Travel restrictions Q&A: Your questions on testing and Covid passes answered

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Is it too late to go skiing this winter? Can unvaccinated teenagers board ski lifts in Europe? Will you need to take a test to board a flight this half term? Does your destination demand Covid passes to enter bars, and face masks to go on beaches? And which countries will be opening their doors in the coming weeks and months?

Travel restrictions Q&A: Your questions on testing and Covid passes answered
A sign for a Covid-19 testing centre at London Heathrow Airport in London, UK. day two testing travel restrictions rules 
Submit your questions on the updated travel rules below for our travel expert to answer CREDIT: JASON ALDEN/BLOOMBERG

9 FEBRUARY 2022 • 2:25PM

From this Friday (February 11), international travel will get a little bit easier, with the UK dropping the requirement for fully vaccinated arrivals to take a day two lateral flow test, just in time for half-term holidays.

However, there are still plenty of travel rules to get your head around. Every destination has its own testing requirements, vaccination rules and domestic Covid-19 regulations, so it’s important to do your research and to ask the right questions before you book your next holiday.

Is it too late to go skiing this winter? Can unvaccinated teenagers board ski lifts in Europe? Will you need to take a test to board a flight this half term? Does your destination demand Covid passes to enter bars, and face masks to go on beaches? And which countries will be opening their doors in the coming weeks and months?

However trivial your query might seem, in the Covid era it’s worth knowing the answer before you travel. Our chief consumer and culture editor, Nick Trend, answered your questions on testing requirements, vaccination rules, domestic Covid-19 regulations and more during a live Q&A on Wednesday February 9. You can find a recap of the Q&A below. If your specific question wasn’t answered this time, have a look at our country-by-country guide to the complex Covid travel rules, our ski holiday advice page, or the definitive list of the countries you can enter without testing

If my wife gets a booster on February 8, would she be classed as fully vaccinated by the time we arrive in Paris on February 16?

Q: My wife and I are travelling to Paris on February 16 (booked before the expiry on vaccinations came into play). I am fully vaccinated with a booster, but my wife received her second dose in  April 2021 and has not yet received a booster. If she gets one on February 8, would she be classed as fully vaccinated by the time we arrive in Paris? 

A: I think your wife will be fine, as long as she had her jab yesterday. In response to our queries, the official French website– which was rather unclear on the matter –  has been amended so that it now reads: “In order to continue to be considered as fully vaccinated, travellers aged over 18 and one month who had their full vaccine course over nine months ago and have not since received a COVID-19 vaccine booster must follow the rules for unvaccinated passengers to enter France.” The booster must be had at least seven days before travel for the Covid pass to be valid.

Do I still need to do a PCR test on my first full day in Belgium if I’m travelling home on the same day?

Q: I’m hoping to visit Belgium for a trip that is less than 48 hours. I understand that I need to do a pre-departure test to enter Belgium, but do I still need to do a PCR test on my first full day there, as I’m travelling home the same day?

A: You are right about the pre-departure test and I think probably you don’t need to do the PCR test on arrival because your stay is less than 48 hours, but the official advice is not entirely clear. However,  I think it will become clearer when you fill out the passenger locator form online.

I had Covid recently and I am worried about showing up positive on the pre-departure PCR test, even though I’m negative. Do you have any further information on this? 

Q: I had Covid a few weeks ago and I am hoping to visit South Africa on February 23. Although my daily lateral flow tests are showing negative, I have been told that when you take the pre-departure PCR test it can ‘sometimes’ show up positive, when you are not. South Africa has a stringent policy on entry. Do you have any current information or any examples of this problem? 

A: I think you are probably worrying too much about this. As far as I understand it, the problem is relatively rare. There is not much you can do except to check the cancellation policy of your tour operator and your travel insurance policy. We have some recent articles that may be of some help, here and here

Will my daughters, who are under 18, have to take a day two PCR test when we return from our holiday in Austria?

Q: My family and I are going on holiday to Austria in February. My two daughters (aged 14 and 12) have had their first Covid vaccine and are booked to have their second vaccine on February 15, a few days before we go away. When we return back to the UK on February 26, will I need to arrange my daughters to have a day two PCR test?

A: As you have probably found, the Government website is a bit ambiguous on this. But, I’m pretty sure that the new rules from February 11 mean that under 18s won’t have to take a test on returning to the UK. We are trying to find out for sure. I assume you are skiing, in which case this article may be of interest when it comes to the rules for Austria.

Can you clarify the position of Italy regarding the timing of vaccines?

Q: Can you clarify the position of Italy regarding the timing of vaccines? Most European countries are accepting visitors who have had their second dose or their booster within the last 270 days. From what I can see, Italy is putting a limit of 180 days for those who had our booster in November and have booked to travel to Italy in June. Are our plans to be put in disarray again?

A: You are right about the 180 day limit in Italy. But no country (except possibly Israel) has yet made a decision on a second booster jab and June is a long way away. I really wouldn’t worry about this – it seems highly unlikely that the UK Government policy on boosters will be so different to that which is applied in Italy and Europe that we are unable to travel. Either we will all be offered a second booster, or the requirement to have one when visiting another country will have been removed.

Thank you for all of your questions 

That’s all for today’s Q&A. Thanks to those of you who sent in a question and apologies if you did not get an answer to your questions this time. Fear not, if you’ve got a question that hasn’t been answered, you can send it to yourstory@telegraph.co.uk or leave a question in the comments section at the bottom of this article for our next Q&A. 

We will post a recap of this Q&A at the top of this article shortly, but in the meantime, you can follow all of the latest news in the world of travel by signing up to our travel newsletter here.

Will one Covid test before my departure to New York on March 6 cover my trip to Antigua on March 9? 

Our final question today comes from Paul.

Paul wants to know:  I’m flying to New York on March 6 and then going to Antigua on March 9. Will one Covid test before my departure to New York cover my Antigua trip?

Nick responds: It depends on the timing of your flights and might be quite tight. According to Antigua and Barbuda’s tourist board, fully vaccinated arriving passengers can present a negative PCR test or an approved Rapid Antigen (lateral flow) test of four days or fewer from date of testing, to be permitted entry into Antigua and Barbuda. If you time it well, you may well be able to travel from New York to Antigua with just the one Covid test. Note that home tests, self-administered tests and those using saliva samples are not accepted. The list of approved Rapid Antigen tests is provided here. The link for Antigua and Barbuda tourist board is here

What will I need to do for my journey from Miami to St Kitts and for my return to the UK? 

Telegraph reader, Anne, needs some help with what is required for her trip to the US and St Kitts. 

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Anne asks: When visiting family in Florida next month there is a planned seven day trip from Miami to St Kitts. As well as the tests we currently have to do before we travel to the US, what will we need to do for our journey from Miami to St Kitts and return and will there be any onward issues for our return to the UK in April?

Nick: My colleague, Aisling O’Leary, has been looking into this one and she flags up that on January 18, 2022 the official US guidance on  the CDC website, issued a Level 4 warning for St Kitts and Nevis saying ‘Do Not Travel’ due to high Covid rates. So you might want to keep an eye on this and check that your flights to and from Miami are operating. 

Otherwise, all travellers to St Kitts must submit a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours of your arrival, along with the required embarkation form, and all other supporting documentation. An embarkation form is required regardless of age. Forms must be submitted no later than 24 hours prior to travel. Currently, only fully vaccinated travellers and non vaccinated children under 18 travelling with fully vaccinated parents or guardians will be allowed entry into St. Kitts & Nevis. The St. Kitts and Nevis Ministries of Health do not accept doctor letters of recovery. Fully vaccinated travellers will be required to submit a copy of their official Vaccination Certificate including dates when doses were administered. 

 For your return flight to Miami, all air passengers are required to show a negative COVID-19 test result taken no more than one day before travel or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days, before boarding their flight. This applies to both non-vaccinated and fully vaccinated travellers. 

 Onwards to the UK, no tests will be required for vaccinated arrivals as the Government is scrapping Day two testing this Friday February 11.

Will my daughters, who are under 18, have to take a day two PCR test when we return from our holiday in Austria?

Here we have another question on travel testing, but for under 18s. 

Jonny: My family and I are going on holiday to Austria in February. My two daughters (aged 14 and 12) have had their first Covid vaccine and are booked to have their second vaccine on February 15, a few days before we go away. When we return back to the UK on February 26, will I need to arrange my daughters to have a day two PCR test?

Nick’s advice: As you have probably found, the Government website is a bit ambiguous on this. But, I’m pretty sure that the new rules from February 11 mean that under 18s won’t have to take a test on returning to the UK. We are trying to find out for sure. I assume you are skiing, in which case this article may be of interest when it comes to the rules for Austria.

Which countries don’t require masks? Do airlines still require you to wear masks? 

Another reader, Joe, has a couple of questions about masks. 

Joe: Which countries could I visit in the spring that don’t require masks? Have any airlines removed them as a requirement for flying yet?

Nick says: We aren’t aware of any mask free airlines and it will probably be some time before requirements are eased, but this article lists countries which don’t have restrictions on mask-wearing.

Which Caribbean islands have the fewest entry requirements?

Up next is a reader who wants some holiday destination advice.

Sophie wants to know: Which Caribbean islands could I visit over Easter with the fewest entry requirements? 

Nick’s response: I’m afraid we don’t have a completely up-to-date list – our most recent article on this is here. We will try to provide an update in the next couple of weeks.

I had Covid recently and I am worried about showing up positive on the pre-departure PCR test, even though I’m negative. Do you have any further information on this? 

Christopher asks Nick: I had Covid a few weeks ago and I am hoping to visit South Africa on February 23. Although my daily lateral flow tests are showing negative, I have been told that when you take the pre-departure PCR test it can ‘sometimes’ show up positive, when you are not. South Africa has a stringent policy on entry. Do you have any current information or any examples of this problem? 

Nick says: I think you are probably worrying too much about this. As far as I understand it, the problem is relatively rare. There is not much you can do except to check the cancellation policy of your tour operator and your travel insurance policy. We have some recent articles that may be of some help, here and here

Can you clarify the position of Italy regarding the timing of vaccines? 

Another Telegraph reader has a question regarding vaccine rules.

Angela asks: Can you clarify the position of Italy regarding the timing of vaccines? Most European countries are accepting visitors who have had their second dose or their booster within the last 270 days. From what I can see, Italy is putting a limit of 180 days for those who had our booster in November and have booked to travel to Italy in June. Are our plans to be put in disarray again?

Nick: You are right about the 180 day limit in Italy. But no country (except possibly Israel) has yet made a decision on a second booster jab and June is a long way away. I really wouldn’t worry about this – it seems highly unlikely that the UK Government policy on boosters will be so different to that which is applied in Italy and Europe that we are unable to travel. Either we will all be offered a second booster, or the requirement to have one when visiting another country will have been removed. 

Will Italy accept two vaccines and a recent recovery QR code?

Liza asks: Will Italy accept two vaccines (the second jab is older than 180 days) and a recent recovery QR code?

Nick: Current FCO advice is that “Italy will accept the UK’s proof of COVID-19 recovery and vaccination record as the equivalent to a Super Green Pass as long as it is in the form of a verifiable QR code. From February 1 your vaccination certificate will be valid for 180 days from the date of your final vaccination when visiting Italy. All UK recovery certificates must be accompanied by a sworn translation.” But the safest thing would probably be to get your booster jab, which I think needs to be done at least two weeks before you travel.

My wife’s passport is still in her maiden name. Will this cause an issue when trying to prove vaccination status?

An interesting question from Jonathan regarding potential travel complications caused by his recent marriage.

Jonathan asks: My wife and I recently got married and before the big day we booked a honeymoon to Portugal. Since then we have had our Covid jabs and my wife has changed her surname with the NHS, but due to the aforementioned honeymoon being booked before the marriage her passport is still in her maiden name. Will this cause an issue when trying to prove vaccination status?

Nick: I think your wife would definitely need to take your marriage certificate as back up, but, as is the way with these things, what happens in practice will probably depend on the attitude of individual officials. You don’t say how long it is before you depart, but I think your wife’s best bet is to get a new passport in her married name before travelling.

For travel to the US, is a rapid antigen test the same as a fit to fly certificate? 

Telegraph reader Adriana has a couple of questions regarding US travel testing.

Adriana asks: Is a rapid antigen test the same as a fit to fly certificate? Also, I’m flying to the US and I’m looking for a reliable place around Chelmsford to go for my test the day before I fly? 

Nick says: For travel to the US a rapid antigen test will indeed give you a fit to fly certificate as long as it meets the requirements specified by US immigration. Most testing companies will be able to provide you with this. I don’t know of particular places near Chelmsford, but you can do a self-administered test at home which is performed under online supervision through a webcam. I’ve used qured.com for one of these – but there are other companies which offer them. 

Check when you book that it meets the US supervision requirement: “The testing procedure must include a telehealth service affiliated with the manufacturer of the test that provides real-time supervision remotely through an audio and video connection. Some FDA-authorised self-tests that include a telehealth service may require a prescription. The telehealth provider must confirm your identity, observe the sample collection and testing procedures, confirm the test result, and issue a report that meets the requirements of CDC’s Order Airlines and other aircraft operators must be able to review and confirm your identity and the test result details. You must also be able to present the documentation of test results to U.S. officials at the port of entry and local/state health departments, if requested.”

Do I still need to do a PCR test on my first full day in Belgium if I’m travelling home on the same day?

Royhas a question on travel testing for Nick regarding his trip to Belgium.

Roy’s question to Nick:  I’m hoping to visit Belgium for a trip that is less than 48 hours. I understand that I need to do a pre-departure test to enter Belgium, but do I still need to do a PCR test on my first full day there, as I’m travelling home the same day?

Nick: You are right about the pre-departure test and I think probably you don’t need to do the PCR test on arrival because your stay is less than 48 hours, but the official advice is not entirely clear. However,  I think it will become clearer when you fill out the passenger locator form online.

Will a diagnostic test for Covid still suffice to travel to Spain if I am an EU citizen but travelling from the UK? 

Next we have a question from Telegraph reader Stephanie who wants to fly to Alicante to see her elderly parents. 

Stephanie asks: I am an Irish passport holder (so an EU citizen), with residency in Malta  and I am currently in the UK. I am due to fly to Alicante later this month to see my elderly parents, but I am not vaccinated.

I am confused by the Spanish health site, as it seems to indicate that if someone is travelling from the UK, even as an EU citizen, a diagnostic test will not suffice. Please can you clarify this?

 Nick responds:  According to Spain’s entry requirements, if you are travelling from a territory included in the list of risk countries/areas (including the UK), you will need a vaccination certificate unless one of the situations described below applies to you:

a) Habitual residents of the European Union, Schengen Associated States, Andorra, Monaco, the Vatican (Holy See) or San Marino en route to that country, with documentary proof.

b) Holders of a long-stay visa issued by a Schengen Member State or Schengen Associated State who are en route to that country.

c) Persons travelling for duly accredited imperative family reasons.

d) Persons who provide documentary evidence of force majeure or distress, or whose entry is permitted on humanitarian grounds.

If you are uncertain whether this applies to you I would check with the Spanish embassy in London

Does France class me as fully vaccinated or not? 

A similar question here from a reader who is confused by France’s vaccine requirements. 

Samantha asks: Some guidance says you must have either been fully vaccinated or received a booster within the last nine months. Other guidance says the booster must have been received no more than nine months after the second dose. I was part of the AstraZeneca clinical trials, so I received my first two doses early (in June and September 2020) and I received my booster in October 2021. 

Under the first interpretation I am fully vaccinated because I have had a booster within the last nine months. However, under the second interpretation I am not fully vaccinated because there was 13 months between my second dose and my booster. Does France class me as fully vaccinated?

Nick says: 

Please see my previous answer to Michael. According to current advice, as long as it is less than nine months since you had your booster, your Covid pass will be valid.

If my wife gets a booster on February 8, would she be classed as fully vaccinated by the time we arrive in Paris on February 16?

Up next we have another personal travel query from Michael.  

Michael says: My wife and I are travelling to Paris on February 16 (booked before the expiry on vaccinations came into play). I am fully vaccinated with a booster, but my wife received her second dose in  April 2021 and has not yet received a booster. If she gets one on February 8, would she be classed as fully vaccinated by the time we arrive in Paris? 

Nick: I think your wife will be fine, as long as she had her jab yesterday. In response to our queries, the official French website– which was rather unclear on the matter –  has been amended so that it now reads: “In order to continue to be considered as fully vaccinated, travellers aged over 18 and one month who had their full vaccine course over nine months ago and have not since received a COVID-19 vaccine booster must follow the rules for unvaccinated passengers to enter France.” The booster must be had at least seven days before travel for the Covid pass to be valid.

What are Tenerife’s entry requirements?

Our first question comes from Anne, who is travelling to Tenerife and is unsure on the entry requirements and what documentation she will need.

Anne asks: What documentation do I need in order to travel to Tenerife? 

Here’s what Telegraph Travel’s Chief Consumer and Culture Editor, Nick Trend, has to say:

You will need to fill out a “health control form” before you start their journey and this must be done online  through this website – you can download it onto your smartphone, or if you don’t have one, you will need to print it out. You will also need proof of NHS vaccination which, to quote the Spanish authorities, was issued “at least 14 days after the date of administration of the final dose of the complete (first) course of vaccination, as long as the final dose of that course of vaccination was no more than 270 days ago. From that time, the certificate must show the administration of a booster vaccination.” That can be downloaded on the NHS Covid App or, if you don’t have a smartphone, our advice on getting a paper version is here. Please note that the rules may change in the next two weeks, so double check the requirements here and here.

Q&A is starting in 15 minutes 

Hello all. This Q&A will be getting underway in just 15 minutes. Our Chief Consumer and Culture Editor, Nick Trend, is on hand to answer all of your questions on testing requirements, vaccination rules, domestic Covid-19 regulations and more.

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