There are lots of disappointed UK travellers out there after Portugal was moved to the amber travel list from the 8th of June.
The new restrictions imposed mean that many people who have booked holidays to Portugal will now be unable to go as they are not able to complete the mandatory ten-day isolation period on their return.
Here we explain what to do if a change in the government’s traffic light system has threatened your summer holiday.
Will my holiday to Portugal be cancelled?
Whether or not your holiday to Portugal will be cancelled depends on the most current advice published by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
The Government’s traffic light system gives travellers an indication as to what countries it considers safe for us to travel to and what steps it wants us to carry out on our return. However, the risk factors identified as part of the traffic light system, and what the FCDO identifies as risk factors don’t always match up.
Most major holiday firms tend to follow the advice from the FCDO to assess whether a trip can go ahead, and not the government’s traffic light system. So, if the FCDO advises against travel to Portugal then holidaymakers will be entitled to a refund from their package holiday provider – but if it does not advise against travel then you will not be entitled to anything.
However, some providers such as British Airways Holidays and Tui are allowing travellers to move their booking without paying a penalty if their trip is affected by changes to the traffic light system.
I’m already in Portugal and can’t travel back early, what should I do?
Portugals move onto the amber list came into full force on Tuesday 8th June at 4 am – and many people have been unable to fly back before this deadline.
Travellers returning from Portugal, or other amber list destinations, must self-isolate at home for ten days on their return. They must also take a pre-departure COVID test, and PCR tests on day two and day eight of their arrival into the UK.
What are the Portuguese entry requirements?
At the moment, anyone travelling to Portugal must show a negative RT-PCR test result for COVID-19 at the time of boarding and the test must have been taken no more than 72 hours before boarding – children under the age of 2 are excluded from this.
However, if your journey to Portugal started in an EU member state where the virus rate exceeds 500 per 100,000 people or you are travelling from or through India, South Africa or Brazil, then you must self-isolate for 14 days on arrival.
Can I use the Test to Release scheme?
All passengers who have visited or transited through an amber country, such as Portugal, will be required to fill out a passenger locator form, provide a valid notification of a negative test result prior to travel, quarantine at home for 10 days, and take a test on day 2 and day 8 after arrival.
But, they will also have the option to purchase a Test to Release test privately for use on day 5.
Under the Test to Release scheme, you can take a private COVID test on day 5 and end your quarantine early, if the result is negative. However, you can not opt for this scheme unless you have been in England for at least five days.
The Test to release scheme is voluntary and only applies to those who are quarantining in England.