Ryanair are refusing to refund travel agencies directly, and are asking customers to fill out Customer Verification Forms to receive their refund.

Read: How to get a refund from Ryanair

EU regulation 261 specifically states that any flight contract is between the passenger and the airline. You do not need to go via your travel agent to request a refund, you can contact your airline directly. Note EU-261 only applies to the flight contract, not hotel costs, transfers etc. 
 

 

 

For more information visit:

Passenger rights – Flightrights.ie

Consumer rights to travel

 

Note: This post in the latest travel updates will be updated regularly, but travel advice and updates are changing on a daily basis. It is important to check with the company / airline you are booking with, and the Department of Foreign Affairs  before taking any steps to cancel or travel abroad.

 

 

Sarah

 

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