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Can I travel abroad during COVID-19?

Ireland is using the EU ‘traffic lights’ approach to travelling abroad during the pandemic


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in news


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At the moment, the Government advises that all non-essential travel should be avoided. However, if you must travel, then there are certain restrictions in place for both leaving and entering the country.

The sort of guidelines you will need to follow depend on where you are travelling to or from. The Irish Government are following the EU ‘traffic light’ system for travel during the pandemic. Countries not on the traffic light list may have different guidelines or restrictions.

When arriving into Ireland, you may have to restrict your movements, depending on where you’re coming from or if you’ve taken a test.

The ban travel from Britain into Ireland has been lifted. However, travellers from Britain must present a negative PCR test from the previous 72 hours. Once you arrive in Ireland, you must then follow the same procedures below, which means restricting your movements for up to 14 days, unless you receive another negative PCR test five days or more after arrival. 

What countries are included on the traffic light list?

Ireland is now using a ‘traffic light’ approach to travel restrictions for anyone planning on travelling outside of the country. Each country will be assigned a colour (green, orange, red, or grey), and this will tell you what kind of restrictions are in place for travelling there.

The traffic light list includes countries that are part of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA). and the UK. At the moment, the Government advises that you should use ‘a high level of caution’ for travelling to any countries on the traffic light list.

The countries on the list will be assigned different colours, depending on the number of new cases per 100,000 people in the last 14 days, as well as the percentage of positive COVID-19 tests. Countries will be categorised as green, orange, red or grey, based on the risk levels in those countries with COVID-19.

Traffic Light image

Source: gov.ie

Countries that do not have enough data on testing rates are considered ‘grey’.

Find out what colour each country is on the traffic light list.

The following countries are on the list:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Great Britain
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden

Find out what colour each country is on the traffic light list.

For information on countries not on the traffic light list, visit the Department of Foreign Affairs website.

Do I have to restrict my movements after travelling?

Whether or not you need to restrict your movements will depend on where you’re travelling from, and if you’ve taken a test.

Travelling from green countries

For anyone coming into Ireland from a ‘green’ country, you will not be asked to restrict your movements on arrival.

If you are coming from an orange, red or grey region, you must restrict your movements for 14 days. However, this may change if you take a COVID-19 test that comes back negative.

Do I have to restrict my movements if I test negative?

Passengers arriving into Ireland now have the option to take a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test for COVID-19. If you take a PCR test five days or more after arriving in Ireland, and your test comes back negative, you no longer have to restrict your movements.

This applies to both countries on the traffic light list (from EU/EEA countries), and for those arriving from countries outside of those regions.

You must wait to receive a negative test result before you end your period of restricted movements.

Testing is available at Dublin Airport, however it is worth remembering that you will have to pay for this test yourself. Find out the different prices for COVID-19 testing at Dublin Airport and how to book.

Passenger locator form

If you do plan on travelling to Ireland you must fill in a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form. It is against the law not to fill in this form if you are required to restrict your movement for 14 days. You could get a fine of up to 2,500 euro or receive a jail sentence if you do not fill it in.

Travelling to another country

If you are travelling from Ireland to another country, it is important that you inform yourself about any restrictions or requirements in the country you’re travelling to, such as if you must isolate yourself on arrival.

Find out what you need to do when arriving in another country by selecting the country you’re travelling to from this drop down list.

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Published Decem­ber 1st2020
Last updated Jan­u­ary 24th2021
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.
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