Get us in your inbox

Porto, Portugal
Photograph: Shutterstock

These countries are effectively banning travellers who haven’t had the booster jab

The EU has introduced rules that mean vaccination certificates have an expiry date

Sophie Dickinson
Written by
Sophie Dickinson

Good news: travel is officially back. After two years of hesitant bookings, lost deposits and rainy staycations, we can pretty confidently start planning trips again. The only catch? Following the labyrinthine rules in place in different countries.

If you’re looking to travel to Europe, there’s one rule you should really be aware of. With the rollout of booster shots across the globe, the meaning of ‘fully vaccinated’ has suddenly become unclear. So the EU Commission has released new recommendations for all states within the passport-free Schengen area. While there aren’t unified rules about vaccination requirements for entering the countries themselves, the jab criteria for getting into venues and other public spaces have now been standardised (in those countries where vaccine passports have been introduced). 

Vaccine certificates for both tourists and citizens are now only valid for nine months. In countries like France, Italy and Portugal, these documents are needed for entry to places like restaurants and museums, as well as large cultural events. That means that if you received your second dose of the vaccine more than 270 days ago (that’s early May 2021), you’ll need to get a third jab before you travel. Having an out-of-date pass will severely limit what you can do, so triple-check you fall within the new guidelines.

Other countries have gone even further, with Greece at the extreme end. Vaccine passes in the country are now only valid for seven months, which means you’ll only be seen as fully jabbed if you have had a vaccine since July 2021. The rules are slightly more simple (and even stricter) in Austria: you have to be able to prove you’ve had a third vaccination before entry.

It’s likely that these rules are going to keep changing over the coming months, so we recommend reading government advice before you travel.

Latest news