Spain, Portugal, Greece & France: FCDO issues Covid pass update – what are the new rules?

Booster jab: Gillian Keegan discusses travel advice

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Travel rules have changed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and although popular European vacation hotspots – such as France, Spain, Greece, and Portugal – are allowing UK arrivals to enter, they must do so in accordance with strict rules. The main rule across the board is showing evidence of a negative coronavirus test or proof of being fully vaccinated.

However, in a new update, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has issued a warning to Britons hoping to prove their Covid status through a printed PDF form of their NHS pass.

Though vaccination status can be shown using the NHS app, travellers are also permitted to show their proof of vaccination via a paper printout.

But new rules mean travellers must ensure their document is recently dated.

According to the November 3 update from the FCDO: “People wanting to use the UK systems to demonstrate their COVID-19 status using a printed PDF version will need to ensure the printout is dated from November 1.”

This will “ensure that the certificate can be scanned successfully”.

This rule applies to travel to Spain, Portugal, Greece and France among others.

Before travelling, holidaymakers are urged to check the relevant travel advice and rules for their destination country.

The FCDO also warns that NHS appointment cards, handed out when you receive your jab, are not eligible for proof of travel.

The travel authority states: “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.”

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What are the latest entry rules for Spain, Portugal, Greece and France?


The Spanish government requires all arrivals to Spain from the UK to present a Health Control Form, and either a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination.

This applies to all passengers aged 12 years and older.

Tests must be either a PCR, TMA, LAMP or NEAR and should have been taken within the 72 hours prior to arrival in Spain.

Antigen tests are not acceptable for tourism travel between Spain and the UK.


The UK is currently on France’s “amber list” for travel, which means there are different entry rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated arrivals.

Unvaccinated people are only permitted to travel to France for “essential reasons”.

Those travelling for a reason listed as “essential” by the French Government must complete an international travel Certificate outlining their reason for travel, complete a “sworn statement” self-certifying they do not have coronavirus symptoms, and present evidence of a negative PCR or antigen test taken with 24 hours of departure.

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

However, they must complete a “sworn statement” and provide evidence of having received both doses of an approved jab.


Those travelling to Greece from the UK must complete a passenger locator form before arriving in Greece.

They must also show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within the 72 hours before arriving in Greece, proof of a negative antigen test taken within 48 hours of arriving in Greece, or evidence of having been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to travel.

These rules are compulsory for everyone over the age of 12.


Portugal is allowing vaccinated passengers to enter without self-isolation as long as they can prove their vaccination status.

The nation is accepting both the NHS Covid pass and the EU digital Covid vaccination certificate.

Those who have not been vaccinated must take a pre-departure test before travelling.

This can be an antigen test taken within 48 hours of departure or a PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure.

All travellers must also complete an online passenger locator card.

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