Spain holidays: Big changes for Irish tourists from vaccine expiration dates to testing

Thousands of Irish vacationers will head to Spain in 2022 to take advantage of the scorching sun they were denied during the lockdown.

While the Omicron variant continues to rise across both Ireland and the wider continent, there is no indication of a travel ban within the European Union.

And with the warmer months approaching, Irish tourists seem to be gearing up to enjoy a full, sunny summer on the Costa del Sol and beyond.

However, in recent days a number of new rules and regulations have emerged, which will have a huge impact on anyone considering traveling abroad.

Here’s everything you need to know:

From earlier this week, those who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will no longer need to show a negative antigen test or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test when they arrive in Ireland by air or sea.

Porto Cristo, Mallorca, Spain

The decision to drop the requirement was made in response to advice given to the government that “additional international travel requirements applicable in response to the emergence of the Omicron variant should be removed.”

Despite the change in travel rules, strict guidelines remain in place for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers who wish to travel to Ireland.

Everyone who arrives here must complete a passenger locator form before boarding a plane or boarding a boat to Ireland.

Travelers who have been vaccinated or brought back to Ireland are required to provide proof of a valid Covid digital certificate or other acceptable evidence of previous vaccination or infection prior to travel.

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Passengers who have not been vaccinated or recovered are still required to provide evidence of a negative PCR test no more than 72 hours prior to arrival.

Children 11 years of age or younger are exempt from the test requirements and there are some other limited exceptions.

The government’s advice adds that anyone showing symptoms of Covid-19 should follow health, safety and environment guidelines regarding isolation and conduct antigen or PCR testing as appropriate.

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Stephen Donnelly has confirmed that new Covid certificates will be sent automatically by the end of this week, and to others once they receive the booster dose.

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However, each certificate will have a validity period and an expiration date for vaccinations that passengers must adhere to, which means they will be:

  • Valid for nine months with the vaccine
  • Valid for six months for those with evidence of recovery

New EU regulations for nine-month certificate expiration will come into effect from 1 February 2022.

Emphasizing the changes, Minister Donnelly wrote on Twitter: “Covid digital certificates will be updated soon to reflect your additional vaccine.

«The EU applies a maximum 9-month validity of certificates based on the completed initial vaccination cycle.»

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«You can also request DCC for a refund if you have recovered within the past six months through an online portal.»

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