Latest requirements to enter and leave Madeira
Following on from the UK’s latest announcement today, it may be useful for some visitors to understand the exact procedures and requirements when entering and leaving Madeira and returning to the UK.
As rules change this post will remain updated – so if anybody has a question or wants to add some advice please feel free to leave a comment below.
Arriving in Madeira
1. All visitors must register on madeirasafe.com prior to entering and leaving Madeira.
This can be completed in the 48 to 12 hour period prior to boarding and must be done, individually, by each passenger, except for dependents up to 12 years old, whose registration must be included in the survey of one of the accompanying adults.
After completing the registration, the passenger receives a notification, via e-mail, with his access code for the madeirasafe.com platform. The passenger should log in to his madeirasafe.com account where he/she will find the respective QR Code, to be presented upon arrival at Madeira Airport. The PCR test result can also be submitted in advance on the platform.
Bear in mind that there are reports that the associated app itself does not always work as well as the Madeira authorities would like, and it can be helpful to have the website open in a browser as well, and the completed form and QR code printed out.
2. Thermal screening:
All passengers who disembark at airports in the Autonomous Region of Madeira are subject to thermal screening, without exceptions.
3. Testing for COVID-19:
All passengers who, upon disembarking at the airports of the Autonomous Region of Madeira who carry a negative PCR test for COVID-19, carried out within 72 hours prior to boarding, in laboratories certified by national or international authorities, can proceed to their destination.
Passengers who have not undergone PCR testing at their location of origin, or who do not meet the exception criteria in 4 below, will do so upon arrival at the airport, then proceed to their destination, thus having to fully self-isolate in their accommodation until a negative test result is obtained (normally well within 12 hours).
4. Exceptions to Testing: Vaccination Certificates and Recovered COVID-19 Patients
Exceptions to the submission of a PCR test for COVID-19 or undergoing testing upon arrival at airports of the Autonomous Region of Madeira, include:
• (This will apply to most UK visitors) Passengers carrying a document certifying that they were vaccinated against COVID-19, with the Astrazeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen, Sinovac, Sputnik V and Sinopharm vaccines, according to the recommended plan, and have respected the activation period of the immune system as provided for in the Summary of Product Characteristics (SmPC) (14 days);
• Passengers with a medical document certifying that the bearer is recovered from COVID-19 disease upon disembarking in the territory of the Autonomous Region of Madeira, issued in the last 180 days;
• Passengers with the European Union Digital Covid Certificate, according to the information laid down in Resolution No. 694/2021 (Portuguese version). UK nationals with residency in Madeira who have been vaccinated there can access this on the SNS 24 app.
5. Onward travel to Porto Santo
Over and above the requirements for entering and leaving Madeira, this normally requires additional testing which is detailed on the visitmadeira website here.
Returning to the UK
Passenger Locator Form
Passengers travelling back to the UK must complete a passenger locator form online before arriving. You must complete the form even if you are only transiting through the UK.
You can submit the form any time in the 48 hours before you arrive in the UK. It’s free to submit the form. You will most likely have to show a copy of this prior to boarding a flight back to the UK.
Pre-departure tests prior to October 4
Prior to today’s announcement, upon leaving the Autonomous Region of Madeira, should there be a need to present a new test when entering the destination country, the expenses for carrying out a rapid antigen test or a PCR screening test for SARS-CoV-2 are being borne by the Regional Government.
For this purpose, travellers must request the registration of an appointment to carry out the PCR test for screening for SARS-CoV-2 infection on the online platform www.madeirasafe.com, at least 4 days (96 hours) in advance, or, alternatively, perform a TRAg (Rapid Antigen) test for SARS-CoV-2, at participating pharmacies, attaching the result of your test for this purpose, by completing a survey in madeirasafe, expressing the need to perform a new test at the exit of the Autonomous Region of Madeira, according to information contained in Resolution No. 694/2021.
The detailed instructions for requesting the free application (PCR or antigen) before returning to the country of origin can be found at the bottom of this page: In reality, a lot of visitors book an appointment at any pharmacy in the belief that they are free, but end up being charged €15-20 because it has not been done through madeirasafe
Pre-departure tests no longer required after October 4
After today’s announcements, fully vaccinated travellers returning from non-red countries will no longer need to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test before they depart for England from 4 October. In addition, they’ll only need to take a cheaper lateral flow test on arrival to England from later next month under an overhaul to the ‘traffic light’ travel system. Eight destinations will also come off the red list from 22 September.
However, fully vaccinated visitors to Madeira returning to the UK will still be forced to take Covid tests despite the Government finally scrapping the much-maligned traffic light system.
Day 2 PCR tests upon return continue into next month
On Oct. 14 the government said that from Oct. 24, the start of school half-term holidays across much of England, fully vaccinated passengers and most under 18 arrivals from countries not on the red list could take a lateral flow test on or before day two of their arrival, rather than a PCR lab test. Lateral flow tests are cheaper and provide a faster result.
The government said passengers must use lateral flow tests purchased from a private provider listed on the government’s website, rather than free ones available as part of the government Test and Trace scheme, and passengers must upload a photo of their test and booking reference to verify the result. Anyone with a positive lateral flow test will be provided with a free confirmatory PCR test through the National Health Service.
Prior to Oct. 24 the more expensive “Day 2” PCR tests will still be required for fully jabbed travellers returning from Madeira and other non-red countries. These “Day 2” tests need to have been reserved prior to returning to the UK and travellers must carry proof of their booking.
The 18% of the British adult population who remain unjabbed will lose their right to quarantine-free foreign travel as the green list disappears. On any foreign travel, they will have to take a pre-departure test before arriving back, and self-isolate for 10 days on their return with two PCR tests on days two and eight. They can still pay for a test on day five to be released if negative.
The UK and constituent countries
Please bear in mind that the new measures announced yesterday currently only apply to England. Other home countries are expected to follow suit shortly.
The BBC reports that Scotland has announced it will follow England in easing Covid rules for overseas travel. Passengers will no longer have to take a test before arriving – if they are fully vaccinated. From 4 October, people arriving from non-red list countries will no longer need evidence of a negative test – as long as they were vaccinated in a country that meets “recognised standards”.
Scotland will also “align with the UK post-arrival testing regime” but has not announced further details.
Northern Ireland and Wales haven’t yet announced whether they will be changing their rules for travellers.
Update 8 October: please refer to the latest update – PCR tests are being dropped for return to the UK “before 22 October” (half-term) in favour of the cheaper Rapid Antigen tests.
Part of this article was used by the copyblog the day after being posted here
COVID-19 in Madeira: daily updates can be found in an earlier post