France has recently relaxed its entry requirements for vaccinated travellers from all over the world. The EU digital COVID certificate is recognized all over Europe, and allows its holders ease of entry to restaurants, attractions, and accommodation. Now, in order to facilitate a visitor’s trip to, and through, France, the French government have created a system to recognize non-EU (or UK) vaccine certificates.
Applying to convert your vaccine certificate is quick and easy – and will make your holiday in France a bit more stress-free!
How to convert your vaccine certificate
If you have not been vaccinated in one of the following: European Union Member States, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, Switzerland, United Kingdom (England and Wales only) then you can apply to receive a French certificate of equivalence.
You must meet the following criteria:
You are not below the age of 18. A certificate is not required for those between 12 and 17 years. Children under 12 are exempt from all Covid-19 restrictions.
You have received a full dose of a vaccine recognized by the European Medicines Agency or equivalent. Or provide proof that you have recovered from Covid-19 and received one jab. The following timelines apply:
4 weeks after a single dose injection (Johnson & Johnson)
7 days after the second dose of a double injection (AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna)
7 days after the first injection if you have recovered from Covid-19.
You can apply for the certificate if you are already in France or travelling to the country soon.
All applications for the vaccine certificate can be made online through the following links:
Once your application has been processed you will receive an email with a QR code. This can be printed and used as a hardcopy, or, added to the TousAntiCovid smart app which you can download onto your phone. The latter can store all your certificates and documents, and can be presented when visiting museums, restaurants, and entertainment venues.
Fancy a sangria in Seville? A stroll down Las Ramblas in Barcelona? Spain has been open to tourism for a few months now, however, it maintains strict travel rules, and it’s high risk lists, may see you postponing that beach escape to Mallorca.
We take a look at the latest travel rules to Spain.
Travel to Spain From Risk EU/EEA Countries
As of Monday the 30th of August, the following EU/EEA/Schengen countries have been put on the high risk list:
Finland (Helsinki-Uusimaa, Etelä-Suomi, Länsi-Suomi and Pohjois- ja ItäSuomi)
France (Corse, Guadeloupe, Guyane, La Réunion, Martinique, Occitanie, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Bourgogne-FrancheComté, Bretagne, Centre — Val de Loire, Grand Est, Hauts-de-France, Ile-deFrance, Normandie, Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Pays de la Loire)
Italy (Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Marche, Sardegna, Sicilia, Toscana, Abruzzo, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Lazio, Liguria, Lombardia, Piemonte, Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano/Bozen, Provincia Autonoma di Trento, Puglia, Umbria, Valle d’Aosta/Vallée d’Aoste and Veneto)
Travellers from these countries must provide a proof of vaccination, recovery, or a negative PCR test in order to enter Spain. In addition, travellers from these countries as well as the safe countries, must provide a passenger locator form.
Travel to Spain from Third Countries
Non-essential travel to Spain from Third party countries is not permitted unless you meet one of the exemptions, or you are travelling from a country that is considered epidemiologically safe. Currently, the following countries are regions are the only ones on this list:
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Republic of Moldova
Republic of North Macedonia
United States of America
SAR of Hong Kong
SAR of Macao
Fully vaccinated travellers and their accompanying minors (under 12) are exempt from the travel ban, but must still ensure that they meet all the necessary entry requirements. The vaccines must be recognized by Spanish authorities and travel cannot take place less than 14 days after the second dose.
All travellers must complete a passenger locator form before departure.
What to Expect in Spain
Spain’s regions are governed autonomously, which means you may experience different regulations across the country. Many regions have dropped nightly curfew rules, and no longer require masks to be worn in outside environments provided a distance of 1.5metres is maintained. Masks must be worn indoors and on public transport.
Bars, restaurants and cafes are open across Spain, but it is advisable to check in advance, as bookings may fill up, closing times may change due to curfews, and many restaurants have a table capacity limit.
Museums, and other attractions are open, however in some regions these operate at specific capacities so always check in advance.
It is vital that tourism is given a clear path to recovery, particularly for developing nations. However, ethical travelling is equally as important – visitors must be sensitive to the new demands, pitfalls, and intricacies now present in the communities they travel to.
I recently took an online trip to the seven “New Wonders of the World”, triggered by a nostalgia for the travel I used to do prior to the advent of Covid. It struck me that all of the countries where these wonders are located have been significantly affected by the virus. Peru (Machu Picchu), Brazil (Christ the Redeemer), Italy (Colosseum), Mexico (Chichen Itza), and Jordan (Petra) all have seen death rates of over 1% of those infected in the population, according to Worldometers. Meanwhile, India (Taj Mahal) has also suffered hugely, and China (Great Wall) was the epicentre of the original outbreak.
Aside from the obvious direct human cost, the economic impact has been horrendous too (as will be knock-on health and social effects that will inevitably follow). For example, according to the Peruvian government tourist bureau in Cusco in January 2021, Covid has been devastating for the local population. An estimated 92% of those previously employed in the tourist industry having lost their jobs. These include families providing homestays, women’s collectives weaving ponchos and other textiles, and native guides. Prior to Covid-19, community-focused travel such as this, was on the rise, and we must, with the resumption of tourism, shine the spotlight on ethical travelling once again.
In Mexico, where 11 million people rely on tourism for their livelihoods, it is a similar story. The slump in visitor numbers combined with little or no government support has seen many slip into unemployment and poverty. Further afield, entrance ticket sales to international tourists to Angkor Wat fell 97% over the past year. An estimated 51,000 tourist jobs (and nearly 3,000 local businesses) have been lost during the pandemic, according to the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism.
Tourism’s Recovery – a sensitive balance
From an ethical perspective, what can and should an overseas traveller do to help people faced with such economic devastation in developing countries? As border restrictions are eased, and vaccine roll outs reach deeper into the population, this question has been puzzling me (in my case I live in the UK). Communities desperately short of tourist income may be very keen to welcome international visitors. For tourist enterprises on the brink of bankruptcy and families facing hardship, the opportunity to relaunch shuttered businesses may be welcome, allowing people to earn revenue once more.
However, sensitivity is needed, since some communities may also be grieving Covid’s impact. Although they might welcome economic support, compassion for their potential recent trauma is appropriate as well. Holidays are typically a time for joyful relaxation, but it would be worth tempering some behaviours to respect local sentiments. Furthermore, locals may be fearful of future outbreaks of the virus and the impact of these. Tourists fleeing various restrictions back home could endear themselves by ensuring they comply with those in place at their destination. There is a need for the tourist to take personal responsibility for their compliance to local rules, such as mask mandates and social distancing. Ethical travelling starts with the traveller.
SafeScore can help travellers make informed decisions about when are where to go, based on up-to-date, accurate Covid data. However, tourists can also benefit from conversations with local travel agents and guides to understand what is “appropriate tourism” in this complex time.
South Africa has faced stringent travel restrictions from a large part of the rest of the world for a number of months. Now, restrictions are easing for fully vaccinated South Africans. We take a look at where South Africans can travel to if they’ve had the jab.
Recently, Austria removed South Africa from it’s virus variant list. Subsequently, South Africans who have been fully vaccinated can enter the country for any reason, and don’t need to quarantine.
Non-vaccinated travellers are required to obtain pre-travel clearance, submit negative tests, and self isolate on arrival.
France has dropped travel restrictions for all vaccinated visitors. Non-vaccinated minors travelling with vaccinated adults also don’t face restrictions. Non-vaccinated children over the age of 12 will need a negative PCR test result taken less than 72 hours before arrival. Travellers who have been in South Africa in the last 14 days and are not vaccinated, can only travel to France for pressing reasons, undergo two tests, and will need to quarantine under supervision for 14 days.
Restaurants, bars, and attractions are open, although a health pass is needed in order to access these public spaces. Internal travel through France is allowed, and also requires a health pass for long-distance trips. The health pass contains either, proof of vaccination, recovery, or a PCR test taken within the previous 48 hours.
Masks must be worn on public transport, and indoor public spaces, but aren’t needed where a health pass is required. If you are outside, masks are only required if social distancing isn’t possible.
Travellers from South Africa who have received their full dose more than 14 days prior to travel are now allowed to visit Germany. This form must be completed before you travel to the country. On arrival you must present proof of your vaccination. Non-vaccinated travellers must have an urgent need to travel to Germany, and need to quarantine for 14 days on arrival.
Restaurants, bars, cafes, and attractions are open in Germany, although, like France, they can only be access with a health pass. This applies to everyone over the age of 6. Masks must be worn in all indoor public spaces, public transport, and busy outdoor spaces. Masks must fulfill the requirements of FFP2 or KN95/N95.
In order to enter Spain, travellers must present a vaccination certificate, which demonstrates that the full dose was not received less than 14 days prior to arrival. Non-vaccinated travellers need to quarantine for 10 days, and meet specific criteria such as EU residency, long term visa holders, or diplomats. Children under 12 are exempt.
All establishments and businesses have re-opened in Spain, and follow safety protocols. Masks are required in indoor public spaces and in public transport. Masks don’t need to be worn outdoors provided the 1.5 metre social distancing rule is followed. Visitors are advised to book tickets to attractions, and tables in bars and restaurants in advance as venues venues have capacity limits.
Travellers to Switzerland from South Africa can enter the country with a recognized vaccination certificate. Non-vaccinated travellers must provide a negative PCR test result and quarantine for 10 days, a negative test result can be submitted on day 7 for release. Please note, some cantons (regions) in Switzerland have different quarantine requirements so it is advised to check your final destination’s rules.
Masks are mandatory in public spaces, except outdoors. Bars, restaurants, dance halls, and water parks are open – access to larger venues requires a Covid certificate.
We take a look at some key travel restriction changes for travellers in and around Europe.
Tighter Travel Restriction Changes
Cyprus has moved Germany and Croatia to its orange, ‘medium risk’ list. This means that travellers from these countries will now need to present a negative PCR test (No older than 72 hours) and have another test on arrival. Currently on the green list, and not subject to any restrictions are:
The Czech Republic has placed the following countries on its extremely high risk list: Brazil, Colombia, Mozambique, Nepal, Paraguay, Peru, Tanzania (including Zanzibar and Pemba islands). Travel to these countries is strongly discouraged by authorities. This measure is in place until the 30th of September.
Lithuania has tightened restrictions for travellers from: Bulgaria, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Germany. Arrivals from these countries must provide a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours, or an antigen test no older than 48. They will be tested again on arrival, and will need to self-isolate for 10 days with a test to be released earlier. These restrictions do not apply to fully vaccinated travellers. Malta and Latvia have been moved the the yellow list. Arrivals from these countries need to provide testing as above, and another test between 3 and 5 days after their arrival. No self-isolation is required.
Norway has imposed stricter travel restrictions on arrivals from Germany and Latvia by adding them to the Orange list. This means that travellers from these countries need to present a negative PCR test, be tested again on arrival and enter a 10 day quarantine. The following countries are on Norway’s Green list:
Czech Republic, Faroe Islands, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and specific regions in Finland.
The Netherlands has added Bulgaria, Norway and the Jadranska Hrvatska region of Croatia to its high risk list. This means arrivals from these countries must present either a vaccination certificate, recovery certificate or negative PCR test in order to enter the Netherlands.
Germany has made several travel restriction changes. Brazil and Uruguay are no longer considered virus variant areas, which means travellers from these countries can enter Germany, although with restrictions. Brazil is now in the high risk categories along with the other new additions of:
Ireland (the Border and West regions), Greece (Crete and South Aegean), Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Dominica.
There are so many question we have before we travel, and here’s the latest: What Types of Masks are Allowed on Planes? Using a fabric mask could lead you to being turned away from your flight.
Since February, German national, Lufthansa, has had a strict mask mandate in place. Fabric masks, scarves, and ‘everyday masks’ are no longer allowed. Instead passengers would only be permitted if they wore masks that were either surgical, were an FFP2 mask, or a KN95/N95 model.
Now, more airlines have joined Lufthansa with stricter mask mandates.
Which Airlines Accept Which Masks
On the 16th of August, Finnair’s new mask rules came into play. Now, only FFP2, KN95 and N95 or FFP3 respirator masks without valves will be accepted for travel. The airline reiterated that masks must be worn at all times, and can only be removed briefly for eating and drinking.
Air France has also made surgical masks mandatory on all its flights. FFP masks are also permitted, but cloth masks are not. Additionally, masks must be worn both inside and outside of the terminals.
Air Croatia has advised passengers that they will only accept surgical masks and filtering masks (FFP2, KN95 and N95). Filtering masks with valves, and cloth masks will not be allowed.
Swissair requires all their passengers to wear surgical grade masks if they are over the age of 12. Once again, the FFP2, KN95, or N95 masks are also accepted.
LATAM airlines in South America requires passengers to wear either three layered surgical masks, or KN95 or N95 masks on their domestic flights.
As more and more airlines move to specifications on mask mandates, it’s better to play it safe when travelling and invest in some surgical masks. Across the world, more and more airlines, even if not requiring a specific type of mask, are banning fabric masks, scarves, bandanas, and balaclavas.
So, don’t get caught with your mask down – double check your airline’s requirements before travelling!
Travel rules are confusing. No-one wants to be turned away at check-in. Nobody wants their holiday plans scuppered because they’re not allowed to board the plane. And, no-one wants to face last-minute quarantine and the expenses that comes with it.
Unfortunately, this is what is happening in airports around the world. Passengers don’t have correct travel information. Many don’t know that new travel rules are in place and so don’t have the necessary documents. We break down 5 important travel rules you need to know before booking your trip.
Testing to Travel
PCR testing – that rather uncomfortable poke up the nose – is ubiquitous by now. Most countries require a negative test result to cross their borders, especially for non-vaccinated travellers. But, the timeframes in which you can take the test are different depending on your destination (although 72 hours is the most common). Some travellers will find that the testing time will also change according to their origin – the testing time is often shorter for higher risk countries.
Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) are accepted by some countries, but not by all. Travellers should double check in advance whether they can present a RAT result, as they will be denied entry if they come unprepared.
Where you get tested, and what language your certificate is in matters – the most widely accepted language is English.
If your journey to your final destination is a long one, and you’re stopping along the way, then you need to ensure that your test result is still valid. For example, to enter the United Kingdom, your PCR test can’t be older than 72 hours. So, if you’ve stopped on route, you might need a second test in order to fit in this timeframe. In this scenario, it’s advised to check that your midway destination’s entry requirements to see whether you can transit and test through its borders.
Exit and entry forms are a strict travel rule for a lot of countries, but, not easy to find. Again, document requirements vary per country. Some, such as France, have different forms depending on whether you’re leaving or entering the country, and where you’re coming from.
In many cases, these forms need to be completed before your trip. You don’t want to miss your holiday in Barcelona because you don’t have the QR code didn’t submit your Health Control Form on time. Or be turned away at Turkey’s border because of an incomplete Entry Form.
Don’t be caught out by dodgy WiFi, or broken phone chargers – print out all your documents before you travel.
Vaccine manufacturers matter.
By now, many travellers look forward to skipping travel restrictions because they have received their full vaccination. But, not all vaccines are accepted everywhere, and they often have different waiting periods before you can travel.
If you are outside of the EU and don’t have an EU Green pass, then your vaccine certificate must be from a certified laboratory and clearly specify your personal details and the date of your second dose(if a double).
There are still a lot of countries open to travellers who cannot be vaccinated and the restrictions you’ll face when entering these will normally depend on where you’re travelling from. Travellers from ‘low risk’ countries in particular rarely face strict quarantine regulations.
Recovery certificates can be provided in place of PCR tests or proof of vaccines in some countries. However, these rules vary widely, so every traveller must ensure they meet the specific criteria for their destination.
The recovery certificate must be issued by an authorised medical body, and be in an accepted language (as with PCR testing). The validity of the recovery certificate isn’t infinite, and normally extends to around 180 days.
Contact your local government to see how you can get a recovery certificate – it often isn’t just an old positive PCR test. In Ireland, for example, if you have tested positive in the last 6 months, complete a form on the government’s website and your certificate will be emailed to you.
Mandatory Travel Insurance
The world is in the midst of a pandemic so its no surprise that travel insurance has become a requirement for many destinations. Present your proof of insurance on arrival, along with the rest of your documents.
To enter the Seychelles, for example, travellers must have valid insurance that can cover all Covid-19 related costs, including quarantine. For travel to Aruba, visitors must purchase the country’s travel insurance, even if they already have their own. At a flat rate per day, the insurance covers travellers for any expenses in the event that they test positive for Covid-19 during their trip.
Before leaving on any trip, we advise that you double check what your destination’s requirements are – even if they didn’t require insurance before the pandemic, they might now!
And You’re Off!
In the current climate, it’s key to keep on top of the details, and be prepared. But, travel doesn’t have to be daunting – we’re here to sift through the details and make it easier for you.
If you’ve heard us saying it once, you’ve heard us saying it many times – inconsistent international travel regulations are confusing for travellers and present unnecessary hurdles to the recovery of travel. And now Passenger Locator Forms are doing their bit to further muddy the waters.
Last week we published a piece on how our CEO was nearly forced to pay €2,000 in quarantine fees, because the airports had the incorrect information. This week we heard of yet another instance of how poorly communicated and confusing travel information is putting a spoke in the wheels of travel recovery, and preventing passengers from flying.
One of SafeScore’s subscribers spoke to us about how confusion over locator forms caused a delay on her flight of over an hour. Transiting through a key EU hub, she experienced chaos and endless queues because other passengers simply weren’t prepared with the correct documents.
Time is money, airlines are fined for delays, business travellers lose work hours, and travel is stressful enough as it is.
So, what are locator forms, where do you find them, and who needs you to fill them in?
What are Locator Forms?
Passenger locator forms (PLFs), capture your personal details in case of a positive Covid-19 case on a journey. Normally these forms require you to provide the following information:
Full name and passport details
Contact details, including phone number and email address
Travel details, including flight numbers, dates, and times
Your address in the country you’re travelling to
Each country has different protocols for their PLFs, and some may ask you to upload PCR test results, or vaccination documents as well. The requirements for forms for minors varies per country – we would suggest checking with your destination. We also strongly suggest travelling with both a printed and a digital copy of your form.
Where can I find Locator Forms?
In the current travel climate, it is safer to assume that all countries require locator forms. Even if it isn’t the case, at least you’ve saved yourself the extra worry!
If your journey has been booked via a travel agent, then they should direct you to the correct form requirements. Even if they do so, we advise double checking with an official website in your destination to ensure that you have the correct paperwork.
If you are booking your journey yourself, most airlines should direct you to the relevant passenger locator form at some point in the booking process. This is particularly true if you’re flying with your destination’s national carrier (for example, flying British Airways to London, Heathrow). If you don’t see anything about a PLF in this process, then take a look at the airline’s Covid-19 page for more information.
A good example of how to access the PLF page via the airline website can be seen here on British Airways’ Covid-19 page.
If you’ve had no luck with these options, then you can usually also find the forms via government sites – we’ve included some links to PLFs for some European destinations below.
United Kingdom: All travellers to the UK are required to fill in their details via the government website. The Passenger Locator Form can be found here.
Ireland: Ireland’s PLF can be found here. More details on requirements can be found on government’s webpage here.
Austria: If you are arriving from a virus variant country, then you will be required to register online via the Pre-Travel Clearance Portal. Non-vaccinated travellers from a country not on either the safe list or the virus variant list must also register via the portal. Children under 12 do not need to register.
Belgium: If you are travelling to Belgium for more than 48 hours then you must complete the Passenger Locator Form here. This form must be completed at least 48 hours before your arrival in Belgium.
France: France requires all passengers entering or leaving the country submit a Certificate of International Travel found here.
Germany: If you spent time in a high-risk country in the 14 days prior to your journey Germany then you are required to register online via the Ministry of Health’s website. The Digital Registration for Entry can be found here.
The Netherlands: The Netherlands requires all travellers arriving by air to complete the Health Declaration form and to carry it with them on their trip. It is available as PDF via the government site, and some airlines may have a digital version.
Portugal: Portugal’s Passenger Locator Card can be found here.
Switzerland: All arrivals by air must complete the Entry Form found on the site for the Federal Office of Public Health.
Spain: All travellers Spain must complete the form found on Spain’s Travel Health website 48 hours before their trip begins. Children under 12 aren’t required to register.
Turkey: All travellers to Turkey must complete this form at least 72 hours before arriving in the country: Form for Entry to Turkey.
Don’t be caught out at the last minute – double check all your documents in advance!
Those looking for some Hellenic island-hopping will continue to face specific entry requirements when returning to the Greek mainland. Authorities have announced an extension on the testing requirements for domestic travel as the vaccine rollout has been slower than anticipated.
Travellers returning to the mainland from an island must have a vaccination certificate, proof of recovery, or a negative PCR test or antigen test result. The details are as follows:
Vaccinated Travellers: Have received the full dose of an accepted vaccine no sooner than 14 days before travel. The certificate must be in either Greek, English, French, German, Spanish, Italian or Russian. Travellers must carry both printed and digital versions of their certificate with them. Greece accepts the highest number of vaccine types in the EU.
Recovered Travellers: Travellers who recovered from Covid-19 at least 30 days before travel can submit a recovery certificate. A recovery certificate is valid for 180 days.
Testing: Negative PCR tests no older than 72 hours, or negative antigen tests no older than 48 hours will be accepted.
Children under the age of 12 are exempt from travel restrictions.
Visitors from the following countries and principalities can visit Greece without facing quarantine or self-isolation requirements:
All European Union countries
EU++ countries – Andorra, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican, the Principality of Monaco
Bosnia and Herzegovina
What to Expect
Masks must be worn in all public spaces, as well as in public transport.
Restaurants, cafes and bars are open, however seating is only available outside and limited to 6 per table. Archaeological sites are open, and allow 20 visitors at one time. If you want to catch a show while in Greece, it’s advised to book in advance, as theatre and concert capacity is capped at 75%.
Greece is known for sparkling white beaches and turquoise seas. Get to your lounger early though, as only 80 people are allowed on 1000m2 of beach. Plus, with the exceptions of families, only 2 people can share an umbrella.
Pastries by the Danube, and refreshing hikes through the Alps, Austria should be on everyone’s bucket list. And, the country has recently lifted quarantine requirements for vaccinated travellers arriving from more countries.
The government has announced that fully vaccinated arrivals from the following countries no longer need to undergo quarantine:
The news comes after it was announced that these countries would no longer be listed as ‘virus variant’ locations.
Prior to the easing of restrictions, only non-essential travel to Austria from these countries was allowed. This meant that only travel for business or medical reasons was permitted, and required a 10-day quarantine on arrival.
In order to skip quarantine, travellers must have received a full dose of one of the following vaccines:
Johnson & Johnson
The Austrian government accepts mixed vaccines. So, a traveller is still considered fully vaccinated even if they have received a combination of two of the above vaccines.
If a traveller is arriving from one of Austria’s ‘safe’ countries where there is a lower incidence of Covid-19, then they will not have to undergo quarantine. If they are not vaccinated then they must present a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours – an antigen test will not be accepted.
Alternatively, if the traveller have recovered from Covid-19 in the last 90 days, then a proof of recovery certificate can be submitted.
Travellers from countries not on the ‘safe’ or ‘virus variant’ list and who are not vaccinated, need to register online to get pre-travel clearance. These travellers must present a negative PCR test, or recovery document and undergo 10-days self isolation.
Once in Austria
There is no curfew in Austria and hotels, restaurants, and attractions are open. A negative Covid-19 result, vaccination, or recovery certificate is needed when checking-in or visiting places such as museums. Masks must be worn on public transport and in public spaces.