Will my double-vaccinated day trip to Lisbon be smooth sailing? The Holiday Guru answers Covid-related travel questions
Get on track: Take a tram trip in Lisbon after filling in Portugal’s form
The Holiday Guru is always on hand to answer your questions.
This week, issues tackled include entry requirements for Portugal and UK passport renewals.
Q. We are double vaccinated and going on a cruise from Southampton to Portugal (Madeira and Lisbon) and three Canary Islands. What forms will we need to enter as day-trippers and will we need to have booked a day two lateral flow test from an approved provider on the way back?
Graham Dickerson, via email
A. To enter Spain you must complete its Health Control Form (see spth.gob.es), and for Portugal fill in its Passenger Locator Card at portugalcleanand safe.pt/en/passenger-locator-card. In the 48 hours before returning home you will also be required to complete a UK Passenger Locator Form at gov.uk for which you will need to have booked a ‘day two’ lateral flow test. These tend to cost about £20 to £25.
Q. I am travelling to South Africa for two months and would like to know if I need a PCR test or a lateral flow test before going. I have had both Covid vaccinations and a booster.
Pat Eltringham, via email.
A. Those who are fully vaccinated, such as yourself, need to have taken a private PCR test — not an NHS test — and had a negative result within 72 hours of travel. The Foreign Office recommends that you print out a few copies of the result as ‘you may need to present it more than once on your journey’. See gov.uk for more information.
Q. I am travelling to France for the first time in two years to see my family. On return to the UK, however, I must complete a Passenger Locator Form online. There is no alternative, so what do people without access to a computer or a smartphone do?
Mrs O. Dorling, Poole, Dorset.
A. This remains a big problem for many, but the Government is sticking to the online PLF requirement. Ask someone with a computer to help you complete the form and print it off. Good luck.
Q. We’re going on a cruise to the Baltic states and stopping off at St Petersburg next May. Our passports expire in July 2022. What is the earliest date we can send them off for renewal?
Ray and Pauline Kirby, Cowes, Isle of Wight.
The Guru tells a reader to apply for their passport renewal in plenty of time as it could take up to 10 weeks
A. You could send them now if you liked. However, you would ‘lose’ the months you have up to July. New passports no longer have ‘unused’ months added on. The typical processing time is six weeks now, although it can be as long as ten weeks.
If you reapplied in February, you should be more than safe for the May departure. See ‘Renew or replace your adult passport’ at gov.uk for more details.
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If you need advice, the Holiday Guru is here to answer your questions. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.