Unlike other nations in the European Union, which have imposed testing requirements regardless of vaccination status, Ireland has now completely scrapped PCR mandates for fully vaccinated travelers.
The Emerald Isle is now ready to welcome American and Canadian visitors again, as well as other foreign nationals, under more relaxed measures.
That said, the definition of what it means to be “fully vaccinated” has somewhat changed, and other restrictions continue to apply to those who have yet to be vaccinated:
What Are The New Rules For Vaccinated Tourists Coming To Ireland
Previously, passengers entering or transiting Ireland were obliged to bring proof of a negative PCR test, taken no longer than 72 hours before arrival.
However, from this week, fully vaccinated passengers traveling to the Republic of Ireland are no longer required to present a negative PCR or rapid antigen test when crossing the state border.
The information has been confirmed by the Department of Health, Ireland’s governing health authority, which has been advising the national government on Covid-related measures from the onset of the pandemic.
As it appears, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly had sought further advice on testing at the borders. As Omicron is already widespread across the island, pre-flight PCRs were deemed unnecessary.
Travelers to Ireland are still expected to complete a Passenger Locator Form 72 hours before flying at the earliest.
However, Ireland’s conception of a “fully vaccinated person” is set to change. Now, United States visitors and other foreigners should have a booster shot to qualify as vaccinated, in case their initial vaccination course took place more than 9 months ago.
This will bring Ireland in line with new EU guidelines concerning vaccine expiry dates, which will come into effect on February 1. It means that, once an individual has their booster, their Covid Pass will be extended and allow them to continue to travel freely into Ireland, and across other EU nations, for 9 more months.
Can An Unvaccinated Person Still Travel To Ireland?
Unvaccinated tourists can still, in theory, travel to the State, though they face restrictions the vaccinated usually do not.
Non-immunized Americans and Canadians, as well as other non-EU or UK citizens arriving in Ireland still must present evidence of a negative RT-PCR taken in the three days preceding arrival.
Additionally, a positive RT-PCR result dating 11 or more days, and no more than 180 days prior to traveling will also be accepted as valid proof for entry for those who continue to test positive in spite of having recovered.
Unvaccinated travelers should note that, like other categories of travelers, they are also required to fill out the Passenger Locator Form in advance.
What About Travel To Northern Ireland?
Any rules that apply to the Republic of Ireland are different than those that govern Northern Ireland, which is a constituent part of the United Kingdom.
Currently, if you are a vaccinated person flying to Northern Ireland from outside the Common Travel Area, you will generally have to:
- Complete a UK Passenger Locator Form in the 48 hours prior to landing in Northern Ireland;
- Bring valid proof you are fully vaccinated;
- Before you travel, pre-book and pay for a PCR test to be taken on the day of arrival, or at the latest on day two.
The Common Travel Area is the borderless zone that comprises all four nations of the U.K., namely England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, as well as the Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
Thus, if you are hoping to visit the Titanic Museum in Belfast or marvel at the Giant’s Causeway on a day trip from Dublin, you are not expected to produce any of the aforementioned documents.
However, if you are due to arrive in Northern Ireland directly from North America, you will need to satisfy U.K. border authorities with the listed documents.
If unvaccinated, you are still still to complete the UK Passenger Locator Form, provide proof of a negative PCR or LFD test before departure, taken at most 48 hours before arrival, and book and pay for two further PCR tests.
They need to be taken on day two and day eight following arrival. Whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, day-two and day-eight PCR tests need to be booked through a UK government-listed test provider.
Recently, U.K. nations have also announced a number of measures aimed at combatting the Omicron surge Britain-bound travelers should know about.
What Are Some Of The Restrictions In Ireland Right Now?
Since December 20, in order to drive down a surge in cases, the Republic has instructed pubs and restaurants to close at 8pm, with indoor events also being restricted.
You may also be required to show proof of immunity in order to enter the bar or restaurant in your hotel, irrespective of being a guest.
Most museum and other touristic attractions are still operating, as are buses and trains across the State.
As for Northern Ireland, it is now a legal requirement to disclose your Covid vaccination status in order to enter certain premises, though social activities have mostly resumed.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories