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Ireland Shortens Quarantine Just In Time For The Holidays

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Ireland is making major policy changes to its entry requirements, slashing the blanket 14-day quarantine to just 5 days with post-arrival PCR testing, just in time for the holidays.

Ireland reopened its borders for worldwide visitors (both EU and non-EU countries) five months ago but has kept a 14-day quarantine policy in effect for all arriving passengers, citizens, and tourists alike.

With virtually no options to shorten the quarantine with testing, the long isolation requirement has greatly affected the nation’s ability to revive the economic damage caused by the pandemic.

Ireland quarantine

Now, starting on November 29th, Ireland will be allowing all arriving passengers to take a PCR test on Day 5 of their quarantine, which once obtaining their negative results, will release them from isolation.

This comes as a very welcome change prior to Ireland’s extremely busy holiday season and will allow families to safely reunite for Christmas, without the daunting 2-week quarantine.

EU Traffic Light Changes

Earlier in November, Ireland adopted the ‘traffic light’ system suggested by the EU and implemented an exception for arrivals from all ‘orange’ countries. It states that all passengers traveling from ‘orange’ labelled nations could bring the results of a negative PCR test with them, providing it was administered no longer than 72-hours before arrival, and they could skip quarantine completely.

The issue with the orange country arrival exception is this: Only specific parts of Finland, Sweden and the Canary Islands are orange nations, making the quarantine exception valid for just a small fraction of all arrivals.

Come November 29th when Ireland’s ‘test to release’ program comes into effect, travelers from orange nations still have the option to bring a 72-hour negative PCR test to avoid quarantine altogether.

ireland reduces quarantine

New Testing Program is For Both EU and Non-EU Nations

The travelers that will get the most benefit from the new test to release system are the ones traveling from high-risk countries, including both high-risk EU nations like Italy and France, and also third-party nations like the United States, Canada, Brazil and Mexico.

Advice from Ireland’s official government page clearly states: “The approach to post-arrival testing for red/grey regions in the ECDC categorisation will also apply to arrivals from all non-EU/EEA countries from 29 November 2020.”

This means that all travelers entering Ireland after November 29 will have the option to participate in the test to release program on Day 5 of quarantine.

ireland shortens quarantine

Similar to the UK’s Test to Release Program

The UK is enacting an almost identical program for all arrivals coming from high-risk nations (nations not on the governments official travel corridor list) who would normally also be bound by a 14-day quarantine.

Starting on December 15th, all passengers arriving in the UK will also have the option of taking a test on Day 5 of isolation, of which a negative result will release them from the remainder of the quarantine requirement.

Since both neighboring nations have now adopted complementary programs, travel between the two countries has become more simplified, albeit not as straightforward as pre-covid.

Do I have to participate in Ireland’s ‘test to release’ program?


All arrivals after November 29th have the option of participating in the post-arrival testing on Day 5 of quarantine. If the arrival wants to complete all 14-days of quarantine without being tested, they have that option.

Can I bring a negative PCR test with me on arrival to avoid quarantine altogether?


Only arrivals from EU nations classified as ‘orange’ level of risk can bring a negative PCR test, taken no longer than 72 hours prior to arrival, to circumvent the quarantine altogether.

countries that can visit ireland

How much are the tests and where do I take them?

We have reached out to the Department of Health for Ireland and have yet to receive a response. Other nations who allow post-arrival testing usually create a list of approved or suggested facilities, usually private, of where arrivals can perform tests.

The tests will likely be $100-$200 USD in price. Many services will have an option to have them come to your home or hotel to test you while you are observing quarantine.

Updates on testing services to come.

Read More: See all of Ireland's Covid-19 entry requirements, which countries have reopened with NO quarantines/testing, and what providers offer travel insurance that covers covid

Sources: / /

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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