Tag Archives: covid-19

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

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Regularly updated; bookmark this post. The most recent updates are posted first

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

UPDATED 9.18.21

The Netherlands has lifted the quarantine requirement for Americans starting 9.22. You still have to present a negative Covid test, but an antigen negative test taken within 24 hours of departure is sufficient.

Czechia has added the language that (I think) might mean that fully vaccinated travelers can avoid having to present a negative PCR test. I’m just not sure. Here it is.

  • [For persons] vaccinated outside of the EU+ – it is necessary to have an EU digital COVID certificate or a written confirmation whose sample is published on the Ministry of Health website; only vaccinations approved by EMA or products producted in compliance with the patent of the approved vacctinations are
    accepted

The “written confirmation” language wasn’t there last time I checked, but I’m still not sure what it means.

Antigua and Barbuda cut the PCR test validity time from 1 week to 4 days.

Peru has removed the Covid testing requirement for fully vaccinated people.

——————————

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 do you must 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It’s unfortunate but many publications are printing (reprinting probably) unverified or outdated information without consulting primary sources.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. Whish 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, or / and 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.

Update for the Americas (valid as of 9.18.21)

  • Aruba has updated the rules (having complicated things in the process, but still doable); read below.
  • Curaçao now requires a 48-hour PCR test! Removed from the list.
  • Ecuador now requires full vaccination AND a 72-hour PCR test to enter the Galapagos. Removed from the list.

There have been other changes since the last update, but they’re not significant.

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

Update for Europe

Here are major changes that have been introduced since Aug 30 when the EU removed the U.S. from the list of epidemiologically safe countries. Several countries responded by cracking down on unvaccinated travelers; Denmark, as an example, has banned unvaccinated Americans, but vaccinated U.S. travelers are still exempt from testing requirements.

However, three countries have taken the E.U. recommendations a bit further.

Bulgaria: non-essential travel from the U.S is currently banned.

Sweden has reintroduced the ban for non-essential travel from the U.S. starting today, 9/6, but promised to examine “the possibility … of exempting fully vaccinated residents of certain third countries from the entry restrictions.”

The Netherlands (Updated, see the above 9.18.21 update): 10-day quarantine for vaccinated American travelers — LIFTED. They also added a negative test requirement, but I stopped reading after the word “quarantine.” 🙂

Czechia issued new rules — very confusing and self-contradictory. My reading is that Americans are now required to take a PCR test 72 hours before departure(?). There is an exception for vaccinated travelers, but only those who’ve been vaccinated in EU+ countries. Here is the link.

Persons fully vaccinated in the EU+ countries after at least 14 days from the application of the last dose (it is necessary to have a national certificate or a digital EU certificate).

Italy: All U.S. travelers must now provide a negative PCR or antigen test result taken within 72 hours before arriving in Italy. Vaccinated travelers won’t need to quarantine.

These are all major changes concerning vaccinated U.S. travelers that have taken place since the last update. 

——————————–

8.18.21 Major Update

Austria is now open to U.S. travelers (vaccinated travelers can enter without testing).

Czechiais now open to vaccinated U.S. travelers without testing.??? See 9.18.21 update above. 

Ireland is now open to vaccinated U.S. travelers without testing.

Aruba has  reinstated the 72-hour negative PCR testing requirement again.

The Bahamas entry requirement has changed and requires testing for all including vaccinated travelers, but an antigen test will suffice.

Belize now requires a negative test regardless of vaccination, but antigen is fine.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: No restrictions for vaccinated travelers

Colombia has been open to all visitors for a long time, but I haven’t posted it due to very prohibitive curfews that had been instituted in many cities, including Bogota, Medellin and Cartagena. It seems, though, that the curfews have been eased up in the recent weeks, so there.

Curaçao requires a negative test, but antigen is fine. See below for more restrictions.

Kenya requires a negative PCR test taken within 96 hours of travel.

The Maldives requires a 96-hour negative PCR test.

Morocco is now open to fully vaccinated Americans.

St. Lucia requires a negative PCR test taken within 5 days of travel.

Serbia requires a negative Covid test but antigen will suffice.

South Africa requires a negative PCR or antigen test within 72 hours of travel (at least the way I read it).

Previous updates

Canada and the UK are opening the borders to vaccinated Americans. While they don’t fully qualify for this list (there are considerable restrictions since both countries require a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival), I had to mention these openings just because these countries are way too important to international travel from the U.S.

Europe

Italy has allowed entry to vaccinated Americans with no testing requirements since the next day after my last update (missed that, sorry).

Estonia has lifted most Covid restrictions except for high-risk countries for vaccinated travelers.

The Faroe Islands published additional restrictions a few days ago.

Additional travel restrictions for the Faroe Islands compared to Denmark:
Mandatory test upon arrival regardless of vaccination status, test results, departure country status or any other circumstance.
Strongly recommended home quarantine until the fourth day after arrival. 

The key here is how strongly it’s recommended. Any quarantine requirement is a deal killer for an occasional traveler, so hopefully you can respectfully decline?

Iceland has added a requirement for a negative antigen test within 72 hours of arrival for vaccinated travelers.

Lithuania doesn’t require testing for vaccinated travelers (at least this is how I read it).

Luxembourg: no tests are required for vaccinated Americans.

Malta: gee, talk about complicated. Vaccinated Americans over 12 can enter without testing, but their card needs to be verified by the VeriFLY app, plus kids 5-11 must present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival.

Monaco is open for vaccinated Americans without restrictions.

The Netherlands: no restrictions for vaccinated American travelers.

Poland is open for fully vaccinated U.S. travelers without restrictions.

Romania is open for fully vaccinated U.S. travelers except those from the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Sweden: a negative 48-hour PCR or antigen test is required for all travelers.

Switzerland is open for fully vaccinated U.S. travelers without restrictions.

The Americas

Vaccinated Americans can enter Ecuador including the Galapagos Islands without any testing requirements.

Panama is open, for travelers with a negative PCR or antigen test taken within 72 hours. But if you can’t make it, the test can be administered at the airport upon landing for $50. I wish all countries that stubbornly (and stupidly) adhere to their “3-day PCR guidelines” took this approach.

Peru: a negative antigen test 24 hours before boarding is required.

Aruba scrapped their testing requirement for vaccinated Americans starting August 1. Yay!

Guadeloupe and Martinique are open to vaccinated Americans with a negative 48-hour antigen test.

Jamaica requires a negative PCR or antigen test taken within 3 days of travel. Plus you must stay within the “resilient corridor.”

St. Barts is open to vaccinated Americans without any test requirements for those over 18. Travelers between 11 and 18 must get tested, but a 48-hour negative antigen test is sufficient. Seems like I missed this one during the previous update.

Sint Maarten now accepts a negative antigen test from vaccinated Americans.

Saba, a lesser-known Dutch Caribbean island, is open to vaccinated travelers with an antigen test as well, bur requires preapproval (see below).

Turks and Caicos: a negative PCR or antigen test taken within 72 hours of boarding is required for all travelers.

The Pacific

French Polynesia: A negative antigen test within 48 hours of boarding is sufficient for vaccinated travelers.

I also reported the creation of a so-called sandbox on Phuket, which opened the doors to vaccinated Americans and other foreigners on July 1. This path doesn’t qualify for this list, as well, since you still have to present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival plus a lot of paperwork and lodging restrictions. More in the Asia section.

And as a reminder, please check the restrictions.

6.21.21

More countries are currently accepting vaccinated travelers without considerable restrictions since the last update: 

  • Denmark
  • France
  • Germany
  • Portugal
  • Turkey

For details scroll down to: Where Vaccinated Americans Can Travel in Europe

Going to Europe? Read this: Back to the Basics: Cheapest Miles to Europe in the Post-COVID-19 World

Where Vaccinated Americans Can Travel in the Americas

​Aruba

No tests are required for fully vaccinated travelers.

Updated 8.18.21: Aruba reintroduces the 72-hour negative PCR-test requirement.

The Bahamas

Atlantis: Photo by Forest Simon on Unsplash

The Bahamas now requires testing for everyone including vaccinated travelers, but an antigen test will suffice.

More info

​Belize

Photo by reisetopia on Unsplash

No tests are required for fully vaccinated travelers.

Belize now requires a negative test regardless of vaccination, but antigen is fine.

More info

Costa Rica

No tests are required for vaccinated or non-vaccinated travelers, but you must have a proof of health insurance (thanks, Kathy).

UPDATE: No insurance is required for fully vaccinated travelers anymore (but, seriously, you know you need it anyway).

More info

Dominican Republic

No tests are required for vaccinated or non-vaccinated travelers, and the government will cover the cost of “antigen testing to international visitors staying at most of the hotels.” If you arrive in the DR by June 12, you’ll also get a free health coverage plan.

More info

Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands

No tests are required for fully vaccinated travelers.

Guadeloupe (updated 8.2.21)

Open to vaccinated Americans with a negative 48-hour antigen test.

Jamaica (updated 8.2.21)

A negative PCR or antigen test within 3 days of arrival is required for all travelers. In addition, a traveler must stay within the “resilient corridor” to avoid having to quarantine.

Martinique (updated 8.2.21)

Open to vaccinated Americans with a negative 48-hour antigen test.

Mexico

No tests are required for vaccinated or non-vaccinated travelers arriving by air. Land crossings are closed.

More info

Peru: I’m conflicted about this one. The Covid levels in Lima and Cusco are very high, which, of course, affects the curfews. On the other hand, can you imagine the beauty of Machu Picchu devoid of the tourist hordes? 🙂

Saba (updated 8.2.21)

Saba is an island in the Dutch Caribbean I haven’t heard much about. Vaccinated Americans can travel with a PCR or antigen test (72 hours for PCR, 48 hours for antigen). Need preapproval, though.

Sint Maarten (updated 8.2.21)

A negative antigen test within 48 hours is sufficient for vaccinated Americans.

St. Barts (updated 8.2.21)

Open to vaccinated Americans over 18 without any test requirements.

Turks and Caicos

A negative antigen test within 72 hours is sufficient for vaccinated Americans.

Where Vaccinated Americans Can Travel in Europe

Croatia

Island Visovac: Photo by Hrvoje_Photography 🇭🇷 on Unsplash

One would think that a country as dependent on international tourism as Croatia would scream from the rooftops that they’re lifting their crucial travel restriction. But what do you know! It’s very frustrating to wade through their Ministry of Internal Affairs website, but after you persevere, you’ll finally find what you need.

Please note: In addition to a proof of vaccination, you must “have a certificate of paid accommodation in a hotel, camp, private renter or rented vessel and other form of tourist accommodation.” The payment must be made in advance and in full. Simply booking a room isn’t enough.

​Cyprus

Nissi beach in Ayia Napa: Photo by Miriam Eh on Unsplash

No tests are required for fully vaccinated travelers.

More info

Denmark (updated 6.21.21)

No tests are required for fully vaccinated travelers.

More info

Estonia (updated 8.2.21) 

No tests are required for vaccinated or unvaccinated travelers. Vaccinated travelers don’t have to fill up a declaration of health prior to flying.

France (updated 6.21.21)

No tests are required for fully vaccinated travelers.

More info

​Georgia

Tbilisi, Georgia: Photo by Denis Arslanbekov on Unsplash

No tests are required for fully vaccinated travelers arriving by air.

More info

Germany (updated 6.21.21)

No tests are required for fully vaccinated travelers.

More info

​Greece

I’ll admit, I was very tempted to post a picture of Santorini here, but then I thought — surely there must be life in Greece outside Santorini? 🙂

Rhodes: Photo by Serhat Beyazkaya on Unsplash

No tests are required for fully vaccinated travelers.

More info

​Iceland

If you thought the Blue Lagoon was awesome, here is the new kid on the block.

Courtesy of Sky Lagoon, Iceland

UPDATE 8.2.21: A negative 72-hour antigen test is required for vaccinated travelers

Italy (Update 8.2.21)

No testing is required for fully vaccinated Americans.

Lithuania (Update 8.2.21)

No testing is required for vaccinated travelers.

Luxembourg (Update 8.2.21)

Luxembourg doesn’t require any tests from vaccinated Americans.

Malta (Update 8.2.21)

No tests are required from vaccinated Americans over 12, but see more in the introduction.

Monaco (Update 8.2.21)

Open for vaccinated Americans without restrictions; also allows travelers 7 days after the second dose.

​Montenegro

Kotor’s Bay: Photo by olga brajnovic on Unsplash

No tests are required for fully vaccinated travelers.

The site I’ve linked to keeps disappearing, so here is the quote and a screenshot:

Montenegrin citizens and foreigners [SNIP] can enter Montenegro across all border crossings [SNIP] with the proof that at least seven days before entering Montenegro they have been immunized with the second dose of vaccine against the new coronavirus, issued by the authorized health institution.

I’ve redacted the text that’s not relevant and only makes it difficult to read. You’re welcome. 🙂

I do have the PDF file, so message me if you want it.

Note that the seven days stipulation is a bit unusual. Other countries require at least 14.

The Netherlands (Update 8.2.21)

No restrictions for American travelers except completing a health declaration.

North Macedonia

No restrictions for vaccinated or unvaccinated travelers unless you’re arriving from India.

More info

Poland (updated 8.2.21)

Open for fully vaccinated U.S. travelers without restrictions.

Portugal (updated 6.21.21)

Mainland

According to the U.S. Embassy, a proof “of a negative COVID-19 test is required for vaccinated and unvaccinated U.S. travelers: Except for children 24 months old and under, every passenger must submit a negative SARSCoV-2 lab result of a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), for example a PCR test, performed in the last 72 hours or a rapid antigen test (TRAg), performed within 24 hours of boarding.”

Please note: there are two discrepancies between what posted on the U.S. Embassy site and the Portuguese Foreign Affair site. The latter states the following: “Except for children of 12 years old and under, every passenger must submit a negative SARSCoV-2 lab testing of nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) or rapid antigen test (TRAg), performed within 72 or 48 hours before boarding, respectively.”

I believe the Portuguese in this instance simply because there are currently no vaccines authorized for children under 12 anyway. To be safe, however, you might want to verify when you’re supposed to get an antigen test, although even 24 hours is plenty since the results are available within 15-30 minutes.

Madeira

From July 1, no tests are required for fully vaccinated travelers flying directly to Madeira.

Passengers holding a vaccination certificate (document that proves complete vaccination) and/or proof of COVID-19 recovery for up to 180 days, are eligible for direct entry into the Autonomous Region of Madeira, without the need for testing.

I don’t think that “direct entry” in the above quote is synonymous with nonstop (there are no nonstop or direct flights between the U.S. and Madeira anyway). However, you might want to verify with your airline that connecting flights qualify just to be safe.

More info (Spanish)

Azores

Unless a traveler has a proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test performed within 72 hours, they must undergo a free PCR test “upon arrival at the island of final destination.” There are no special considerations for vaccinated travelers.

More info (Spanish)

Romania (Update 8.2.21)

No restrictions for fully vaccinated U.S. travelers except those arriving from the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Slovenia

Piran, Slovenia: Photo by Mikita Karasiou on Unsplash

Slovenia waives the test requirements and quarantine requirements for vaccinated travelers.

More info

Spain

No tests are required for fully vaccinated travelers.

More Info

Sweden (Update 8.2.21)

A negative 48-hour PCR or antigen test is required for all travelers.

Turkey (updated 6.21.21)

No tests are required for fully vaccinated travelers.

More Info

Where Vaccinated Americans Can Travel in Africa

Namibia

Etosha National Park: Photo by Sergi Ferrete on Unsplash

Travelers must present a negative Covid test that’s not older than seven days, but a rapid antigen test will suffice.

More info  

Where Vaccinated Americans Can Travel in Asia

Without considerable hassles – nowhere except Nepal, but the Phuket government is promising to open the island by July 1.

More info

If that happens, after seven days in Phuket you’ll be able to travel elsewhere in Thailand, presumably.

UPDATE 8.2.21

The Phuket sandbox is open, but getting there takes a LOT of paperwork. In addition, contrary to its initial plans, Thailand has recently sealed the island from the rest of the country, so it’s not clear to me if you’re still going to be able to move to another part of Thailand after your sandbox vacation is over. On the other hand, imagine uncrowded restaurants, beautiful, semi-deserted beaches… might be quite worth it if you have time.

Where Vaccinated Americans Can Travel in the Pacific

French Polynesia (Update 8.2.21)

A negative antigen test within 48 hours is sufficient for vaccinated travelers.

​To recap

Every country on this list is worth visiting, including Montenegro and Georgia, which are sadly not on many people’s radar. Of course, the EU is promising to open up its borders in the summer, so you might have a better choice of destinations soon, but let’s not forget that each European country can still impose their own restrictions. The countries from this list, in the meantime, are open right now, and vaccinated travelers can currently fly there without undergoing any testing requirements. 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?

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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