Travelling to Ireland during COVID-19

Introduction

Ireland is at the highest level of COVID-19 restrictions. You should not travel to Ireland unless you have an essential reason for your travel.

If you have to travel to Ireland, you must have proof of a negative or ‘not detected’ COVID-19 Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test taken within 72 hours of your arrival.

By law, you must quarantine when you arrive into Ireland. This applies for all arrivals from 4 February 2021. It does not apply if your journey starts in Northern Ireland – see ‘Do I have to quarantine ’ below?

What are essential reasons for travel?

You should only travel to Ireland if you have an essential reason for doing so.

Essential family travel does not include social visits, but may include:

  • Caring for children
  • Caring for older or vulnerable people, particularly if they live alone
  • Exercising your legal right of access to a child
  • Going to a court hearing
  • Going to a funeral

Essential business travel covers people whose presence in Ireland is critical to the functioning of a business.

Other essential reasons for travel include:

  • 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 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 or urgent medical, health or dental services, or to accompany someone you live with, or a vulnerable person who needs essential treatment

You should say on your Passenger Locator Form if you are coming to Ireland for an essential purpose. You should also bring documents to prove that your travel is essential.

If you have an essential reason to travel to Ireland, you may still have to quarantine.

Pre-arrival test

Almost all passengers arriving into Ireland must have a negative or ‘not detected’ COVID-19 Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR test) taken no more than 72 hours before your arrival.

If you arrive at an Irish airport or sea port without proof of a negative or ‘not detected’ COVID-19 test, you are committing an offence. You must also take a test within 36 hours of arrival. It is an offence not to take the test and you can be fined up to €2,500 or get a prison sentence of up to 6 months, or both.

You do not need a COVID test if you are travelling through Ireland and transiting to another country. This only applies if you do not leave the airport. Children under 6 do not need COVID-19 tests and there are some other exceptions.

You should read the latest travel advice before travelling to Ireland.

Passenger Locator Form

If you arrive into Ireland from another country, including if you are travelling onwards to Northern Ireland, you must fill in an online COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form before you arrive.

You must also fill out this form if you arrive in Ireland through Northern Ireland and were overseas in the 14 days before your arrival in Ireland.

The information on the form may be used to contact you to check your location, or to contact you if there is a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 on your flight or ferry. You also use the form to tell the Irish authorities that you are coming to Ireland for an essential purpose if applicable.

If any of the information you provide on the form changes over the next 14 days, you must email passengerlocatorform@plf.ie with your updated information.

You do not have to fill in this form if you are:

  • Working in defined essential supply chain roles
  • A foreign diplomat
  • A transit passenger who will not be leaving the port or airport

You may be fined up to €2,500 or imprisoned for up to 6 months, or both if:

  • You do not fill in and submit the form
  • You knowingly provide false or misleading information
  • You do not provide further information when requested
  • You do not update your residence details if these change within 14 days of your arrival

Visas

You should check if you need a visa for travelling to Ireland. Some nationalities that did not previously need a visa, must now apply for a visa to come to Ireland. Visa applications are only being processed for essential travel.

Who has to quarantine?

By law, you must quarantine when you arrive into Ireland from abroad. Quarantine means staying in your residence.

You must quarantine if you travel to Ireland through Northern Ireland. Quarantine rules do not apply if your journey starts in Northern Ireland. These mandatory quarantine rules apply to people who arrive into Ireland from 4 February 2021.

You must quarantine for 14 days at your place of residence stated on your Passenger Locator Form. In most cases, you can stop quarantining if you get a negative PCR test, taken 5 days after your arrival or as soon as possible after those 5 days. You must keep the written confirmation of your test result for at least 14 days.

If you do not quarantine, you can be fined up to €2,500 or face 6 months in prison, or both.

Stricter rules apply to arrivals into Ireland from the following 'category 2' countries. These are countries that have been identified as being high risk countries - because a variant of concern is circulating and the arrival of people to Ireland from these countries poses a significant public health risk. This list is subject to change at short notice.

Category 2 countries
Angola Democratic Republic of the Congo Panama Venezuela
Argentina Ecuador Paraguay Zambia
Austria Eswatini Peru Zimbabwe
Bolivia French Guiana Republic of South Africa
Botswana Guyana Rwanda
Brazil Lesotho Seychelles
Burundi Malawi Suriname
Cape Verde Mauritius Tanzania
Chile Mozambique United Arab Emirates
Colombia Namibia Uruguay

You must complete the full 14 days of quarantine even if you get a negative test result after 5 days.

The rules about arrivals from the countries listed above are set out in legislation (law).

If you travel to Ireland from a 'category 2' country, your COVID-19 test is free. You request this test from your own GP or any GP service.

Exceptions from mandatory quarantine

You do not have to complete mandatory quarantine in some situations. These limited exceptions do not apply to 'category 2' countries.

The exceptions to quarantine are:

  • People travelling for urgent medical reasons
  • People arriving who have a mandatory legal obligation, for example, an arrest warrant or an extradition order
  • Gardaí or defence forces carrying out their duties
  • Diplomats or elected representatives carrying out essential functions
  • Transit passenger who do not leave the port or airport
  • International transport workers in defined essential supply chain roles

If you travel to Ireland to perform an essential function, you are allowed to leave your place of quarantine temporarily and for as long as you need to do the essential function. This applies to:

  • Workers carrying out essential repair, maintenance, construction or safety assurance of critical transport infrastructure, critical utility infrastructure, manufacturing services, information services, or communication services
  • Workers of international organisations (or people invited by the organisation), who carry out functions needed for the proper functioning of the organisation that cannot be carried out remotely
  • People with written certification by Sport Ireland related to an internationally important competitive level event
  • Journalists carrying out their work

Travel restrictions in Ireland

Ireland is at Level 5, the highest level of COVID-19 restrictions. At Level 5, you can exercise within 5km of your home, or where you are staying. You can only leave your home, or the place you are staying, for essential reasons.

If you are leaving Ireland to return to where you normally live, you can travel to the airport or port.

Page edited: 1 March 2021