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Which Countries Require a COVID-19 PCR Test for Entry?

 

Updated: May 11th 2021

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Under current UK COVID-19 restrictions, you cannot travel internationally unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so until the 17th May 2021 and subject to the rules of the green, amber and red lists.

Whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure, there is a chance you may require a COVID-19 PCR test for entry to your destination. The Polymerase Chain Reaction Test may be a daunting term but it is simply the process used to detect whether the COVID-19 virus is present in your body. The tests look for the presence of the RNA of the antigen to determine whether or not you may be actively infected.

The test itself is an unobtrusive swab of the inside of the mouth or nasal passage. It takes only a moment and, depending on where you have it done, can take just 12-24 hours for a result. Despite the advertised turnaround for results of half a day, Health and Fitness Travel, the Wellness Specialists, strongly recommend that you do not leave your testing to the 24 hours before your flight. Postal delays at private clinics could derail your travel so we advise you plan ahead. 

For the expressed purpose of travel, the government advises against seeking a PCR test on the NHS as it diverts vital resources that should be used in tackling the crisis. Private medical practitioners offer appointments and walk-in PCR tests with results in 2-3 days. The costs of these tests do vary in price so it is best to shop around for the best deal and availability before booking your test. 

As safety is a top priority in the current climate, many countries are requiring negative results on a PCR test before allowing any travellers access. Some countries have gone further by maintaining stricter measures: not allowing anyone entry or requiring 14-day quarantines in government facilities on arrival. To give you a comprehensive oversight of travel in September 2020, we’ve compiled the latest travel advice on which countries currently require a negative covid-19 PCR test. If you are after any more advice for travelling safely and hygienically, discover our top hygiene tips whilst travelling 2020-2021

 

St Lucia

 

This beautiful mountainous island in the West Indies is currently part of the amber list but will re-open it's boarders on the 4th of June. 

Requirements for arrival

  • All travellers must complete a Pre-Arrival registration form prior to arrival to St Lucia which can be found on the St Lucia COVID-19 page. Reservations for either a Government operated quarantine facility or a COVID-19 certified property must be confirmed before travel.
  • Pre-testing prior to travel is now mandatory. All travellers must provide certified proof of a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken five days or less before travel to St Lucia.
  • Passengers will be refused boarding if they do not have proof of a negative test.
  • All arriving passengers will be screened, including temperature checks, at the airport. All passengers will advance through immigration, baggage claim, customs and, except those from the Travel Bubble, arrivals for transportation to their COVID-19 certified property or Government operated quarantine facility.

Requirements for return

  • All returning residents and international visitors are required to quarantine for 14 days at a Government operated quarantine facility or a COVID-19 certified property.
  • Any symptomatic passengers will be isolated and tested and required to remain in quarantine/isolation at your hotel or Government operated quarantine facility until the test result is obtained. If the test is positive all visitors and nationals will be transferred to a treatment facility until they receive two negative test results and are clinically stable.

   

Turks & Caicos

 

Turks & Caicos is a Bahaman archipelago of idyllic tropical islands with quiet white beaches and peaceful blue waterways. It is a sanctuary of separation from the modern world and all the safety concerns that come with it. You can relax here, on your private island, safe in the knowledge that the natural tranquillity of this region is unlikely to be disturbed. The entry requirements to Turks & Caicos are simple and hassle-free; however, a 14-day quarantine is required on your return to the UK as it is on the amber list currently.

Requirements for arrival

  • Anyone arriving to the Turks and Caicos Islands is required to obtain pre-travel authorisation via the Turks and Caicos Islands Assured Portal. This requires evidence of a negative COVID-19 test from a reputable facility taken less than five days prior to arrival in the Turks and Caicos Islands, proof of health/travel insurance with COVID-19 cover and a completed health screening questionnaire.

Requirements for return

  • Quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days
  • Take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8

 

The Maldives

 

The Maldivian Atolls dotting the middle of the Indian Ocean have long maintained a tropical mysticism. The main islands and the surrounding volcanic ridges breathe a vitality of life 1000s of miles from the mainlands of Africa or India: a green oasis in a sea of fluorescent blue. Unfortunately, it is currently moving to the red list at 4am on Wednesday the 12th of May, meaning all travel is banned. 

 

Cyprus

 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advises against all but essential travel to the whole of Croatia based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.

Mountainous islands seem to have fared well when compared to some larger regions in Europe, America and Asia. Cyprus, in the eastern Mediterranean, is a characterful island with year-long enjoyable weather and vibrant culture. For centuries, the mountain communities have developed the mineral-rich springs for natural bathing and holistic spa therapies. A retreat in Cyprus is a chance to loosen the shoulders and cleanse the skin. However, Cyprus has been removed from the UK's travel corridor which means that returning travellers will be required to self isolate for 14 days as it is on the amber list currently.

Requirements for arrival

The UK entered Cyprus’ Amber category on 29 April, therefore:

  • Passengers coming from Amber Category countries are required to undergo a PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure and provide proof of a negative result.
  • All permitted travellers must complete a Cyprus Flight Pass before their journey.
  • The Republic of Cyprus authorities have announced that from 1 May 2021 travellers with proof of two COVID-19 vaccinations completed within a specified timeframe before travel will not be required to take a pre-departure PCR test. Until there is means to certify vaccinations for international travel, you should follow the guidance above on pre-departure PCR tests for passengers coming from Amber Category countries.

Requirements for return

Before you travel to England you must:

  • complete a passenger locator form
  • take a COVID-19 test
  • book and pay for day 2 and day 8 COVID-19 travel tests - to be taken after arrival in England

On arrival in England you must:

  • quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days
  • take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8

  

Portugal

 

You may fly from the UK if you are a national who is travelling for essential purposes, such as to live with immediate family members, or for professional, educational, health or humanitarian reasons. Everywhere in Portugal including Lisbon, Madeira and the Azores are viewed by the Foreign Office as becoming less safe, therefore we are Portugal will be moving from the green list to the amber list as of 4am on Monday the 17th of May. The sunny island chains under Portuguese sovereignty are several hundred miles from the mainland so provide refuge from the outbreak. The entry requirements aren’t as strict as some countries but they are more rigorous than the border policies taken by France for example.

Before you travel to England you must:

  • complete a passenger locator form
  • take a COVID-19 test
  • book and pay for day 2 and day 8 COVID-19 travel tests - to be taken after arrival in England

On arrival in England you must:

  • quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days
  • take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8

 

Turkey

 

The southwestern region of the Bodrum peninsula is a different world to many European destinations. Asian cultural influences fuse with the Mediterranean lifestyle to create a region perfect for a summer wellness holiday. Spend your mornings in mosaic chambers filled with a cleansing steam and celebrate the afternoon by diving into the refreshing waters of the Aegean. Turkey is an ideal location for a getaway to focus on your wellbeing and expand your cultural horizons. However the entry requirements are extensive at the moment as this country moves to the red list.

Requirements for arrival:

  • From 4am 12 May, direct flights from Turkey to England will be prohibited. Different requirements apply for arrivals into Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • All passengers from all points of departure to Turkey must have proof of a negative PCR test undertaken within 72 hours prior to departure to Turkey. Without evidence of such a test, passengers will be denied boarding.
  • All arrivals into Turkey, except Turkish citizens or residence permit holders, must complete an online form within 72 hours of travel.
  • Turkey’s international land and sea borders are open. However, short-notice changes, especially temporary closures of land borders, are possible and you should check access locally.
  • All arrivals into Turkey will be subject to a medical evaluation for symptoms of coronavirus, including temperature checks.
  • You will need to complete a passenger locator form prior to arriving in Turkey. Details will be provided by your airline.
  • You will be asked to provide the residential address of where you will stay, within the borders of Turkey, and your contact information.
  • You may be asked by your airline to provide personal information regarding COVID-19 that may be shared with Ministry of Health and third countries when necessary. Anyone who knowingly provides false information may be prevented from travelling.

  

Spain

 

Spain has always been a hit with holiday goers, prior to lockdown it was attracting over 80 million tourists a year. To maintain the travel industry and keep life in the vibrant coastal towns, the Spanish government has allowed visitors to enter but under specific reasons and with certain requirements in place as it remains on the amber list.

Requirements for arrival

  • Check the Permitted reasons to enter Spain
  • All travellers need to obtain the Health Control Form (FCS) to enter Spain, you can apply here.
  • All passengers (excluding children under the age of 6 years old) are required to present a negative PCR, TMA (Transcription-Mediated Amplification) or a LAMP (Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification) swab test taken within no more than 72 hours prior to arrival.
  • Upon arrival passengers will need to go through a health check: temperature, checking their documents, visual examination.

Requirements for return

Before you travel to England you must:

  • complete a passenger locator form
  • take a COVID-19 test
  • book and pay for day 2 and day 8 COVID-19 travel tests - to be taken after arrival in England

On arrival in England you must:

  • quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days
  • take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8

  

Italy

 

Italy struggled through one of the worst COVID outbreaks in Europe. The Italian crisis has, thankfully, lessened but there is still a risk of travel to the mainland or Sardinia and there are measures in place to curb the spread of any further outbreak. At some airports, you can have a test on arrival or shortly after but these have been known to close unexpectedly. The Italian government will need clarification of a negative result by some means if you plan on staying in the country. There are also specific entry requirements for the Island of Sardinia that do not apply to the mainland.

Currently still on the amber list and the rules set out below are in force until at least the 15th of May. We will provide updates as they come through!

Requirements for arrival

  • Fill in a declaration form
  • Be able to show a negative molecular or antigen test taken in the 48 hours prior to entering the country (children under the age of two are exempt)
  • Notify the local health centre of their arrival, even if they are exempt from testing and quarantine requirements
  • Observe five days of quarantine (irrespective of the result of the test);
  • Carry out a second test five days after arrival.

Requirements for return

Before you travel to England you must:

  • complete a passenger locator form
  • take a COVID-19 test
  • book and pay for day 2 and day 8 COVID-19 travel tests - to be taken after arrival in England

On arrival in England you must:

  • quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days
  • take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8

 

Greece

 

 

Fishing villages, painted bright white, climb into the rugged cliff lines of the Aegean Sea, making for spectacular views and a charming wellness holiday. Greece has been quiet this season but it has not lost any of its remarkable beauty. The culture of the mainland, the fun activities of the coast and the wellness retreats of the mountains are still available. Greek authorities aim to make access for tourists from the UK comparatively painless, while keeping in mind it is currently on the amber list

Requirements for arrival

  • Fill out a PLF which can be accessed here, no later than 23:59 of the day before arriving in Greece
  • Present a negative PCR certificate from a testing laboratory, for a Covid-19 test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival
  • If the traveller has completed his/her vaccination (i.e., 14 days have elapsed since the last vaccination, depending on the doses required) and holds a vaccination certificate, then proof of a negative test is not required
  • You may undergo a random health screening

Requirements for return

Before you travel to England you must:

  • complete a passenger locator form
  • take a COVID-19 test
  • book and pay for day 2 and day 8 COVID-19 travel tests - to be taken after arrival in England

On arrival in England you must:

  • quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days
  • take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8

 

 Croatia

 

With over 4000 miles of picturesque Adriatic shoreline, Croatia has become increasingly popular with tourists from the UK as an alternative to the French and Italian Rivieras. Croatia has not felt the brunt of the global pandemic. However, as they are on the amber list currently there are some strict entry requirements.

Requirements for arrival

  • The Croatian government has introduced a new online entry form to expedite the entry of foreign visitors.
  • Present a negative COVID-19 antigen or PCR test result taken up to 48 hours before arrival
  • If your stay is longer than 10 days in the Republic of Croatia, a test must be repeated within ten days from the date of issuing the first test, click here for information on testing centres in Croatia

Requirements for return

Before you travel to England you must:

  • complete a passenger locator form
  • take a COVID-19 test
  • book and pay for day 2 and day 8 COVID-19 travel tests - to be taken after arrival in England

On arrival in England you must:

  • quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days
  • take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8

 

France

 

France announced they would be restricting travel from the UK from 20 December. Travel restrictions apply to all air, car, ferry and train passengers.

Vive le France! A nation steeped in culture, history and beautiful landscapes. Rest under the sun, soaking up the surroundings of the French Riviere with wellness activities, therapies and meditation to feel rejuvenated this winter. As France remains on the amber list please be aware of the current requirements:

Requirements for arrival

  • Arrivals from the UK do not need to justify an essential reason to enter France
  • All travellers from the UK, including children aged 11 and above, will need to present a negative PCR COVID-19 test result, carried out less than 72 hours before departure
  • Passengers arriving in France from the UK will also be required to self-isolate for seven days on arrival, before taking another PCR test. Exit from this self-isolation period is subject to a negative test result. Click here to find out more information on how to get a PCR test in France

Requirements for return

Before you travel to England you must:

  • complete a passenger locator form
  • take a COVID-19 test
  • book and pay for day 2 and day 8 COVID-19 travel tests - to be taken after arrival in England

On arrival in England you must:

  • quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days
  • take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8

 

Colombia

 

UPDATE: As of 22 December, you temporarily cannot enter Colombia if your journey began in the UK.

 

 

Countrie(s) that do not require a PCR Test  

A PCR Test is completely pain-free and usually a very reliable and punctual means of telling whether or not someone has COVID. However, if you are adamant to dodge the hassle of PCR test, there are fantastic holiday destinations that do not require it. They may maintain some basic entry requirements but these countries are more relaxed than the ones mentioned above. As before, Health and Fitness Travel advises that you try to stay up to date with Foreign Office information on your destination as requirements have been known to suddenly change. Planning ahead is still an essential requirement for travel in 2020 and 2021.

  

Costa Rica

 

Pristine beaches, teal shores, dense rainforests, breathtaking volcanoes; this is a true wellness destination! Offering a blend of relaxation and adventure, Costa Rica has been a popular getaway for UK travellers. There are still some protocols to enter the country which are slightly different from the rest of the world, including the requirement of insurance, please see the list below while Costa Rica remains on the amber list. It also is important to note that from November 18th, British driving licenses will not qualify you to drive in Costa Rica.

Requirements for arrival

Requirements for return

Before you travel to England you must:

  • complete a passenger locator form
  • take a COVID-19 test
  • book and pay for day 2 and day 8 COVID-19 travel tests - to be taken after arrival in England

On arrival in England you must:

  • quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days
  • take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8

 

 

 

For more information on the ever-changing world situation, please go to our detailed COVID-19 Information Hub.

 

Talk to one of our Travel Specialists on 0203 397 8891 or contact us here to discuss tailor-making your perfect holiday.