Travelling abroad during COVID-19

Introduction

You should only travel outside Ireland (including to Northern Ireland) if you have an essential reason for doing so.

Currently, most countries have high rates of COVID-19 so you should find out what restrictions are in place in the country you are going to.

You can read about:

Who can travel abroad?

You should only travel abroad if it is essential to do so. The following are ”reasonable excuses” for travelling to a port or airport for the purposes of travelling abroad as set out in the Health Act 1947 (Section 31A – Temporary Restrictions) (COVID-19) Regulations 2021, as amended:

  • To go to college or school if you have to be there in person
  • To go with a child or a vulnerable adult to school if they have to be there in person
  • To work or travel related to your business
  • To go to a medical or dental appointment, or to go to an appointment with someone you live with, or a vulnerable person
  • To seek essential medical, health or dental services, or to accompany someone you live with, or a vulnerable person who needs essential treatment
  • To care for a family member or for other vital family reasons
  • To go to a funeral
  • To meet a legal obligation (for example, to appear in court)
  • To give access to a child to the other parent of the child, or to access a child that you have a right of access to
  • To leave Ireland if you are not resident in Ireland

A Garda may accept other reasonable excuses that are not on this list. You should have evidence of the reasons for your travel.

You can be fined €2000 for unnecessary travel abroad.

Proposed EU COVID-19 certificate

The European Commission is proposing to create an EU COVID-19 Certificate for travel inside the EU. The proposal is expected to be ready before the summer. It must be agreed by Member States and the European Parliament.

Before you travel

You should read the latest government advice on travelling abroad before you travel and check the travel advice on your country of destination. Some countries have closed their borders or may require you to self-isolate or restrict your movements when you arrive.

Passports

Passport Online is open to all applicants. There is a delay to processing times as they are working to clear applications. If you have to travel urgently, you can contact the Passport Office through webchat.

Travel to the EEA

If you are travelling to the EEA (the EU, plus Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein), you should check the European Centre of Disease Control’s map (EU traffic lights system).

This map is updated weekly by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and categorise regions as green, orange, red or grey depending on their COVID-19 rates of infection.

Re-open EU has information about current COVID-19 restrictions and laws in EEA countries. Laws and restrictions may change while you are away (both in the country where you have travelled to and in Ireland), and you should check for new information regularly.

You should bring your European Health Insurance Card with you if you are travelling to the EEA or Switzerland.

Travel outside the EEA

If you are travelling outside the EEA, you should get travel insurance. If you have a travel insurance policy already, or travel insurance is included in your health insurance policy, you should check that you are covered for hospital treatment for COVID-19.

The Irish Government advises against travelling to certain countries. If you choose to travel to one of these countries, your travel insurance may not apply (unless you can prove your travel was for an essential reason).

Work and social welfare

Going abroad may affect your social welfare payment. You should also check with your employer whether you will be paid if you have to restrict your movements on your return.

When you return

You should check the latest information on travel restrictions to Ireland before you travel back.

When you arrive back into Ireland you must:

  • Complete a Passenger Locator Form.
  • Have a negative or ‘not detected’ COVID-19 test (RT- PCR test) taken no more than 72 hours before your arrival.
  • Quarantine in your home for 14 days. You can stop home quarantine once you get a negative RT- PCR test, taken no less than 5 days after arrival. Stricter advice applies for people arriving back from certain countries, you may have to quarantine at a hotel.

Read more about travelling to Ireland during COVID-19.

Page edited: 11 May 2021