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American COVID Recovery Letter

Hello!
I'm scheduled to fly into Portugal in about 2 weeks but tested positive for COVID this week. My provider will write me a recovery letter to get back into the US, but does anyone have experience with Portugal accepting American documentation? From everything I've read they DON'T and I have to have a negative antigen test which should be okay but very unnerving. I was curious if anyone knows if they have been accepting CDC cards and American recovery certificates.

Thanks so much!

Posted by
5194 posts

It was very hard to find an answer to this. I understand your concern. On Sherpa, it stated that a certificate of recovery was accepted from a list of countries, but the United States was not one of them. It also said that the certificate of recovery could not have been issued more recently than 11 days prior to entry. Both of these statements do raise concerns.

I am going to suggest that you contact someone official on this to get an answer that is not just someone's best guess. If you are two weeks out, there is hope that you will simply test negative again by the time you travel, but I can see how this is definitely an anxiety inducing situation. Get well soon!

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you very much for the response and it's definitely confusing. This says the letter date needs to be 11 days after the test was taken, which makes a bit more sense than the airline/travel searching websites that say 11 days before travel. https://eportugal.gov.pt/en/servicos/pedir-o-certificado-digital-covid-da-ue#:~:text=Recovery%20Certificate%20%2D%20proves%20that%20the,on%20the%20TraceCOVID%2D19%20platform.

Do you happen to have any suggestions on who would be the best person to confirm or reach out to? I'm not traveling with a RS tour but helpful information all around.

I emailed the address at the bottom of this, even though it's for Portuguese travelers so we'll see. I'm assuming they won't accept it based on the line on the bottom about not being from a reciprocal country. https://www.visitportugal.com/en/content/covid-19-measures-implemented-portugal

Appreciate the insight and guidance,

Posted by
149 posts

My suggestion is to forget about CDC cards and recovery certificates. You need a clean COVID test to enter Portugal and a clean one to return to the US

Dennis

Posted by
5194 posts

Dennis, why would you say this? One can certainly enter the United States with a certificate of recovery. What are you basing this on?

Posted by
149 posts

Just because you recovered from COVID you contracted weeks ago does not mean you can't get it again. That is why a clean bill of health is required. It is easy to get a COVID test in Lisbon. I don't know why one would just not do it.

Dennis

Posted by
6 posts

As a heads up, you can test positive for COVID on a PCR test for weeks afterward, which is why the letter is a nice luxury. The contagious period is over, but there are traces in your system a test could pick up. Antigen tests are less sensitive but a little more nerve-wracking with the timing. Plus not needing to test saves time for other sites instead :)

Posted by
1179 posts

I agree that the easiest thing would be to have a test (Antigen within 24 hours) before your flight plus your plus your recovery letter. That way you are covered for certain. The rules say either, but in your circumstance I would do both. I do think they would accept your recovery letter as they have been accepting US Vaccination cards, but better safe than sorry.

FYI - our mask mandate was mostly dropped as of the 22nd. And, the current state of emergency is set to expire in a few days so there may be more changes when that happens. Passenger Locator Forms are no longer necessary.

Safe Communities Portugal is a good site for up to date information.

Posted by
343 posts

From what I understand, the US CDC card and recovery letter is not officially accepted in Portugal. However, I have heard of instances where the CDC card was accepted.

But, anyways, I would go ahead and contact the Portugal Embassy in the US via email. They are great at responding. I got answers within a day for the 2X I did contact them.

I've heard that with omicron, you tend to test negative faster than other variants on antigen tests. Here's hoping you get that negative result, have a recovery letter for the trip home, and have a fabulous trip without covid worries. Just think, you are going to have amazing antibodies for this trip and not have to worry about that stressful return to the US test.

Posted by
6 posts

Hi Everyone,
Thank you very much all and Gail, that's a great idea. I just reached out to them and I'll post the answer here for posterity should anyone else come across the same situation. Just my luck to pick the one country in Europe where a negative test is required. Same thoughts on getting it before I go and have some level of protection. It cuts it a little close for my taste, but you can only do so much.
Appreciate the community and responses here,
Jess

Posted by
149 posts

Today I checked the lates (4/22) guidelines for entering Portugal. The only rea change is dropping the locator card.
The CDC vaccination card and a US recovery certificate are still NOT accepted as we are not part of the "reciprocal conditions" waiver. So a clean COVID test (either will do) is your only sure way to get in. Below is a cut and paste from "Visit Portugal"

Mandatory to present:
- A valid vaccination EU Digital COVID Certificate (with a complete vaccination schedule or with a complete vaccination schedule and a vaccine booster)
- Or a valid test or recovery EU Digital COVID Certificate,
- Or a valid vaccination certificate (with a complete vaccination schedule or a vaccine booster) or recovery certificate issued by a third country, under reciprocal conditions

- Or a negative RT-PCR Test (or similar NAAT test) - 72h before boarding, or
- Or a negative Laboratorial Rapid Antigen Test- 24h before boarding (according to the European Commission list)

If anyone finds contradictory information, please post it so we can all be on the same page

Dennis

Posted by
6 posts

Hi jessiebobessie - how did your entry into Portugal go? I also tested positive for COVID at the end of March & had very mild symptoms. I'm flying into Portugal on 6/18. I was told by the Los Angeles Dept of Health that I might test positive for 3 mths so I asked my doctor for a recovery letter & will take the PCR test before the trip. Hopefully the result will be negative by then, but just preparing for worst case scenario. Thanks!

Posted by
6 posts

Hi Cyn,
Thanks for finding my post and happy to share my experience! Appreciate you asking and researching it. I tested negative on an antigen test the day before AND since I flew in through Amsterdam, which doesn't require testing, they didn't ask for anything when I went through customs. Since Amsterdam is in the EU, Portugal then didn't ask for it when I landed there.

For the flight back to the US, I got a little nervous about using a recovery letter since I didn't know how strict they would be or what needed to be said in the letter. Someone in my group said the letter had to say, "cleared for air travel" and mine said just travel in general. I was in Paris, walked into a pharmacy for a $20 test and it was negative.

You SHOULD be okay, especially with an antigen test and if you tested positive all the way back in March. I know it's easier said than felt. Best of luck and you are going to have an awesome time!!

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks jessiebobessie - lucky that you came in through an EU country! I think I should be OK. Very excited to visit Portugal! I just want some of those pasteis! Cyn