Ireland is Open for Essential Travel but may Reopen for Tourism in May

ireland green listed countries and travel restrictions

Ireland is open for essential travel to most countries but all visitors must bring proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to departure and undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Visitors who arrive in the country without a negative PCR test will face a fine of up to €2,500 or even prison. Additionally, they must take a test within 36 hours of being in the territory. Not taking the test may result in a prison sentence of up to 6 months.

Traveling for non-essential reasons is highly discouraged. Any type of travel from South Africa or South America has been suspended until further notice. 

The only people who are allowed entry without quarantine are those who come from Northern Ireland.

Ireland Reopening – Latest Updates


April 7

The Government has announced that the country is on its path to “normality” over the weeks to come. According to the Assistant Secretary General at the Department of the Taoiseach Elizabeth Canavan, Ireland is determined to “beat this disease and get back to normality.”

To do so, the Assistant secretary promised to reopen a great deal of the country’s economy in May and “much more,” if the vaccination program continues to be a success. 

“Thank you for all you are doing, it’s because of your adherence to the tough measures in place that we can now begin to look at reopening the country but we still have some distance to go. Every step we take, we must take carefully, but there are brighter days ahead.” Said Canavan at a press conference. 

As of now, the lockdown level 5 will remain in place until at least 12 April 2021.

March 18

A few days ago, local news reported that visitors arriving from “high risk” countries will have soon to undergo mandatory hotel quarantine once they arrive in Ireland as they do in London. 

The government would apply this new restriction to visitors coming from Africa, South America, Austria and the UAE.

The date in which this new policy will take effect should be announced over the next few days. These travelers will be also subject to checked ups via text, phone calls and even in-person visits by Gardaí (police) to ensure they are observing the isolation restrictions. 

February 28

The Irish government has advised tourism businesses to rely on local tourism as their main source of income this year.

Paul Kelly, the chief executive of Fáilte Ireland, the Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin have stated that the government still does not when it will be possible to reopen international travel as the COVID-19 crisis continues. 

Vaccination rollout 

The country is currently facing vaccination shortages. As of today, around 4.5% of the population has received at least a first dose. Due to this, it’s expected that the government extends the strict Level 5 lockdown until 5 April at the earliest.

December 12 – New holiday restrictions

Only Norway remains on the green list of countries allowed entry to Ireland without restrictions. The country has also placed all its counties on level 3, heavily restricting intercity traveling and banning family gatherings. 

Restaurants, retail stores and museums are open. Visitors arriving during the holidays should prepare to quarantine for 14 days. Intercity restrictions are to be lifted on December 18.

What countries can travel to Ireland?

All foreign nationals can visit Ireland but visitors from South America and South Africa. Travelers from green countries can enter without quarantine or COVID-19 test. 

Green-listed countries

Combined indicator: 14-day notification rate, testing rate and test positivity – Updated April 7, 2021.

Do visitors who are not on the green list need to quarantine?

Yes, they do. Unless they come from Northern Ireland, they are required to restrict their movements and this includes,

  • Irish citizens returning home
  • Visitors with NO symptoms
  • Travelers who have tested negative for the virus in another location

COVID-19-related documents

People arriving in Ireland from overseas must fill out the COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form. Authorities may be contacting them within the next 14 days to verify the information they provided.

Warning! – Failure to complete the form could result in fines of up to €2,500 or imprisonment for up to 6 months.

Do visitors need a COVID-19 test to be granted access to Ireland?

Yes, all visitors need to submit proof of a negative PCR COVID-19 test. 

What is open in Ireland right now?

Bar in Dublin

It depends on the risk level of the area visitors are traveling to. Dublin and Donegal have been flagged at risk assessment Level 5. So this is what travelers can o can’t do when visiting

  • Social and family gatherings – are not allowed
  • Weddings – are allowed to invite up to 6 guests
  • Gyms, leisure centers, swimming pools are open for individual training only. 
  • Funerals – Up to 10 mourners can attend.
  • Hotels and accommodation – Open but services limited.
  • Hairdressers, beauticians, barbers – Open but wearing face masks is mandatory

What activities are banned in Dublin and Donegal?

  • Attending football soccer matches or public events
  • Taking dancing classes.
  • Going to nightclubs, discos, and casinos (these remain closed) 
  • Visiting museums, galleries, and other cultural attractions – all remain closed.

See here the full list of restrictions for the rest of the counties. 

The rest of the country is currently assessed as a level 2 risk. Click here to see the full list of restrictions.

Ireland’s recovery strategy

“Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021” is the 6-level plan the Irish and UK Governments have put in place for locals and tourists to learn how to “live with” the COVID-19 pandemic. 

COVID-19 situation in Ireland


With 239,325 confirmed cases in total, and 4,732 deaths, the country is already overcoming the second wave of the coronavirus. 

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