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COVID requirements for non-EU citizens visiting Portugal - Help!

I am a Canadian who will be travelling to Portugal Jan. 2-12 and am fully vaccinated for COVID. I need clarification regarding the requirements for non-EU citizen tourists visiting Portugal, to stay at a hotel or visit tourist sites. Due to the emergence of Omicron, according to the “reopen eu” website, an EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC) is mandatory, with no other option given, for tourist accommodation and services. This is particularly worrisome, as I don’t know if my trip is even viable in that case. According to the “visit Portugal” website, either EUDCC or negative test is required, but they do not specify which types of tests are accepted, and how long they would be valid for. Can anyone help clarify the rules? The entry requirements for arriving by plane are clear and not a problem (PCR test 72 hours prior or rapid antigen test 48 hours prior, regardless of vaccination status), but I am worried about after I get there if I can even check-in to a hotel or go anywhere without an EUDCC! This flight was booked on credit from a pandemic-cancelled trip that was booked pre-pandemic, and I will forfeit the entire amount if I am not able to travel to Portugal!

Posted by
34 posts

I'm working on a trip early next year too and I have the same concerns. Yes, I agree: to fly you need a negative PCR or antigen test. Your vaccination status currently does not matter for the flight but keep an eye on this. If the vax becomes a requirement to fly, that might give you recourse with your airline.

Now, once you're there things get a little gloomier us. From what I can see here in order to enter restaurants and museums, etc. you need:

-COVID EU Digital Certificate (not available to either of us), or

-a "Proof of vaccination" (for US citizens we have a spurious paper CDC card which may or may not be valid for entry), or

-"Proof of laboratory testing with a negative result". <-- this may be your only recourse.

My thought is that you're going to need to get tested once or twice during your trip and have the results with you to get into hotels and restaurants. Your negative test to get on the plane should work for your initial night at your hotel. But you might have to keep getting tested, esp. if you're moving around to other hotels.

Unfortunately I noticed that there will be a nationwide "mandatory telework regime" from 2nd and 9th of January 2022. I would not count on museums to be open during this time. Maybe someone here from Portugal can indicate if grocery, public transport and restaurants would be open during this time.

I think we'll know more in about 1 week once we know if the Omicron variant responds to the vaccines. If it doesn't respond well, I would expect the lockdown measures to tighten.

I have my fingers crossed for you.

Posted by
689 posts

If the restrictions are similar to the ones that were in place this last summer, I don't think you have anything to worry about regarding checking into your hotel. Before we traveled in August, I emailed my accommodations. Some accepted my vaccination card and some required a negative test. The tests needed were easily available and inexpensive. I did pack a couple of test kits, just in case, but didn't end up using them.

Posted by
1438 posts

New rules go into effect today but they don’t mean your trip is untenable.

The tests required are either PCR or Antigen for the flights. For hotels and to eat inside restaurants, go to museums, etc., negative tests are required. Antigen is accepted and the antigen tests are widely available and are cheap - around €2. It could be a challenge if you are staying in multiple hotels/apartments but not impossible.

When these rules were in effect last summer, a lot of hotels had the antigen tests available for guests to take before checkin. Either bring a few or buy a few here in supermarkets or Farmacia’s and you should be good to go.

Safe Communities Portugal has good info in English.

Posted by
47 posts

Thanks mergs, Gail and kathrynj for the reassurances that rapid antigen testing should still be adequate for entry into hotels, restaurants and tourist sites, even with the new restrictions applied due to Omicron. The new upscaled requirement of "EU Digital COVID Certificate mandatory", in many of the categories probably applies to EU citizens only then.

I don't mind taking the Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) every few days or so, especially as it is so affordable (2 Euro!) and easily available for purchase, as compared to here in Canada, where there are no RAT self-kits available for purchase off-the-shelf. One can buy online from Air Canada, kits containing 2 individual RAT for $130, or $80 if you are an Aeroplan member, which is still a far cry from 2 Euro!

My departure is a month away, so I am crossing my fingers, the situation doesn't escalate too much before then.

Posted by
1438 posts

I wrote in your other post but wanted to make certain you see this.

The self tests are getting hard to find. Neither the supermercado where I shop or my Farmacia have them right now. Of course, things could (and hopefully will) be better in a month. As the Portuguese government is really depending on testing, I’m guessing they will work to increase the supplies. But, you might have to find labs and test there.

Posted by
53 posts

I do not see anywhere you need a Covid test to go into a restaurant or a hotel. Our CDC card was accepted all over Malta, Greece and Sicily whenever we were asked. We also have our California cards converted into our Apple Wallet.


From December 1st
Mandatory mask in closed spaces
General recommendation for regular testing
Mandatory EU COVID Digital Certificate, or proof of vaccination attesting to the complete vaccination schedule or negative test when accessing:
- Restaurants (except on outdoors terraces)
- Tourist establishments and local accommodation
- Events with reserved seats
- Gyms
Mandatory negative test (even for vaccinated) when accessing:
- Bars and clubs;
- Visits to patients in health facilities;
- Large events without reserved seats or in improvised venues and sports venues (RT-PCR Test, Rapid Antigen Test or selftest perform

Posted by
47 posts

@kathrynj - Thanks for the heads up on current limited availability of self tests in Portugal. I do hope the situation changes before my early January trip, as inexpensive, readily available, self COVID tests are not a "thing" in Canada, as I had mentioned above (only available to order online, for $80 for two Rapid Antigen self tests).

@linsfo - That is good your CDC vaccination card was accepted, however, that may not always be the case, if restaurants and hotels decide to follow the rules to the letter, because neither US nor Canada are on the list of accepted reciprocal countries when it comes to vaccination certificates (according to the visit portugal website you quoted above). So, that would only leave the testing option, which is clearly stated in the excerpt taken from in your post.

I also suspect US citizens probably have better luck than Canadians having their own country's vaccine card accepted in Europe because of your much larger presence which breeds familiarity. There will be far fewer European hospitality providers who have ever laid eyes on a Canadian COVID vaccine card, compared to a much larger majority who have already encountered CDC COVID vaccine cards, and thus would be more likely to accept the latter.