UK tourists travelling to the Algarve no longer require a COVID test – if they are fully vaccinated. Effective from last Friday, the exemption applies to visitors who have an NHS COVID Pass or EU Digital COVID Certificate showing they have been fully vaccinated with an EU-approved vaccine at least 14 days before travelling, or an EU COVID recovery certificate indicating they have recovered from COVID-19 no fewer than 11 days and no more than 180 days from when they are due to travel.
According to the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s travel advice website, passengers have to show a digital or paper copy of their COVID vaccination or recovery certificate when checking-in for the flight, and complete an online passenger locator card.
Those without an NHS COVID Pass or EU Digital COVID Certificate will need to take a COVID-19 pre-departure test before travelling (children up to and including the age of 11 are exempt). This, notes the FCDO, could be an antigen test taken within 48 hours of departure, or a RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure.
“Check your test result identifies the type of test taken and gives your name, date of birth, the date and time the sample was collected and the date of the result. You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test.”
Passengers are also advised that the NHS appointment card from vaccination centres “is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination and should not be used to demonstrate your vaccine status”.
On arrival in mainland Portugal, including Faro Airport in the Algarve, passengers are subject to health screening. If their temperature is 38ºC or over or they show signs of being unwell, they may be required to take a COVID-19 test and remain at the airport until receiving their test result.
At the end of September, Portuguese authorities announced a significant easing of confinement rules, in response to the country’s successful vaccination program; while the end of the UK’s “traffic light” system has also encouraged autumn holidaymakers to take advantage of less restrictive travel protocols.