Netherlands Drops Negative PCR-RT Test Requirement From Transit Passengers Effective Today (June 1, 2021)

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Netherlands was one of the first countries to introduce PCR-RT test requirements for transit passengers (often you needed two) that some other countries followed with less time-consuming and cheaper tests.

The Netherlands has removed the negative test requirement from transit passengers effective today. However, you need to ensure that you fulfill the destination country’s entry requirements, including possible test(s).

You can access the Netherlands page for Covid-19 and travel here.

Here’s the information (Google translate from English):

As a traveler, you must be able to show a negative COVID-19 test result before traveling or returning to the Netherlands. This applies to most countries and to anyone aged 13 or older. The test result is mandatory for departures by plane, ship, international train and international bus. From 1 June, the negative test result is also mandatory for travelers with their own transport, such as the car or motorcycle.

Changes from June 1:

  • Negative NAAT(PCR) test result also mandatory for travelers with a car or motorcycle unless the travelers have been in the Netherlands for less than 12 hours .
  • Transfer passengers except for the mandatory tests 
  • Rapid test only mandatory for travelers from countries with a worrying virus variant

AND

Negative COVID-19 test result: rules when switching

As a traveler, you must be able to show a negative COVID-19 test result before traveling or returning to the Netherlands. The rules for switching differ per situation.

You start your journey in a safe country and you have a transfer in a high-risk area

  • If you stayed at the airport, you do not need a negative COVID-19 test result.
  • If you leave the airport during the transfer, this counts as a new journey. In that case, the obligation applies to the negative COVID-19 test result .

You start your journey in a high-risk area and you have a transfer in a non-high-risk area

  • The rules for the negative COVID-19 test result from a high-risk area also apply to you.
    • You present a negative NAAT(PCR) test result of up to 72 hours old upon boarding;
  • The test result remains valid during the transfer and possible delay.

You start your journey in a high-risk area and you have a transfer in the Netherlands

  • You do not need to be able to show a negative NAAT(PCR) test result or rapid test result upon arrival in the Netherlands.
  • A transfer is understood to mean: traveling on directly, within a few hours, but no later than 1 day, without leaving the transfer point.

Conclusion

This is a welcomed change, and it has been rather unusual that the transit point may have required you to have a PCR-RT test when the destination country doesn’t, and this has even included intra-Schengen and EU/EEA travel.

Now that the EU is opening up for first internal travel and later for more widespread international visitors, having a PCR-RT test requirement for merely a transit would have disadvantaged Netherlands, Schiphol, and KLM over other countries and airlines.

I had to take an unnecessary PCR-RT test in Barcelona last month (read more here) when I was transiting the Netherlands to Mexico City. I am back at Schiphol in four weeks and need to check a couple of days before the entry requirements to Spain and Greece and whether I need another test or two.

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