Digital COVID Certificate and other travel advice

At Joe Walsh Tours we are delighted to be able to travel again. We are aware that travelling might require a little bit more preparation and paperwork at the moment so we have prepared this useful travel advice to help you get organised and ready for your next pilgrimage:

travel advice EU Digital COVID certificate joe walsh tours pilgrimages

THE EU DIGITAL COVID CERTIFICATE

The EU Digital COVID Certificate or EU DCC is a certificate that currently makes it easier for people to travel within the European Union. This certificate is issued to people who:

-Are fully vaccinated against COVID 19
-Have recovered from the illness in the past 6 months
-Have received a negative test before travelling

If you require a test, bear in mind this test will need to be carried out within 72 hours of your trip (this might vary depending on the countries or types of tests accepted). This test will need to be booked and paid for privately by the traveller.

Some European countries accept antigen testing as proof, whilst others require a PCR. Always make sure you check requirements from your destination before booking your test.

REOPEN EUROPE

The best place to keep up to date with travel advice and updates for each EU country is the Reopen Europe website: https://reopen.europa.eu/en/ 

Click on ‘TRAVEL PLAN’ and enter your departure country and destination to find out specific requirements.

And remember it is your responsibility as a passenger to comply with requirements and restrictions in place at the time of travel.

PASSENGER LOCATOR FORMS

In addition to the Digital Certificate most destinations require travellers to fill in a passenger locator form in paper or digital form in advance. Here’s an overview of the requirements for our most important pilgrimage destinations:

PORTUGAL

All passengers need to fill a Passenger Locator Card  before departure to Portugal, hold a EU Digital COVID certificate OR a pre-departure negative COVID-19 test. The passenger locator card can be found here: PASSENGER LOCATOR CARD.

Holders of the EU Digital Certificate will be allowed to enter Portugal, without being subject to further restrictions (testing or quarantine), at the condition that their certificate contains either:

-Proof of vaccination
-Proof of recovery from COVID-19
-Negative result to a COVID-19 test. Both PCR and antigenic tests are accepted. Validity: 72 hours for PCR tests, 48 hours for RAT tests.

Travellers without EU Digital Covid certificate require a pre-departure negative COVID-19 test.

Accepted tests: PCR taken within 72 hours prior to departure or Rapid antigenic taken within 48 hours prior to departure. Only Rapid Antigen Tests that are on the list agreed by the European Union Health Committee are allowed.

FRANCE

All those travelling to France are required to carry a completed and signed Sworn Statement.

This is available from here: SWORN STATEMENT and we you will get a copy with your travel documents, when travelling with Joe Walsh Tours.

All those travelling to France from Ireland will be required to present one of the following three documents upon boarding:
– Proof of full vaccination
– Proof of a negative result from an RT-PCR or antigen test taken less than 72 hours prior to departure (passengers aged 12 years or older)
– A certificate of recovery dated more than 11 days and less than 6 months prior to the date of arrival in France.

If you are travelling without the EU Digital COVID certificate or with a certificate not compliant with national requirements, you will need to have the following documents:

-Proof of full vaccination, completed:
7 days after the second dose for double injection vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca/Vaxzevria/Covishield)
4 weeks after injection for vaccines with a single injection (Johnson & Johnson)
7 days after the injection for vaccines for people who have had Covid19 once (only 1 injection necessary)
-Proof of recovery from COVID-19 (PCR or antigen test) dating at least 11 days and less than 6 months.
-Negative PCR test of less than 72 hours or antigen test of less than 48 hours.

*If you are travelling from the United Kingdom, unvaccinated people will need a PCR or antigen test carried out less than 24 hours.

SPAIN

Before travelling to Spain (even in transit) you must have the QR code which is obtained from filling in the Health Control Form (FCS in Spanish) available at https://www.spth.gob.es/create .

Important: Bear in mind that you cannot use the paper form. You must download your QR code and show it to the national authorities either on your mobile device or printed on paper. You can download the FCS QR Code on the website https://www.spth.gob.es/ or through your mobile phone.

Airlines or maritime companies may ask you for the FCS QR code before boarding and the personnel of the control devices in the airports and ports at the point of arrival may also require you to present it. We strongly advise all travellers to apply in advance and have their forms ready for inspection at check-in at Dublin Airport.

Travellers who hold an EU Digital COVID Certificate can enter Spain if it contains one of the following:

-COVID-19 vaccination certificate
-Negative result to a diagnostic test for SARSCoV2.
Accepted tests: Nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT, e.g. RT-PCR, RT-LAMP, TMA, HAD, NEAR, CRISPR, SDA), performed within 72 hours before arriving in Spain; or rapid antigen test (RAT), performed within 48 hours before arriving in Spain.
-A COVID-19 recovery certificate. Validity: from day 11 after the first positive NAAT and up to 180 days after the sample date.

EU citizens who do not hold an EU Digital COVID Certificate can enter Spain if they can present one of the following documents:

-COVID-19 vaccination certificate.
-A negative result to a diagnostic test for SARSCoV2. Accepted tests:
Nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT, e.g. RT-PCR, RT-LAMP, TMA, HAD, NEAR, CRISPR, SDA), performed within 72 hours before arriving in Spain; or Rapid antigen test (RAT), performed within 48 hours before arriving in Spain.
-A COVID-19 recovery certificate.

Current information on requirements for entry to Spain, including information on exceptions, can be found on the website TRAVEL SAFE.

ITALY

All travellers entering Italy from any foreign location are required to fill out the EU Digital Passenger Locator Form, you can find it here: PASSENGER LOCATOR FORM.

Holders of EU Digital Covid Certificates can enter Italy without being subject to further restrictions (testing or quarantine), if their certificate contains one of the following:

-Proof that they are fully vaccinated
-Proof of recovery from COVID-19. Validity: 180 days from the first positive swab.
-Negative result to a COVID-19 test, performed before entering Italy. Both PCR (molecular) and rapid antigen tests are accepted.

Travellers who do not hold an EU Digital COVID Certificate meeting the conditions listed above and who cannot present equivalent certificates must:

-Self-isolate for 5 days, at the address indicated on the Passenger Locator Form;
-Perform an antigen or molecular test at the end of the self-isolation period.

Children under 6 years old are exempt from pre-departure testing requirements. Children aged 6 or over must present a pre-departure test. They are exempt from self-isolation if the parent travelling with them holds an EUDCC with proof of full vaccination or recovery.

TRAVELLING BACK TO IRELAND

If you arrive in Ireland from an EU/EEA country you will be asked to show valid proof of vaccination or valid proof that you have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 180 days.

If you do not have valid proof of vaccination or recovery, you will need to present evidence of a negative RT-PCR result from a test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival into the country.

Antigen tests are not accepted. Post arrival quarantine is no longer required.

You will also need to fill in a Passenger locator form, which you can find here: PASSENGER LOCATOR FORM.

TRAVELLING OUTSIDE THE EUROPEAN UNION

If you are travelling outside the European Union, you will need to check the travel requirements for each particular country.

We have included travel advice related to two important pilgrimage destinations outside the European Union: Bosnia and Herzegovina (Medjugorje); and Israel (Holy Land).

BOSNIA HERZEGOVINA

In order to travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina through Croatia, passengers are required by airlines to present the EnterCroatia locator form which can be obtained online here ENTER CROATIA.

This is despite information on the EnterCroatia website https://entercroatia.mup.hr/questions that passengers in transit do not need to fill the form. We strongly advise all travellers to apply in advance and have their forms ready for inspection at check-in at Dublin Airport.

In order to enter Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, individuals who are not citizens of these countries must on arrival at a border crossing point present either:

– A certificate showing that they have received the final dose of a Covid-19 vaccine more than 14 days before arrival

– Proof of the negative result of a PCR test or negative rapid antigen test for the SARS-COV-2 virus that on arrival is not older than 48 hours (if arriving from a country in Europe) or 72 hours (if arriving from outside Europe)

OR

– A certificate issued by a doctor showing recovery from COVID-19 in the period from 14 to 180 days before arrival.

Current information on requirements for entry to Bosnia and Herzegovina, including information on exceptions to entry requirements, can be found on the website of the BiH Border Police at the following link: http://www.granpol.gov.ba/?lang=en

ISRAEL & PALESTINE – THE HOLY LAND

If you are travelling to the Holy Land:

Foreign nationals who have been vaccinated for coronavirus or who have recovered coronavirus shall be allowed to enter Israel through Ben Gurion International Airport, under the following conditions:

1. They did not stay in any red destination in the 14 days before arrival in Israel.

2. They are vaccinated with a vaccine approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) or their recovery has been determined in accordance with the required protocol in Israel.

The vaccines recognized in Israel are by Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson, AstraZeneca, Sinovac and Sinopharm. Effective 15.11.2021, the Sputnik-V vaccine shall also be recognized in Israel. However, those vaccinated with this vaccine are required to take a serological test in Israel and test positive.

3. Those for whom there is no any other hindrance to their arrival in Israel.

4. Those whose medical insurance covers coronavirus infection during their stay in Israel.

Recognition of a recovery or vaccination status from abroad in Israel means the option for reduced isolation upon arrival in Israel and for issuing a Green Pass.

Those who do not meet these requirements shall not be allowed to enter Israel, unless they submit an application to the Exceptions Committee for a clearance for exceptional entry to Israel.

Certificates from Britain are not recognized yet by the Ministry of Health in Israel.

PROCESS OF ENTRY TO ISRAEL

Travelers to Israel are required to follow the following steps:

1. Take a PCR test, up to 72 hours before the flight to Israel.

2. Fill in the declaration form for travelers arriving in Israel:

Those who carry a digital certificate that can be verified shall scan or upload their certificate of vaccination or recovery to the declaration form for travelers arriving in Israel and shall receive a Green Pass before boarding their flight.

Those who do not carry a digital certificate that can be verified shall declare what vaccines they have received in the declaration form for travelers arriving in Israel and also fill in a report form for vaccination from abroad, to which they shall attach the relevant documents, and shall receive a Green Pass before boarding their flight.

3. Upon boarding the flight, present the following documents:

One of the following: Documentation of negative results in a PCR test taken up to 72 hours before the flight to Israel, or proof of a positive PCR test result taken more than 11 days ago but less than three months ago.

Those who stayed abroad for less than 72 hours shall not be required to present negative test results in a PCR test before boarding their flight to Israel.

Confirmation attesting to the completion of the declaration form for travelers arriving in Israel.

One of the documents below: A certificate of vaccination attesting to vaccination in accordance with the required protocol in Israel, or a digital certificate of recovery or a clearance for exceptional entry or an Israeli passport.

4. Submit to document sampling tests and meet the requirements by the Population and Immigration Authority in Ben Gurion International Airport.

5. Take a PCR test after landing in Ben Gurion International Airport and isolate until testing negative or for 24 hours, whichever is earlier.

Those vaccinated with the Sputnik-V vaccine are also required to take a serological test in Ben Gurion International Airport.

Should the serological test results be positive, you shall be eligible for a month-long Green Pass and for reduced isolation (until testing negative in the PCR test that you took upon arrival in Israel or for 24 hours, whichever is earlier).

Should the serological test results be negative, you will be allowed to stay in Israel after completing the full isolation period or given the option to return to your port of origin during your isolation period.

Foreign nationals who will not meet these requirements shall not be allowed to enter Israel and shall be returned to their port of origin.

More details here: ENTRY TO ISRAEL

RETURNING TO IRELAND FROM OUTSIDE THE EU

Passengers arriving into Ireland from outside the EU + Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland (Please note: This includes those arriving from Great Britain.) must fill out a Passenger Locator Form before departure.

The Passenger Locator Form can be found here: TRAVEL EPLF.

If you arrive in Ireland from a country outside the EU/EEA you will be asked to show valid proof of vaccination or valid proof that you have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 180 days.

If you do not have valid proof of vaccination or recovery, you will need to present evidence of a negative RT-PCR result from a test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival into the country. Antigen tests are not accepted.

Post arrival quarantine is no longer required.

Source: GOV.IE

We hope you find this travel advice in relation to COVID 19 useful to help you prepare for your pilgrimage. Please note this article is compiled as a guideline and we have researched the information included with official sources however this is not exhaustive and requirements could change.

Always check with official authorities in the country to confirm requirements before your trip. See below our useful links to different authorities:

USEFUL LINKS

Reopen Europe
https://reopen.europa.eu/en/ 

Travelling from Ireland
https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/77952-government-advice-on-international-travel/
https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/covid19/preventing-the-spread/

Travelling from the UK
https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus 

Travel within the Common Travel Area (United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man, and Channel Islands)
https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-travelling-within-common-travel-area

Travelling back to England
If you are fully vaccinated, you will need to book a test an complete a passenger locator form
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-to-england-from-another-country-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Travelling back to Scotland
https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-international-travel-quarantine/pages/red-amber-and-green-list-countries/

Travelling back to Wales
https://gov.wales/travel-wales-covid-19-testing-and-isolation

Travelling back to Northern Ireland
https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-advice

Travelling from the US
https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/before-you-go.html
https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/COVID-19-Country-Specific-Information.html

Please contact our travel experts if you have any questions or require additional travel advice or assistance ahead of your pilgrimage trip.

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