Know your rights: Travel Green list

I have to travel to a country on the ‘COVID-19 green list’ for essential purposes. What happens if it gets taken off the list while I am abroad?

The Government is advising against all non-essential travel overseas. But people may need to travel to and from Ireland for essential purposes and international travel cannot stop completely.

For that reason, on 21 July 2020, the Government published a ‘green list’ of countries with a similar or lower incidence of COVID-19 to that of Ireland. People entering Ireland from these locations do not have to restrict their movements for 14 days.  The list is intended to act as a guide to where Irish residents may travel safely for essential purposes, such as for essential work or to care for family members.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFA) travel advice for countries on the ‘green list’ is that you should take ‘normal precautions’. This means that the country is as safe as Ireland. The security rating for all other locations remains unchanged at either ‘avoid non-essential travel’ (‘orange’) or to ‘do not travel’ (‘red’). However, because the international transmission rate of the virus changes constantly, the ‘green list’ is reviewed every 2 weeks. That means that countries and locations can be added or removed at the end of each 14 day cycle.

For example, on 4 August 2020, two weeks after the ‘green list’ was first published, the Government removed 5 countries from the list (Malta, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Monaco, and San Marino) because they had rising incidences of COVID-19. This meant that any Irish people who had travelled to Malta, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Monaco, or San Marino before 4 August 2020, now have to restrict their movements for 14 days upon returning home.

In conclusion, if you travel to a country or territory on the ‘green list’ and the country is removed from the list while you are abroad, you will have to restrict your movements for 14 days to minimise your risk of spreading the virus. This means you must not:

  • Visit other people.
  • Meet face-to-face with anyone who is at higher risk from COVID-19.
  • Use public transport (if possible). If you have no option but to use public transport, you must wear a face covering.
  • Go to the shop unless absolutely necessary. If you have no option but to go to the shop, you must wear a face covering.

Lastly, everyone travelling into Ireland from any location, a ‘green list’ country or not, must complete a Passenger Locator Form.

You can find out more about the rules regarding international travel during COVID-19 on