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Latest Travel Updates on International Travel and the Digital Covid Certificate

shutterstock_Greece during covid-19

Latest travel updates: How does the Digital Covid Certificate work?  Will I still need pre departure tests? What about travel to UK and USA ? What happens if I catch Covid-19 when I am away? These, and lots more of your FAQ’s answered here.

The day has finally come, we are now able to travel overseas for non-essential reasons! Ireland is operating 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 can also travel to other countries outside the EU with a similar model, but some countries have additional restrictions in place – see more on the latest travel updates below.
 

 

 
It is important to note that travel restrictions can change at any time, in fact some countries have already added additional entry requirements due to the spread of the Delta variant. 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.

Read: My top 10 tips for booking holidays during Covid-19

Top 10 tips for travelling during Covid-19

Travelling overseas? Make sure you fill out passenger locator forms in advance

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

 

 

What is a Digital Covid Certificate and how does it work?

travel updates due to coronavirus

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

    • is fully 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.

At the time of issue Malta will no longer accept visitors who are unvaccinated, while France’s policy on visitors who have been vaccinated with the Janssen vaccine is to wait for four weeks to be considered fully vaccinated – most other countries require two weeks – see more here

The age that children are exempt from testing also varies. While most EU countries allow children 11 and under to travel without testing, some countries such as Germany require all children aged 7 and over to produce negative Covid-19 tests on arrival.  

 

 
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, as you could be denied boarding if these forms are not completed in time.

Read: Travelling overseas? Make sure you fill out passenger locator forms in advance
 

 

 

What do I do if my Digital Covid Certificate hasn’t arrived?

Digital Covid Certificate

The roll out of the Digital Covid Certificate has been relatively straight forward, an estimated 2 million people have received their DCC by post or email already. However, for those who have not yet received their cert, or have an issue with a wrong name or details, there is a helpline available to deal with queries. Your DCC can be requested by calling this number: 1800 851 504 or 1800 807 008
 

 

 
For the 130,000 people who have recovered from Covid-19 during the past six months you can  request a certificate of recovery online. This certificate proves that you’ve had COVID-19 in the last 6 months (180 days). You can also request a certificate if you’ve had a positive RT-PCR test more than 11 days ago and less than 6 months (180 days) ago. Once you fill out the form, you will get your certificate by email within 5 days once they have a record of the test.

Fill out form here
 

 

 

If I am not vaccinated, do I need a negative test and / or to quarantine on arrival?

requirements for hotel quarantine in Ireland

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 12 and above.

Ireland requires proof a negative PCR test, an Antigen test is not sufficient. However, antigen tests are acceptable in many other EU countries. Find your nearest Covid-19 testing centre here.
 

 

 

What about travelling to and from Britain?

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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

Currently there are no requirements for testing or quarantine for Irish people travelling to the Britain, as part of the Common Travel Area. However, there are restrictions in place for visitors coming into Ireland from the UK. Although Gov.ie has not been updated yet, the Irish Embassy in the UK has stated that from 19th July the following policy applies:  

  • Fully vaccinated visitors into Ireland will NOT have to quarantine or undergo a PCR test 72 hours before departure.
  • Unvaccinated travellers from Britain will still have to produce a negative PCR test on arrival, and undergo 14-day home quarantine. This quarantine can end once they receive a negative PCR test on day five.
  • Children of any age, travelling with accompanying vaccinated adults, will not be required to self-quarantine post arrival. However, where one accompanying adult needs to self-quarantine, then all children must also self-quarantine.

Note you will need proof of being fully vaccinated. NHS Covid Pass, vaccination status letter or paper vaccine card will all be accepted – according to the Irish Embassy – see full thread here.
 

 

 

What about travel to and from the USA?

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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

The USA currently have a travel ban in place, and Irish citizens are unable to travel to the USA from Ireland. We did expect this travel ban to be lifted in time for summer travel, however, the spread of the Delta variant is making this more unlikely. 

For fully vaccinated people travelling from the USA into Ireland, the restrictions are set to change from the 19th of July. This has not yet been updated on the Gov.ie website, however, the Irish Embassy in the USA has stated that:

  • From 19 July, fully vaccinated travellers from to will not need a pre-departure PCR test or be required to home quarantine on arrival. Proof of being fully vaccinated from a CDC card will be required. See full thread here.

 

 

 

What about other countries outside of the EU?

travel updates on summer travel

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:
 

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

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

 

 
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.
 

 

 

What happens if I get Covid-19 when I am away?

what does travel insurance cover with coronavirus

If you are not fully vaccinated, all passengers aged 12 and over are required to present a negative PCR test taken with 72 hours of arrival into Ireland. If you take this test and it is positive you will not be allowed to board the aircraft, and will have to remain at your destination until a negative test is produced.
 

 

 
Some travel insurance policies like Multitrip.com will cover the cost of travel and accommodation if this arises, however they may not cover expenses or money lost due to being unable to work etc. They will also cover you for cancellation if you or one of your family gets Covid-19 before you travel. However, like all insurance policies it is important to check all the Ts & Cs.

TUI have Covid-Cover built into the cost of their package holidays, while certain countries such as the Canary Islands will guarantee to pay for quarantine facilities and medical expenses if a member of your party contracts Covid while on holiday there. See more here,
 

 

 

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.
 

 

 

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

 
Travel Tips

Latest Travel Updates Due to Coronavirus

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Latest Travel Updates: ALL passengers arriving into Ireland are required to produce a negative PCR test. Arrivals from high risk countries require mandatory quarantine. Fines in place for any non-essential travel. 

I will be updating this post regularly with travel updates due to coronavirus, so bookmark it and make it your go-to post for the latest travel information. If you have queries in relation to airline refunds and vouchers or the EU traffic light system,  these posts might also be of interest:

Read: My step by step guide to the EU traffic light system for travel

Read: Make sure to fill out Passenger Locator Forms before you travel overseas 

Read: Top 10 tips for travelling during Covid-19

How to get a refund if your flight is cancelled

 
 
Instagram

 

ALL passengers arriving into Ireland are required to produce a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival.

All passengers arriving into Ireland (except those from Northern Ireland) are required to produce a negative / not detected result from a PCR test carried out no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Ireland.
 

 

 
Passengers who fail to present evidence of this are subject to a prosecution, punishable by a fine not exceeding €2500, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months, or both.

International Transport Workers, including aviation workers, maritime and road haulage sectors, are exempt from this requirement, if travelling in the course of performing their duties. Transit passengers who do not leave the airport, and children under 6 are also exempt from the testing requirement, although they are advised to restrict their movements for 14 days. For more information visit Gov.ie
 

 

 
Arrivals from higher risk countries will have to complete mandatory hotel quarantine.

does travel insurance cover coronavirus

Mandatory 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. Countries that are currently considered high risk as as follows:

Angola, Anguilla, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Bonaire, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equador, Eswatini, Ethiopia,  France, French Guiana, Guyana, India, Kenya, Lesotho, Luxembourg, Malawi, Maldives, Mauritius, Moldova, Monaco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Maldives, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda,  San Marino, Seychelles, Sint Eustatius and Saba, Somalia, South Africa, Suriname, Turkey, Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, USA, Venezuela, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
 

It is important that you check up to date entry requirements before you travel on gov.ie.

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

 

 

Fines in place for anyone to who travels abroad for non-essential reasons.

Fines for people caught travelling to a port or airport for non-essential reasons are now in place. The fines are currently set at €2,000 per person, but this may increase. These fines can be placed on departure and on return, so a passenger may incur a fine in both directions.
 

 

 

Travel Updates: Ireland adopts new EU traffic light system:

travel updates from ryanair

Ireland has adopted the EU ‘traffic light’ system for travel, which provides for regions across the EU to be categorised as green, orange, red or grey, on the basis of the risk levels associated with COVID-19. A combined indicator map will be published each week by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), based on agreed criteria, including the 14-day cumulative incidence rate, testing rate and testing positivity rates.
 

 

 
The categorisation of ‘regions’ instead of ‘countries’ is significant, as popular hot spots such as the Canary Islands has seen significantly lower incidence rates than the rest of Spain. Arrivals from other countries outside Europe including USA and Canada will be treated in the same way as Red countries, and it is possible to reduce quarantine times by obtaining a post departure tests five days after arrival, which must be arranged and paid for privately.
 
Read: My step by step guide to the EU traffic light system for travel
 

 

 
Airport testing now in place in Irish airports from €99

COVID-19 testing facilities have opened in Dublin Cork and Shannon airports as well as various locations around the country. Prices start at €99 for PCR tests in Dublin Airport, and €129 in Cork and Shannon. The testing facilities are fully open to the public, whether they require a test for travel, or for another reason.
 

coronavirus

Many countries including Spain now require proof of a negative PCR test for tourists arriving from high risk countries, while other countries such as Ireland, Turkey and Netherlands require a negative PCR test for tourists from ALL countries. This negative PCR test taken with 72 hours of arrival, must be shown on entry. 
 

 

 
The Canary Islands require a negative PCR or antigen test to be produced from ALL countries, including Ireland, while Germany now requires a negative PCR test to be shown that was taken within 48 hours of arrival. It is vital that you check with the Department of Foreign Affairs and / or your airline before travelling for the entry requirements.
 

Read: My step by step guide to the EU traffic light system for travel
 

 

 
It is imperative that you check the entry requirements with the country you are due to travel with before you fly. According to the Department of Foreign Affairs website:

“Inclusion on the list does not imply the absence of any restrictions on arrivals in those locations. Citizens should be aware that countries continue to announce new restrictions on arrivals from abroad, including the requirement to quarantine on entry. This can include restrictions on arrivals from Ireland. The situation will continue to evolve quickly. Citizens who are considering travel to particular locations are advised to monitor news and information from the public authorities in their destination. The list and our Travel Advice is under regular review, based on ECDC data and advice from experts, and will be updated on a regular basis.”
 

 

 
Read: Top 10 tips for travelling during Covid-19

Read: Make sure to fill out Passenger Locator Forms before you travel overseas 
 

This website is a handy source to have, it shows you the number of Covid-19 cases in each European country, and may be useful if you wish plan overseas to a country with a lower infection rate than our own.

Ireland currently advises against non-essential travel overseas, other than to countries that are part of the EU ‘traffic lights’ approach, where the advice is to exercise a high degree of caution.  
 

 

 

What if you don’t want to travel?

If you do you wish to travel, but your flight is operating, you are not entitled to a refund, regardless of your health situation. You should be able to change your travel dates, but if you cancel because you do not want to fly, that is seen as your own personal decision and no refund will be due.
 

 

 
Many airlines are waiving change fees but there may be a difference in airfare if you wish to change your date. However it it important to check the booking conditions at the time of booking with your  airline.
 

 

 
If the government advice is still in place against non-essential travel to the destination that you are due to travel to, then you may be able to claim on your travel insurance. You will need to have had a policy taken out with travel disruption cover or government advice, before the advice came into effect.
 

 

 

Refunds and Vouchers:

Many airlines are offering vouchers instead of refunds and there has been a lot of confusion across the travel industry. The Irish government has recently backed a new refund credit note that can be used by travel agents and tour operators to give to customers instead of a refund – note this is not applicable to airlines.
 

 

 
These credit notes will be guaranteed by the state in the event that the travel agent or tour operator ceases trading. It will be issued with a future redeemable date, and on that date it can be exchanged for its cash, or can be used to book another holiday. According to Shane Ross, ‘the refund credit note aims to strike a balance between preventing sector-wide bankruptcy (with associated immediate job losses) and consumer rights.’
 

How to get a refund from Ryanair

How to get a refund if your flight is cancelled
 

 

 

 

US bans travel from Europe including UK & Ireland.

President Donald Trump has amended the US travel ban to include Ireland and UK effective midnight 16th March.The ban applies to anyone who has been in Europe within 14 days prior to their arrival in the US. This does not apply to US citizens, however they will have to undergo health screenings on arrival.
 

 

 
Note: This post is being updated constantly 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.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.

 

 

Other related posts on the blog:

Coronavirus: What travel insurance covers:

Why you need to add travel disruption cover to your travel insurance policy

 
Like travel tips? See more here.
 

 
Sarah

The Travel Expert
 

 

 

Travel

When Can We Travel Again? 5 Things That We Need to Consider

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‘When can we travel again?’ was the top searched question on Google last week. Find out my thoughts below.

I was surprised to learn that ‘when can we travel again’ was the top searched question in Ireland last week. I should clarify, I am not surprised that people want to know when we can travel again, (God knows I do!), but I thought the question was a little vague. The answers to this question are completely different depending on where you want to travel to – be it at home or abroad, how much annual leave you have, and whether the airlines will even be flying. (Note this post was published in May 2020).

 

Instagram

 

There are five key questions that need to be asked before we can think about when can we travel again to a foreign country. If you can answer yes to all of these, then get planning! Otherwise you may need to hang on a little longer to find out…
 

 

 

1. Is the country you wish to travel to open for international visitors?

when can we travel again

Currently the Department of Foreign Affairs is advising against non-essential travel to most countries, except those on our Green List. Most of Europe is open to International visitors, but some require visitors to produce a negative covid test to gain entry.  Many countries including Australia, New Zealand and the US are expected to be closed to International visitors for many months.  

 

 

2. When will flights resume?

ryanair - when can we travel again

 

Many airlines have already resumed flying, albeit with reduced capacity. There are temperature checks and covid tests available in many airports, and face masks are mandatory on all airlines. Ryanair’s latest video highlights the new Covid measures than have been put in place. 
 

 

 

 

 

3. Are you prepared to self-isolate on entry and on your return?

travel updates due to coronavirus - when can we travel abroad again

Even if a country is allowing foreign visitors entry, there may be restrictions with regard to self isolation. These policies are changing all the time and may be removed in due course. Tests may also be carried out at the airport (see above) to eliminate the need for self isolation. 
 

 

 
Currently Ireland has a policy whereby anyone entering Ireland has to self isolate for 14 days if travelling from a non Green List country – this applies to both tourists and residents.  It is possible that you will need to plan annual leave for up to six weeks if you want to take a two week holiday – this includes two weeks self isolation when you arrive and when you return. If you can work from home this may not be an issue for you, but it should be something you clarify with your employer before you plan a holiday.
 

 

 

4. Are you happy to holiday with restrictions still in place?

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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

There is no doubt that holidays will not be the same until a vaccine is found. Most countries will have restrictions on the number of people in hotels, restaurants, bars and even beaches. Selected tourist resorts in Europe require you to pre-book your beach space in advance.

However, we have managed to get used to restrictions to a certain extent at home, so perhaps we will get used to it when travelling too. Villas and self catering holidays are already proving to be widely searched, and hotels will have much smaller numbers of guests. Personally, I will certainly be happy to holiday with restrictions in place, once it is safe to do so.
 

 

 

 

5. Are you concerned about contracting Covid-19 while you are away?

when can we travel again

This might vary depending on your age, reason for travel, and whether you can take time off work if you do happen to contract Covid-19 while abroad. Most countries when open, will have restrictions in place, possibly similar to our own. You may find the likelihood of contracting Covid-19 abroad is not much more than staying at home.
 

 

 
However, it is likely that you wont be able to stick to social distancing guidelines in airports, airplanes and even beaches. Many new insurance policies may have exclusions in place and will not cover you for Covid-19 – however Multitrip.com will cover you once the Department of Foreign Affairs says it is safe to travel to your destination. Ts&Cs will apply.
 

 

 
While the free European Heath Insurance card will be allow you to get treatment in a public hospital in Europe, it will not cover you for additional expenses such as hotel bills or rebooking alternative flights, should you need to stay in a country longer than planned. It is important to have adequate travel insurance cover in place before you travel.
 


 
It is important to note that travel restrictions and airline policies are changing daily, and that social distancing has become the new normal. Of course if a Covid-19 vaccine is found, travel may back to normal sooner than we think. In the meantime, I am hopeful that the work being done at European Commission level and throughout the world will make sure airports and airlines will be adequately prepared for when can we travel again – lets hope it is sooner rather than later.

 

Like this post? You might like:

Latest travel updates

Latest updates on refunds and vouchers

 

Note some of the links in this post are affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

 

 
 

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