Portugal announces passport requirement warning for Brits as holidaymakers urged to keep boarding passes

Portugal has announced an important passport requirement update for British holidaymakers planning to travel to the country this summer. Visitors from the UK arriving at airports including Lisbon, Porto, Faro and Funchal, were told earlier this month that they will be fast-tracked through check-ins, similar to EU citizens.

The move allowed Brits to use eGates to avoid passport control queues where visitors from many other non-EU countries have to wait in line to have their passports manually checked and stamped. It was widely welcomed as Portugal is one of the favorite holiday destinations for Brits.

They make up a large portion of the country’s overseas visitors. Income generated by UK travelers represented the second largest contribution to Portugal’s tourism revenue in the first few months of this year.

READ MORE:Spain, Greece, Turkey and Portugal update travel rules for Brits – latest entry requirements

The UK Government website has now updated its travel advice for holidaymakers. It follows a clarification of entry requirements from Portuguese border control.

The update relates to passport stamping and will clear up confusion among some British holidaymakers over how to use the eGates fast-track system. The latest guidance makes clear that the eGates for UK passport holders are “separate to the e-gates for EU / EEA / Swiss citizens”.

It states: “On arrival or departure, check you are eligible to use the e-gates and that you are in the right queue. When using an e-gate, your entry / exit is recorded on the computer system.

“A border officer may also stamp your passport after you have passed through the e-gate, this is for airport operational reasons.” The government is asking Brits to make sure that their passports are stamped by border officers – even if they use the eGate system.

“If you use a manned booth, check that your passport is stamped by the border officer when you enter or exit as a visitor,” says the guidance. “Check your passport is stamped by the border officer when you enter and exit Portugal as a visitor.

“You can use the manned staffed immigration booths or, if you are aged 18 and over, the e-gates designated for UK and some other non-EU nationals. Hand your passport for stamping to the border officer after you have passed through the e -gate.”



British tourists are advised to make sure their passports are stamped by a Portuguese border control official, even if they use the eGate fast-track entry system
British tourists are advised to make sure their passports are stamped by a Portuguese border control official, even if they use the eGate fast-track entry system

The travel update has been issued so that UK holiday makers understand the important role passport stamps and eGate records play in policing and enforcing its 90-day visa-free limit for short stays. The guidance states: “Border guards use passport stamps and e-gate records to check you’re complying with the 90-day visa-free limit for short stays in the Schengen area.”

The Schengen Area, separate to the EU, is a group of 26 European countries, including Portugal, that agreed to abolish their internal borders to help with the free and unrestricted movement of people. The updated UK travel advice adds: “If relevant entry or exit stamps are not in your passport or visible to a border officer on the computer system, a border officer will may presume that you have overstayed your visa-free limit.”

UK travelers are also being advised to keep their travel documents handy when visiting Portugal. The update continues: “If you are missing entry / exit stamps, you can show evidence of when and where you entered or exited the Schengen area and ask the border officer to add this date and location in your passport.”

Examples of acceptable evidence include boarding passes and flight tickets, which officials may require you to show to prove you are in the country legally. Tourists are being advised to make sure their passports are stamped to avoid any confusion and inconvenience during their holiday.

Portugal recently announced that it British tourists would no longer have to fill out a passenger locator when entering the country. This entry requirement, however, is still in place for you’re heading to Madeira or Porto Santo.

Other entry rules relating to COVID-19 remain in place for tourists traveling to Portugal. Brits who are fully vaccinated Brits can enter without having to take a Covid test.

Those who are either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, however, will need to provide proof of a negative Covid test. This can be either a PCR test taken within 72 hours before travel, or a lateral flow test taken within 24 hours of your journey.

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