The move was announced on 17 January, when the Council of the European Union updated the list of countries not subject to travel restrictions. Canada was on that list until 17 January. Then it was not, along with fellow rejects, Australia and Argentina.
Bans on travel to the EU surfaced in March 2020 as an attempt to slow transmission of Covid-19. After a few months of restricting all non-essential travel, the Council of the European Union recommended temporary restrictions, with the possibility of lifting these restrictions for certain countries based on a variety of criteria, including a 14-day average of Covid-19 cases, a stable or decreasing number of new cases, and the number of vaccinated citizens.
The good news for Canadians comes from an EU official with the Council of the European Union, who explains that Council recommendations are not legally binding, and that authorities of member states remain responsible for implementing the content of the recommendations. The bad news is that finding a Portuguese authority who is willing to go on record is like stumbling around in a maze.
The Embassy of Canada in Lisbon was unable to clarify border measures as they are implemented by the local government; however, a source with the Embassy did say that Canada is not currently on the list of countries allowed to enter Portugal for non-essential travel. The Portuguese Embassy in Ottawa confirmed that Canada has been removed from the list, but offered some hope that this might change when the Council of the European Union reviews the list on 28 February.
Results of the 28 February review will be posted on the Visit Portugal website, where current feedback from users ranges from disappointment at this omission to anger and frustration at hastily cancelled trips. A man named Al wrote, “I am extremely disappointed with the Portuguese Government for not allowing Canadians to enter Portugal for non-essential travel. Canada has one of the best vaccination rates in the world.”
With more than 80 percent of Canadians fully vaccinated, and about 40 percent with a booster dose, Canada’s success rate with Covid-19 is at the heart of many of the postings on the Visit Portugal website. There is also a note of incredulity that although Canada is not currently on a list approved for non-essential travel, major airlines continue to book Canadians on flights to Portugal. As an Air Canada ticket representative put it, passengers are responsible for checking admission requirements for their own destinations.
The light at the end of the travel tunnel comes from a 15 February media briefing about an easing of requirements for Canada’s fully vaccinated international travellers – changes made possible, according to Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, because Canada has passed the peak of Omicron and Canadians have listened to the science.
We Canadians do tend to be good listeners, and we are generally polite – with one recent and quite notable exception. Here’s hoping Portugal will do the right thing and allow us to visit again – not for any essential reason, but because so many of us have come to love Portugal and feel at home there.
Suzanne Robicheau is an award winning writer based in Nova Scotia, Canada. She and her husband are anxious to resume their annual winter visits to the Algarve.
I can’t believe this. We booked our flight through Lufthansa with transfer through Germany and already booked all of our hotels in Portugal! Only thinking that if we can enter through Germany (which we can as Canadians for non essential travel), we would be ok to enter Portugal. This is devastating. Travel plans are for April 15th so here is hoping things change very quickly!
By Fabio Avella from Other on 16 Feb 2022, 18:59
I'm sorry, but clarify Europeans entry restrictions to Canada for now ....and from the 28th we will still be randomly selected for COVID test...
By T from Lisbon on 16 Feb 2022, 23:05
Since the fall Canada has been on the list to be able to enter Portugal. I booked my flights in October but held off booking hotels till the last two weeks. It's seems ironic we could travel to Portugal during the Delta covid-19 outbreak which is considered to be more virulent but now during Omicron suddenly it has changed. I am triple vaccinated and happy to follow any protocols that Portugal employs. I hope this is revoked soon because I love Portugal and its people and would love to visit again.
By Fiona from Other on 17 Feb 2022, 01:12
We too are so confused and disappointed as we were due to leave from Canada in less than a week. Hope this gets reversed before our family get together has to be loved to another country.
By Lynn from Other on 17 Feb 2022, 01:50
The US is on the "non-essential travel" list. I wonder if Canadians can still travel to Portugal, by flying to the states first?
By Truman from Other on 17 Feb 2022, 02:18
The note on the EU list doesn't make sense because that was back in January and Portugal only removed Canada from the allowed list last week - and quiet abruptly without warning. Folks wouldn't have booked travel if they knew a restriction was pending. Shameful on the part of Portuguese authorities to dupe Canadians into spending their money - many who may not receive refunds now. Further, there are other countries not on the EU list who Portugal is still allowing to enter. Canada also accepts the EU digital certificate so not sure what the issue on reciprocity is about. Honestly none of this makes sense. There is no epidemiological reason why Canadians should not be allowed. Either this was in error or it is a political move which is hurting both Canadians and the Portuguese travel industry. Shame. Hope it is reversed asap.
By Ty from Other on 17 Feb 2022, 02:36
As of February 16, 2022, Canadians are allowed to enter Portugal for non-essential travel with proof of Covid vaccination or a negative Covid test. Please update this article. It's raising alarm for no good reason. Also, please check the IATA website for current information on travel to Portugal and other countries. https://www.iatatravelcentre.com/world.php
By James Armstrong from Other on 17 Feb 2022, 14:28
It is absolutely ridiculous that Portugal would allow Americans in and not Canadians. Having to cancel flights several times takes hours for every phone call. People have to book accomodations, car rentals and insurance so they have to be changed as well. It has been a nightmare to say the least and at the same time, hurting the Portuguese tourist industry. Poruguese businesses would love to see the Canadians back in Portugal. At the same time, I am hearing from friends on the ground in Portugal that Canadian tourists are arriving daily and going through Customs without any problems, so how can this be possible?
By Gary Peddle from Other on 17 Feb 2022, 15:26
I was shocked to read this morning that Canadian’s access to Portugal for non-essential travel has been recently revoked. Our cycling trip, flights and hotels are booked for May and it is hoped that the decision will be reversed before the end of this month. I suspect politics and not good science are at play here and encourage the tourism industry to apply pressure where they can.
By Peter Gerber from Other on 17 Feb 2022, 15:52
At least provide a reason so people can understand this move. Portugal has left many people holding the bag and will now consider other destinations to spend their travel money on.
By Tony A from Other on 17 Feb 2022, 16:08
MY FAMILY IS ALREADY IN PORTUGAL PLEASE LET US IN WE ARE LOOSING A LOTS OF MONEY, YOU ARE NOT BEING FAIR, A LOS OF CANADIANS GO EVERY YEAR WE SPEND A LOTS OF MONEY IN YOUR COUNTRY SO BE FAIR YOU ARE NOT BEING FAIR TO US CANADIANS,
By DIANA STRADWICK from Lisbon on 17 Feb 2022, 16:24
You are being unfair canadian spend a LOTS of money in Portugal in the winter, we are polite we don't cause problems like other countries we are very generous, you should be ashamed all of the money that we are loosing because all of the last minute cancelation, I hope you change your policy soon
By DIANA STRADWICK from Lisbon on 17 Feb 2022, 16:53
This restriction is to be reviewed on February 28th. We were about to book and a kind agent informed me of restrictions. As it seems to coincide with Canada lifting it’s own travel restrictions I am optimistic this will happen very soon.
By Ann from Other on 17 Feb 2022, 17:33
Stunned by the sudden announcement that Canadians are not allowed into Portugal for 'non-essential travel'. I have written to the consulate after researching and could find absolutely no justification for this. Does this mean flights from Toronto to Lisbon are reduced or canceled? Am I missing something? I will start chasing refunds now. It leaves me leery of ever going here again.
By JUDITH ANNE FARRANT from Other on 17 Feb 2022, 21:17
Extremely bad decision by Portugal. I may never go there based on this. Booked flights and several air B and b's throughout Portugal with zero reimbursement available at this last minute. And they are booking more flights without letting passengers know.. Very angry with this move. I want all of my money reimbursed including flights and accommodation, medical coverage etc.
By Donna Walters from Other on 17 Feb 2022, 23:02
It is our 50 th wedding anniversary and had booked 5 weeks in Portugal. We are shocked and devastated that Portugal would not allow us in . The Feb. 9 change was quick and we are still in a quandary as to why this would occur when Canada has such a high vaccination rate . Please reverse this protocol .
By Linda from Other on 18 Feb 2022, 04:52
My wife and I have travelled to Portugal many many times over a period of 40 years. For the last 15 we have "wintered" in Portugal but were very disturbed to find that we are no longer welcome in Portugal. This has resulted in a loss in faith in a Country that we love in addition to the headaches about changing plans and the cost associated.
By Dr. Carl Rubino from Other on 18 Feb 2022, 13:28
We visited Lisbon from January 23 to February 6 from Toronto.
We had to pass a PCR test 72 hours before flying each direction, but otherwise no problem. Had a great time in our favorite city.
By McLachlan Peter from Other on 18 Feb 2022, 16:42
Yesterday I just got approved for my D7 Visa to enter Portugal to apply for my citizen card, I'm moving from Toronto to Portugal for retirement. I just heard from a friend that Canada did not make the OK list to travel as a Canadian citizen to Portugal. All along Canada has been approved to travel there. I'm giving up my home here at the end on March and will have no place to stay. I see they are saying it could change on Feb 28th, I sure hope so.
Canada has a high level vaccination level so this doesn't make sense.
By Les Gomes from Other on 18 Feb 2022, 19:24
Fortunately, unilke others , I don't have any immediate travel plans to Portugal. I wanted to take my family in July. However, even if the situation changes to allowing Canadians, I'm a bit leery of booking something knowing that eligibility to enter Portugal could change overnight. Portugal -> be better!
By George Paris from Other on 18 Feb 2022, 20:02
Have booked a apt for may 4th to 29 in Albufeira but must confirm before April 1st off will be charged full amt So if restrictions not changed by March 20th Will cancel trip which is our second the region Hope list inside Canada
By Fee won from Other on 18 Feb 2022, 20:13
We are anxiously awaiting the Feb 28 update to see if we can travel for our May holiday that’s been rebooked already. I’m particularly interested to see if the quarantine requirement is removed. If it is and we can move freely through the country, then we’ll make the trip. If not, we may have to cancel again.
By Neil Pierce from Other on 19 Feb 2022, 13:55
By Kane MacGillivary from Algarve on 19 Feb 2022, 14:32
I wonder if one big issue may be because of the differences between what is considered fully vaccinated there (Canada) vs here (in Portugal); while Canada's definition of fully vaccinated means two doses many places here now no longer consider two doses to be fully vaccinated... here it usually varies depending on when you've either recovered from COVID or when you had your last dose. If you need three doses minimum, then technically (given what the rules are here) Canada is not at 80 percent fully vaccinated.
By Tiffany Dias from Other on 19 Feb 2022, 19:51
I am in total disbelief after reading your article Canada fails to make the list restricting Canadian tourists from entering Portugal. Canada has fully vaccinated 82% with two vaccines and 52 % with a third booster shot. A news release from the Public Health Agency of Canada states that as of February the 28th' 12:01 a.m. the Government of Canada will adjust the travel health notice from level 3 to a level 2. My wife and I both in our eighties have travelled to the Algarve annually for a month for thirteen years. Has tourism increased that much that you can turn away business without justification
By Michael Farinacci from Other on 19 Feb 2022, 22:06
We had to cancel our trip to Albufeira , Portugal in the fall when we were advised by the Canadian Government to follow No !!! non essential travel out side our country …
Now as of Feb28th , that restriction is lifted by our Government & we can now travel-to a lot of international countries , so-we booked only on Feb 16 th 2022 again ., paid for our flights into Faro & our accommodations are paid for ..We are staying 29 days …. So now I see Canada is dropped from the accepted country list in Portugal ..Why?? We have a good record for vaccinations ,a lot better than other countries you accept …This is so disheartening ….I’ve been to Portugal 3 times before & bragged about it to everybody that cared to listen .If this is not changed , I shall not recommend it ..It has to be a mistake or miss information …
By Jean Condie from Algarve on 20 Feb 2022, 20:49
The visit Portugal website says Canada is allowed for non-essential travel? What am I missing here? Heading to Portugal May 30th.
By Corbin Perry from Other on 21 Feb 2022, 01:06