Italy, Spain, Portugal: what counts as fully vaccinated in these top European destinations?

With summer approaching and entry rules easing, many of us are looking to dust off our suitcases for overseas travel.

But for some, there was a rude awakening upon arrival at international borders. Although you may be considered fully vaccinated in your own country, what that means may be different elsewhere.

It’s these minor technicalities that often catch travelers, leading to ruined vacations and extra expense when they reach their destination. So it’s best to check before you go that you don’t need a booster shot or any special documentation that isn’t required in your own country.

To help you, here’s a look at what counts as being fully vaccinated in some of Europe’s most popular holiday destinations.

What counts as vaccinated in Portugal?

To enter Portugal, your vaccination certificate must show one of two things:

  • A full course of an approved vaccine at least 14 days and no more than 270 days prior to your arrival.
  • A full course of vaccine plus a booster shot at least 14 days before your arrival.

You are considered fully vaccinated if you meet any of these criteria:

  • You have received both doses of a two-dose vaccine or a combination of two different vaccines
  • An approved single-dose vaccine
  • A full course of a vaccine plus a booster shot

If you caught COVID-19 after one dose of a two-dose vaccine and your certificate shows that your course has been completed.

The 270-day expiry date does not apply to people over 12 and under 18 – meaning children are still considered vaccinated even if more time has passed since their last dose.

The vaccination you have received must be authorized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or the World Health Organization (WHO) – a full list can be found here. Certificates with other types of vaccines are accepted but your last dose must have been one of the authorized doses.

What counts as vaccinated in Spain?

In order to be considered fully vaccinated by the Spanish government, all travelers must have received their second shot at least 14 days before their trip.

You must be vaccinated with a full cycle of a WHO or EMA approved vaccine.

And since February 1, 2022, as in other EU countries, Spain set an expiration date of 270 days on vaccine passports. This means that booster shots will be needed if your second shot was more than nine months ago.

But if you get any more booster shots after your initial course, you don’t have to wait 14 days to enter the country and they never expire.

Children under 12 do not need to show proof of vaccination to travel to Spain.

What counts as being fully vaccinated in France?

In France, the entry rules for travelers are a bit different from the rules inside the country. To enter you will need a vaccination certificate that meets EU standards. This means that your last dose must have been administered:

  • Seven days before your trip to Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna
  • 28 days before your trip for a second dose of Johnson & Johnson

Anyone over the age of 18 must have completed their first round of vaccinations within the last nine months. If it has been more than nine months, you will need to receive a booster shot before traveling or be treated as unvaccinated under French rules.

But things are a little different in the domestic setting. Since February 15, anyone over the age of 18 and 1 month must have received a booster dose within four months of their initial vaccination to be considered fully vaccinated inside France.

You do not need it to enter the country, but you may need it to obtain a “health pass”. It allows access to hospitals, clinics, medical and health establishments, retirement homes, rest homes and establishments for the disabled.

What counts as fully vaccinated in Italy?

Count as fully vaccinated for Journey to Italie you will need either:

A primary vaccination certificate valid for 270 days from the last dose for those who have completed a full cycle of vaccination approved by the EMA.

Either a certificate valid indefinitely, for those who have completed a full course plus a reminder.

If you received both doses of a two-dose vaccine or one dose of a single-dose vaccine more than 270 days ago, you are not considered vaccinated and you will need to follow the same rules as a unvaccinated traveler.

Children aged six and over must follow the rules for adult travellers.

You may also need proof of your vaccination status once you arrive in Italy with the Great green pass required to access certain sites. This includes indoor swimming pools and gymnasiums, theaters, nightclubs, indoor restaurants and casinos.

What counts as being fully vaccinated in the UK?

The UK has scrapped all entry rules for travel to the country, meaning it doesn’t matter if you’re vaccinated or not.

But in case you need to know when you’re in the country, fully vaccinated in the UK means you’ve completed an approved COVID-19 vaccination course – whether it’s a single-dose vaccine or at double dose. You can find the UK list of approved vaccines here.

You must have received the full cycle of vaccinations more than two weeks before your trip. The day you received your last dose does not count as one of these days.

It is acceptable to ‘mix and match’ the doses of two approved vaccines and to have received those doses in different countries, as long as they are on the UK list of recognized countries.

Everyone under 18 is considered fully vaccinated, regardless of their actual vaccination status. Evidence of recovery from a previous infection is not a valid alternative in the UK.

What counts as fully vaccinated in Turkey?

To qualify as fully vaccinated for travel to Turkey you will need a document showing that you have had a full course of one of the vaccinations approved by the Turkish Ministry of Health or the World Health Organization.

The last dose must have been taken 14 days before your arrival in Turkey. This applies to anyone over the age of 12.

What counts as fully vaccinated in Greece?

Entry rules for Greece apply whether or not you are vaccinated, so your vaccination status will not necessarily affect your travel to the country. However, there may be a few extra steps if you are not vaccinated.

In Greece, fully vaccinated means you hold a valid vaccination certificate showing that you have had a full course of an approved vaccine at least 14 days before your trip. A list of approved vaccines is available here.

If you are over 18 and have completed your full course of vaccination more than 9 months prior to your arrival, then you are considered unvaccinated.

If so, you will need to get a booster shot – these are not subject to the same time restrictions as your initial course.

Your vaccination status may also be necessary in certain “domestic” situations such as on public transport, in nightclubs and at conferences. If you don’t count as fully vaccinated, you may need to take a COVID test in these situations.

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