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Ireland is reopening to US travelers: Here’s what to expect
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Ireland is reopening to US travelers: Here’s what to expect

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Tourism Ireland has confirmed that the country will begin welcoming visitors from the U.S. on July 19.

Tourism Ireland has confirmed that the country will begin welcoming visitors from the U.S. on July 19. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Tourism Ireland has confirmed that the Emerald Isle will begin welcoming visitors from the U.S. on July 19, with no travel-related testing or quarantine required for those who are fully vaccinated.

Adult travelers who don’t have proof of vaccination are subject to a different set of protocols. Inbound visitors who aren’t fully immunized will need to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival in the Republic of Ireland, self-quarantine for 14 days following entry into the country and also undergo post-arrival testing, provided by Ireland’s national health service.

Children under age 12 are not yet eligible for vaccination in the U.S. and will also be exempt from the pretravel PCR testing requirement. However, those ages12-17 must have a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival to enter Ireland, even if they’re traveling with fully vaccinated or recovered adults.

Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons said, “The tourism industry right across the island of Ireland is very much looking forward to welcoming back visitors from the U.S. and we will ensure they enjoy their visit. The health and safety of all our visitors continues to be the priority, and we will ensure they are protected alongside a very warm Irish welcome and a great vacation experience.”

Prior to arrival, all travelers must complete a Passenger Locator Form, which their airline will check prior to their departure for Ireland. At that time, they may also be asked to produce the vaccination certificate, if they’ve indicated on their form that they are vaccinated.

Once passengers have landed in Ireland, airport officials will perform spot-check verifications of visitors’ proof of vaccination or negative PCR test results, as applicable. These additional safety checks may cause delays or potentially disrupt travelers’ plans, so travelers should allow themselves some extra time on either side of their departure or arrival.

As a European Union member, Ireland will adopt the EU’s ‘emergency brake’ mechanism as a means for responding quickly to the possible emergence of a variant of concern or interest. Should the ‘emergency brake’ mechanism be applied to U.S. travelers because of evolving epidemiological conditions, entry requirements would change abruptly and new protocols would be posted to the Irish government’s website.

One very important footnote is that only those who are fully vaccinated, or who can prove that they were diagnosed and recovered from COVID-19 in the past six months will be able to enjoy indoor hospitality (e.g., drinking or dining indoors at bars, cafes, restaurants, etc.) during their visit. Indoor hospitality has been suspended for much of the past 16 months, though outdoor service has been allowed since June 7, according to Reuters.

Just this month, the Irish government passed legislation to establish a vaccination verification system that will enable eating and drinking establishments to serve fully vaccinated patrons indoors, BBC reported. The new policy that permits inoculated customers to enjoy indoor hospitality is expected to go into effect on July 26.

Meanwhile, as part of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland's foreign travel policy follows the U.K.’s ‘traffic light’ system, in which countries are assigned a ‘green’, ‘amber’ or ‘red’ status, according to their present epidemiological conditions. The U.S. is currently on the ‘amber’ list, meaning that travelers to any U.K. destination must provide a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of their arrival, complete a 10-day quarantine and take another two to three PCR tests after entering the country.

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