Can I travel to Ireland?

·6-min read

Easily accessible from Great Britain, Ireland is a popular holiday destination with Brits. However, due to Covid-19, there are a number of entry requirements that you need to be aware of.

From which documents you’ll need on arrival and what to expect when you’re in Ireland, to travel insurance for your trip, here’s what you need to know.

Entry to Ireland and Covid-19

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, there are currently entry rules in place for passengers arriving into Ireland from non-EU/EEA countries. These apply to passengers from Great Britain.

From Sunday 5 December 2021, all arrivals aged 12 and over who are fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 must provide either of the following:

  • A negative or not detected antigen test taken within 48 hours before arrival

  • A negative or not detected RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours before arrival.

The test result must be certified and not self-administered.

Those who are not fully vaccinated or recovered must show a negative or not detected RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours before their arrival.

All passengers will have to fill out an online Passenger Locator Form, which will be checked before departure from the UK. One form should be completed for each passenger aged 18 and older and you’ll be asked to include information including your mobile phone number, place of residence in Ireland and how you arrived into Ireland.

Vaccination status

If you are fully vaccinated, you’ll need to show proof of vaccination on arrival, this is via the NHS Covid Pass for travellers from England and Wales, and NHS letters for Scotland . You won’t need to take a travel-related test or quarantine.

If you are not fully-vaccinated, you’ll have to show proof of a negative RT-PCR result that has been taken within 72 hours prior to arrival in Ireland and will then have to quarantine for 14 days. You can reduce this time if you take a free PCR test at a testing centre operated by the Health Service Executive in Ireland, which can be taken at least five days after arrival.

You should book this before you arrive in Ireland and can only end your quarantine if you receive written confirmation of a negative result. You must carry proof of your negative result with you until your 14 days are up.

Find out more about booking Covid tests after you’ve arrived in Ireland here.

Travelling with children

Children of any age under 18 who are travelling with a vaccinated or recovered adult are not required to self-quarantine after arrival. However, if one accompanying adult is required to self-quarantine, all children must too. Testing requirements will depend on the child’s age:

  • Children under the age of 12 do not need to take a PCR test before travelling to Ireland and do not have to self-quarantine

  • Children between the ages of 12 and 17 who are not fully-vaccinated will need to take a RT-PCR test within 72 hours prior to travel to Ireland and present a negative result. If they are fully-vaccinated or have valid proof of recent recovery, they won’t have to take a test.

Other entry requirements

British nationals who are travelling to Ireland from the UK don’t need a passport to visit as Ireland, along with the UK, is a member of the Common Travel Area (CTA) giving citizens the right to travel freely between the two.

However, immigration officers will check the ID of all passengers arriving by air from the UK and may ask for proof of nationality, so the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office advises you to take your British passport.

If you use your passport to enter, it needs to be valid for the duration of your stay.

While you’re in Ireland

Indoor hospitality venues, such as pubs, restaurants and cafes, are open for people who are fully vaccinated, those who have recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months, plus children under 18 in these people’s care. You will need to show proof of your vaccination/recovery status and will be required to provide tracing contact details unless you are under the age of 18.

Social distancing measures and face coverings are required indoors, other than when sitting at your table. Masks are required in shops and on public transport.

Returning to the UK

You will not have to take a Covid-19 test or quarantine when you arrive back in England from Ireland. This applies if you’re travelling within the Common Travel Area (CTA) - UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man – and haven’t been outside of the CTA in the previous 10 days.

If you have been outside of the CTA in the previous 10 days, you may be required to take Covid-19 tests or even enter quarantine on your return to the UK (depending on the restrictions in force at the time). This could be at your home or in a government-sanctioned quarantine hotel.

The UK government aims to review its restrictions every three weeks.

Find out more about travel rules for returning to the UK.

Do I need travel insurance for Ireland?

Due to its close proximity to England, you may think that travel insurance isn’t necessary for a trip to Ireland. But, travel insurance should be an important part of any holiday that you take, whether you are staying in Great Britain or jetting off overseas. It can cover you for a number of things that may go wrong, from unexpected cancellation in the run-up to a trip and medical costs to personal liability.

Residents of the UK can get ‘necessary healthcare’ from state healthcare services in Ireland. In essence, this is healthcare that is necessary during your stay and can’t wait until you return home.

However, you should still take out travel insurance to cover any unexpected medical costs as not all state healthcare is free in Ireland and you may need to pay for services that are free with the NHS.

You should also apply for a free Global Health Insurance Card or GHIC ahead of your trip. Find out more on healthcare in Ireland here.

To find the best travel insurance policy for you, it’s worth comparing a number of policies side-by-side, paying attention to financial limits, the excess amount and any exclusions.

You should also look at what protection the policy offers regarding disruption due to Covid-19. Read more about taking out travel insurance here and you can use the box below to compare travel insurance quotes.

What about travel to Northern Ireland?

You won’t have to fill in a Passenger Locator Form if you’re travelling to Northern Ireland from England and you have not been outside the CTA in the last 10 days. However, you are asked to take a lateral flow device test (LFD) before you travel and only travel if this is negative. You are also asked to take a LFD on days two and eight of your trip. There’s more information here about travelling within the CTA.

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