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Portugal

If you’re travelling to Portugal, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.     

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), available by contacting the Health Service Executive, and that you also obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Health
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

Ireland has adopted the EU Recommendation on a coordinated approach to travel restrictions in the context of COVID-19, known as the EU traffic lights approachBased on this, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) will publish a combined indicator map each week which will show COVID-19 risk levels across the EU and EEA. Regions will be green, orange, red or grey, on the basis of agreed criteria. In line with the EU Recommendation, there will be no entry restrictions on passengers travelling from green regions. Further information is available on the Re-Open Europa website.

Our TravelWise app has been suspended to take account of the new EU system. We apologise for this inconvenience. Updated information will continue to be provided on this website.

Overview

COVID-19 Status

Travel to Portugal from Ireland

Information about the new EU Recommendation (‘traffic lights’ system) which applies to EU / EEA countries is available here. Anyone considering travel to Portugal should check the latest information from the local authorities regarding requirements for international passengers arriving in the country.

Entry to Portugal by Air

All passengers are required to complete a passenger locator card before they arrive in Portugal.

Direct air travel to Portugal is permitted from / by:

a)           Countries belonging to the European Union, and Schengen area countries (Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland)

b)         (On the basis of the European Council decision of 22 October 2020) Australia, China, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, Thailand and Uruguay | Special Administrative Regions: Hong Kong and Macau.

Where there are no direct flights to Portugal from the countries listed above, you may still be allowed entry provided you have remained airside while in transit through other countries.

c)           Third country nationals travelling for business, study, family reunification, health or humanitarian reasons.

d)         On 20 December, the Portuguese Government announced they will be restricting passenger travel to/from the UK, regardless of nationality, with the exception of Portuguese citizens and those legally resident in Portugal from 24:00 on Sunday 20 December onwards. National citizens and foreign citizens with legal residence in Portugal who do not carry proof of a negative test will be referred to the competent authorities to carry out the test within the airport. 

Health Screening

If you are travelling to Portugal from Ireland, Schengen area countries (Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland), Australia, China, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, Thailand, Uruguay, Hong Kong or Macau, you will be subject to health screening on arrival at mainland airports and ports.

Your temperature will be checked and if it is 38ºc or over or you show signs of being unwell, you will be referred to the health authorities at the airport. You may be required to take a COVID-19 test and you will have to wait at a specific location within the airport until notification of the result.

In category (c) cases above, all passengers must present proof of a negative COVID-19 test (RT -PCR) result taken within 72 hours prior to departure. Exceptions to the rule of mandatory presentation of negative RT -PCR test results before boarding are as follows:

  • Transfer passengers, provided they are on the same calendar day and they do not leave the boarding area within the airport;
  • National citizens and foreign citizens with legal residence in Portuguese national territory and their families, as well as diplomatic staff based in Portugal, and third country nationals traveling for repatriation or humanitarian purposes, can board without proof of testing. They must be tested upon arrival at the Portuguese airport or otherwise independently within 48 hours, at their own expense, and must await the results at the airport.

Please also see relevant information in relation to Madeira and the Azores Islands.

Travel from Portugal to Ireland

From Saturday 16 January 2021, all passengers arriving into Ireland are required to have a negative/’not detected’ result from a pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test carried out no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Ireland.

Portuguese public health authorities list of testing laboratories is available HERE

Public health guidelines continue to apply for anyone arriving in Ireland. For information on arriving in Ireland from abroad, please visit the website of the Irish Government (www.gov.ie) or the Health Service Executive (HSE) www.hse.ie

Security Status

High Degree of Caution

Security Status Last Updated: 21 October 2020 to take effect from 00.00 on 22 October 2020

COVID-19

A “State of Emergency” remains in place until at 23.59 on 30 January 2021. Measures / restrictions currently include:

•           For the entire continental Portugal national territory

  • General duty to “Stay at Home”
  • Mandatory confinement for patients and persons under active surveillance for COVID-19;
  • Mandatory teleworking wherever possible;
  • Rules on physical distancing, use of masks, occupancy limits, schedules and sanitisation remain in place;
  • Mandatory use of face masks or visors in the workplace;
  • Mandatory use of face masks in public outdoor settings where social distancing is not possible;
  • A ban on weekend travel between municipalities from 20.00 on Fridays until 05.00 on Mondays, except for urgent and unavoidable travel reasons;
  • Travel for on-site work will require a written declaration from the employer;
  • Closure of all retail and service outlets with the exception of those that provide essential goods;
  • All establishments must close at 20:00 on weekdays and 13:00 at weekends. The exception is retail food outlets which can operate until 17.00 at weekends.
  • All restaurants located in shopping centres are closed;
  • All other restaurants can only operate on a takeaway or home delivery basis;
  • Ban on circulation in public spaces and streets, as well as in private spaces and streets adjacent to public roads, except for urgent and unavoidable travel reasons, namely: purchase of essential goods and services, performance of professional activities where teleworking is not possible;
  • Local Mayors must regulate for the closure of all public spaces where people might gather, such as beaches, playgrounds and public facilities for sport.
  • People may transit through but not remain in public spaces such as parks;
  • The allocation of spaces accessible to the public must observe the maximum indicative occupancy rule of 0.05 people per square metre of area, with the exception of establishments providing services;
  • Bars and Night Clubs remain closed;
  • Prohibition of the sale of alcoholic beverages from 20h00 in service areas or at petrol stations;
  • The operation of fairs and markets is permitted in the case of the sale of food products and subject to authorisation by the Mayor;
  • Educational establishments closed from 22 January for 15 days;
  • Government / Public services available by appointment only;
  • Closure of a wide range of facilities and establishments, including cultural and leisure activities, sports activities and spas;
  • Individual outdoor exercise remains permitted (subject to certain limits);
  • Religious services remain permitted, subject to local public health regulations;
  • Sports events involving Portuguese national teams and Portugal’s professional (First Division) football teams may continue but without supporters in attendance.

If you are an Irish citizen in Portugal, you should monitor developments regularly and follow the advice available via the Portuguese public health authorities’ Coronavirus website - Servico Nacional de Saude (SNS) (click on globe icon in top right hand corner of the screen to access English-language version).

A 24-hour telephone helpline is also being operated by the Portuguese public health authorities and can be reached from inside Portugal by dialling 808 24 24 24. For guidance in English, users should dial ‘9’ following connection to the helpline.

Additional information on COVID-19 can be found via the following links:

HSE

HPSC

ECDC

World Health Organisation

General Travel Advice

Wildfires

Wildfires are a feature of summer in Portugal, most fires are quickly brought under control but some can escalate into major events, particular when the weather is very hot and windy. Take particular care to avoid starting a fire, and take standard fire safety precautions, keeping away from fires.

The best place to get the most current information on fires is via this link to the Portuguese Civil Protection service http://www.prociv.pt/en-us/Pages/default.aspx. Under "active events", fires appear as a flame icon. Red icons indicate ongoing fires not under control, orange relates to fires burning but under control and green to resolved events.

Emergency assistance

The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

You can contact the emergency services in Portugal by dialling 112.

Our tips for Safe Travels:

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities.
  • Get a European Health Insurance Card
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
  • Read our ‘Know Before You Go guide.
  • General duty to “Stay at Home”
  • Mandatory confinement for patients and persons under active surveillance for COVID-19;
  • Mandatory teleworking wherever possible;
  • Rules on physical distancing, use of masks, occupancy limits, schedules and sanitisation remain in place;
  • Mandatory use of face masks or visors in the workplace;
  • Mandatory use of face masks in public outdoor settings where social distancing is not possible;
  • A ban on weekend travel between municipalities from 20.00 on Fridays until 05.00 on Mondays, except for urgent and unavoidable travel reasons;
  • Travel for on-site work will require a written declaration from the employer;
  • Closure of all retail and service outlets with the exception of those that provide essential goods;
  • All establishments must close at 20:00 on weekdays and 13:00 at weekends. The exception is retail food outlets which can operate until 17.00 at weekends.
  • All restaurants located in shopping centres are closed;
  • All other restaurants can only operate on a takeaway or home delivery basis;
  • Ban on circulation in public spaces and streets, as well as in private spaces and streets adjacent to public roads, except for urgent and unavoidable travel reasons, namely: purchase of essential goods and services, performance of professional activities where teleworking is not possible;
  • Local Mayors must regulate for the closure of all public spaces where people might gather, such as beaches, playgrounds and public facilities for sport.
  • People may transit through but not remain in public spaces such as parks;
  • The allocation of spaces accessible to the public must observe the maximum indicative occupancy rule of 0.05 people per square metre of area, with the exception of establishments providing services;
  • Bars and Night Clubs remain closed;
  • Prohibition of the sale of alcoholic beverages from 20h00 in service areas or at petrol stations;
  • The operation of fairs and markets is permitted in the case of the sale of food products and subject to authorisation by the Mayor;
  • Educational establishments closed from 22 January for 15 days;
  • Government / Public services available by appointment only;
  • Closure of a wide range of facilities and establishments, including cultural and leisure activities, sports activities and spas;
  • Individual outdoor exercise remains permitted (subject to certain limits);
  • Religious services remain permitted, subject to local public health regulations;
  • Sports events involving Portuguese national teams and Portugal’s professional (First Division) football teams may continue but without supporters in attendance.

 

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Terrorism

Along with other European countries, there is potential for Portugal to experience international terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates.

Crime

  • Crimes such as pickpocketing, handbag snatching and theft from cars are increasing in main tourist areas including Lisbon and the Algarve.
  • Pay close attention to your personal belongings at tourist attractions, on public transport (especially on the popular E15 and E28 trams in Lisbon) and at busy rail and underground stations, museums, restaurants and hotel foyers. There have also been reports of thefts from safe boxes ­in apartments and hotels.
  • Don't carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place 
  • Don't carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home
  • Leave your car doors locked and the windows rolled up, both when you park and when driving through urban centres at night
  • On hikes in remote areas, including pilgrimage walks, we advise that women should not travel alone. Attacks, although rare, are not unknown.

Nightclubs

  • In general Portugal is a safe country, however, be careful of your personal safety as there have been reports of incidents in nightclubs.

Reporting a crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Portugal, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy if you need help.

The Portuguese Association for Victim Support (APAV) is a non-profit organisation with qualified personnel that informs, protects and supports victims of crime with a personalised and confidential service (also available in English). APAV Helpline: 7007202277.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Portugal, be aware that driving regulations and customs are different from those in Ireland. Traffic is faster and the accident rate is much higher. Cars drive on the right side of the road so traffic will be coming from the opposite direction to traffic in Ireland.

If you want to drive:

  • Be aware of Portugal’s traffic laws, such as speed limits. Fines have recently be increased considerably for several offences
  • Never allow children under 12 to travel in the front passenger seat
  • Carry a high-visibility vest and a hazard warning triangle in your vehicle
  • Portugal operates a toll system on its motorways and you risk heavy fines if you don’t or can’t pay toll fees. Don’t use the green lanes at the tolls – they’re reserved for motorists who subscribe to the automatic pay system (Via Verde)

Pedestrians

Whether you’re a driver or a pedestrian, be careful at crossings on busy roads, as designated crossing places are often poorly marked. Pay particular attention late at night or in busy commercial and entertainment districts in cities such as Lisbon and Porto.

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or even illegal.

Illegal drugs

If you’re caught consuming or carrying drugs for personal use, you may be fined or have your personal belongings seized by the police. Selling or trafficking of drugs is a criminal offence and subject to severe penalties, such as imprisonment.

Personal identification

Under Portuguese law, you must carry identification at all times. We advise you to carry photocopies of the relevant pages of your passport, and keep the original in a safe place.

Health

Health

Travel Insurance

We can’t pay for emergency medical repatriation, repatriation of remains, or for expenses as a result of a personal emergency while you are abroad. If you buy an appropriate travel insurance policy, these costs will be covered, provided you haven’t broken the terms and conditions.

Buying comprehensive travel insurance can save you and your family a lot of money if something goes wrong. It will also ensure that you get the medical attention you need, when you need it. Hospital bills can quickly run into thousands of euro, and a medical evacuation back to Ireland can cost thousands more.

Not all policies are the same, and the cheapest one might be cheap for a reason. Make sure your policy covers all the activities you plan to do on your trip. Insurance Ireland recommend that you purchase a policy that provides a minimum medical cover of €1 million.

Emergency expenses

Your policy should cover:

  • All medical care abroad, including evacuation by air ambulance, or other emergency procedures, and any other costs associated with an unexpected longer stay.
  • Your entire trip, from departure to return. Consider an annual multi-trip policy if you’re making more than one trip in the year.   
  • 24-hour emergency service and assistance.
  • Personal liability cover (in case you’re sued for causing injury or damaging property).
  • Lost and stolen possessions.
  • Cancellation and curtailment.
  • Any extra activities you intend to do that are excluded from standard policies (e.g. water sport activities such as jet skiing or other extreme sports).

Exclusions: You should know most insurance policies will not cover drink or drug-related incidents.

European Health Insurance Card

As an Irish resident you are entitled to get healthcare through the public system in countries of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland if you become ill or injured while on a temporary stay there. Ensure that you get or renew your EHIC (the new name for the E111) before you go, and remember, you need one for every person travelling in your group.

Apply for your EHIC and find out more information.

The EHIC is not a substitute for proper travel insurance provided by a reputable insurer. It doesn’t cover medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment or treatment of a non-urgent nature. Also, some private hospitals may not accept the EHIC, so you should check with the hospital administrator beforehand.

Zika Virus

The World Health Organisation has noted that the Portuguese island of Madeira is at high likelihood of being at risk for the Zika virus. People considering travelling to Madeira, should be seek medical advice before travelling. Mainland Portugal has a low likelihood of being at risk for the Zika virus.

Additional Information

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

You need a valid passport to visit Portugal. You can enter Portugal up to the date of expiry.

A significant number of citizens have had their passport seized on arrival in Portugal this year due to the fact that they were travelling on a passport that had been reported lost or stolen sometime in the past. Please make sure that the passport you are travelling on has never been reported lost or stolen, as this will produce an alert on the Schengen Information System and your passport will be apprehended by the Portuguese Immigration Authorities on arrival.

Minors travelling from Ireland

In Portugal, unaccompanied minors (travelling alone or with an adult who is not their legal guardian) are sometimes requested for letters of permission when they arrive at immigration in Portugal. The Embassy cannot advise you on this. You should contact the Embassy of Portugal in Dublin before you travel. They can advise on what documents you may need.

Buying property

If you intend to buy property in Portugal, we strongly advise you to consult an independent legal advisor from the beginning of the process.

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

Please note that if you require assistance in the case of emergency while the Embassy is closed, contact the main Embassy number, 00 351 213308200, and leave a message on the Duty Officer voice mailbox. This mailbox will be monitored regularly.

Alternatively, you can call the Duty Officer at the Department of Foreign Affairs at 00353 1 408 2000.

Embassy of Ireland
Avenida da Liberdade 200, 4th Floor
1250-147 Lisboa
Portugal

Tel: +351 21 330 8200
Fax: +351 21 397 7363

Monday to Friday 09:30-12:30

Contact us