Updated: Aug 21
Holiday in Madeira from July 2021; COVID restrictions explained
Madeira Travel update - 20th August 2021
So, having just completed a round-trip to Madeira, I thought it might be useful to update this blog with the "relatively simple" steps. This assumes that Madeira remains on the UK's green list.
1) To PCR or not to PCR?
If you are double vaccinated you do not need a pre-travel PCR, or if you are under 12 yrs old. If you are single or none, you will need a test 72 hours before you depart.
2) Madeira Safe.
Register your trip (one per individual) on madeirasafe.com 48 hours before departure. Upload your COVID status, this will either be your vaccination certificate (from the NHS App, get this as soon as you can as it may take a few days to be approved) or your PCR test results. Then download the madeirasafe.com App if you've done all this on a desktop because you will need to show this (your personal QR code) at both airports. I forgot and had to log into airport WiFi at check-in using my laptop - not popular!!!
3) When arriving at Madeira, if madeirasafe.com has approved your documents you will take the dark green lane to exit. If it is still light green you will have to take the light colour lane to have them approved (just a little longer).
4) Whilst in Madeira, use the madeirasafe.com App to request a departure test. This can be an antigen test, not PCR, and is free so long as Madeira Safe sends you an ID code. For my trip, they never replied so we paid (only15 Euros each). This must be taken 72 hours before you depart, and can be taken at most pharmacies. They will email, same day, the results. Make sure you have this PDF to hand on your phone for the return journey as you will need to present it at check-in.
5) Book/pre-book your '2 day PCR return test'. This will include a reference for the passenger locator form. We used Halo but be careful if using a service that requires couriers if your flight returns just before the weekend. A full list of '2 day approved tests' can be found here https://www.find-travel-test-provider.service.gov.uk/test-type/green
6) Register an account and add your trip with the UK's passenger locator form, https://www.gov.uk/provide-journey-contact-details-before-travel-uk. You can open an account before you travel but you can't register the return trip until 48 hours prior to your arrival in the UK. To complete a 'return trip form' you will have to have purchased your '2 day PCR test' as you will need the reference number in the form. Complete the form and, as with step 4, make sure the PDF is handy on your phone. This is the second document now required at check-in for the return leg. Note: always download and open these PDFs before going to the airport, so that it is in your cache should you have data issues.
Updated by Mark Blezard, 21st August 2021. Always double check the latest advice from both your carrier and the government.
Okay, don't get too excited because the regulations seem to be changing daily, but I thought it might be useful to summarise the situation on the 2nd July, 2021.
So, the good news it that Madeira is currently NOT included in the Portuguese red list, so British holidaymakers can travel and 'holiday' rather than quarantine for 14 days on arrival (longer than most peoples' holidays!!). Also, Madeira is on the UK's green list, so you do not have to quarantine upon return. However, 48 to 12 hours before departure (prior to boarding) you must complete the Madeira Safe registration. After completing the registration, you will receive a notification, via e-mail, with your access code for the madeirasafe.com platform where you will find the respective QR Code, to be presented upon arrival at Madeira Airport.
This just leaves the PCR tests, over which there is great confusion. Currently, you must take one test 72 hours before departure and have the certificate or App confirmation before boarding your flight. This is also essential for presentation upon arriving in Madeira, otherwise, you must take a test and quarintine for 12 hours until a negative result is sent to you via text.
Because we have children, I was delighted to find this company, Halo, which offers a 48 hours test that uses a spit method, so no swabs down the back of your throat. All for less than £100pp.
Before leaving Madeira it may be necessary to take another PCR test which can be accessed free on the island (this should be verified upon your arrival). Then, finally, you will need to take another PCR within two days of arriving back in the U.K. With Madeira's 'green status' there are currently no further quarantine restrictions, irrspective of your vaccine status.
Simples! But double check every week up to your departure date.