IF YOU are going on holiday to a different country this year then you’ll likely be wondering what Covid rules are going to affect you. 

For many people, this summer will be the first time they’ve got on a plane in a few years, and trying to work out what Covid rules and paperwork might affect you can be an absolute minefield.


What happens if you miss your flight due to airport delays?


 

Do I have to have a Covid vaccine to fly? 

Let’s start off with Covid vaccines, a lot of us will be fully vaccinated and have had our boosters, but some people might be missing some jabs or have chosen not to have any at all. 

I wish there was a short answer to this question, but unfortunately, there’s not and the rules vary from country to country. 

However, as a general rule of thumb, if you are vaccinated and have your Covid passport with you when you fly then there are a lot less pre and post-flight rules. 

South Wales Argus: Covid vaccine. Credit: Damien Storan/PACovid vaccine. Credit: Damien Storan/PA

If you have NOT been fully vaccinated, you should continue to follow the entry requirements of the country you are travelling to, such as proof of a negative COVID-19 test on arrival. 

You should carefully check the requirements of your destination country before travelling, this can be done on the government website here. 

How does a Covid passport work? 

The NHS Covid Pass app is the easiest way to demonstrate your vaccination status, as it has a downloadable screen that foreign countries accept.

If you do not have a smartphone and/or would like a hard copy of your NHS Covid Pass, then you need to fill in this government form and it will be sent to you in the post.

  • online at Get your NHS COVID Pass letter
  • by calling the 119 service (0808 1624 119 for residents of the Isle of Man)
  • on the Welsh Government website, for children living in Wales

Can I still use my EHIC card? 

Yes, you can still use your European Health Insurance Card for healthcare when travelling in Europe.

South Wales Argus: EHIC card. Credit: PAEHIC card. Credit: PA

With an EHIC or GHIC (global health card that replaces the EHIC card) you can get emergency or necessary medical care for the same cost as a resident in the country you’re visiting. 

This means that you can get healthcare at a reduced cost or for free.

An EHIC or GHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance. Make sure you have both before you travel.

Apply for a free GHIC card on the NHS website here.

What do you have to do when flying out of the UK to a different country? 

The Covid guidelines on arrival to each foreign country depend on a number of different factors and it’s always best to check online before you fly. 

As a rule of thumb, if you are fully vaccinated you need to show your NHS Covid Pass on arrival, fill in a passenger locator form saying where you will be staying and get your temperature checked.  

Always carefully check what the individual rules are in the country you are visiting, as these can change quickly. 

To do this simply go to the Government website’s travel advice section, select the country you are going to and then click ‘entry requirements’.

South Wales Argus: Passengers in the arrivals hall at Heathrow Airport Credit: Aaron Chown/PAPassengers in the arrivals hall at Heathrow Airport Credit: Aaron Chown/PA

What do you have to do when returning to England from a different country?

You do not need to complete a UK passenger locator form before you travel, take any COVID-19 tests or quarantine when you arrive in England.

Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all have separate rules which can be checked on the government website.

How do I know if my passport is valid? 

If you are planning to travel to an EU country (except Ireland), or Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino or Vatican City, you must follow the Schengen area passport requirements.  

Your passport must be:

  • Issued less than 10 years before the date you enter the country (check the ‘date of issue’)
  • valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’)
  • You must check your passport meets these requirements before you travel. If your passport was issued before 1 October 2018, extra months may have been added to its expiry date.
  • Contact the embassy of the country you are visiting if you think that your passport does not meet both these requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.   

What happens if I get Covid when I’m abroad? 

South Wales Argus: Covid test. Credit: PACovid test. Credit: PA

If you test positive for COVID-19 abroad, you must follow local public health advice. You may need to quarantine or self-isolate and stay longer than planned.

Plan ahead for any possible delays to your return home and entry requirements at your next destination.