Tag Archives: covid-19

The Updated List of Countries Where Vaccinated Americans Can Travel Without Restrictions

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I’ve completely revamped and updated this page. Hopefully it’s more organized now.

Regularly updated. The most recent updates are posted first

This is a work in progress. Things can change very rapidly, so come back often!

Here is another major upgrade in one day!

MAJOR UPDATE (V.2): 10.6.21

Brazil has just changed the entry testing rule. It used to require a negative 72-hour PCR test. It now allows a 24-hour Antigen test — a game changer!

Brazil adds a 24-hour Antigen test option.

Note, that neither the U.S. Embassy in Brazil nor the Brazil Ministry of Health have yet reflected the change, probably because it’s so new, but Folha de São Paulo is the biggest (and reputable) Brazilian newspaper, so I wouldn’t expect them to publish misinformation. Here is the translation from Portuguese.

Having said that, if your flight is within a week or so, you must seek an official confirmation. I expect this will be updated by official sources within a few days (and I’ll update here when it happens).

MAJOR UPDATE: 10.6.21

The UK has waived pretesting requirements for fully vaccinated travelers. This is great news!

If you’re travelling to the UK from a non-red list country or territory and are eligible under fully vaccinated rules, you only need to take a test on day 2 after you arrive.

Other updates:

  • Finland and Latvia are open for fully vaccinated Americans. No tests are required.
  • Luxembourg bans entry to travelers from most non-EU countries including the U.S.
  • Peru has reinstated a negative 72-hour PCR test requirement even for vaccinated travelers.

——————————

Please read first!

The focus of this list is to help vaccinated U.S. travelers find a vacation destination with as few restrictions as possible. I don’t focus on entry rules for the unvaccinated, although I mention them sporadically when needed in context.

I always try to give you actionable info because anything along the lines of “a negative Covid test is required” is utterly useless.

  • Which Covid test? PCR or antigen?
  • When must you take it? Two days, five days, or one week before departure / arrival?

The devil’s in the details, and these details make all the difference in the world.

I’ve gone to great lengths to make sure this info is accurate

It’s unfortunate but many publications are printing (reprinting probably) unverified or outdated information without consulting primary sources.

Even U.S. embassies, while usually reliable, can take their sweet time updating crucial entry information. Which is why I try to get to the primary sources wherever possible.

Having said that, if you do find any errors or inconsistencies in this article, please don’t keep it to yourself.

The PCR test requirement is a huge headache for a traveler sitting on her packed bags

Any quarantine requirement is a deal killer for an occasional traveler. I think no one can argue with that.

But the PCR Covid-19 test requirement is a huge problem, too. First of all, you’re usually supposed to get it within 72 hours of boarding or arrival. In New York City not a single lab will guarantee you this turnaround. In order to get your PCR test within this timeframe, you must:

  • Go to a hospital. Many hospitals can get you a result within 12 to 24 hours.
  • Go to a commercial Rapid-PCR provider. The can get you results within a few hours to 24 hours.

The problem with the first approach is that you’re likely to wait hours and hours in an emergency room, which is also a high-risk environment. When my wife got sick, our ER wait was 5 hours, between 11 pm and 4 am.

The issue with the second approach is the cost. The Rapid-PCR test can cost you around $250 and is unlikely to be covered by your insurance.  

Of course, you can just take a regular PCR test for free, cross your fingers, and hope that the result will arrive in time for your travel. I’ve taken several PCR tests so far. Most results have arrived within three days, and one on the next day. But a couple of tests have arrived on the fourth and fifth day. Not acceptable.

Which is why the best tests to me are as follows:

  • No test.
  • Antigen test.
  • Any free or low-cost test on arrival.
  • PCR test with a longer time-frame (not as good as options above, but still…).

I would like to clarify that I’m not being snarky in any way. I fully recognize that any country has the right to decide how to protect their people without asking for my approval. 🙂

But it’s in my power to skip countries that make me jump through the hoops and go to the one that doesn’t. Or, more realistically, the one that makes me jump through fewer hoops. I think it’s fair. 🙂

What you still need to consider

There are additional steps that might be required by many countries. You might have to fill out an online form, download an app, apply for the entry permission online, and / or undergo a random test upon arrival. In addition, keep in mind that things can change very quickly (including new lockdowns, curfews, etc.). You’re also supposed to take a Covid test within 72 hours before returning to the U.S. Fortunately, a rapid antigen test will satisfy that requirement. You might also consider buying a good travel insurance plan that covers Covid and repatriation services in case of medical emergency.

Vaccinated travelers are usually considered the ones who have received the second (or first for Johnson & Johnson)  shot at least two weeks before the date of travel, but there are exceptions, so DO READ the links I’m providing.

I always try to avoid “public service announcements,” but please consider avoiding travel until you’re fully vaccinated.

I don’t keep tabs on every country in the world

If you don’t see the country you want to visit in my list, presume one of the following:

  • It requires a quarantine for fully vaccinated travelers.
  • It requires vaccinated travelers to present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel.
  • I believe the country in question isn’t touristy. If you disagree, please reach out, and I’ll promptly update!

And thank you, reader Joel, for reminding me about Honduras (for beautiful Roatan), but please, everyone, use the comments section rather than email.

And please, keep in mind that this list only provides the most vital information about countries’ entry requirements.

After that the ball’s in your park

Remember there are a lot of other things you’ll need to figure out.

  • Entry terms for unvaccinated children are different for every country
  • Ditto the vaccination timeline (who’s considered fully vaccinated)
  • Ditto pre-approvals / pre-authorizations / application forms
  • There can be health insurance requirements
  • There can be transit testing requirements (yes, some countries require a negative test just to transit through their airports!)
  • If you’re coming to a country after a stay in a third country, there might be additional restrictions

Also, keep in mind this piece is about air travel. Conditions for border crossings by sea or land may differ.

Do click on the provided links to get the full info!

ALWAYS check local Covid restrictions

Even if the country you’re visiting has easy entry requirements it doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Do you want to vacation in a country with a 6pm curfew? Will you be happy if masks are required outside? What if they ask you to wear two masks in crowded places (Peru does)? Every municipality within your destination country makes their own rules and restrictions, so make sure to research these kinds of things thoroughly, even if it involves asking questions on travel forums.

The Americas (valid as of 10.6.21)

American Express Transfer Bonus

The rainbows of Iguassu Falls, Brazil

Countries Vaccination Required to Enter or Avoid Quarantine? Test Required for the Vaccinated
Antigua and Barbuda Yes PCR 4 days
1. Aruba 2. For JetBlue passengers No Yes, but it’s doable, check the links
Bahamas No PCR or Antigen 5 days
Belize No PCR 96 hrs, or Antigen 48 hrs, or a $50 test on arrival
Brazil (as of 10.6.21) No PCR 72 hrs, or Antigen 24 hrs
British Virgin Islands Yes PCR or Antigen 5 days
Colombia No No test required
Costa Rica No No test required
Curaçao (removed) No Now 48-hour PCR test
Dominican Republic No No test required
Ecuador (removed) Yes Now 72-hour PCR for the Galapagos

Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Barts, U.S. Embassy

Yes PCR 72 hrs, or Antigen 48 hrs, or test on arrival
Honduras including Roatan No No test required
Jamaica No 72-hour PCR or Antigen test
Mexico No No test required
Panama No No test required
Peru (removed) No 72-hour PCR test reinstated
St. Lucia Yes PCR 5 days
Sint Maarten Yes PCR 72 hrs or Antigen 48 hrs
Turks and Caicos Yes 72-hour PCR or Antigen

Europe

Iceland’s newest lagoon: Courtesy of Sky Lagoon, Iceland

Countries Vaccination Required to Enter or Avoid Quarantine Y/N Entry for Vaccinated: Test requirements
Austria Yes No test required
Bosnia and Herzegovina No No test required
Czechia Yes No test required
Croatia No No test required
Cyprus No No test required
Denmark US Embassy Yes No test required
Estonia Yes No test required
Finland Yes No test required
France Yes No test required

Georgia

No No test required
Germany Yes No test required
Greece No No test required
Iceland US Embassy Yes 72-hour PCR or Antigen
Ireland Yes No test required
Italy Yes 72-hour PCR or Antigen
Latvia Yes No test required
Lithuania Yes No test required
Luxembourg removed No US citizens are now banned
Malta Yes No test required
Monaco Yes No test required
Montenegro No No test required
The Netherlands Yes 48 hrs PCR or 24 hrs Antigen
North Macedonia No No test required
Poland Yes No test required
Portugal, Azores, Madeira No 72 hrs PCR or 48 hrs Antigen
Romania Yes No test required
Serbia No No test required
Slovenia No No test required
Spain No No test required
Switzerland Yes No test required
Turkey No No test required
The UK (as of 10.4.21) No No test for entry, but required for day 2

Africa and the Middle East

Namibia Etosha National Park: Photo by Sergi Ferrete on Unsplash

Kenya No 96-hour PCR
Namibia No 7-day PCR
South Africa No 72 hrs PCR / Antigen or Antigen on arrival
Oman Yes 72-96 hrs PCR or PCR test on arrival

OWB countries 🙂

Courtesy Conradmaldives.com

French Polynesia Yes 72 hrs PCR or 48 hrs Antigen
The Maldives No 96-hour PCR

​To recap

Every country on this list is worth visiting, including Montenegro and Georgia, which are sadly not on many people’s radar.  The countries from this list are not just open, but allow a vaccinated traveler go places with the minimum hoops to jump through. That counts for something, IMHO.

Of course, we know that this pandemic is unpredictable. There are countries that saw great success containing Covid that quickly turned into a nightmare when some restrictions were lifted. So there are quite a few questions all of us should ask ourselves before we start packing.

  • What’s the Covid situation there right now?
  • Do they have lockdowns and / or curfews in places I’m planning to visit?
  • What’s open (tourist attractions, beaches, restaurants, clubs) and in what capacity?
  • And many others.

Keep in mind that things can go bad very fast. And get the best travel and medical insurance money can buy that does cover Covid – even though you’re vaccinated. Better safe than sorry.

Any thoughts, plans, or bookings? Please share in the comments.

 

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