The summer’s family holiday hurdles – from masks and vaccines to passport renewals

However, some countries require that children aged 11 and over (in addition to adults) provide proof of vaccination or take a Covid test if they have not been double-vaccinated. Proof of recovery is increasingly accepted as an alternative to a test in major European destinations. Note that children by the age of two must have a negative test regardless of vaccination status.

In which travel destinations do children still have to take a Covid test?

Several major European summer holiday destinations are requiring children over a certain age to show a recent negative test or certificate of recovery if they have not been fully vaccinated, although Greece and Croatia have recently lifted all Covid travel restrictions and it is likely that others will example will follow as they struggle to attract summer vacationers.

Further afield, like the US, recently reopened New Zealand requires all children over the age of two to take a pre-departure test.

Below we round out the testing protocols for children in the main destination countries:

Test required for people over two years old

  • USA (even if fully vaccinated)
  • New Zealand (even if fully vaccinated)
  • Vietnam (even if fully vaccinated)

Test required for people over the age of five (if not fully vaccinated)

Test required for people over the age of six

  • Italy (or proof of recent recovery)
  • Morocco (even if fully vaccinated)
  • Tanzania

Test required for people over 12 (if not fully vaccinated)

  • Spain (or proof of recent recovery)
  • Portugal (or proof of recent recovery)
  • Austria (or proof of recent recovery)
  • France
  • Egypt
  • Seychelles

Test required for people over 16 (if not fully vaccinated)

Which destinations are test-free for all children?

Greece and Croatia have lifted their Covid-related entry restrictions, making them the easiest Mediterranean options for families this summer. Elsewhere in Europe, destinations no longer covered by Covid travel rules include Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Ireland, Iceland, Montenegro and Hungary.

For long-haul destinations, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Mexico and the Maldives are among the countries that do not require travelers to provide negative test evidence. Previously strict Thailand also lifted its testing requirements for children in early May.

What important goals do mask rules still have?

Even countries that have heartily embraced face masks during the pandemic have begun to roll back their restrictions. Malta, for example, has just lifted its strict mandate requiring the wearing of face coverings in both indoor and outdoor public spaces.

However, some are sticking to masks in certain settings, including Greece, where they will be required in indoor public spaces until at least June 1. In Italy, they are still required to be worn in cinemas and theaters, but are no longer required in bars and restaurants. Face covering rules have now been relaxed in France, Portugal and Spain, but they are still required on public transport.

How to apply for or renew a child passport

Obtaining a new passport for you or your child this summer can be a stressful endeavor due to ongoing delays in processing at passport offices. The department has blamed a spike in demand after five million Brits delayed renewing their passports during the pandemic, and warned travelers should allow 10 weeks for new documents to be issued. Previously, the default renewal window was less than half this time.

Parents should check the documents as they may have overlooked the fact that child passes are only valid for five years as opposed to 10 for a standard adult pass.

If you are applying for your child’s first passport, you should note that the process is different than for an adult passport. You will need to ask someone to confirm your child’s identity – this person will receive an email from the passport office with instructions on how to do this. Visit for more details.

Are child passes eligible for fast track services?

Parents who urgently need a passport for their child can theoretically speed up the process by using a week-long fast-track service, which costs £122 and involves applying through the government website and booking an in-person appointment with a passport includes centers.

Unfortunately, due to huge demand and with only seven passport centers across the country, there are currently no available dates, according to the website. As more Gold Dust slots are released, chances are you’ll travel far to secure your pass.

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