As more of us consider returning abroad, travel restrictions in a number of popular tourist destinations have been eased.
France, Portugal and Greece have each updated their entry requirements for fully vaccinated travellers, with the changes taking effect in time for mid-term.
Vaccinated tourists traveling to Portugal will no longer need to provide a negative test result to enter, unlike unvaccinated passengers.
Greece has also dropped pre-departure testing requirements for fully vaccinated arrivals. However, as with many other EU states, arrivals who had their second shot more than 270 days ago will need to have had a recall.
France has also announced that it will soon drop its requirement for a negative Covid test for vaccinated travelers from outside the EU, as the number of daily infections continues to fall.
“We again required testing in December on the Omicron variant. In the coming days, we will announce that the tests are no longer necessary for those who have been vaccinated,” Europe Minister Clément Beaune told France 2 television on Tuesday.
Currently, anyone visiting France from outside the EU, including the UK, must present a negative test result from the previous 48 hours, regardless of their vaccination status.
“This week, there will probably be a new European protocol for vaccinated people arriving from outside the EU, with relaxed measures,” added Beaune.
EU members agreed on January 25 to better coordinate their travel rules, especially for people crossing borders within the bloc.
Omicron’s surge has prompted Italy and Denmark, for example, to impose recent negative test requirements for entry of other EU residents as well as proof of vaccination, tougher rules that angered officials in Brussels.
French authorities began lifting Covid restrictions this month, with nightclubs set to reopen from February 16 and standing areas allowed again for concerts and sporting events as well as bars.
Norway has also eased restrictions, no longer requiring travelers to test themselves upon arrival in the country, but requiring all travelers over the age of 16 to complete an online registration form 72 hours before arriving in Norway. Those not fully vaccinated must complete the online registration form and have proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken less than 24 hours prior to arrival.
Meanwhile, Morocco opened for the first time in 16 weeks and Australia also opened its border for fully vaccinated tourists and all visa holders from February 21, nearly two years after the first closure of borders.
However, travelers have been warned to continue to double-check their holiday plans mid-term to ensure they are complying with Covid vaccination rules when traveling to European destinations. France joined Spain and Denmark last week in requiring anyone who completed their vaccination more than 270 days ago to have a reminder to enter the country – or be considered unvaccinated. Austria requires reminders after 180 days.
People traveling to Italy, Croatia and Switzerland, as well as New York State or California, will not face the same border controls, but may have more difficulty getting to restaurants, museums and other indoor locations if not boosted.