Travellers from the UK can now take advantage of faster border controls when arriving at Faro Airport. This follows the Portuguese government’s decision to treat UK nationals in the same way as EU citizens, in spite of Brexit requirements.
The initiative is reported to be a first by a EU member state, and is likely to be considered by other countries such as Spain that will be keen not to lose tourists because of extended airport controls. The UK is considered a “third country” under EU Brexit legislation but individual countries can apply their own rules.
In effect, the new rule in Portugal, which especially benefits the vast number of tourists visiting the “safe haven” Algarve in spring and summer, means Britons will be able to avoid long queues at manual passport check-points if they use the e-gate channels.
Citizens from several other countries (including Australia, Japan, Singapore and New Zealand) are also expected to be permitted to use the automatic system.
More details about the new rule are outlined on the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office’s travel advice page for “Entry Requirements”.
Travellers are still required to adhere to COVID-19 entry rules. In Portugal, visitors must present a valid vaccination certificate or, if not fully vaccinated, show proof of a negative PCR test (taken no more than 72 hours before boarding), a rapid lateral flow test (taken no more than 24 hours before boarding) or valid evidence of recent recovery from COVID-19 on departure to mainland Portugal.
The Visit Portugal website includes updated information about current measures. The obligatory use of face masks has now been eased in mainland Portugal, and they are only required to be worn when using public transport (including during flights), and entry to medical facilities and retirement and nursing homes.