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Can I travel abroad during COVID-19?

Travellers arriving into Ireland will need to quarantine for a period of 14 days


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 type of guidelines you will need to follow depend on where you are travelling to or from.

Do I have to get tested for COVID-19 before travelling?

All passengers arriving into Ireland are required to present a 'negative' or 'not detected' Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test taken 72 hours before your arrival in Ireland. This test is mandatory, which means you must do it, and you will be asked to provide proof of your negative or 'not detected' result before boarding the plane or ferry. If you cannot provide evidence of your test, you will not be allowed to board. 

Any passengers who do arrive into Ireland without this negative or 'not detected' test result and who do not have a valid exemption from this rule will face prosecution, with a fine of up to €2,500 or up to 6 months in prison.

Passengers arriving into Ireland and immediately travelling onwards (i.e. on a connecting flight, and therefore not leaving the airport) are not required to present evidence of a negative or 'not detected' test for travel to Ireland - but you may need one for the country you are travelling onwards to.

If you are travelling from Ireland to another country, you must check the requirements for entry to that country before travelling, and make sure to get tested if it is required. 

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. You can be fined up to €2,500 or face up to 6 months in prison, or both, if you do not fill in the passenger locator form.

Do I have to quarantine after travelling?

All passengers arriving into Ireland must undergo quarantine. The guidelines you will need to follow depend on where you are travelling from.

Mandatory hotel quarantine in Ireland 

If you are arriving into Ireland from or via a designated state, you must enter mandatory hotel quarantine in a designated facility. This must be pre-booked and pre-paid before you travel. Reservations can be made on the Quarantine Hotels Ireland website. It is important to be aware that the list of designated states may change at short notice. If you are planning on travelling to Ireland, make sure to check the list before travelling to be sure of your obligations. 

Those required to undergo mandatory hotel quarantine will be met by members of the Defence Forces on arrival, regardless of whether you travel by air or sea. They will ensure you are transported from your port of entry to the location in which you will complete your pre-booked mandatory hotel quarantine.

Once you have completed the period of mandatory hotel quarantine, you will receive a letter of completion and will be free to leave the facility. The quarantine period may be reduced if you get a negative PCR test on day ten of quarantine. The cost of testing for COVID-19 is included in the mandatory hotel quarantine fee.

Mandatory hotel quarantine is a legal requirement, which means you can be fined up to €2,000, face up to 1 month in prison, or both, if you do not complete it or if you leave the facility without authorisation.

Find out about exceptions to the mandatory hotel quarantine rule.

Quarantine in Ireland 

If you are arriving into Ireland from a non-designated country, you must enter a mandatory quarantine for 14 days. This mandatory quarantine is a legal requirement, which means you can be fined up to €2,500 or face up to 6 months in prison, or both, if you do not carry out the mandatory 14 day quarantine. You may only leave your place of residence during the quarantine period in emergency situations, to leave the country, or to get tested for COVID-19. 

If you tested negative on your PCR test 72 hours before arriving in Ireland, you still have to restrict your movements. You must restrict your movements even if you feel well. 

Find out about exceptions to the mandatory quarantine rule.

However, 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 quarantine. You must wait for your negative test result to come back before ending your restricted movements. 

It is worth remembering that you will have to pay for this test yourself - it cannot be arranged through a GP. Find out the different prices for COVID-19 testing at Dublin Airport and how to book.

This does not currently apply to passengers arriving from designated countries. 

Travellers high risk 'category two' countries

The Government has provided a list of designated states, also known as 'category two' countries, which have additional restrictions for any travellers arriving from these countries. All visitors coming from these countries must undergo mandatory hotel quarantine.

What countries are on the high risk category two list?

The following countries are considered high risk:

  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Angola
  • Argentina
  • Austria
  • Aruba
  • Bahrain
  • Islands of Bonaire
  • Sint Eustatius and Saba
  • Bolivia
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Burundi 
  • Cape Verde
  • Chile 
  • Colombia 
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Ecuador
  • Eswatini
  • Ethiopia
  • French Guiana
  • Guyana
  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • Kosovo
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • North Macedonia
  • Oman
  • Palestine
  • Paraguay
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • The Philippines
  • Qatar
  • Rwanda
  • Saint Lucia
  • San Marino
  • Serbia
  • Seychelles
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • Suriname
  • Tanzania
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Uruguay 
  • Venezuela
  • Zambia 
  • Zimbabwe
  • Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands.

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 May 19th2021
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.
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