COVID-19 tests for HGV drivers travelling to France & certain other countries

What COVID-19 testing requirements are being introduced by France for truck drivers?

From Thursday 28 January France will require that any Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) driver or Light Goods Vehicle (LGV) driver or Coach driver must present proof of a negative COVID-19 antigen or PCR test result (from a list of approved tests) before the driver will be allowed to embark on a ferry from Ireland bound for France. We have been advised by the French authorities that this will apply to drivers travelling on any ferry setting sail from Ireland to France after 11pm (Irish time) on Wednesday and that the requirement will remain in place for at least the next month.

The test (whether PCR or antigen) must have been obtained less than 72 hours prior to embarking on a journey to France. Proof of the negative test result must be shown to the shipping company in Ireland before boarding and to French authorities upon disembarkation in France. In addition, the driver will be required to have completed a “declaration of honour” confirming that he/she has no COVID-19 symptoms and that he/she has not been a close contact of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the previous 14 days.

Proof of this declaration must also be shown to the ferry company before departure. Testing sites are being established where drivers will be able to avail of a free COVID-19 antigen test.

Where can I get a free COVID-19 antigen test in Ireland?

Dedicated COVID-19 (antigen) testing sites for HGV/LGV drivers intending to travel from Dublin and Rosslare ports to continental Europe are being established. Drivers will be able to obtain an antigen test free of charge at these locations. Drivers must make sure that they obtain a test within 72 hours prior to embarking on a ferry bound for France, and drivers are encouraged to pre-book their test and ensure that they arrive at the testing site on time.

If a driver arrives without a pre-booking, he/she may have to wait or queue for a test. The Dublin site will be open from tomorrow morning (Thursday 28 January) and is located South of Dublin Airport and is using part of what was previously Dublin Airport’s Blue Long Stay Car Park , signposted from M1 Junction 2 (Airport) and M50 Junction 4 (Ballymun). https://goo.gl/maps/stMwL14fLHSGhmkz7 There will be two sites serving Rosslare – a primary testing site, at Gorey Motorway Service Area (Circle K) which will be open from Thursday 28 January, and also one at Holmestown Civic Amenity Facility, which will open over the coming days.

Gorey Motorway Service Area (Circle K) is located just off the M11 motorway, at a purpose-built junction between junctions 21 and 22, 78 km from Rosslare Europort. https://goo.gl/maps/FijbUu8wy8PbBy7x5

  • Site to open over the coming days:

Holmestown Civic Amenity Facility is located at the Holmestown Waste Management facility, 650m from the N25 in Holmestown, County Wexford and will open over the coming days . Eircode – Y35 Y28W. The site is 27 km from Rosslare Europort. https://goo.gl/maps/hQB2LSdmV6vUqjZe8

Alternatively, hauliers and drivers can get an authorised negative COVID-19 test, or a PCR test, at their own cost from a private testing facility around the country and firms may have their own arrangements. However, drivers must ensure that if they are undergoing a test privately, that the test is on France’s list of approved antigen tests.

When will the sites in Dublin and Wexford be operational?

The sites will be open Monday-Saturday. Hours of operation will be kept under review. The sites at Dublin (Daa) Blue Car Park and Gorey Service Station will be open from the morning of Thursday 28 January, from 8am – the Daa Blue Car Park will be open 8am-7pm tomorrow, and the Gorey Service Station will be open 8am-10pm tomorrow.

The site at Holmestown will be open over the coming days. It is important that drivers make an appointment for their test. They can do so from today.

Please see point 6 below for more information. Walk-ins will be facilitated when possible. It should be noted, however, that pre-booked tests have priority.

Is it free to get a COVID-19 test?

Yes, COVID-19 testing will be free at the designated sites outlined above for all HGV/LGV/Coach drivers who are taking an international journey within 72 hours to a country requiring COVID-19 negative test results (currently France/Netherlands/Germany). Drivers will also be asked to show photo identification to the testing provider and it is suggested that you bring your digital tachograph card as identification .

How long does it take to get a COVID-19 test at one of these sites?

You may have to wait/queue for a COVID-19 test. Therefore, it is very important that drivers pre-book their test.

Drivers can also book in for a test in the days before they travel to France (as long as this is within 72 hours prior to boarding the ferry to France). The test is an antigen test taken using a swab. It takes about 10 minutes to get the test.

Test results should be available within an hour of receiving the test. You will receive an email notifying you that your test result can be viewed online on your portal. You will then have a QR code and the option of downloading your test result on your phone – if your result is negative, please download the test result, as you will be asked to provide this pdf result when boarding the ferry .

If your test result is negative (i.e., non-detected), you can continue on your journey to the port to take your ferry, and you will need to show your test result to ferry operators and to the French authorities.

How do I set up an account or change my current RocDoc Covid Check account?

To set up a new account

  • Go to www.covidcheck.ie and click on the green ‘Get Tested’ button at the top.
  • Click on the orange ‘Create a New HGV Account’ button (the blue option is for general public accounts).

    You can also log into a current account here using the green bottom option.

  • You will then be asked for personal information such as name, email, password, date of birth, gender and home address.
  • You will need to upload a recent head and shoulder photo at this point also, please do not upload a photo of your passport, driving licence, tachograph card, etc. This must be against a plain white background with no other persons in the photo, no hats, no sunglasses, etc. This photo is used for identification purposes at the testing site and also will show on your testing information on the portal used for the applicable authorities.
  • You will need to insert your personal digital tachograph card number here.

    If you do not have this you will not be able to book a HGV test. If you are a light goods vehicle driver then please add your driving licence number making it to 16 digits using zeros.

  • Finally, you need to submit all details meaning that your account is now created. You will receive an email to notify you of this also (please check your junk, clutter, spam, other email inboxes as sometimes the email goes into these).
  • Please note that if you do not register and set up an account, then you will be asked to do so at the test centre.

If you already have a Covid Check account and need to add your HGV details

  • You can either use the Get Tested button on the website or by selecting ‘Personal Login’ from the Login menu option.
  • Click on the bottom option ‘Book HGV Covid Test’
  • At this point you can add your tachograph number, then submit

Do I need to book in advance?

Yes , you should pre book a test in advance. Once you’ve created your profile/portal as outlined above, you should follow the below steps to book.

  • Click ‘Book HGV Covid test’ on the home page
  • Use the search function to look for an available tests on your desired date
  • Once you find a date, time and location that suits you then click on the green ‘book’ button to the right
  • Then you will just need to complete some specific booking details and tick the consent fields, sign, and submit.
  • That is the test booking complete and notification will come up on the screen to confirm the details
  • You will receive an email with all of this information on it and your unique appointment barcode
  • If you need to check any details then please go to ‘My Tests/Tokens’ on the home page and all information will be on here also along with your unique appointment barcode
  • When you arrive for your test you will need the unique appointment barcode and your photo ID (tachograph card)

Contact details Administrative Support through a Customer Care Team is also available for assistance between 0800 – 2200, 7 days a week (00353(0)1 9697893) or email admin@rocdochealthcheck.ie .

HGV drivers can also communicate with the testing provider via their personal customer portal messaging system.

I have 72 hours before boarding, to get a test. Can I get a test a day or two before I leave?

I work as a HGV driver for a company in another country (NI/GB/other country), and I don’t live in Ireland, can I still avail of a test at one of the sites?

Yes. If you are taking the ferry from Ireland to France or availing of the landbridge route to go to France/Netherlands/Germany, you can avail of a free test here in Ireland.

Do I need to bring any proof to the test centre?

Yes, you should bring proof of your ferry booking (if you have this) with you to the test centre. The test provider will ask you to show them your ferry booking details to confirm that you intend to travel to the continent within the next 72 hours.

Please also bring photo identification and this should ideally be in the form of your digital tachograph card.

How do I prove that I’ve tested negative for COVID-19?

If you undergo a test at one of the testing sites described above, you will receive an email enabling you to check your test result, along with the time and date of your result.

If you obtain a negative (non-detected) result, you can then proceed on your journey towards the port to take the ferry to France. Ferry operators will be required to check for proof of a negative COVID-19 test result before departure and will check your signed declaration of honour form. If a driver attempts to board a ferry to France without evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result, he/she will be denied boarding.

If a driver somehow boards a ferry to France without a check, he/she will be denied entry to France and will be turned back. French border police at Cherbourg or Dunkirk may ask you for proof of your negative test, so please have your pdf proof of your negative result to hand, along with your signed declaration of honour.

What happens if I test positive for COVID-19?

If you live in Ireland, contact your GP who will refer you for a free COVID-19 PCR test. If the PCR test result is positive, drivers must follow Irish public health guidance and self-isolate for 14 days. If you do not live in Ireland, the testing provider can contact a GP/doctor for you, who will formally refer you for a free COVID-19 PCR test in Ireland.

If the PCR test result is positive, drivers must follow Irish public health guidance and self-isolate for 14 days in Ireland. In all cases, your employer will need to make arrangements regarding the truck you are driving and the goods you are carrying.

What happens if I don’t undergo a test and I travel by ferry to France?

Ferry operators will be checking proof of a negative COVID-19 test result before departure. If you attempt to board a ferry to France without evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result, you will be denied boarding . If you somehow board a ferry to France without a check, you will be denied entry to France and you will be turned back.

Can I undergo an antigen or a PCR test by booking one myself somewhere else in Ireland?

Yes, provided you have a negative COVID-19 antigen or PCR test result (from France’s list of approved tests ) obtained less than 72 hours before embarking on your ferry journey – such costs will not however be covered by the State. You will need to carry proof of your negative test result on your journey.

Proof of the test result must be shown to the ferry company before boarding and to French authorities upon disembarkation in France. You will also need your signed declaration of honour form.

How long will this French requirement be in place?

This requirement will be in place for the foreseeable future. If there is any change, hauliers will be notified as soon as possible.

What are the requirements for HGV drivers travelling from Ireland to the Netherlands and Germany?

The Netherlands In addition to the above requirements being introduced by France, haulage operators must be aware that the Netherlands and Germany also have testing requirements in place. Drivers travelling from the UK to the Netherlands by ferry are required to show evidence of a negative antigen test obtained within 24 hours of boarding a ferry departing for a Dutch port.

Drivers and crew of HGVs, and drivers of LGVs and vans must get tested before they arrive at their (UK) port of departure. For drivers who have been in Ireland during the last 10 days prior to entry into Germany, pre-registration is mandatory – drivers must register at https://www.einreiseanmeldung.de before entry. A negative COVID-19 test result obtained less than 48 hours before arrival in Germany is also mandatory.

German regulations depend upon the classification of the country the haulier is travelling from. Ireland is currently considered as an “area of variant of concern” and the above rules apply. Up-to-date information on the classification of countries as “risk areas”, “high incidence areas” or “areas of variant of concern” may be found under the link https://www.rki.de/risikogebiete (German/English version).

HGV drivers travelling to Belgium do not require proof of a negative COVID-19 test result however they must complete a Sworn Declaration in respect of the nature of their essential travel. The English version of the Sworn Declaration to be completed by those travelling for essential reasons to/from Belgium has been published and is available here. At present, the form must be completed in hard copy form but an online English version (from which a PDF can be downloaded as proof of completion) is being developed by Belgium and will be available at the same link, shortly.

If I’m travelling from Ireland to Britain to use the landbridge route to reach France, the Netherlands, or Germany, can I get a free test in Ireland before travelling?

Yes, but you don’t have to. You can also take a test in Great Britain at one of the haulier advice sites offering tests.

Free testing is available at 36 Information & Advice (I&A) sites across the UK, where hauliers and drivers can also get support with documentation requirements. Alternatively, hauliers and drivers can get an authorised negative COVID-19 test from a private testing facility and firms may have their own arrangements. Haulier advice sites are located at motorway service stations and truck stops.

Most haulier advice sites in Britain are open between 6am and 10pm, 7 days a week.

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