Explanation of COVID-19 testing rules for the end of 2021 for travel to each EU / Schengen country

Thousands of people have been forced to cancel their Christmas travel plans due to the spread of the Omicron virus around the world, and in particular, forced by travel restrictions imposed by governments in an attempt to stop the spread. of the new variant of the COVID-19 virus.

Europe, as one of the regions of the world hardest hit by the virus, has seen some of the highest COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, in addition to the new variant spreading across the continent as well.

Member states of the European Union, since the end of November, when the Omicron variant was first reported, have imposed entry bans on countries in southern Africa, and some of them even on the Kingdom. United and other EU countries like Denmark and the Netherlands.

Other countries have added more zones to their red lists, forcing more travelers to self-quarantine upon arrival.

The most common measure to tackle the spread of the virus, taken by countries in the EU and the Schengen area, has been additional testing obligations, mainly before departure, for inbound travelers. Yet each member state has its own rules and requirements for COVID-19 testing, as explained below.

Austria exempts only those with booster injections from the testing requirement

As of December 20, all travelers eligible to enter Austria are required to present negative results of a PCR test carried out before departure. Only those who have received a COVID-19 recall are exempt.

New, more stringent entry measures took effect on December 20. To enter Austria, the “2-G” rule (proof of vaccination / recovery) is currently in place. In addition, you need a negative PCR test OR proof of a recall“, explains the official Austrian travel website.

The PCR test must be carried out within 48 hours before reaching Austria. Children under 12 are exempt from this requirement, as are teenagers eligible for the Holiday Ninja Pass.

>> Austria: Stricter travel rules since December 20

Denmark, Finland, Greece and Italy impose mandatory tests on ALL travelers, including EU nationals

Danish authorities have also decided to impose stricter entry restrictions for testing on all travelers, including EU nationals. Travelers, regardless of their vaccination status, must present the negative results of a PCR test carried out 72 hours before arrival or a rapid test carried out 48 hours before.

The requirement also applies to people who have been vaccinated, but not to people who have been previously infected.“, Noted the Danish Ministry of Health in a statement, becoming the first country in the EU to exempt only people cured from such a requirement, and not those vaccinated.

>> Denmark requires vaccinated travelers to take a pre-departure test

Since December 21, Finland has also imposed an obligation to present a negative COVID-19 test result for all people traveling from a country outside the EU / Schengen area. Thus, only travelers from third countries with a vaccination certificate and negative results of a COVID-19 test are allowed to enter Finland.

>> Finland: Pre-entry test requirement compulsory for third country nationals from December 21

While from December 28, all travelers entering Finland from EU / EEA countries are required to present a vaccination or recovery certificate as well as a negative COVID-19 test result. In order to ensure that all travelers comply with the requirement, Finland will also introduce internal border controls with countries in the Schengen area from the same date.

Due to the rapid spread of the new variant of the coronavirus, compensatory measures under the Communicable Disease Act alone are not sufficient to protect the carrying capacity of healthcare», Noted the government, justifying its decision.

>> Finland reintroduces internal border controls with all Schengen countries

The obligation to test before entering the country has also been imposed by the Greek authorities since December 19, and the same obligation is expected to remain in force until January 1, 2022.

Travelers arriving in Greece, regardless of nationality, vaccination status or proof of recovery, are required to display a negative molecular test (PCR) result for Covid-19 taken up to 72 hours before the expected arrival, or a negative Rapid Antigen test result. for Covid-19 carried out up to 24 hours before the scheduled arrival, explain the Greek authorities.

At the same time, all travelers may also be subjected to random tests upon arrival in Greece. Those selected for the test must undergo it. If they refuse to do so, the authorities retain the right to refuse entry into the country for that person.

>> Greece imposes pre-departure testing requirement following rising COVID-19 infection rates

Italy is also requiring all travelers to take a COVID-19 test before reaching its territory, in addition to other requirements, such as the obligation to show proof of vaccination or recovery from COVID-19.

For those who also come from EU countries but are not vaccinated, it will not be enough to show the negative swab to circulate in Italy, but they will incur the obligation of quarantine. Not only. The vaccinee will also be asked to show a negative swab result.», Announced the Italian authorities on December 14th.

>> Italy imposes pre-departure COVID-19 testing requirement for all EU travelers

Belgium applies test requirements according to color coded cards

In Belgium, test rules apply to travelers depending on the color with which their country of residence is marked.

Travelers in the green category, in which the majority of EU / Schengen countries as well as Bahrain, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Kuwait, Macao, New Zealand, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, are placed, the United Arab Emirates and Taiwan, are under any obligation to test upon arrival in Belgium.

Whereas travelers from the red countries of the EU and the Schengen area are required to show proof of vaccination, recovery or negative COVID-19 test results upon arrival. The latter will also have to repeat the test on the seventh day.

Those who show up at the Belgian ports of entry with any of the above three will have to be tested on the first or second day in Belgium. They will also need to get tested again on the seventh day.

As for travelers from red third countries who have a vaccination certificate, they must take a test on the first and seventh day of arrival. Those who are not vaccinated must self-quarantine for ten days and get tested for COVID-10 on days one and seven. Those who test negative for the second time may end the quarantine prematurely.

Mandatory COVID-19 test results for ALL travelers upon arrival in Ireland

While in Ireland, the obligation to present COVID-19 test results has been in effect since December 5.

While people who have been vaccinated and cured may have either a PCR test done within 72 hours or an antigen test done within 48 hours of arrival, antigen tests are not accepted for those who are not vaccinated or cured.

Passengers without proof of vaccination or recovery must show a negative PCR test result within 72 hours of arrival, decided the Irish authorities.

>> Ireland to apply new travel rules from December 5

France and the Netherlands require visitors from third countries to take a test before their trip

Since December 4, France has been obliging visitors from third countries to take a COVID-19 screening test before leaving for France, including those vaccinated and cured. The test must be done 48 hours before arrival, and it must be a PCR test, as other types of tests are not accepted.

Only travelers under the age of 12 are exempt from the requirement of a test prior to entering France.

Third-country nationals should also be aware that they may need to undergo additional tests upon arrival in France.

>> France will impose a control obligation on all third-country nationals

Two and a half weeks after France, the Netherlands also decided to impose the same requirement on travelers from third countries. Since December 22, anyone reaching Dutch territory from third countries must present a certificate of negative COVID-19 test results.

All travelers from 12 years of age, even vaccinated and cured, are subject to the obligation.

It must be a NAAT / PCR test with the sample taken no more than 48 hours before departure or an antigen test with the sample taken no more than 24 hours before departure», Explain the Dutch authorities.

>> Netherlands imposes testing requirement for travelers from third countries from December 22

Czechia will impose a pre-entry test requirement for travelers from third countries

From Monday, December 27, the Czech Republic will also make pre-departure COVID-19 testing mandatory for all travelers from third countries.

For citizens of the Czech Republic, EU citizens and third country citizens with temporary or permanent residence in the Czech Republic, the conditions for returning to the country will remain the same as beforeThe Czech Foreign Ministry noted, announcing the decision.

>> Czechia imposes on arrival test obligation for all travelers due to Omicron

Other EU and Schengen area countries that require travelers to take a test before reaching their territory:

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