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Find out about the COVID test and documentation you'll need in order to travel to and from Ireland.

Planning a trip abroad this year isn’t going to be plain sailing. And as you know by now, rules can change rapidly due to COVID. There are requirements for anybody entering Ireland. And there are different requirements when you’re travelling to another country – as each country could have its own system.

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

If you’re planning to travel, in most cases, you’ll need to take a private 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. Rules 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). You can visit the government website to obtain the DCC yourself. Otherwise, you will be issued a DCC after getting a negative result from a private RT-PCR COVID test (from the private company).

The DCC is a digital certificate (and paper record) that can be used when travelling overseas from Ireland and shows if you:

  • Are fully vaccinated
  • Have tested negative from a private RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) COVID test 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 COVID result or not detected result from an RT-PCR 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.


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.

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 if:

  • You are aged 40 or older and have COVID symptoms.
  • You have infants aged 3 months to 3 years old who have COVID symptoms
  • You are a healthcare worker

If you intend to travel, you have to contact a private company and pay to get a PCR test carried out.

Other frequently asked questions

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