Monday, May 17, 2021

Portugal Opens Borders for Tourists From EU & UK

Portugal has today opened its borders for tourists from the rest of the European Union Member States, as well as the non-EU Schengen area countries -Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland – as well as for the tourists from the former EU member, the United Kingdom.

The decision has been announced by the Portuguese tourism website Visit Portugal, which noted that arrivals from the UK are obliged to test for COVID-19 72 hours before they reach Portugal, the earliest.

Non-essential travellers from the UK are allowed to enter Portugal as of the 00:00 of May 17, but must present proof of a negative test for COVID-19 (RT-PCR), carried out within 72 hours before boarding time,” the Portuguese authorities note.

The decision has been welcomed by Britons in particular, who are regular summer visitors of Portuguese beaches. European football fans have also applauded the reopening of Portugal borders, ahead of the Champions League final set to be held on May 29 in Porto.

Both Portugal and the UK have one of the lowest virus rates in Europe. The first has achieved the drop in the number of cases through a total shutdown for a period of four months, while the latter through an intensive vaccination campaign.

In a statement also announcing the decision, the Portuguese Ministry of the Interior also noted that travellers from most EU countries, the 26-nation Schengen Area and the UK could travel to Portugal for all types of purposes, “including even non-essential visits”.

Non-essential travel from EU countries where the incidence rate is above 500 cases per 100,000 residents during the last 14 days will remain restricted to essential trips.

Currently, Cyprus, Croatia, Lithuania, Netherlands, and Sweden have an incidence rate equal to or greater than 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days. Only essential travel is permitted from these countries to Portugal.

Arrivals from these countries will need to isolate for a period of two weeks at home or in a place decided on by the health authorities after entering mainland Portugal. They also have to register with SEF – Foreigners and Borders Service before entering the country.

Commenting on the reopening of the borders, a ministry spokeswoman made sure to point out that the entry ban for citizens of countries outside the European Union remains in place due to the COVID-19 situation further in the world.

We’re not opening tourism to the whole world. Restrictions remain for third (non-EU) countries,” the spokeswoman said.

According to the entry rules, all arrivals above two years old entering the country must present a negative PCR Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours before embarking. Airlines that permit passengers to travel without the test will face a fine of between €500 and €2,000 per traveller.

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