Portugal holidays: FCO issues major new change to border measures

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has issued a major update to its travel advice for Portugal after the country set out entry specifications for tourists hoping to cross its borders. However, despite UK nationals amongst those welcomed back by Portugal, the FCO continues to advise against all but essential travel to the destination.

Despite the travel ban, the FCO updated its travel pages to explain the strict requirements in place for entry to Portugal, as well as the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira, Porto Santo and the Azores.

“Direct air travel to Portugal is permitted for any purpose from the UK, the European Area, Australia, Canada, China, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay,” explains the FCO website.

It continues: “If you are travelling to Portugal from the UK, the European Area, Australia, Canada, China, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia or Uruguay, you will be subject to health screening on arrival at mainland airports and ports.

“Your temperature will be checked and if it is 38 degrees celsius or over or you show signs of being unwell, you will be referred to the health authorities at the airport.

“You may be required to take a COVID-19 test and to self-isolate at your accommodation until the test results are known.”

Britons who choose to travel to Portugal despite the travel advisory notice will face 14-days of mandatory quarantine upon their return to the UK.

Unlike Portugal, Madeira and the Azores are exempt from the FCO’s nonessential travel ban.

Travellers heading to Madeira and Porto Santo are required to complete a traveller questionnaire between 12 and 48 hours before departure, as well as provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test up to 72 hours before departure.

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“On arrival, you will be subject to health screening,” adds the FCO.

“If you have not uploaded your COVID-19 test result, you will be asked to show it at the airport.

“If you do not have proof of a COVID-19 test, you will have to take a test at the airport and self-isolate at your accommodation until the results are known. This will take about 12 hours.”

Similar requirements are necessary for entry to the Azores.

A health form must be completed by travellers 72 hours prior to travel; once complete, holidaymakers will be issued a QR code which must be shown on arrival.

“On arrival, you will be subject to health screening. You will need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test carried out 72 hours before departure, or take a test on arrival and self-isolate at your accommodation until the results are known,” explains the FCO.

“If you are staying for more than seven days, you will have to repeat the test locally six days after the first test.”

It further warns: “If you cannot fulfil the entry requirements, you will be required to return to your country of origin. “You will have to self-isolate at your accommodation until the time of your return flight.”

It is not yet known when or if the FCO will remove its travel advisory notice for Portugal.

The UK Ministry of Transport says that the re-evaluation of the air bridge list continues to be done every four weeks.

It adds it may introduce “changes weekly, to reflect the changing panorama of international health”.

Portugal’s omission from the UK travel corridor list has been condemned by Portuguese officials.

Portugal’s foreign minister Augusto Santos Silva shared a tweet saying he felt the decision was “not backed by facts.”

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