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Europe travel rules: Covid entry requirements for UK visitors to European countries including Spain and Austria

Three more countries have imposed stricter measures for UK travellers ahead of the busy Christmas and New Year period

<p>Here are the travel rules for UK travellers in some of Europe’s major nations. (Credit: NationalWorld/Mark Hall)</p>

Here are the travel rules for UK travellers in some of Europe’s major nations. (Credit: NationalWorld/Mark Hall)

Travellers from the UK will find themselves facing new restrictions across Europe as Omicron cases continue to increase around the continent.

Austria, Spain and Sweden are the latest countries to have all tightened their entry requirements as the busy festive period kicks off around Europe.

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But as people prepare to head on holiday or to see family over Christmas and New Year, the ever-changing entry rules for each country can be difficult to keep up with.

Here is a handy list of everything you need to know to enter some of Europe’s most popular destinations this festive period.

Austria

Austria was one of the first European nations to reimpose Covid measures back in November - before Omicron had even been reported on the continent - with a lockdown currently in place for all citizens.

Officials have also confirmed that the UK will be classed as a “virus variant region” from 25 December, with new restrictions being introduced for UK travellers on the same day.

These are:

  • a mandatory 10-day quarantine for all unboosted travellers from UK - those boosted will not need to isolate subject to a negative PCR result
  • a requirement for all travellers regardless of vaccination status to show negative PCR result from the past 72 hours
Graphic: Mark Hall / NationalWorld

France

French authorities had previously confirmed that UK travellers would be barred from entering the country, except for essential reasons

If you are travelling for an essential reason you must:

  • provide contact details to French authorities
  • fill in a international travel form to prove essential reason for travel
  • sign a ‘sworn statement’ to self-certify that you have not been in contact with a positive case or are suffering from symptoms

Travellers over the age of 12 must present a negative PCR/antigen test taken within the past 24 hours to enter the country.

Those travelling from the UK must self-isolate for 48 hours after arriving, with a negative PCR or antigen test needed to exit self-isolation at the end of this time period; you must isolate for 10 days if your test result is positive.

Those travelling by Eurostar will be asked to take an additional Covid test upon arrival at Gare du Nord in Paris, and vaccination status will be checked at St Pancras station in London upon departure.

Germany

Germany has previously blocked travel from the UK unless those travelling are German citizens or a UK national who resides in the country. This continues throughout the winter period.

Those who are able to travel into the country must:

  • fill out a pre-departure digital registration form, regardless of vaccination status
  • provide a negative PCR result taken up to 48 hours before departure if travelling by plane, ferry, bus or train. For those travelling independently (i.e by car) PCR must be taken 48 hours before entry, not before departure. 
  • quarantine for 14 days at home after arriving in Germany, regardless of PCR result or vaccination status

Spain

Vaccinated UK travellers will be able to enter Spain for tourism purposes over the winter period but will be subjected to some extra checks as the country tries to protect the citizens from the Omicron strain.

Those who are still unvaccinated cannot enter Spain for tourism.

Anyone travelling must fill in the online Health Control Form. This can also be filled in in paper format before boarding and a QR code confirming it has been filled in must be scanned upon arrival.

Those travelling from the UK for tourism must also:

  • show proof of fully vaccinated status, with the final jab being given at least 14 days before arriving
  • be subject to temperature checks, a visual health assessment or testing upon arrival

Visitors may be asked by Spanish authorities to complete a PCR test at any point up to 48 hours after arrival.

Sweden

Sweden is another country which will introduce new restrictions for UK visitors.

From 28 December:

  • all tourists, regardless of vaccination status, will have to show proof of a negative PCR test result taken within 48 hours of arrival

For those travelling before 28 December:

  • If fully vaccinated, you will not need to take part in a self-isolation period if you received your second dose more than two weeks ago and the vaccine is approved by the European Medicines Agency. 

Everyone arriving from UK is recommended to take a PCR prior to arrival.

Italy

Skiing tourists may have the best chance at hitting the slopes in Italy, with vaccinated UK tourists exempt from a quarantine period.

Fully vaccinated travellers from the UK do not need to self-isolate but you must:

  • fill in a passenger locator form
  • show a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours or negative antigen test taken with 24 hours before arrival

Rules are stricter for unvaccinated travellers. Those who have not been vaccinated must:

  • fill in a passenger locator form
  • show evidence of a negative PCR or antigen test taken at least 48 hours before arriving
  • notify the Prevention Department of the local Italian health authority of your entry into the country
  • travel to your final destination by private transport
  • self-isolate for five days and take another PCR/antigen test at the end of this

Children under 18 do not need to quarantine if travelling with fully vaccinated parent and (for those over the age of six) a negative test result is provided.

Children aged six and under do not need to test.

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