From Monday, July 19, 2021, Ireland will reopen its borders for non-essential travel. Following a year of restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Irish government has decided to relax the rules. Not only will foreign visitors, including Americans, be allowed to visit, but the Irish too will be able to travel without quarantine when returning home.
While this is good news for fully vaccinated travelers wishing to visit the Emerald Isle, unvaccinated travelers will need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours before arrival into the country and quarantine for five days. All people arriving in Ireland must fill out a Passenger Locator Form online at least 48 hours before arriving in Ireland. A failure to fill out the form is seen as an offense under Irish law.
Traveling to Ireland with children
Unless they can show proof of vaccination or have had the coronavirus and recovered, children between the ages of 12 and 17 have to show evidence of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before arrival. Children of all ages traveling with accompanying vaccinated or recovered adults will not be required to self-quarantine. However, where one accompanying adult needs to self-quarantine, then all children must also self-quarantine.
Members of the European Union and several other non-EU states like Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland, and Vatican City have adopted a Digital COVID-19 Certificate as proof of vaccination. The certificate can be downloaded from the government website in the country where you received the vaccination and displayed as a QR Code on your smartphone.
How can Americans visit Ireland?
As mentioned above, all fully vaccinated travelers must show proof that they have received both doses of an EU-recognized vaccine. The acceptable vaccines are those that have been developed by BioNTech and Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Janssen Pharmaceutica NV. Regarding the Janssen vaccine, only a single dose is required as proof of being vaccinated.
All passengers entering Ireland must fill out a Passenger Locator Form online at least 48 hours before arriving, no matter which country they are arriving from.
Non-vaccinated travelers must:
- Show proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before arrival
- Keep written evidence of this test for at least two weeks
- Self-quarantine on arrival for five days
- Take a second PCR test through the Irish Health Service. If that test is negative, you are free to exit quarantine
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Some restrictions remain
While Ireland opening up to visitors is great news, there are still a few things you need to know before making any travel plans. Currently, Ireland’s pubs and restaurants are closed when it comes to indoor dining and drinking. They were set to reopen on July 5th, but the Government changed its mind following a large surge in new COVID-19 cases. The new date is now set for July 26th and comes with some restrictions which are yet to be finalized.
According to the Irish Mirror, indoor dining or drinking would only be available to people who have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past nine months. When speaking about the new rules, Irish Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said that it ‘looks like an app reader will be used by hospitality staff to scan customer’s Digital Covid Certificate upon entry. He said:
“We’re targeting Monday the 26th, really because it has to go through the Seanad, we need to allow the President time to consider the bill and what’s in it, and we need to get some regulations and things like that in place. The date we are aiming for is Monday, July 26.”
Like traveling anywhere these days, rules can change with little or no notice, so it is best to follow events closely. For those who have been fully vaccinated, travel is beginning to get easier and is something that we hope to see continue as we recover from the pandemic.
Do you have any plans to visit Ireland this summer? If so, please tell us what airline you will be flying on and what you are looking forward to the most in the comments.