With Christmas approaching, many people are sure to be planning last-minute getaways. Unfortunately, Europe is facing a surge in COVID-19 cases, and travel plans might have some changes with countries begin reinstating lockdowns and restrictions to help fight the new wave of coronavirus.
For travellers who want to visit the continent this Christmas, they must be updated with the latest travel requirements and restrictions that different countries have imposed.
Knowing up-to-date information about travel protocols amidst the pandemic can help prevent stress and inconvenience, especially if travel is already underway. Here are the current rules for travel in Spain, France, Germany, and the Netherlands:
All arrivals from Spain from the UK must undergo a health check before entering the country. The health check process includes checking an individual’s temperature, documentary control, and visual control of the visitor’s condition.
The documentary control consists of:
1. A public “Health Control Form that all passengers from any airport or port outside must complete before departure.
2. All passengers from another country or risk zone who intend to enter Spain must take a test for coronavirus and test as negative. The test must be taken 72 hours before departure.
Starting December 1, travellers from the UK must present proof of being fully vaccinated which means, they must have received their second dose of a two-dose vaccine or one dose of a one-dose vaccine at least 14 days before arriving in Spain. Children under 12 years of are exempted from taking a Covid-19 test when accompanied by an adult.
Spain will only the UK’s COVID-19 vaccination record if visitors are travelling with a PDF proof of vaccination status, which must date from November 1 to ensure that the certificate will be successfully scanned.
Additionally, the NHS appointment card from vaccination centres will not be accepted as proof of vaccination.
France has a new system in place for governing international travel to and from the country. COVID-19 travel measures depend based on three categories: green, amber, and red. The UK is currently under the amber list, and entry requirements might vary depending on whether travellers are fully vaccinated or not.
Amber list countries:
- Unvaccinated Individuals – Passengers coming from countries under the French amber list will only be permitted entry if they travel for essential reasons. If visitors are not fully inoculated against the virus and do not have an essential basis for travelling, they will be denied entry.
Travellers under the unvaccinated population must also present the following documents: a completed International Travel Certificate, ‘sworn statement’ form certifying that they are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, and evidence of a negative PCR test result taken within 24 hours of departure.
They will also need to self-quarantine for seven days after arrival and then take another PCR test following isolation. Children 12 years or over who are not fully jabbed but accompanied by a fully vaccinated adult are still required to present a negative coronavirus test.
- Fully Vaccinated Individuals –Fully vaccinated passengers do not need essential reasons to travel to France or self-isolate on arrival. They also are not subjected to testing requirements before travel; however, they will need to present the following documents: a completed ‘sworn statement’ certifying that they are not suffering from any COVID-19 symptoms and proof of vaccination status.
Green list countries
Travellers under this category will not need an essential reason for travelling. For fully vaccinated individuals, a pre-departure test is not necessary. On the other hand, unvaccinated travellers will need to present a negative PCR test result within 72 hours of departure.
Visitors from countries under the French green list will not worry about restrictions as the government does not impose them.
Red list countries
The complete list of countries under the red list category is found on the website of the French government.
People who are not fully jabbed from countries under the French red list must have an essential reason for travel and need to self-isolate for ten days. They will also be subject to rigorous security checks.
The country is also at the epicenter of Europe’s new wave of coronavirus cases. Germany has imposed a temporary ban on travels from various countries such as South Africa, Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, Namibia, and Eswatini until further notice.
Residents of EU countries and other Schengen-associated states may enter the country without restrictions but might change when they become a high-risk or have a variant of concern.
The UK is currently considered a “high incidence area” by Germany, and travellers may only enter given that they are fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated children must be with a fully vaccinated adult, and both are subject to quarantine for five days on arrival. German citizens are the only people allowed to enter the country if they are unvaccinated.
Here are the other restrictions:
- All visitors must complete a digital registration form before travel. Those travelling by plane must show proof of negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of travel or evidence of completed vaccination.
- Residents of EU and Schengen-related states are exempt from restrictions. However, they still need to use their EU Digital Certificate to show proof of vaccination, recovery, and a negative test.
- Travellers from countries designated by Germany to have a high-level risk within the past ten days must present a negative test result and head directly to their target destination for a ten-day quarantine.
The current list of high-risk areas designated by Germany is here.
The Netherlands is a favourite December holiday spot with its festive markets and stunning sceneries. But with the dramatic increase of coronavirus cases, it might be difficult to travel this Christmas.
The country is currently on a partial lockdown, which means bars, restaurants, and non-essential shops must follow curfew.
Visitors would have to be fully vaccinated and with an essential reason for travelling. UK residents arriving from England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Island cannot enter the Netherlands for non-essential travel.
Fully vaccinated UK visitors may enter if they provide proof of being fully vaccinated, which can be in the form of an NHS Covid Pass on the NHS app. They must also present a negative PCR test result taken 48 hours before departure or a negative rapid antigen test taken 72 hours before departure and fill in a health declaration form.
If a traveller is from a “safe” country, no negative test or quarantine period is required.
Are you looking for a testing provider?
Harley Medic International is a government-approved testing provider and an expert in COVID-19 testing. They have many locations across the UK, ensuring that a testing centre is near you. Getting a test is as easy as booking online and finding their closest clinic. Visit their website harleymedic.co.uk to learn more.