Important checklist when traveling to Spain or Portugal, after an Irish tourist was turned away at the airport

Irish tourists planning to holiday abroad in Spain and Portugal this summer are reminded to ensure they have everything they need before boarding a flight, such as an up-to-date passport and Covid certificate.

It comes after some tourists experienced problems when they didn’t take the right steps when planning their trip.

An Irish family recently experienced problems after a family member was denied entry on a flight to Spain because his passport was due to expire in five months.

Read more: Public transport fares reduced to just €1 for some starting today

And while Covid restrictions have come to an end in most places, are there any rules or documentation I still need to be aware of?

Here are four questions Irish tourists should ask before going on holiday to Spain or Portugal this summer:

Is my passport up to date?

According to current European Union requirements, a passenger’s passport must be less than 10 years old and valid for at least three months on the passenger’s return date.

Anyone wishing to travel this summer will need to check the expiry date on their passport to ensure they return to Ireland with more than three months on their passport.

If you need to renew your passport, the Irish Passport Office has advised that the fastest way to do this is through their online portal.

The current turnaround time for renewing an adult passport application is 10 business days. However, more complex renewals will take 15 business days and first-time passport applicants will have to wait 30 business days.

Is my Covid status correct?

Although many Covid restrictions are no longer in place, some rules still apply to being able to enter Spain or Portugal.


Travelers from Ireland to Spain must meet one of the following health requirements:

  • An EU Digital Covid Certificate or a negative certificate
  • A negative covid test
  • A certificate of recovery from Covid in the last six months.

If you do not have an EU Digital Covid Certificate or equivalent, you must complete a health check form before your departure.

You can do it through the website or the Spain Travel Health app. Once this is done, you will obtain a QR code that you will have to present both at the time of boarding and upon arrival in Spain.

Children under 12 years of age or not are required to submit an EU DCC or complete the SpTH health check form.


All tourists arriving in Portugal must present one of the following:

  • European Covid digital certificate: valid proof of full vaccination at least 14 days and no more than 270 days before travel. However, no time limits apply when passengers can present a European Digital Covid Certificate or equivalent valid proof of having received a booster dose of vaccine.
  • A certificate of recovery from Covid in the last six months.
  • Valid proof of a negative test result for Covid-19.

A passenger locator form is no longer required to travel to Portugal.

Children under the age of 12 are exempt from all of the above requirements.

Do I know how early I need to be at Dublin airport?

Although many passengers experienced problems with long security delays at Dublin Airport in March, it was recently reported that security wait times have improved significantly since more staff were hired.

On the Dublin Airport website, passengers arriving at the airport continue to be informed up to 2.5 hours before a short-haul flight and up to 3.5 hours before a long-haul flight.

Passengers can also view estimated security queue times on, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger and through the Dublin Airport app.

Am I aware of the risks?

As people tend to relax on vacation and let their guard down, tourists can easily fall victim to petty crimes such as scams, pickpocketing and counterfeit bill scams.

In a recent study, Barcelona in Spain was named as the pickpocket capital of Europe and the city where tourists are most at risk of being robbed. Tourists are also informed that Madrid in Spain has a higher risk of pickpockets and the same crime is also increasing in parts of Portugal, such as Lisbon and the Algarve.

The Department of Foreign Affairs advises Irish tourists abroad to take the following basic precautions:

• Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together; leave 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.

• Avoid flashing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you are alone. Verify that no one has followed you after conducting your business.

• Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and keep them in public places such as internet cafes, train and bus stations.

• Avoid dark, unlit streets and stairwells, arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to the entrance of your hotel or apartment as possible.

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