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COVID-19 TESTS

COMPARE: What are the Covid test requirements around Europe for child travellers

Travel is opening up around Europe, but most countries still have testing requirements in place for adults. When it comes to under 18s, however, the rules vary widely on who is exempt and who needs a test.

COMPARE: What are the Covid test requirements around Europe for child travellers
Photo: JOE KLAMAR / AFP

Travel within the EU and Schengen zone will in theory become easier from July 1st for those who are fully vaccinated with the introduction of the EU-wide Covid-19 certificate.

For those who are not fully vaccinated, or those travelling from outside the Bloc, testing will remain a part of crossing borders for some time to come.

But while the rules on tests for adults are fairly standard, the age at which children require tests varies from newborn babies and two-year-olds to 18.

Here’s an overview from countries covered by The Local, as well as from elsewhere in the EU and the UK.

Austria

Austria has strict testing requirements for entry from most countries, but children under the age of 10 are exempt.

Belgium

Belgium has an exemption to its testing requirements for some residents, but otherwise testing is required. The age exemption for children is 6, the same as in neighbouring Germany.

Croatia 

Children under 7 who arrive in Croatia will be exempt from testing requirements.

Czech Republic

The rules on testing depend on which country you arrive from but in general children under 5 are exempt.

Denmark

Denmark has recently relaxed its requirement for travellers from certain countries so that they no longer need a 'worthy purpose' to enter the country. However entries from certain countries still need a negative test, and the cut-off age for children is 15.

Finland

Children aged under 12 are exempt in Finland.

France

The exemption age for children arriving into France is 11. Under 11s are exempt from the testing requirements, all other non-vaccinated travellers or arrivals from countries not on the green list, must present a negative PCR test taken within the previous 72 hours, or an antigen test taken within the previous 48 hours.

Germany

In Germany under 6s are exempt from testing requirements, as well as fully-vaccinated adults from certain countries.

Greece

Children under 5 are exempt from testing requirements on arrivals.

Ireland

Children under 5 are not required to show a negative Covid test to enter Ireland, but most other travellers are.

Italy

Pretty much everyone entering Italy needs a negative Covid test with only children aged two or under are exempt.

READ ALSO: Italy will bring back quarantine rule for UK arrivals ‘if necessary’

Netherlands 

Children under 13 years age are exempt from testing requirements when arriving in the Netherlands.

Norway

Entry to Norway is still tightly restricted for non-Norwegians with tests required for most people, but children under the age of 12 are exempt from pre-travel tests, although under most circumstances they must be tested at the border.

Poland

The Polish rules have no formal exemption for children, meaning that in theory even newborn babies would have to be tested in order to enter the country.

Portugal

Only children aged two or under are exempt from the testing requirements in Portugal.

Slovenia

Children under 13 travelling with their families are exempt from testing.

Spain

Since June 7th, Spain no longer requires a negative test for all arrivals, including fully-vaccinated travellers from non-EU/EEA countries such as the US. Where tests are required, the cut-off age for children is now 12.

Sweden

Sweden's testing requirement is only for adults, so all under 18s are exempt from having to provide a test.

Switzerland

Switzerland exempts under 12s from the testing requirement.

UK

Most entries to the UK require a test, but children under the age of 11 are exempt.

Member comments

  1. What about when in airport transit. For example, flying Denmark to France via a flight connection in Germany?

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COVID-19 RULES

Sweden’s pandemic strategy ‘fundamentally correct’: Coronavirus Commission

Sweden's Covid-19 response was "fundamentally correct", but the government should have taken the lead, and brought in earlier and tougher measures, the country's Coronavirus Commission has concluded.

Sweden's pandemic strategy 'fundamentally correct': Coronavirus Commission

“It was fundamentally right to rely on issuing advice and recommendations,” Mats Melin, the commission’s chair said at a press conference after issuing the report. “The state should not limit the freedom of the individual more than is necessary to limit a dangerous sickness.” 

In addition, he noted, countries which had imposed greater restrictions had not necessarily had better outcomes. 

“We are not convinced that long-lasting and repeated lockdowns are necessary element in the response to a new, serious epidemic outbreak,” he said. 

Sweden made headlines early on in the pandemic by not introducing a lockdown, instead issuing recommendations on home-working, social distancing and good hand hygiene.

But tougher measures should have been introduced in February-March 2020, Melin said, with the measures that were imposed “too few” and coming “too late”. 

READ ALSO: 

While the commission hailed Sweden’s decision to keep most schools open during the first wave, it said that by March 2020 there “should have been temporary closures” of indoor places where people gather, such as shopping centres, restaurants, sport events and so on.”

In particular, it criticised the fact that it took until the end of March 2020 for the limit on public gatherings to be lowered to 50 people. 

It also said that those returning from ski trips in Italy at the end of February and the start of March should have been asked to quarantine, while incoming travel should have temporarily been stopped for all but the most necessary journeys, as happened in Denmark and Norway.   

In an interview with The Local, Sweden’s health minister Lena Hallengren welcomed the commission’s conclusion that the fundamental strategy had been correct. 

“That the commission concludes that the overall strategy based on non-invasive recommendations and a non-lockdown policy, that they think that was the right choice. I think that’s good,” she said. 

At later stages of the pandemic, Sweden eventually introduced stricter measures, including bans on elderly home visits, earlier closings at bars and restaurants, and vaccine passes for indoor events.

The commission also said the government should have assumed leadership of all aspects of Covid crisis management, despite the Public Health Agency’s large degree of autonomy and a healthcare system managed by self-governing regional councils.

“The government had too one-sided a dependence on assessments made by the Public Health Agency”, it said.

It was not until the end of October that the government began to try to take a leading role, with documentation obtained by the commission showing the then Prime Minister Stefan Löfven trying to take more precedence over the Public Health Agency. 

The government, it concluded, should also have sought to get alternative views from other infectious disease and public health experts, rather than relying solely on the Public Health Agency’s expertise.   

Hallengren told The Local that she rejected this aspect of the report. 

“The government has been the one leading and deciding, and we are responsible,” she said. 

She also rejected the claim that the government had been over-reliant on the agency’s experts. 

“They can have their opinion about that, but the fact is, that the Public Health Agency is not an expert, it’s hundreds of experts, who are working with infection control and working with public health issues all the time,” she said. “It would be very strange if I, as minister for health, or the government, relied on specific or unique experts instead of this very big expert authority when it comes to epidemiological knowledge.”

An earlier partial report by the commission had also criticised the country’s slowness is setting up adequate testing measures.

With more than 17,000 fatalities so far, Sweden’s death toll is slightly better than the European average but is far higher per capita than those of neighbouring Norway, Finland and Denmark.

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