The UK government’s travel advice website has published updated information to clarify fast-track passport stamping procedures for tourists arriving at Faro Airport.
In April, the Portuguese government announced that it would treat UK nationals in the same way as EU citizens, in spite of Brexit requirements. However, some British visitors have reportedly been confused about how e-gates (at Lisbon, Porto and Funchal airports, as well as Faro) operate.
According to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, “These are separate to the e-gates for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens. On arrival or departure, check you are eligible to use the e-gates and that you are in the right queue. When using an e-gate, your entry/exit is recorded on the computer system. A border officer may also stamp your passport after you have passed through the e-gate; this is for airport operational reasons.”
Those using a manned booth are advised to check that their passport is stamped by the border officer when they enter or exit as a visitor.
“Border guards use passport stamps and e-gate records to check you’re complying with the 90-day visa-free limit for short stays in the Schengen area. If relevant entry or exit stamps are not in your passport or visible to a border officer on the computer system, a border officer may presume that you have overstayed your visa-free limit. If you are missing entry/exit stamps, you can show evidence of when and where you entered or exited the Schengen area and ask the border officer to add this date and location in your passport.” Such “evidence” could include boarding passes and/or flight tickets.
As for passport validity, the office advises UK tourists travelling to Portugal to ensure their travel documents are in line with Schengen area requirements.
These specify that passports must be:
- Issued less than 10 years before the date you enter the country (“date of issue”)
- Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave (“expiry date”)
“If your passport was issued before 1 October 2018, extra months may have been added to its expiry date.”
Earlier this month, Portugal lifted the requirement for a passenger locator form when entering most parts of the country, including Faro Airport.
“If you’re fully vaccinated, you can enter mainland Portugal and the Azores without needing to test. To qualify under the fully vaccinated rules, you must have a vaccination certificate which shows you have had either:
- A full course of a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency, at least 14 days and no more than 270 days before you arrive, or
- A full course of a vaccine plus a booster vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency at least 14 days before you arrive.
“If you’re not fully vaccinated, you’ll need to 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.
“Children aged 11 and under do not need to take a test or show proof of vaccination or recovery to enter mainland Portugal and the Azores.”