Foreign Office updates travel advice for Portugal, Spain, France, Dubai and more

By Lottie Gibbons

New travel rules have come into place, with the Foreign Office updating its advice.

The UK's traffic light system involving green, amber and red lists has been scrapped, with locations categorised as either on the red list or not.

It comes amid reports the number of countries on the red list will be slashed to nine from 54 later in the week, with destinations such as Brazil, Mexico and South Africa expected to be opened up to quarantine-free travel.

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Fully vaccinated residents - and unvaccinated under 18s - from more than 50 countries and territories can now enter the UK without needing to complete a pre-departure lateral flow test, take a day-eight post-arrival PCR test costing around £65, or self-isolate at home, with just a single day-two post-arrival test needed.

People arriving from a red tier destination will still be required to spend 11 nights at a quarantine hotel costing £2,285 for solo travellers.

Latest Foreign Office advice:

Spain -

The Spanish government requires all arrivals to Spain from the UK (excluding children under the age of 12 years old) to present on entry one of the following:

  • documentation certifying that you have undertaken a COVID-19 nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT - e.g. PCR, TMA, LAMP or NEAR) within 72 hours prior to arrival in Spain and tested negative. Antigen tests can only be used in certain limited circumstances (as outlined in section ‘k’ of the ‘Entry requirements for entry in Spain from third countries’ on the Spanish Ministry of Health ‘Travel and COVID-19’ page ) and are not accepted if you are travelling from the UK to Spain for tourism purposes.

  • proof of being fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to arrival in Spain (date(s) of vaccination must be specified), with a vaccine authorised by the European Medicines Agency or by the World Health Organisation.

Spain will accept the UK’s COVID-19 vaccination record.

France -

France has introduced a new system governing international travel to and from France.

There are three categories of measures: green, amber and red.

The UK is currently on France’s amber list.

Unvaccinated (or not fully vaccinated) arrivals in France from countries on the French amber list will only be permitted to travel for essential reasons.

Travellers who are fully vaccinated do not need an essential reason to travel to France and do not need to self-isolate on arrival.

Fully vaccinated travellers no longer need to present evidence of a negative test result before travel. Fully vaccinated travellers will need to present the following documents:

  • a completed ‘sworn statement’ (déclaration sur l’honneur) form self-certifying they are not suffering from symptoms associated with coronavirus and have not been in contact with confirmed cases in the preceding fortnight. This can be found on the French government’s website
  • proof of vaccination status

Portugal-

You can travel to Portugal for any purpose from the EU/EEA or from the UK and some other non-EU/EEA countries.

NHS COVID Pass holders, who do not also have an EU digital COVID certificate, must

  • take a COVID-19 test to enter Portugal (children up to the age of 11 are exempt)
  • this can be an antigen test taken within 48 hours of departure, or a RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure. If you have an antigen test, make sure it meets the standards set out in the EU common list of Rapid Antigen Tests
  • check your test result identifies the type of test taken and gives your name, date of birth, the date and time the sample was collected and the date of the result
  • you should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test
  • complete an online passenger locator card

If you have an EU digital COVID vaccination certificate showing you have been fully vaccinated with an EU approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before you travel, or an EU COVID recovery certificate showing you have recovered from COVID-19 no less than 11 days and no more than 180 days of when you are due to travel:

  • you do not need to have a COVID-19 test to enter Portugal. Be prepared to show a digital or paper copy of your COVID vaccination or recovery certificate when you check-in for your flight, and
  • complete an online passenger locator card

On arrival in mainland Portugal you will be subject to health screening on arrival. If your temperature is 38ºC or over or you show signs of being unwell, you may be required to take a COVID-19 test and remain at the airport until you receive your test result.

If you are travelling from the UK or another non-EU/EEA country, you may be asked to show your negative COVID-19 test result and/or your COVID-19 vaccination certificate at border control.

Italy-

Italy will accept the UK’s proof of COVID-19 recovery and vaccination record as the equivalent to a green pass. Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination and should not be used to demonstrate your vaccine status.

If you travel from the UK and can demonstrate that you are fully vaccinated, you can enter Italy without needing to self-isolate if you also:

  • fill in the passenger locator form (EU PLF) before you enter Italy to get a QR code to show to your travel provider and Border Police. You can ask for paper form if you do not have an electronic device
  • show evidence of a negative PCR or antigen test, taken within 48 hours before entering Italy

If you are not vaccinated, to enter Italy from the UK you must:

  • fill in the passenger locator form (EU PLF) to get a QR code to show to your travel provider and Border Police. You can ask for paper form if you do not have an electronic device
  • show evidence of a negative PCR or antigen test, taken within 48 hours before entering Italy
  • notify the Prevention Department of the local health authority of your entry into Italy. See COVID-19 Numeri verdi regionali for the contact details of local Italian health authorities
  • travel to your final destination in Italy by private transport only
  • remain in self-isolation for 5 days
  • take another PCR or antigen test at the end of the five days’ self-isolation

Dubai - (UAE)

Residents, tourists and visitors travelling from or through the UK and arriving in Dubai and Abu Dhabi must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test before departure and present the certificate at check in.

These need to be taken no more than 72 hours prior to departure for arrivals to Dubai and no more than 48 hours prior to departure for arrivals to Abu Dhabi.

Travellers arriving in Dubai may be required to undertake a further COVID-19 PCR test on arrival and will have to isolate pending the result of the COVID-19 PCR test.

Further information about what visitors need to do before they travel and what will happen on arrival in Dubai is available on the Government of Dubai website including information about testing before departure, on arrival and quarantine. Further information for visitors to Dubai is available on the Emirates Airline website.

Visitors to Dubai will also have to register their details on the COVID-19 DXB App.

Before visitors fly to Dubai, they will also be required to complete a Health Declaration Form and a Quarantine Form. Both forms need to be printed, completed and handed over to Dubai Health Authority staff on arrival. Visitors to Dubai will also have to register their details on the COVID-19 DXB App.

Visitors must have international health insurance before travelling.

All visitors to Dubai must adhere to all public health measures issued by the Dubai authorities including any requirements to quarantine.

Greece -

If you’re travelling from the UK, you will need:

  • To have completed a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) before arrival in Greece. The form is required regardless of the means of transport you use to travel to Greece (including by ferry, road, rail or air);

You will also need one of the following:

  • Proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, undertaken within the 72 hour period before arrival into Greece; or
  • Proof of a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test from an authorised laboratory, undertaken within the 48 hour period before your arrival into Greece; or
  • Proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at least 14 days before travel (see Demonstrating your COVID-19 status );
  • Greece will also accept proof of recovery from COVID-19 for entry purposes. Evidence of a positive COVID-19 PCR test result taken between 30 to 180 days of your travel dates can be used and can be demonstrated via the NHS COVID Pass.

Turkey -

All arrivals into Turkey, except Turkish citizens or residence permit holders, must complete an online form a maximum of 72-hours prior to travel. You do not need to do this if you’re transiting Turkey on the way to another country.

All arrivals (aged 12 and over) - including those arriving from the UK - into Turkey, from countries other than those mentioned below, must have proof of one of the following:

  • A full course of COVID-19 vaccinations (completed at least 14 days prior to arrival in Turkey)
  • recent recovery from COVID-19
  • a negative PCR test (within 72 hours of arrival)
  • a rapid antigen test (within 48 hours of arrival).

For children aged 11 and under, no PCR test or vaccination certificate is needed.

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