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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. There is also a self-service online portal available – see here.
 

 

 
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

 

31 Comments

  • My holiday company is offering to let me change my holiday plans to later in the year or even next year with the full deposit moving to the new holiday but this wont include the cost of upgraded flights for which I paid £1175 and I will lose this money. Are they able to do this?

    • I would have thought they would have to refund or give you credit / voucher for the full amount of the holiday but I see the price is in sterling, different rules apply to UK. It might be worth checking with ABTA. Cheers, Sarah

  • Hi Sarah,
    We’re due to take Irish Ferries to France on 14th June. We’re meant to be staying at a mobile home park in Brittany for ten days.
    We’ve paid deposits on both as we booked them separately, not as a package.
    It’s my understanding that the ship will sail anyway, but if the camp site isn’t opening or the Irish government guidelines tell us not to travel, what’s the position?

    • Irish Ferries will allow you to change dates but yes as most sailings are operating they are not offering refunds. All hotels / campsites have different rules with regards to refunds but my experience is that most are only allowing changes or credit. If you have travel insurance with travel disruption cover or government advisory included you may be able to claim from them. Cheers, Sarah

  • Hi Sarah,
    My niece has booked a holiday with Expedia for end of June to Amsterdam. She’s a leaving cert student and now the exams have been moved she will have to cancel. Do you know if she’ll be entitled to a refund or voucher? Thanks in advance, Louise

    • Hi Louise

      There has been no decision made for June yet so you will need to wait to see if there is a travel advisory in place nearer the time. Cheers, Sarah

  • Hi we ae a family of 5 due to travel to majorca july 3 2020 for 8 days our flights are with Aer Lingus.
    When I booked the flights i did so ensuring that both leaving cert n junior cert were finished. Now with the announcement by the education dept if the flights are running we wont be able to go as our eldest daughter will be in school waiting to do her leaving cert.
    Because of this do you think we will be entitled to a refund or voucher which we could use next year Thanks Anne

    • Hi Anne, Im sure it is only a matter of time before Aer Lingus allow changes to later dates ( at the moment it is just until the 31st of May). You will need to hang in there and see what happens closer to the time. I don’t think they will take the leaving certificate into account, however they may allow changes anyway due to Covid-19. There is also a possibility that Spain will not be accepting tourists in early July too, in which case the flight may be cancelled. We just have to wait and see what happens. Cheers, Sarah.

    • Hi Sarah, We have a family holiday to Spain booked for august 8th. We only booked our flights with Ryanair, can we apply for a refund or do we need to wait until they decide if they are going ahead with flights. Do you think there is a chance we still will be able to go in August?

      • Hi Lorna

        Unfortunately you will have to wait and see if the flights are still operating and I suspect it will be a few months before we know. At the moment Ryanair are only allowing changes until the end of May, so hang on and see what happens closer to the time. Cheers, Sarah

  • Hi. I’m due to travel to Spain in August. I have booked through a travel agent. When booking I decided to pay the full amount as I had the money then. What happens if it is cancelled.
    Thanks.

    • If the holiday is cancelled you should receive a refund or a voucher to use against future travel. Best to check with your agency to see what they are offering. You could opt to cancel now, loose your deposit and be refunded the balance. Alternatively hold off and see what happens. It is difficult to say whether we will be back travelling in August at the moment. Cheers, Sarah

    • Hi Sarah,
      We had holiday booked for June 2020 to Portugal with Teletext holidays. It was cancelled and rebooked for June 2021. I emailed them and they said that all is good to go. I don’t want to go and don’t know what to do. It takes weeks to get through to anyone there. Any help would be so much appreciated. Marie

      • Hi Andrew, Teletext Holidays are UK based so they are not bound by the same regulations as Irish travel agencies. However, if you don’t want to travel I suggest trying to change dates. Unfortunately you will only be able to secure a refund if the flight is cancelled. Best of luck, Sarah

  • Also forgot to mention, I was paying monthly so have final payment to to make. If flights are not cancelled, I wouldnt be comfortable travelling anyway so would prefer to hold out for a refund/voucher. Thanks Sarah

    • Hi Tracy,

      I doubt that holidays will be operating in early June. Im sure you will be offered a refund or a voucher closer to the time. Cheers, Sarah

  • I booked my holiday with Tui and was supposed to go on the 25th of march for two weeks but it was cancelled and I asked for a refund nearly 4 weeks ago I was told I would get it but nothing yet I am looking at your posts about they are giving vouchers only were do I stand here as its nearly impossible to speak with someone.

    • Hi Rudy

      If you were told you were getting a refund I am sure they will have to honour this. I expect them to contact you soon but you could try calling or messaging them on social media to confirm. Cheers, Sarah

    • Hi sarah We r due to fly to turkey on 31st may with aerlingus.will we wait to hear from them r is 31st may included date for no operation with them

  • I booked flights through edreams they are impossible to reach and are now saying airlines are offering vouchers and maybe will not get back full amount can you advise please

    • Hi Michelle, yes most companies are offering vouchers instead of refunds, I would not expect Edreams to offer refunds. Edreams are not an Irish company so I have no dealings with them unfortunately. Best of luck, Sarah

  • I received the following from Ryanair. We don’t want to re book we want a refund as our holiday have been cancelled.

    Dear Customer,

    The spread of the Covid-19 Virus and associated Government travel restrictions, continues to have a negative impact on the schedules of all Ryanair Group Airlines.

    As a result of this we want to offer our customers as much flexibility as possible in relation to their scheduled travel plans. We are now offering you the following options in relation to your booked flight.

    · You can change your flight to any date in the next 3 months, up to Aug 31 2020.
    · The flight change fee will be waived in full.
    · You will only have to pay the difference in fare.
    · This flight date change will only apply to the route you have already booked.
    · Please do not try to change to another date in May.

    We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this unprecedented crisis. The safety and well-being of our people and customers is our main priority, and we are working closely with the state authorities and we will follow any travel restrictions that are imposed and will continue to comply with all WHO and EASA guidelines to combat the Covid-19 virus.

    To change your travel date, click on My Bookings below.

    Best regards,
    Customer Service

    • HI Marianne,

      Has your flight been cancelled? If you looked up your booking online and it is cancelled you can apply for refund using the link I have in the post. If not, you will have to wait to see if your flight is cancelled before applying for a refund. Cheers, Sarah

  • Hello Kim,

    I’m booked flight to America for 3 people with American Airlines. I don’t have travel insurance. Do you know what is there policy with regards to refunds. If I get a voucher from them is it valid for 1 year.
    Thanks,
    Eva

    • Hi Eva, the American government announced that airlines should offer refunds and not vouchers, on Monday. United Airlines announced that they are now giving refunds now so maybe wait and see if American Airlines follow suit. Cheers, Sarah

  • Hi Sarah, I have booked a city break to Lisbon through Loveholidays.ie, Hotel & flights, due to fly 22nd April. Loveholidays are currently only dealing with people due to fly within the next 7 days which I understand. Ryanair have emailed me separately, do I wait to get a credit voucher for the full amount from Loveholidays or deal with Ryanair? Thanks in advance, Dee

    • Hi Dee, Im surprised that Ryanair have emailed you, this must mean that Love Holidays have given them your email address to deal directly. In that case I would appy for a refund from Ryanair – assuming your flight is cancelled.

  • I have a holiday booked in Duinrell for July but have decided to cancel well within the 90 day policy (15% loss) but they have since changed their policy to credit only, after I requested refund. Any idea where I stand please as we are not in the position to plan a holiday for next year

    • Hi Kim,

      Yes most companies are offering vouchers only – this is being accepted by over 10 countries in Europe and Ireland is expected to follow suit. Did you pay the full amount or just the deposit? If you paid the full amount you should be able to request the 85% back as a refund, I would continue to press this. However, in these times standard booking conditions are not being adhered to.

    • Hi Sarah, we have a family holiday booked for early June to portugal. I booked the accommodation with love holidays & flights with aer lingus. Love holidays are only dealing with people travelling 7 days in advance which I understand but its alot of money & have no idea what to do?

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