Spain, France, Italy, Greece & Portugal latest FCDO advice as travel rules ramp up

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Holidays remain on hold as travel restrictions and the ongoing UK national lockdown puts a stop to hopes of jetting off. However, it isn’t just the UK where travel rules have come into force.

Across Europe, rules are tightening to slow the spread of coronavirus as vaccines are rolled out.

Many of these rules ban travellers from certain nations or put in place strict entry requirements.

Though many Britons may be dreaming of flying off on holiday to Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Portugal, travel to these destinations is off the cards for the majority amid the national lockdown.

However, some travel is permitted for “essential reasons”.

What is the latest Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice for Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Portugal?


The FCDO is currently advising against all non-essential travel to “Spain, including the Balearic Islands but excluding the Canary Islands, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risk.”

Furthermore, on December 22, 2020, Spain introduced travel restrictions on passengers arriving from the UK by air and sea.

These measures have since been exit did until March 2, 2021.Only Spanish nationals and those legally resident in Spain are permitted to enter the country.

However, UK travellers who need to transit through Spain are permitted as long as they can provide evidence of “a negative PCR, TNA or LAMP test taken within no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Spain”.

The FCDO advises: “If you are resident in Spain, you should carry your residence document (the green paper EU residence certificate or the new TIE), as well as your valid passport when you travel.

“The Spanish authorities have not confirmed whether other documents are being accepted as sufficient proof of residence to enable entry to Spain.

“We strongly advise that you contact your airline before travelling to confirm your proof of residency meets the requirements of your airline.”

Those entering Spain must also fill out a “Health Control Form” 48 hours prior to arrival.

This includes contact information, details of known history of exposure to COVID-19 and confirmation of a negative PCR, TMA or LAMP test.

Travellers arriving from Spain, including the Balearic and Canary Islands, into the UK must self-isolate for 10 days.


The FCDO is currently advising against “all but essential travel to the whole of France based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks”.

France has placed restrictions on travel to and from non-EU countries since January 31, 2021. Travel is only permitted for “essential reasons” set out by the French Government.

These further extend the restrictions in place for UK arrivals which came into force on December 20, 2020.Travel restrictions apply to all air, car, ferry and train passengers.Permitted arrivals from the UK are restricted to French nationals and nationals of the European Area (EA) and their spouses and children; or British and third-country nationals who are residents in France, the EU or EA.

The FCDO states: “All travellers from the UK, including children aged 11 and above, will need to present a negative COVID-19 test result (PCR only), carried out less than 72 hours before departure.

“Arrivals will also be required to self-isolate for seven days upon arrival, before taking another PCR test.

“Arrivals from the UK will need to complete both a ‘sworn statement’ form self-certifying they are not suffering from symptoms associated with coronavirus and have not been in contact with confirmed cases in the preceding fortnight, and a signed ‘travel certificate’, confirming their reason for travel.”

Travellers hoping to return to the UK from France will be required to self-isolate for 10 days.

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The FCDO is currently advising against “all but essential travel to mainland Portugal, including the autonomous regions of Madeira and Azores, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks”.

Furthermore, Portugal is currently on the UK’s list of “high risk” countries.As of February 15, UK residents arriving from Portugal will be required to self-isolate in a Government approved hotel, at their own expense, for 10 days.

All other travel between the UK and Portugal is suspended.

“Visitors who have been in or transmitted through Portugal in the previous 10 days cannot enter the UK,” warns the FCDO.While flights are suspended, UK nationals or those with UK residency rights who are in Portugal but wish to return to the UK will have to travel via other airports.

However, hauliers who have departed from or transited through Portugal will not be subject to the same measures.

Those hoping to travel to Portugal from the UK will also be subject to a number of entry requirements as set out by the Portuguese Government.Travel to Portugal is limited to “EU and EAA nationals and their family members, UK and other non-EU/EAA nationals who are officially resident in Portugal or in another EU member state; and those travelling for essential purposes”.

Arrivals will be “required to show a negative RT-PCR test result for SARS/COVID-19 taken within 72 hours of departure”.

The rules are somewhat stricter for those heading to Madeira.”In Madeira, you will be required to take an additional RT-PCR test five to seven days after your initial test,” explains the FCDO.

“From the day you arrive in Madeira until you receive the results of this additional test you must remain in isolation.”


The FCDO is currently advising against “all but essential travel” to the whole of Italy “based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.”

Until 5 March, entry into Italy is only permitted for those with official residency or those with absolute necessity, which must be declared in writing.

Anyone who hopes to fly during this time “must present the airline with a negative COVID-19 rapid antigenic or molecular swab test taken no more than 72 hours before entry into Italy”.

Furthermore, UK arrivals will then be required to take a COVID-19 rapid antigenic or molecular swab test at the airport.

The FCDO adds: “Whatever the result of the two swab tests, those arriving in Italy from the UK must also report to their local health authorities on arrival and self-isolate for 14 days.”

The Italian authorities are requiring all arrivals to complete a self-declaration form before they travel.Travellers arriving in the UK from Italy must self-isolate for 10 days.


The FCDO is advising against “all but essential travel to Greece based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks”.

However, it is “not advising against travel to islands of Rhodes, Kos, Zakynthos, Corfu and Crete”.

Greece has ramped up coronavirus restrictions across the country, with different areas of the nation subject to varying levels of rule.

The latest changes to these regional restrictions were made on February 12, 2021.

“The FCDO is not advising those already travelling in Greece to leave at this time,” states the FCDO.

“Travellers should follow the advice of the local authorities on how best to protect themselves and others, including any measures that they bring in to control the virus.”

Those who do return to the UK from Greece will be required to self-isolate for 10 days.

UK nationals are still permitted to enter Greece if they “are a permanent resident in the UK, Greece, another EU/EFTA state, or in one of the following countries; Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Russia, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, UAE.”

However, arrivals must complete a Passenger Locator Form at least 24 hours prior to departure.

Failure to do so may result in being denied travel or a €500 fine.All arrivals into Greece need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, undertaken within 72 hours of departure.

“Anyone entering Greece from the UK will also be asked to undergo a rapid test for COVID-19 on arrival,” adds the FCDO.

“Arrivals from the UK are currently required to self-isolate for seven days in the event of a negative test result. In the event of a positive test result, travellers will have to isolate for at least 14 days.

“In either case, travellers will need to undertake a further PCR test at the end of their period of self-isolation.”

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