Portugal holidays: Key rule change for self-isolating arrivals – FCDO issues update

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Portugal attracted an average of 2.14 million British tourists annually prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though holidays are on hold for now, in recent weeks the travel ban between the UK and Portugal has been lifted.

This means Britons can jet off to Portugal for a specific set of “essential purposes”.

Leisure travel, however, is still banned for Britons under current lockdown rules. This could be lifted as soon as May 17.

In the mean time, Portugal has added new measures for travellers arriving in the country.

The new rules are particularly targeting those who are required to self-isolate upon their arrival.

In line with the latest update, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has added new information to its travel advice pages.

The most recent update from the FCDO states changes have been made “on the requirement to complete a new passenger locator form if you are required to self-isolate on arrival.”

Travel to Portugal is limited to EU/EEA nationals and their family members;

UK and other non-EU/EEA nationals who are officially resident in Portugal or in another EU member state; and UK and other non-EU/EEA nationals who are travelling for essential purposes.

The newest change impacts travellers from specific countries, including the UK.

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“If your journey to mainland Portugal originated in the UK, Brazil, South Africa or in an EU member state where the incidence rate exceeds 500 per 100,000 inhabitants, you must self-isolate for 14 days on arrival at home or in a place indicated by the Portuguese National Health Authority,” explains the FCDO.

Travellers must complete a new Passenger Locator Form prior to their journey You must complete this form before you travel.

The form can be downloaded form the Portuguese Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) website.

Travellers are also required to carry proof of a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure.

“Your airline is likely to deny boarding if you cannot provide this at check-in,” warns the FCDO.

“If you arrive in Madeira or Porto Santo without an RT-PCR test, you will be required to take one at the airport and await the result in government-provided accommodation.”

NHS testing services are not to be used to facilitate travel to another country, instead, the FCDO recommends “arranging to take a private test”.

It adds: “All passengers travelling to Portugal will be subject to health screening on arrival.

“Your temperature will be checked and if it is 38c 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 further RT-PCR COVID-19 test and remain at the airport until you receive your test result.”

It is not yet clear when Britons will be allowed to jet off on a foreign holiday to Portugal, or anywhere else for that matter.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to give a further update on the state of overseas travel on April 5.

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