Has Portugal changed its rules? The Holiday Guru tackles readers’ Covid and Brexit-related travel issues

The Holiday Guru is always on hand to answer your questions.

This week he helps one reader with a query about the entry requirements for Portugal – and advises another on whether they need to take a PCR test to visit France.

Q. We are travelling to Portugal on September 22. When we checked the FCDO advice, it wasn’t entirely clear whether a negative test certificate is required before travel, as the wording was vague. Can you help?

Mrs Janet Dunbar, via email.

Get on track: Tourists need proof of a negative test to enjoy Portugal’s sights, such as Lisbon

A. This week Portugal changed its rules. Now you must show a negative PCR (taken up to 72 hours before travel) or antigen/lateral flow test (up to 48 hours before) but you do not need to be fully vaccinated. Those aged 11 and under do not need tests or vaccines.

Q. My wife and I fly to France with Ryanair next week. I understand we do not need a PCR test to enter France, as we are fully vaccinated. However, I have been told that Ryanair requires a test. Is this true?

J Peers, via email.

A. Follow the advice found at France’s ‘Entry requirements’ page at gov.uk, which says fully vaccinated people do not need a test. Ryanair does not have its own rules. See ryanair.com/ie/en/useful-info/map-page.

The Holiday Guru answers questions from two travellers who are visiting France this month. Pictured is the French capital of Paris

Q. We are due to travel to France at the end of September. The rules state we will need to take a PCR test on or before day two of our return. But I had Covid in August and understand that I should not have another PCR for 90 days, as it may give a false positive result. Can you advise?

J. Nicholls, via email.

A. Even though you are technically exempt, you will still need to book the test. This is because you will need to be given a code from the test supplier for your return Passenger Locator Form. You will then need to take the test. If it’s positive, call the NHS Test and Trace line on 119.

Q. We are taking a cruise from Dover to six ports in Spain. We shall only stay in each for a few hours. Will we need to take a PCR test on return to the UK?

Jean Farrell, via email.

A. Yes, you will need to follow the rules for returning from an amber-list country.

See the travel traffic light rules at gov.uk, gov.scot, gov.wales and nidirect.gov.uk.

Q. We plan to drive to Italy. If we have to take a PCR test 48 hours before returning to England, we would take it in Italy, but we would be returning by ferry from France. Is this OK?

Derek Passmore, via email.

 The Guru provides advice about PCR testing for a reader who is planning to drive to Italy

A. Such a test can be taken up to 72 hours before coming back. Tests done at authorised clinics in Italy should be accepted in France and Britain.

Q. I have been told I could enter the U.S. from Bermuda after isolating for two weeks. Is this so? My family lives in America and I haven’t seen them since before the first lockdown, when my husband died of Covid. I turn 90 in October and I have yet to see my nine-month-old great-grandson.

Jean Ham, via email.

A. Condolences on your loss. It is possible to visit the U.S. from any country other than the UK, those in the Schengen zone, Ireland, Iran, India, Brazil, China or South Africa — as long as you have not been in any of these places within the past 14 days.

You will need to take a Covid test in Bermuda 72 hours before departure, plus another test between days three and five of your arrival in America.


If you need advice, the Holiday Guru is here to answer your questions. Email us at [email protected]. 

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