Ireland implementing new EU ‘Traffic Lights’ approach to travel

11 November 2020

An EU-recommended “traffic lights” system was adopted on 13 October 2020 to bring a co-ordinated approach and greater transparency to air travel restrictions and entry requirements to European regions.

Categorisation of Risk Levels

Risk levels associated with the pandemic have been categorised as green, orange, red or grey across the EU, EEA, and the United Kingdom. Entry restrictions commenced on 9 November 2020 and each Member State will have authority to implement specific restrictions which will apply to red, orange, and grey regions.

Weekly Combined Indicator Map

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) have now published a combined indicator map which includes testing rates, testing positivity rates and the 14-day cumulative incidence rate. This map will provide a level of certainty to overseas passengers intending to travel in the coming months to regions and will be updated on a weekly basis for publication each Thursday. The regions referred to within the map are likely to change on a weekly basis.

Travel from Denmark

Certain overseas passengers will not be requested to restrict movements, such as essential workers and journeys undertaken for imperative business, family or medical reasons. However, passengers arriving from Denmark are now required to undertake additional measures to reduce contact due to a new variant of Covid-19 which has been connected to mink farms; such passengers must restrict movements for 14 days after arrival in Ireland.

Requirements to be complied with by travellers to Ireland

  • All overseas passengers are obliged to complete a Covid-19 Passenger Locator Form prior to entering Ireland.
  • Passengers arriving from green regions are not required to restrict movements; presently, only Greenland has been classified within this region.
  • Passengers entering Ireland from red (presently most of Europe), orange (presently Norway, Finland, parts of Greece and the Azores) and grey regions are requested to restrict movements for 14 days. Restricting movements includes the requirement to not go to work unless working alone or where working whilst avoiding contact with others is possible. Public transport ought to be avoided also.
  • Separately, overseas passengers from red regions will not be requested to restrict movements for the full 14 days if a negative Covid-19 test is provided at least 5 days after arrival. Passengers from orange regions will not be required to restrict movements if a negative Covid-19 test has been obtained at least 3 days prior to arrival. From 29 November 2020, passengers who are not free of Covid-19 upon arrival to Ireland can take a test 5 days later.

Please note, PCR Covid-19 tests are only provided free of charge from the Irish Health Service Executive for persons believing they may have the illness. If a passenger seeks a Covid-19 test for the purpose of shortening a period of movement restriction or travelling to and from regions, a fee (varying prices) must be paid. The Irish Minister for Transport expects tests for international travel to be in place at airports and ports by 1 December 2020.

As Ireland is currently at Level 5 restrictions until the start of December 2020, the current advice is that non-essential international travel should not take place.

EFC are closely monitoring developments in this area.

For further information please contact David Cantrell, Partner or another member of the Immigration Group at Eugene F Collins.

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