People Are Getting Around Covid-19 Travel Bans By Making Dentist Appointments

Ireland has banned ‘non-essential’ foreign travel as part of its attempt to manage Covid-19, but people have figured out that if they want a vacation abroad all they need to do is make a dentist appointment. Reportedly thousands of people are doing it. Especially popular are dentists on the beach in Spain.

Dentists in Spain’s Canary Islands say they’re receiving up to 15 booking requests daily from inbound Irish travelers — the vast majority of whom don’t turn up for their appointment.

Ireland’s National Immigration Bureau said around a third of travelers to Tenerife, for example, are telling officers they must travel for essential medical reasons and show an email confirmation of a dental appointment. Many travel with companions, who are permitted to accompany what the official guidance calls “a vulnerable person who needs essential treatment.”

…While the head of the country’s police force, Commissioner Drew Harris, went on Ireland’s most popular TV variety show to warn travelers they could be fined or even jailed, rank-and-file officers at Dublin Airport say they’re powerless to stop those carrying dental declarations.

Even if these dental appointments could be proven fraudulent that just means a 500 euro fine, which might be budgeted into the trip. Many people have extra money in their travel budgets after reduced spending over the past year.

Traditionally dental holidays are booked by older travelers but according to a dental clinic in Tenerife they’ve “been receiving five to seven emails daily from inbound Irish travelers — many of them couples in their teens and 20s — seeking appointments.” And these people are no showing their dental booking, which has caused dentists to begin insisting on prepayment. Now there’s discussion of dental clinics developing a reporting system where missed appointments are reported to Irish police.

If you’re going to use the dental loophole, and prepay, you might as well get a cleaning out of it, even though “current law permits travelers to be charged only at the point they attempt the overseas journey, not after the fact.”

There’s a loophole for everything, like buying a plane ticket to visit an airport bar where those remain open as part of airports during lockdowns or faking essential worker letters in order to authorize travel to take jobs abroad in the face of bans on leaving a country. Even testing can be an expensive hassle so people without the virus are faking negative tests. On one flight 95% of passengers presented fake negative results.

(HT: Paddle Your Own Kanoo)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. Well known in the medical community and lots of referrals are offered as well… for example, lots of referrals have been written for a couple doctors in Hawaii. It bypasses their quarantine rules.

  2. This is the inevitable response when our rights are stripped from us from the criminals in charge. Not everyone bends over and takes it. Good on them!

  3. Deep sympathy to his family, friends and colleagues.
    Many of us know the sadness of losing someone to cancer.Its devastating.
    Yet there appears to be some hope on the horizon for some cancer from what I read
    I lost a family member this past April and a long time friend of the family this past year during Covid.Not being to see anyone in the hospital makes everything horrible and that much worse 🙁

    Going forward respectfully
    Perhaps Marriott could somehow get on much better with a new leadership eventually.
    Mr. Sorenson and his team chose greed over loyalty.While he may have been the nicest guy and old world hospitality veteran there were indeed missteps beyond the scope of Covid 19 that hurt the industry & Marriott.There are many reasons I went to other competing brands even though Marriott had all the brands I mostly ever wanted and needed.That’s coming from a Lifetime Titanium who essentially walked away

    IMO his direction has been poor over the past years and devaluations massive to their Golden Goose BonVoid loyalty program and customer service near pitiful.
    They could easily be the most popular,,powerful successful hotel company in history
    Profits over people & loyalty.I’m a firm believer let the new generation come in and hit refresh..Sadly Hyatt has been influenced by their mistakes more recently with seasonal pricing coming soon.Like the airline industry monkey see monkey do.EX Delta award pricing and American trying to copy them.Oh to the good old days (sigh)

  4. I live in canada
    Last week booked a medical appointment in usa across the border so I could pick up my packages that were waiting for almost a year since as of this week the measures are even more draconian

  5. ….And here we are in mid-February still dealing with this nonsense. Just step back and look at this for a moment: With the exception of a handful of sub-Saharan countries with exotic and unchecked diseases, when was they last time you were required to show proof of vaccination or a negative test for Hepatitis, Tetanus, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, TB, Malaria, STD’s, Flu, Meningitis, Polio, Diphtheria or Pertussis before any sort of travel? These are all serious diseases many of which can be deadly, are highly contagious or can cause serious and permanent disability. It’s far past time for our collective society to stop the fear mongering and get their head out of the sand and get back to normal, not some faux ‘new normal’ as it has been called…..As we speak the Wuhan virus is continuing to mutate itself out of existence

  6. I made medical appointment in usa last week in order to pick up my packages that were waiting there, before canada applied more draconian measures

  7. @dwondermeant: Well said. I do wish his family peace at this time. I worked at a cancer center and have seen beautiful recoveries as well as things I hope no one ever has to deal with again.

    I’m with many of the others here — it’s time to move on. The virus (fortunately) didn’t turn out as bad as had been initially feared back a year ago. We’ve since learned what works (vitamin D, oxygen, Ivermectin, others). We’ve learned what doesn’t (ventilators, lockdowns, etc.). We’re not helpless anymore. 99.5%+ survival rates for most and treatments are getting better every day. There’s vaccines being distributed, more vaccines in the pipeline. Herd immunity’s building nicely in areas that are open. I myself had it very early on. Other than a very unpleasant six hours when it initially hit, probably the mildest flu I’ve had. This isn’t Ebola. This isn’t 1918. It’s not even the 1968-1969 Hong Kong Flu. Yes, it’s real, but manageable.

    and please… people… wash your #$#@ hands! It seems like once people started wearing masks they stopped washing hands. Worse, they keep touching their masks then touch everything else.

  8. Prolonged lockdowns and travel bans are not part of the agreement the people have made with their governments, and I have no doubt that some of these things will be found unconstitutional here in the USA when all is said and done. A travel ban might make slight sense for places with almost zero community spread like Singapore and Australia but even there the better, more effective choice is pre-arrival testing and post-arrival quarantine. A ban makes zero logical sense for a place like Ireland where community spread is rampant and travel is unlikely to affect the overall infection rate. The ban is simply an authoritarian overreaction as we have seen all over the world.

    Does this justify circumventing the ban? That’s for you and your conscience to decide.

  9. I wish that I was so important like these people that everyone else’s health didn’t matter as long as I got what I felt like.

  10. @Christian

    The irony is that you are so self important you believe that your opinion should dictate how everyone else lives their life. You’re part of the problem.

    Maybe the TSA can deputize you so you can hang out at the airport asking everyone where they are going and why?

  11. Notifying Irish police? That would be in violation of patient doctor personal information statute.Hope someone reads this and sues the hospital, drs office that does this.

  12. @Ryan – The bans are there for a good reason. You want to put other people’s lives at risk for your pleasure. I always find it interesting how people who cry out for Personal Responsibility don’t actually show any and instead try to do whatever they want as long as other people deal with the consequences.

  13. @christian
    Alternatively you can stay in your basement forever and let others live
    Your fears can not dictate the actions of others
    As a side note, posting not to travel on a blog where everybody is crazy fanatic about traveling is not the most effective way to get your message across…just saying

  14. @doug
    So personal responsibility is for other people and if they die, no big deal? I badly miss travel too, I’m just not willing to have my culpability in killing someone as the price for indulging my desire to travel a few months quicker. Once I get vaccinated, at least I can have a reasonably clear conscience that I didn’t pick off strangers, let alone my family members who have compromised immune systems, because my desire to travel before getting jabbed is more important than their life. I do realize that some people view other people’s lives as being disposable, I’m just not That Guy.

  15. @john people can question whatever they want. So long as they agree with you, right?

    @christian the bans are there for a good reason in some cases. Let the people making the rules enforce them. None of your business where I go or why.

  16. @ryan – Interesting perspective. I disagree, as I think we’re all in this together since it directly affects other people. That said, I do see your point.

  17. @ christian
    Sorry, that “we are in this together” is BS
    It is just something that people who want to virtue signal and feel better about themselves say

  18. @DOUG – Look up the term. Virtue signaling is when you act differently in order to look virtuous. I haven’t flown in over a year so I’m acting as I previously did during the whole Global Pandemic thing. Sorry that you think not being selfish is BS but it’s good to know where you stand. You seem one of the “Personal Responsibility” crowd that doesn’t show any and instead chooses to do as they like. That’s actually irresponsible. Instead, why not take one for the team here and do what’s right for your society rather than what you personally want? If you like, you could then virtue signal about it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *