Spain & Portugal holidays: FCDO issues new update as nations tighten borders

Portugal added to England’s travel quarantine list amid pandemic

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Spain announced this week it would be further extending its travel ban on UK arrivals. Meanwhile, Portugal this week “re-assessed” its risk levels across the country, with restrictions tightening in certain regions.

Now, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has issued new updates for both nations relating to specific “entry requirements” for UK arrivals and those “transiting Spanish airports”.

Latest travel advice for Spain

“On December 22, 2020, Spain introduced travel restrictions on passenger travel from the UK by air and sea,” explains the FCDO.

“These measures have been extended until 6pm on March 16, 2021 with the exception of Spanish nationals and those legally resident in Spain.”

It continues: “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.

“If you are not in possession of a residence document, the Spanish government has formally confirmed to the UK government that UK nationals who were legally residing in Spain before January 1, 2021, and as such are beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement, can present other documents to prove their residence status when entering Spain.”

However, all passengers travelling to Spanish airports from “risk countries”, including the UK, must present a negative PCR, TNA or LAMP test taken within no more than 72 hours prior to arrival.

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The FCDO warns: “Spot checks may be carried out on arrival to confirm travellers have undergone a COVID-19 PCR, TMA or LAMP test and have tested negative.

“A minimum fine of €3,000 may be issued to anyone who does not comply.”

There are also additional restrictions on entering Spain from neighbouring countries.

“While restrictions are in place you will only be able to enter Spain via Gibraltar if you are a Spanish national, you are legally resident in Spain or Gibraltar or a cross border worker,” the FCDO explains.

It adds: “From 31 January, Portuguese authorities will enforce border control checks at the land border with Spain.

“Only cross border workers, goods traffic and those entering or exiting Portugal to return to their usual place of residence will be granted passage. Rail and ferry connections between Spain and Portugal have been suspended.”

Britons returning from Spain to the UK will be required to self-isolate at home.

Latest travel advice for Portugal

In line with Spain’s restrictions, the FCDO has also added information for Britons looking to transit between Portugal and Spain.

“International transit through Spanish airports by passengers on flights departing from the UK is only permitted if you are travelling to a country outside the Schengen area,” it explains.

“Transit time should be no more than 24 hours, travellers must remain airside and must be able to present a negative PCR, TNA or LAMP test taken within no more than 72 hours prior to arrival into Spain.

“British travellers can transit Spanish airports on return to the UK. You should be prepared to show evidence of your connecting flight.

“Should your transit involve passing through Spanish border control into Spanish territory, you may be required to present a negative PCR, TNA or LAMP test. Please contact your travel operator before departure.

Currently, entry to Portugal, including Madeira, Porto Santo and the Azores is limited to EU/EEA nationals and their family members, UK and other EU/EEA nationals who are official residents in Portugal or another EU member state, and UK nationals who are travelling for “essential purposes”.

The FCDO warns travellers to be prepared with “evidence” of the reason for their journey.

Earlier in the week, the FCDO also issued new guidance following a “re-assessment” of risk areas in Portugal.

New restrictions were put in place for Madeira and Porto Santo following an increase in Covid cases in some areas.

The FCDO explained: “If you arrive in Madeira or Porto Santo without an RT-PCR test, you will be required to take one at the airport and to repeat it five to seven days later.

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

The autonomous region of Madeira is currently in a “state of calamity”.

Until further notice residents must stay at home on weekdays from 7pm to 5am and on weekends and public holidays from 6pm to 5am.

The autonomous region of the Azores is currently in a “state of emergency”.

Across the Azores, there are five levels of risk including “very low”, “low”, “medium” and “high”.

Each level has its own corresponding restrictions, however, at present all islands are classified as “low risk”.

However, the FCDO adds: “In response to an increase in the number of cases, there are restrictions on travel to and from the northern part of the parish town of Rabo de Peixe on the island of São Miguel until further notice.

“You should avoid travelling to or through this area of the town.”

Britons returning from Portugal to the UK will be required to self-isolate in a Government approved hotel.

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