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I’m going abroad from Ireland. What do I need to do?

Planning a trip abroad this year isn’t plain sailing. There are requirements for anybody entering Ireland. And there are different requirements depending on where you’re travelling to – each country has its own system.

In most cases, you’ll need to take a COVID test for travel in the 72 hours before your departure from Ireland and show proof of a negative result when you check in at the airport. You may also be required to show proof of vaccination. So before you head abroad, you must:

  1. Check which COVID travel test is required by the country you’re planning to visit.
  2. Check which COVID test for travel Ireland will require when you return.
  3. Complete a Passenger Locator Form.

You can look up the country or territory on the gov.ie site to confirm both the entry and return requirements. You’ll also be able to see whether the country you intend to visit has been declared a designated state. Any country listed as a designated state will mean a mandatory hotel quarantine upon your return to Ireland. Rules and lists change often, so it’s wise to check on the relevant government site before you book anything.

We’ve listed quick links to the advice pages for travelling to some of Ireland’s most popular travel destinations here:

The EU Digital COVID Certificate

Travelling overseas has been made slightly easier thanks to the introduction of the EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) .

The DCC is a digital certificate (and paper record) that shows if you’ve been:

  • Fully vaccinated
  • Have tested negative prior to departure from Ireland
  • Have recovered from COVID in the past 6 months

You are still allowed to travel overseas without a DCC but may find it more streamlined to carry one.

If you don’t have a DCC, you will need the relevant proof of vaccinations, negative test results or proof of recovery with you instead.

Entering Ireland

There’s an EU-wide Travel Traffic Light system, which Ireland is part of. The system was created by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and is updated every week.

For example, if you’re planning a trip overseas, you can check what colour the country you’re visiting has been assigned here.

In most instances, you’ll need proof of a negative or not detected result from an RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) test.

If you’re over 18, you must also complete a passenger locator form no more than 72 hours prior to arrival into Ireland.

The details of up to a maximum of 7 children can be added to the form. Unaccompanied children aged 12 or over must also complete a Passenger Locator Form.

Travelling without the relevant proof of being fully vaccinated or having a negative PCR COVID test could result in a steep fine or worse, imprisonment.

Going abroad

I am travelling…

Travelling around the EU/EEA

Fully vaccinated passengers

If you’re fully vaccinated and carry a DCC, you will not be required to take a pre-departure RT-PCR test. There’s no need to quarantine upon returning to Ireland. Also, you won’t need to take a day-5 RT-PCR test on the fifth day of being back home in Ireland.

Non-fully vaccinated passengers

If you’re not yet fully vaccinated or do not have a DCC, you will be required to take a pre-departure RT-PCR test, taken up to 72 hours before your departure from Ireland. In order to fly, the result must be negative or not detected.

After returning home, you won’t be required to go into quarantine. However, you will need to take a day-5 RT-PCR test, which is provided through HSE free of charge.

Travelling outside the EU/EEA (but not a designated state)

Fully vaccinated passengers

If you’re fully vaccinated and have valid proof such as the DCC, you will not be required to take a pre-departure RT-PCR test. When you return to Ireland, you don’t have to go into quarantine and you won’t be required to take a day-5 RT-PCR test.

Non-fully vaccinated passengers

If you’re not yet fully vaccinated, you will need to take a pre-departure RT-PCR test no more than 72 hours before flying out of Ireland. To be able to board the flight, the result must be negative or not detected.

After flying back to Ireland, you will need to quarantine at home for 14 days. On day 5, you will be required to take a day-5 RT-PCR test. If the day-5 RT-PCR test result is negative, or not detected, your quarantine period can stop.

You can obtain a free day-5 RT-PCR test from HSE.

Travelling to a designated state

Fully vaccinated passengers

Despite being fully vaccinated with valid proof of your vaccinations, you will need a pre-departure RT-PCR test 72 hours before arriving in the designated state. The results must be either negative or not detected in order to fly.

After returning to Ireland, you will also need to quarantine at home for 14 days or until you can provide evidence of a negative (or not detected) result from a day-5 RT-PCR test. A day-5 RT-PCR test is provided free through the HSE.

Non-fully vaccinated passengers

If you’re not fully vaccinated, you will need a negative or not detected result from a pre-departure RT-PCR test, taken 72 hours before arriving in a designated state. When returning to Ireland, you will be subject to a mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine (which you will need to pay for). You will only be allowed to end your quarantine after providing a negative day-10 RT-PCR test result taken 10 days into your hotel quarantine.


What tests do kids need?

Children that are 11 and under are not required to take any pre-departure RT-PCR tests.

Children aged between 12 and 17 must have a negative or not detected test result from a pre-departure RT-PCR test, 72 hours before arriving in a country. It’s also recommended but not required that children 12 and over take the free day-5 RT-PCR test on day 5 of being back at home in Ireland.

It’s worth noting that all children that travel back to Ireland with fully vaccinated adults are not required to quarantine at home, unless the adults are also in quarantine at home.

Can I get a free COVID test for air travel out of Ireland?

No, HSE clearly states that you cannot use its free HSE COVID-19 PCR test results for international travel. HSE only provides free PCR tests to people with COVID symptoms or those who are advised to get a test by a medical practitioner or public agency. If you intend to travel, you have to pay to get a negative PCR test result from a private company.

Other frequently asked questions

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