Important COVID-19 Travel
Under current UK COVID-19 restrictions, you must stay at home. You must not travel, including abroad, unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so. It is illegal to travel abroad for holidays and other leisure purposes.
If you intend to travel to the UK from abroad, including UK nationals returning home, you must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to 3 days before departure. If you do not comply (and you do not have a valid exemption) your airline or carrier may refuse you boarding and/or you may be fined on arrival.
When you enter England from abroad (except Ireland), you must follow the new requirements for quarantining and taking additional COVID-19 tests. For those travelling from a country on the banned travel list you will be required to quarantine in a hotel. Different rules apply for arrivals into England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
If you are legally permitted to travel abroad, check our advice on your country of destination. Some other countries have closed borders, and may further restrict movement or bring in new rules including testing requirements with little warning.
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advises against all but essential travel to:
- mainland Portugal, including the autonomous regions of Madeira and Azores, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks
Flights between the UK and Portugal (including the autonomous regions of Madeira and Azores) are currently suspended. Visitors who have been in or transited through Portugal (including the autonomous regions of Madeira and Azores) in the previous 10 days cannot enter England.
British and Irish nationals, and third country nationals with residence rights in the UK arriving in England from Portugal (including the autonomous regions of Madeira and Azores) will be required to quarantine in a hotel. Different rules apply for arrivals into Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
UK nationals in Portugal who wish to return to the UK will have to travel via other airports. Check available routes online with travel companies or by contacting the airlines. Check the entry requirements of any country you may transit on the travel advice website.
Hauliers who have departed from or transited through Portugal in the last 10 days will not be subject to these measures.
People with residence rights include: holders of Indefinite Leave to Remain; holders of existing leave to enter or remain (i.e those with biometric Residence permits) or an entry clearance/visa that grants such leave e.g. students, workers, etc (excluding visit visas); holders of EU Settlement Scheme (“EUSS”) leave; those who have rights of entry under the Withdrawal Agreement (including returning residents with a right of residence under the EEA Regulations and EEA frontier workers); family members of EEA nationals with rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.
Travel to Portugal is subject to entry restrictions
Travel to Portugal is limited to:
- EU/EEA nationals and their family members;
- UK and other non-EU/EEA nationals who are officially resident in Portugal or in another EU member state;
- UK and other non-EU/EEA nationals who are travelling for essential purposes, see Entry requirements and Portuguese Immigration Service website.
- International transit through Spanish airports by passengers on flights departing from the UK is only permitted if you are travelling to a country outside the Schengen area. Transit time should be no more than 24 hours, travellers must remain airside and must be able to present a negative PCR, TNA or LAMP test taken within no more than 72 hours prior to arrival into Spain.
- There are border controls at the land border with Spain. See Entry requirements for more information.
You will be required to show a negative RT-PCR test result for SARS/COVID-19 taken within 72 hours of departure (not required for children aged 2 or under), see the Portuguese Immigration Service website. Your airline is likely to deny boarding if you cannot provide evidence of a negative RT-PCR test at check-in. Check with your airline before you travel. See Entry requirements for more information on the type of test you need.
If you arrive in Madeira or Porto Santo without an RT-PCR test, you will be required to take one at the airport and to repeat it 5 to 7 days later. From the day you arrive in Madeira or Porto Santo until you receive the results of this additional test, you must remain in isolation.
See Entry requirements for more information before you plan to travel.
Preparing for your return journey to the UK
If you’re returning to the UK from overseas, you will need to:
- provide your journey and contact details before you travel
- check if you need to self-isolate on your return
If your return journey to the UK transits another country, you should check whether it is subject to a travel ban or any other additional requirements. If so, contact your travel provider.
Check our advice on foreign travel during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and sign up for email alerts for this travel advice.
If you’re planning travel to Portugal, find out what you need to know about coronavirus there in the Coronavirus section.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to get travel insurance and check it provides sufficient cover. See the FCDO’s guidance on foreign travel insurance.
For information about COVID-19 vaccines, see the Coronavirus page
There are rules about taking food and drink into the EU. See Taking food and drink into the EU for further information.
Around 2.5 million British nationals visited Portugal in 2019. Most visits are trouble-free.
There is an increased risk of forest fires during summer months and when the weather is hot and dry. See Forest fires
If you’re living in or moving to Portugal, read the Living in Portugal guide in addition to this travel advice.
Beware of street crime. Thieves tend to target money and passports so don’t keep them all in one place. See Crime
Walking the levadas (ancient irrigation channels) is a popular activity in Madeira, but the walks can be challenging if you are inexperienced. See Madeira
Terrorist attacks in Portugal can’t be ruled out. See Terrorism
You can contact the emergency services by calling 112.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.
The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.