Who can resist Ireland? The charm of this island nation, with its down-to-earth pubs, ancient castles, dramatic landscapes, and epic coastal drives, is enough to magnetise any traveller to its shores. And even though there’s a global pandemic, Ireland is still kind of open for visitors.
We’ve created this informative guide to Ireland’s COVID entry requirements to help you navigate the world in these trying times. In our article, we will cover what restrictions are currently in place, what countries can visit Ireland right now, and what you can do once you’re there.
This guide features everything YOU NEED TO KNOW for visiting Ireland in 2020.
A message from Will, the OG Broke Backpacker
Amigos, let’s face the facts: travel isn’t what it was. Things have changed.
We strive at The Broke Backpacker to be the best source of up-to-date and relevant information in the travel-sphere. All the information here was sourced, checked, double-checked, and published on 14/11/2020. While the information was correct then—and we will outline any changes and updates that we do make in the future—it’s important to respect the immense changeability of this topic.
If you’re going to be travelling amongst the coronavirus world, you need to, do your own research and do it hard. No one blog or website is a sufficient source, and even if it was, it might all just go tits up anyway.
This information changes more often than I fart in a day. Tread with caution.
And if you do see some misinformation, please leave a (constructive) comment so that we can patch it up! We really do appreciate your support and input in these weirdest of times.
Who Can Travel to Ireland Right Now?
Until recently, overseas visitors were permitted to travel freely to Ireland based on a “Green List” of safe countries. This meant not having to restrict movements or quarantine when in Ireland.
But, as of 12th October, there are no countries on the Green List, meaning all visitors will be subject to Ireland’s travel restrictions.
Ireland is still open for tourism, however, and citizens from the following EU countries may enter:
In addition, major countries including Australia, Canada, France, Japan, and New Zealand can all travel to Ireland, albeit with some restrictions (details below).
From 8th November, Ireland will be operating under the EU “traffic light” system for travel. Countries will be grouped into Green, Orange, and Red based on risk levels.
Information continues to be updated on this government website.
Can Americans travel to Ireland?
American tourists are currently permitted to travel to Ireland. Yay!
However, COVID-19 requirements in Ireland also apply to US citizens. It’s also important to note that travel restrictions could change quickly, with little advance notice, and may affect your trip.
What Are the COVID-19 Entry Requirements for Ireland?
Ireland’s entry requirements are mercifully consistent. Currently, the same rules apply for all visitors, whether they are EU or third party nationals (except those travelling from Northern Ireland). The details at the moment are as follows:
There is currently no requirement for taking a COVID-19 test in order to enter Ireland’s borders. You also do not need a negative test result when arriving in the country.
In addition, there are no health screenings or temperature checks at any airports or other ports of entry in Ireland.
Currently all arrivals, apart from some exceptions, have to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Ireland.
This includes those who have tested negative before travel, Irish citizens returning home, and those who have no symptoms. Every visitor must self-quarantine but can do so in their accommodation or residence.
This means restricted movement, including not using public transport (if possible), not visiting other people, and not going out to shops and grocery stores unless necessary.
After 14 days, you may move around more freely but still under the public guidelines according to Ireland’s 5-level plan for “Living with COVID-19”.
Note that you do not have to remain in Ireland for 14 days. If the duration of your trip is 10 days, for example, you may freely leave.
Any travellers coming from Northern Ireland do not have to quarantine on arrival.
Overseas visitors to Ireland are required to complete a Passenger Locator form before arrival. Details you provide may be used to contact you during your 14 days of self-isolation; your details may also be used for contact tracing in relation to suspected cases of COVID-19.
This form is legally required and you may be fined if you do not fill it out. You can find the online form here.
Those arriving from Northern Ireland do not have to complete this form. Others, including transport workers and diplomats, are also exempt.
While it is not compulsory, the Irish government recommends that all visitors consider downloading the COVID Tracker app. However, like we say, this is NOT mandatory at this time.
At present, Ireland has made no changes to its visa requirements. Eligibility, exemption, and the application process for visas remain unchanged, and no additional paperwork is required for any travellers to Ireland.
If you want to enter Ireland, you may need a visa depending on your country’s prior agreements. There are currently 86 countries, including all EU nations, which do not require an entry visa for Ireland.
To see if your country is on that list, please check the Embassy of Ireland website.
Having insurance is currently not a travel requirement for visiting Ireland. Nonetheless, while COVID-19 continues to exist worldwide, travel insurance with good coverage is something that is highly recommended.
See our insurance section for more information.
Ireland’s Travel Restrictions – On the Ground in Ireland
Life in Ireland is continuing, but there is a framework in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and manage risk to the population. As of 20th October, the country is at its highest level of alert, Level 5, and will be for six weeks. This includes the following changes to living and travel in Ireland:
- Keep physical distance (at least 2 metres)
- Wash and/or disinfect hands whenever possible
- Practise good cough/sneeze etiquette
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Only use public transport for essential reasons
- Wear face coverings
- Work from home where possible
Face coverings are mandatory on public transport, in shops, and in other indoor locations. It is the law. In restaurants, these must be worn when entering and leaving, and when getting up from the table.
The Irish police may approach those not wearing face coverings to encourage and propagate about face mask measures.
You may be fined €2,500 or receive a 6 month prison sentence if you do not wear a face covering when necessary.
Under the Level 5 restrictions, domestic travel around Ireland is limited for both citizens and visitors. You may only move up to 5 kilometres from where you are staying unless you are travelling to and from work.
What Tourist Services Have Reopened in Ireland?
At the current alert level, services and entertainment facilities are very limited in Ireland. Some places are still open for business, but they do so under the restrictions of Level 5 measures. Currently open are:
- Hotels, guesthouses, B&Bs, etc.
- Outdoor playgrounds, parks
- Bars and restaurants*
- Services (hairdressers, nail salons, etc.)
*Not fully open, but offering takeout and delivery services
Please understand that if you are hoping to travel to Ireland and experience the legendary Irish pub & bar scene, now is NOT the time to visit. Personally, considering how big a part of Irish culture the boozer is, I would NOT advise visiting at this time – it would be like going to Paris when all the museums are closed.
Now, while travel insurance is not a mandatory entry requirement for Ireland, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have it. You really shouldn’t ever be travelling without insurance, and that goes double for the pandemic!
Keeping yourself covered against coronavirus mishaps is a complex subject, however, Americans get it easy. Our favourite insurance provider World Nomads just got favourite-r! They’re covering against COVID-related incidents and will also count for countries where corona coverage is a requirement.
Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple—just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!
Is there a backup option? Sure is—SafetyWing Travel Insurance! SafetWing is the cheap, long-term insurance for cheap, long-term travellers. And now, they’ve stepped up to the plate covering travellers and digital nomads against COVID-19 medical costs… at a bargain!
And if neither of those two choices are right for you? Well, in that case, I strongly, strongly, strongly recommend doing your own research on the top travel insurance companies and finding one right for your trip.
And Keep Smiling
Ireland is still incredible. There’s so much going for this country, even if it is currently in the midst of a lockdown. Self-isolating on the dramatic Ring of Kerry may not be so bad for some people – in fact it’s ideal if you’re writing a novel!
However, without the availability to explore much of Ireland’s entirety, from its castles to those all-important pubs, it may be best to put your Ireland travel plans on hold until things ease up.
Many countries are nevertheless allowed to enter Ireland’s borders. So if you feel a trip to the Emerald Isle coming on, or it’s further in the future for you, it’s never too early to start planning.
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