The entry of Brazilian tourists in Portugal, which had been banned since March 2020, was once again authorized. The decision was published in the Diário da República and enters into force this Wednesday (1).
The document is valid until September 16, “may be revised at any time, depending on the evolution of the epidemiological situation”, and revokes the government’s previous decision, which had extended the ban on non-essential travel from Brazil to the end of September.
Unlike some European Union countries, which allowed entry only for vaccinated Brazilian tourists, Portugal does not detail immunization as a mandatory criterion. You must, however, submit a negative test for Covid-19: a PCR test performed within 72 hours of departure or an antigen test performed within 48 hours prior to departure. Children under 12 and holders of the European Health Pass are exempt from presenting the test.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also confirmed the end of the mandatory quarantine on arrival in the country. In recent months, those traveling from Brazil to Portugal –and who did not have a valid European health pass– were subject to mandatory confinement of 14 days after arrival in the country.
The folder did not respond, however, to questions about the obligation and recognition of vaccines, issues on which the dispatch that releases travel also makes no reference. The governments of both countries are working on an agreement on the matter.
Without this treaty in effect, Brazilians have difficulty obtaining the so-called European digital certificate, also known as health pass or Covid passport. Like other countries, Portugal adhered to the electronic document that attests to one of three options: complete immunization against the disease, recovery from infection less than six months ago or recent laboratory test with negative result.
The digital certificate is increasingly used as a requirement for access to establishments and services, such as the internal space of restaurants and participation in classes in gyms.
Even without the bilateral agreement, it is possible for people vaccinated in Brazil to have access to Portugal’s digital certificate. The path, however, is bureaucratic. The Portuguese country only accepts, to obtain the document, vaccines that have been approved by the European Medicines Agency: Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen and AstraZeneca — in this case, Covishield, a version of the immunizing agent produced in India and which is still not accepted. had lots applied in Brazil. Coronavac, widely used in the country and already approved by the WHO (World Health Organization), is also off the authorized list.
Brazilians vaccinated with the approved drugs still face a second obstacle: the need to request validation from the Portuguese health authorities. So far, only those who have a user number —inscription identification in the NHS, the National Health Service— can request the certificate. The requirement means that, in practice, the issuance of the document is practically restricted to Portuguese citizens, citizens of other EU countries and legal residents in the country.
The ban on Brazilian travelers caused enormous damage to the tourism sector. Before the pandemic, Brazilians were the main nationality of travelers from outside the European Union. In 2019, more than 1 million Brazilians visited Portugal.
With the increase in vaccination and the reopening of other EU countries, many businessmen in the sector were publicly pressuring the government to reopen the borders for Brazilians.
The connection to Brazil is also of strategic importance for TAP, a Portuguese airline. The drastic reduction in the flow of passengers caused a reduction in the number of flights and the number of cities in which the company operates.
In addition to Portugal, three other countries have recently made the entry of Brazilian tourists more flexible. France, Germany and Spain accept travelers departing from Brazil, as long as they have a complete vaccination schedule against Covid. The first two accept only immunizers approved by the European regulatory agency; the Spanish government also accepts Coronavac, produced in Brazil by Butantan.