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Everything you need to know about travelling to Portugal from the UK

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Portugal remains one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations. However, Covid’s devastating effects on the country have made it difficult for many to plan a trip to its cities as well as to its beaches. You’ll need to learn more about the Portugal entry requirements. Here’s what to know.

Portugal is a favourite destination for British holidaymakers, thanks to its beautiful Algarve and tiled streets of Lisbon or Porto. Keep in mind that the entry requirements change regularly so be sure to check the latest rules.

Entry requirements for all travellers

You can travel from the EU/EEA to Portugal for all purposes.

You cannot travel to any country not mentioned above if you have essential purposes.

It is possible to travel to the Azores’ autonomous areas without restrictions.

Before travelling to the Azores and mainland Portugal, all passengers must complete a Passenger Locator Form. A form is required if you plan to travel to Madeira or Porto Santo.

Please complete only one form for each passenger. For children under 11 years, please include their information in your form if they are travelling to Madeira or Porto Santo.

Fully vaccinated passengers

You can enter Portugal with no need to test if you have been fully vaccinated.

To be fully vaccinated, you will need a valid vaccination certificate.

  • A full course of a vaccine approved in the European Medicines Agency should be completed within 14 days but no longer than 270-days before you arrive.
  • A complete course of vaccines, as described above, plus a booster dose approved by European Medicines Agency at least 14 days prior to your arrival.

You are considered fully vaccinated when you have:

  • Or both doses in a 2-dose vaccine.
  • An approved, one-dose vaccine
  • A complete vaccine course, plus a booster vaccine, is required.
  • If you get COVID-19 from a dose of 2 vaccines, your certificate will confirm that your vaccination course is completed.

For further information, check out the Portuguese Airport Authority passengers guide as well as the Portugal website.

Proof of vaccination status

If you want to fly to Portugal, your proof of vaccination must be presented at check-in.

To demonstrate your vaccination record, your UKCOVIDPass can be used (in digital or paper format).

If your airline allows your travel to Portugal with proof of vaccination, you can be denied entry unless you are legally registered. If you are legally in Portugal, you can be admitted. However you must pass a rapid flow test at the airport.

The entry requirements are for those not fully vaccinated.

Unvaccinated passengers

If you aren’t fully vaccinated, proof of a negative or rapid lateral flow (taken less than 72 hours before you travel) will be required at check-in for your flight to Portugal. More information on getting a test for entry

Be sure to have your test done by a healthcare professional who is trained. Self-administration tests are not accepted. It is not acceptable to take a rapid flow test without checking that it conforms with the EU standard list of Rapid Antigen tests.

If you are not fully vaccinated, but your airline allows you access to Portugal, you will be denied entry upon arrival unless and until you become a resident of Portugal. If you are not fully vaccinated and your airline allows you to travel to mainland Portugal without a negative test, you can be admitted. Still, you will be required to submit to a medical exam at the airport. Additionally, you could be subject to a fine of at least EUR300.

If you’ve had COVID-19 over the past year

If you’ve been positive for COVID-19 for more than one year, you are allowed to enter Portugal by presenting a COVID-19 recovery certification. This will prove that you have recovered from COVID-19. You must present this certificate no less than 11 days and no more than 180 days before you travel. The test will not be required.

For proof of COVID-19 Recovery, you can use the UKCOVID Pass at check-in to prove your COVID-19 status.

Azores Islands:

On arrival in the Azores, you’ll need to take a test unless:

  • If you are a holder of a valid EU-issued vaccination or recovery card,
  • Before you travel, you have had a PCR or rapid-lateral flow test.

The following criteria must be met when your PCR (rapid lateral flow) test is performed:

  • It must be done by a registered healthcare professional. These tests cannot be administered by the patient.
  • Rapid lateral flow testing should be done no more than 48 hours prior to your travel. This test meets the standards set forth in the EU standard list of Rapid Antigen Tests.
  • The PCR testing is done no more than 72 hours prior to your travel

Your EU vaccine certificate must indicate that you have completed the course in at least 14 days. This is not to exceed 270 days before your arrival in the Azores. Your COVID-19 Recovery Certificate must show that you were vaccinated within 11 days. You should also have a 180-day travel date.

For more information about how to get into the Azores, visit the regional government’s website and Go to the Azores.

Madeira and Porto Santo:

It is strongly recommended that you fill in a personal locator form before travelling to Madeira/Porto Santo. In your form, please include information about children under 11 years of age.

Madeira is open to everyone.

If you test positive to COVID-19, self-isolation

If you become positive for COVID-19 in Portugal during your visit, you will have to self isolate at your own cost for at least seven consecutive days. Guidelines for Self-Isolating in Portugal (in Portuguese).

If you become positive for COVID-19 in Madeira Porto Santo and the Azores during your stay, you’ll need to self-isolate at home for at most 5 days. Learn more about self-isolating Madeira or Porto Santo.

Young people and children

Children younger than 11 years old are not required to submit to a screening or to show proof of vaccination in order to gain entry to Portugal and the Azores.

If you’re travelling through Portugal

If you’re travelling through Portugal for a purpose other than your intended destination, you must comply with the rules regarding your vaccination status.

Further information regarding transiting through Portugal can also be found on the Portuguese visa service website.

Travelling through Spain and France to Portugal

Before you travel to Europe, be sure to review the requirements for entering or transiting France.

Find out the requirements for crossing Portugal’s land border with Spain.

Exemptions

Frontier workers who do their work within 30km of Portugal/Spain’s border or people providing essential services (e.g. hauliers) are exempted. However, they will still need to produce a vaccination certificate or recovery certificate.

Further information about testing exemptions can be found on the Portuguese Immigrant authority as well as the Visit Portugal websites.

Before you travel, be sure to verify your passport and travel documents.

You should consult your travel agency to confirm that your passport is compliant with their requirements.

Passport validity

You must comply with the Schengen area rules if your intention is to travel to any EU country, except Ireland, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Andorra.

There are 2 requirements for your passport to be valid. It must satisfy the following requirements

  • It is less than 10 year old when you enter the program (check the date of issue’).
  • Valid for at the very least 3 months starting on the day you plan your departure (check the expiry date’).

We are asking for clarification from the European Commission on the 10-year rule. Their guidance for Schengen frontier guards may not get updated until 2022. For some Schengen country passports, it may be necessary to be less than 10 years old throughout your visit. Also, the 3 month period at the end of your stay may need to be within 10 years of your passport’s date of issue.

Double-check the expiry and issue dates in your passport. An extra month may have been added to your passport’s expiry if you renewed your passport before it expired. This could result in your passport needing to be less than 10 years old.

If you believe your passport is not meeting these requirements, contact your travel provider. Renewal of your passport is possible if necessary.

Visas

You can travel within Schengen to any country for up to 90% of a 180-day span without obtaining a visa. You may travel as a tourist to visit relatives or friends or to study or train for short-term purposes.

If you plan to travel to Portugal and other Schengen Countries without a Visa, please make sure that your entire trip is within the allowed 90 days. The 90-day period includes visits to Schengen nations within the preceding 180 days.

You need to meet the Portuguese government’s entry requirements to be allowed to stay longer or to work or study in Portugal. Go to the Portuguese Immigration Service and scroll down to the bottom. You will need to check with the Portuguese Embassy which type of visa and/or permit you may be eligible for.

To visit Portugal for work, please refer to the guidelines on visas or permits.

It does not count toward your 90-day visa-free limit if you are a resident or long-stay visitor to Portugal.

Passport stamping

Visitor visa holders must have their passports stamped before entering or leaving the Schengen Area. To ensure that you stay within the Schengen area’s 90-day visa-free period, border guards may use passport stamps. Border guards can assume that you have gone over the visa-free limit by checking your passport for relevant stamps.

You can present evidence to prove when and where your entry or exit from the Schengen zone. The border guards may ask you to add this date/location to your passport. Acceptable evidence includes tickets and boarding passes.

It is possible that you will also need:

  • Show a Return or Onward ticket
  • Show you have sufficient money for your stay

For passport stamping information, if your residence is in Portugal, see our living in Portugal guide.

Travelling with children

If a child is under 17 years of age and intends to travel to Portugal on their own or with another person, they should be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

  • Must be met at the entry point or airport by their guardian/parent.
  • Carry a letter of authorization from their parent/guardian to travel. The letter should list the person in Portugal who is responsible for them and their contact information.

For more information, check the Portuguese government portal.

Resident children leaving Portugal

A letter of authorization must be signed by a parent or guardian for any child 17 years or older who is in Portugal. The following address can issue the letter:

  • one of the parents (if they are married)
  • If separated or divorced, the parent where the child lives.
  • one of the adoptive or foster parents, if the child is adopted
  • The child’s legal guardian

Further information is available on the Portuguese immigration services website.

For entry, airside transport and exit from Portugal, UK ETDs can be accepted.

The most beautiful places to visit in Portugal

The beaches in Algarve

The Algarve is a region in the south of Portugal that has over 100 breathtaking beaches. These beaches are scattered along 155 km of the golden coastline. This is one of the best spots in Portugal to go surfing if you want to have fun. Costa Vicentina has Praia as the country’s most well-known surf spot. Here, you can find international surfing and bodyboarding competitions. Families love this spot because of the dramatic sand dunes that rise from the sea and the rock pools.

Rio Douro is home to many wineries.

Portugal’s famous Valley of River Douro is known for its Port and other wine production. The stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site attracts people from all around the globe to take in the breathtaking views and sip wine on the picturesque hillsides. To visit the wineries and possibly stay the night in one or more of the wine-producing properties ( Quintas), you will need to go on a road trip. However, be warned that these roads can be very steep and winding.

The palaces and castles in Sintra

Some of Portugal’s most extravagant castles are located in Sintra, near Lisbon. The most striking of these is perhaps the extravagant and colourful Palacio das Pena. The magnificent castle, one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal, is well-known for its Romantic design. It combines Gothic and Moorish architecture with Renaissance architecture. The castle was built by Ferdinand II in the 19th century as the summer retreat of the Portuguese royals. It is still used for state occasions today.

The Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela

The rugged mountainous terrain of Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela offers the ideal spot for hiking. It is Portugal’s largest and oldest protected area, covering more than 1,000 metres. It is home to rock-strewn pastures, gushing rivers and waterfalls. There are also terraced fields and icy Lakes. At 1,993 metres high, you will find the highest peak of the country, Torre.

The nine islands of the Azores

 

The Azores are located 1,500km west-of Lisbon in the Atlantic Ocean. These nine islands form an archipelago characterised by volcanic landscapes, green grasses, and one among the best marine habitats anywhere in the world. The archipelago contains about three percent of all the world’s cetaceans. The archipelago is a popular spot for nature-lovers in Portugal.

Aveiro, Venice of Portugal

The picturesque city of Aveiro, often called “The Venice of Portugal”, is known for its beautiful canals and Nouveau architecture. This authentic fishing community is at the border of the Ria de Aveiro lagoon. Many religious buildings can be found here. These include the Cathedral of Aveiro featuring a prominent bell tower and the 15th Century Convento de Jesus that features a lavish marble tomb.

Lisbon, the capital city of energy

Portugal is the illustrious capital, and it is also home to some of Portugal’s most well-known landmarks. These include the 11th-century Sao Jorge Castle; and the 16th–century Torre de Belem. Walking along the cobblestone streets, you’ll find beautiful mosaic-tiled plazas. You may also stumble across fairytale castles or gothic monasteries. Lisbon is home to some of the most beautiful architecture in Portugal.

Returning to the UK

All passengers aged 12 and above who are travelling to the UK from abroad must complete an online tourist locator form prior to departure. The form can be filled out by adults who are travelling with children aged under 18.

If you can be deemed fully vaccinated, you don’t have to take any tests or quarantine. The same rules apply to travellers under the age of 18.

If you are aged 18 or over, you may not have been fully vaccinated.

  • A negative Covid-19 screening will be required. This must be done within two days of your arrival in the UK.
  • You will need to book and pay for the PCR test. The test must be performed within two business days of your arrival to the UK. This must be done with a private company before you travel.
  • Except for a positive PCR test, you don’t have quarantine to do.

 

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