Below you will find the current regulations and safety recommendations for traveling to Ireland during COVID-19.
Is traveling during COVID-19 right for you?
Perhaps you’ve planned, anticipated, and looked forward to the trip for more than two years now. Maybe you’re thinking of a trip but not sure when you’ll ultimately go. Or, it could be that you have your bags packed and just want to make sure you are doing everything right.
Deciding whether to go right now may or may not be easy.
Being at level four does not prevent anyone from traveling to Ireland–there is no official ban. It simply is a tool that demonstrates a certain level of risk traveling.
So let’s help you access your comfort with traveling right now.
- Are infection and hospitalization rates higher or lower in your local community?
- Do you feel comfortable eating out, going on tours, shopping, or generally being where groups of people could congregate?
- Do you feel comfortable traveling through the airport and sitting on an airplane for an extended period?
- Are you comfortable with the current restrictions in Ireland and do not think that they will negatively impact your trip?
- If you were to become sick in Ireland and unable to return home, would you be able to manage your finances, healthcare, and time away from work?
If you are comfortable with the answers to those questions, then you are ready to travel to Ireland. 🥳
Current on-the-ground Restrictions in Ireland
Ireland may be one of the most proactive countries in Europe in terms of mitigating risk during COVID-19. They had massive restrictions at the beginning of the pandemic, and releasing them has been slow and deliberate.
Almost all social limitations in Ireland have been removed.
- Masks are no longer required for shops, museums, and other public indoor locations but they are advised on public transportation and in healthcare settings.
- Those with a positive COVID-19 test or symptoms are required to self-isolate for 7 days and mask for days 8-10.
- Those in close contact with the virus but not symptomatic are not required to self-isolate, but are advised to wear a mask.
The Irish government has stated multiple times that they don’t want to move backward. If the situation should arise again though, they will put restrictions back into place. While pandemic fatigue has set in for all of us, most Irish are willing to follow the directives to keep everyone safe. As a respectful traveler and guest, I urge you to do the same.
Traveling to Ireland during COVID-19
As of March 6, 2022, you no longer need any special documentation to enter Ireland.
No proof of vaccination or recovery or a negative PCR is required. You do not need to complete any passenger locator forms.
Returning to the United States from Ireland During COVID-19
To return to the United States, you will need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test or proof of recovery and complete a travel attestation form.
What kind of test do I need to return to the US?
All travelers regardless of their vaccination status must have an original printed or electronic negative COVID-19 viral test result (NAAT: RT-PCR, RT-LAMP, TMA, NEAR, HDA, or Antigen: Rapid).
When do I need to take the test to return to the US?
The test must be taken a maximum of 1 day before the first scheduled departure time in the flight itinerary.
For example, if a flight is at 1 pm on a Friday, travelers could board with a COVID-19 negative test that was taken any time on the prior Thursday.
What should be documented in test results to return to the US?
- Traveler’s full name and at least one other identifier such as date of birth or passport number
- The test results must be from an official testing center
- It must clearly state that the results are “negative,” “SARS-CoV-2 RNA not detected,” “SARS-CoV-2 antigen not detected,” or “COVID-19 not detected”
Can I do an at-home test?
Yes! At-home testing is a great option. It does not require you to be in a particular location-only solid internet access.
It must be a SARS-CoV-2 viral test (nucleic acid amplification test [NAAT] or antigen test) that has Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The test must be supervised by video with the telehealth service affiliated with the manufacturer of the test. 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 for boarding a plane to the US.
Right now, the best program available is Abbott’s BinaxNOW COVID-19 at-home test kit, which includes several tests in a pack (great if you need a do-over), a supervised Telehealth visit, and the test results through their NAVICA App. There are others, but availability is scarce.
At-Home COVID Testing Kit Tips
- Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to have the testing kit shipped to your home. There have been shipping delays.
- Have a back-up test just in case.
- You must have a reliable internet connection in order to complete the supervised test from your accommodations. I would not leave this up to chance. I recommend renting a wifi hotspot so that you don’t have to rely on potentially spotty reception at a hotel or B&B (in truth–I love having a hotspot for my whole trip, not just for testing. It is sooo convenient).
If you’re traveling in the Republic of Ireland only, WIFI Candy is an internet hotspot company that will give you unlimited access to wifi while you are in Ireland. They have great customer service and easy pickup or delivery to your accommodations. I send so many people their way, they gave me an affiliate code. Use the promo code STEPHANIE for 10% off.
If you plan to visit the Republic and Northern Ireland, Travel Wifi is a great option too.
Returning to Canada during Covid-19
Canada recommends avoiding all unnecessary international travel.
For those that travel to Ireland, you must submit your contact, travel, vaccination, negative molecular test results (not rapid antigen), and quarantine plan to the ArriveCan app or web form before you travel.
More information can be found at the Government of Canada COVID-19 Travel site.
Where Can I Get an In-Person COVID-19 Testing in Ireland?
There are multiple places to get in-person testing in Ireland. Remember to schedule your appointment in advance.
Dublin Airport Testing Locations:
- Randox: Terminal 2 Short-term Car Park. Dedicated parking is available on Level 5 of the Terminal 2 Short Term multi-story car park (watch this video to prepare yourself for arrival).
- Roc Doc Health Check: Express Green Car Park (drive-through testing); North Terminal (walk-through testing)
Dublin City Testing Locations:
- Randox Travel Centre Docklands: Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin Docklands, Dublin 2; or
- Randox Travel Centre Portobello: Camden Court Hotel, Camden Street Lower, Saint Kevin’s, Dublin, D02 W086 (located on the second floor)
- Citytest COVID-19 Testing Centre: 7/8 City Quay, Dublin 2, D02Y663
- TMB Travel Clinic: Leopardstown Racetrack
Shannon Airport Testing Locations:
- Roc Doc Health Check: Coach Park 2, Shannon Airport, Co Clare, V14 EE06 (drive-through testing)
- Randox Travel Centre: Southern Ring Road, Roxboro Road, Limerick, V94 EDP4
Cork Covid Testing Locations:
- Randox Travel Centre Cork: Tivoli, Cork, T23 E244
Galway City Covid Testing Locations
- Randox Travel Centre Galway: Monivea Road, Ballybrit, Galway, H91 D526
- CLS Galway: Unit 3A, Small Business Park, Tuam Rd, Galway, Co.Galway, H91 H520
Northern Ireland Covid Testing Locations
- Randox Travel Centre George Best Belfast City Airport (and other NI locations): Belfast City Airport, Belfast, BT3 9JH
- Vitalis Health Belfast: 58 Howard Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland, BT1 6PJ
Traveling to/from the Republic of Ireland & Northern Ireland (Common Travel Area – CTA)
Northern Ireland and the Republic have an agreement called the Common Travel Area CTA. You do not need to go through border checks if you are traveling between the two countries.
If you are entering Northern Ireland from the Republic (either vaccinated or unvaccinated), you do not need to quarantine.
However, the current rules for travel to Northern Ireland from the Republic require you to take a rapid lateral flow test before entering Northern Ireland. If it is negative you may enter. Lateral Flow Tests are available at local pharmacies.
If you travel into Northern Ireland within 10 days of arriving in the Republic from the US (an Amber country), you will also have to complete a Northern Ireland Passenger Locator Form. If you travel to NI on day 11, then you do not need to complete Northern Ireland’s passenger locator form.
Protect Yourself: Travel Insurance & Cancellation Policies During the Pandemic
It comes as no surprise that traveling during this time will require flexibility. Between staffing shortages, ever-changing travel requirements, and even the inability to predict our own health, any number of things can change your holiday plans.
Purchasing travel insurance and choosing the most flexible cancellation policies go a long way in protecting your travel investments and give you peace of mind.
What to look for in your travel insurance policy
To get the most from your travel insurance, purchase a Cancel For Any Reason policy with a COVID-19 travel benefit. This will allow you to (as it says) cancel for any possible reason and get up to 75% of your money back. You will also receive additional medical and travel benefits if you test positive before you leave the country.
Square Mouth is a travel insurance aggregator that I recommend to everyone that I work with one-on-one. They only refer to top-notch insurance companies and they do a great job explaining what each policy covers.
Check the box on the left of the search to include policies that only have benefits for COVID-19 events. More specifically, in the individual search results pay extra attention to the trip delay benefit amount. If you happen to contract the virus and need to quarantine, be sure this amount will cover ten nights of quarantine in Ireland.
Forbes did a great primer about travel insurance policies during the pandemic (scroll beyond the insurance quotes for the details).
Testing Positive for COVID-19 while Traveling in Ireland
Isolation Rules After Testing Positive in Ireland
If you test positive in Ireland, Ireland requires self-isolation for at least seven days. In the following three days, you do not need to isolate if you no longer have symptoms (but you should social distance). The first day of your symptoms is day zero.
Isolation Rules and US Reentry Rules After Testing Positive for COVID-19 Abroad
The US requires isolation for five days and recommends avoiding travel until day 10.
To enter the US you will need a negative test or certification from a doctor that states you are clear for travel. You can get this documentation this through an in-person or Telehealth visit.
If you have had a positive viral test on a sample taken during the past 90 days, and you have met the criteria to end isolation, you may travel instead with your positive viral test results and a signed letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official that states you have been cleared for travel. The positive test result and letter together are referred to as “documentation of recovery.
A letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official that clears you to end isolation, e.g., to return to work or school, can be used to show you are cleared to travel, even if travel isn’t specifically mentioned in the letter. The letter must have information that identifies you personally (e.g., name and date of birth) that matches the personal identifiers on your passport or other travel documents. The letter must be signed and dated on official letterhead that contains the name, address, and phone number of the healthcare provider or public health official who signed the letter.
If you have recovered from COVID-19 but are not able to obtain documentation of recovery that fulfills the requirements, you will need to show a negative COVID-19 viral test result from a sample taken no more than 1 day before your flight to the US departs.”
Medical Assistance in Ireland
If you need more care, there are many general practitioners and several excellent hospital systems in Ireland.
Before traveling to Ireland, connect with your current health insurance provider to see if/when/where they provide coverage in Ireland.
Or when you are in Ireland, connect with your travel insurance provider (because you bought a COVID-19 travel insurance policy right?) to see if they have a recommendation for where you should seek medical help.
Is traveling to Ireland During COVID-19 Worth it?
Since Ireland has opened up to international visitors in July of 2021, I have worked with dozens of travelers. Traveling to Ireland during COVID-19 is not without it’s challenges, but those that ventured out had the best time.
That’s not to say there isn’t risk. I had one family contract the virus during their short trip. While quarantining in Ireland isn’t so terrible, it certainly wasn’t a part of their original plans.
Largely, Ireland is a safe place. Their vaccination rates are among the highest in the world. They are quick to react with regulations that will keep the immunocompromised and elderly safe. And perhaps most importantly they are ready and eager to welcome you home.
Planning Your Trip to Ireland
If you don’t already know, I am Stephanie and I help travelers create local and immersive Ireland itineraries that go beyond the ordinary to help them experience a true and authentic Ireland. Grab my Ultimate Ireland Packing List below to get the best packing & pre-trip to-do list, and connect with me for travel tips and Ireland inspiration. ❤️