Where you can go once you are vaccinated: A country-by-country guide
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Editor’s note: This story has been updated with the latest information.
The time has finally come when COVID-19 vaccination programmes in countries all over the world are in full swing.
It has lead to the unveiling of a Digital Green Certificate scheme by the European Commission. The system’s aim is to provide a safe and authorised way for vaccinated, negative or COVID-19-recovered EU citizens to travel between Member States. Unfortunately, this does not include the United Kingdom.
However, there is still hope that Brits will see a return of some aspects of pre-COVID-19 travel “normality,” as a handful of nations have announced they are (or will soon) allow access, and waive quarantine and testing mandates, for visitors who are fully vaccinated — including Brits.
The countries in this round-up might be starting to welcome back tourists with open arms, but as it stands, the U.K. remains in a strict lockdown with all domestic and international travel banned unless it’s deemed essential.
Here’s a guide to the countries beginning to crack open their doors so you can start to plan your first post-lockdown escape.
The first Caribbean nation to welcome vaccinated tourists is Belize.
Travellers wishing to travel to Belize will no longer have to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test so long as they have received both shots of a government-approved vaccine at least two weeks before arrival.
Visitors must also download and fill out the information required in the Belize Health App within 72 hours of arriving in Belize.
Over the course of summer 2020 when tourism in Europe had a brief rebound, getting into Cyprus was notoriously stressful.
Not anymore. As of 1 March 2021, those who have been vaccinated and can prove it on arrival into Cyprus will no longer have to present a negative PCR test or be subject to quarantine. However, not all countries are welcome immediately. It remains dependent on categorisation by Cyprus of each nationality based on risk of transmission.
The U.K. is currently on Cyprus’ Category C list, which means that temporary visitors from the U.K. are not allowed.
The beautiful Baltic country of Estonia is welcoming vaccinated foreigners.
On arrival into the country, travellers must present a valid vaccination certificate. The information required on the certificate includes the location and time that the vaccine was given, which vaccine was used, the issuer of the vaccine and the batch number of the vaccine. The certificate will only be accepted in Estonian, Russian or English.
As of 1 February 2021, citizens from all countries are permitted to enter Georgia by air on the prerequisite that they can prove they have received the full course of any of the COVID-19 vaccinations.
The Georgian government currently has no restrictions in place as to what kind of travel is permitted, meaning that should travel for non-essential reasons be permitted again in the U.K., travel to Georgia would be possible.
As of Thursday 18 March, Iceland will be opening its borders to foreigners — no matter where they’re from — so long as they are vaccinated.
Until now, travellers from the EU have been allowed to visit Iceland without having to quarantine. However, the latest update means that citizens from the U.K. and the U.S. are now allowed to travel to Iceland.
You must be able to provide a proper vaccination certificate showing where, when and which vaccine was given.
The vaccine must have been approved by the European Medicines Agency. As it stands, it currently excludes vaccines from China as well as Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.
As of 11 January 2021, arrivals into Lebanon who can prove they have received a COVID-19 vaccine will be exempt from having to quarantine. As a precautionary measure, on arrival, travellers will still need to take a PCR test at the airline’s expense.
Additionally, you will still need to take a PCR test at least 96 hours before you travel to Lebanon. If you cannot prove this at check-in at your departure airport, you will not be allowed to travel.
Brits are allowed to visit Lebanon with a COVID-19 PCR test taken within 96 hours of arrival according to the gov.uk website.
The Baltic nation of Lithuania has reduced its restrictions on vaccinated travellers.
The relaxed restrictions apply to those arriving in Lithuania with proof that they have completed the full course of one of the coronavirus vaccines. This will mean being exempt from partaking in testing on arrival as well as self-isolation on arrival into the country.
All travellers must fill out this form before travelling to Lithuania.
As of 28 December, Poland introduced a mandatory 10-day self-isolation for all arrivals into the country. However, if you can prove by showing a certificate that you are vaccinated against COVID-19, then you will be exempt from self-isolation.
If you haven’t been vaccinated, you can still travel to Poland and be exempt from self-isolation so long as you can show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours of arrival at the border.
According to the Polish government, citizens from the U.K. are currently allowed to visit Poland provided they meet the above requirements.
Romania is an off-the-beaten-track Balkan country steeped in medieval history.
Since mid-January, visitors to the country have been allowed entry without having to quarantine if they’re able to prove they’ve had the vaccine. If the vaccine requires two doses, both must be taken at least 10 days before travelling to Romania.
Brits are currently not permitted to enter Romania unless it’s for essential reasons.
The tropical paradise islands of Seychelles are back on the travel map.
Foreigners from all countries are now permitted to enter Seychelles if they have received a full dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This must have been completed at least two weeks before arriving in Seychelles. If the vaccine requires two doses, both must be completed a minimum of two weeks before travel.
A certificate of proof of vaccine and a negative PCR test — taken within 72 hours of travel — will also be requested on arrival.
The rule even applies to those coming from countries which are not on Seychelles’ list of permitted countries. Unfortunately, the U.K. does not currently feature on that list, so travelling to Seychelles is not permitted.
Thailand is, without doubt, one of the most popular destinations for those looking for more than just an all-inclusive in the Costa del Sol or Cancun.
If you’re dying to go, you’ll be pleased to know that the country’s government is planning on allowing non-Thai travellers who have been vaccinated into the country. This would mean those arriving with proof of a COVID-19 vaccine will be exempt from the country’s current mandatory 16-day quarantine.
Thailand’s government has also introduced the option of quarantining on a yacht rather than in a government facility.
Permission to travel to Thailand will only be granted once an application has been filled out via the Royal Thai Government’s online platform. U.K. citizens must first check to see if you meet the entry requirements before applying.
In a move that would be a first on U.S. soil, the State of Hawaii is looking to allow vaccinated travellers to enter without facing mandatory quarantine.
According to Hawaii News Now, the programme was due to start as of 1 March, but there has since been no update. The plan is to start with allowing vaccinated essential workers who are Hawaiian citizens to travel between the islands followed by members of the general public.
“We’re hopeful that April 1 for all of our state individuals and any citizen that has been vaccinated plus two weeks to fly inter-island,” said Lt. Gov. Green in February. “The next step will then be to allow U.S. citizens from across the country to enter, hopefully by 1 May.”
However, Green told Hawaii News Now that international travel would be “sometime thereafter, cause we don’t want to let strains into our society.”
As it stands, travellers from the U.K. are currently not permitted to travel to the U.S.
Other countries to keep an eye on
In an announcement on Thursday, the French government said it plans on softening its border restrictions.
Citizens from Australia, South Korea, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and the U.K. will now no longer need a compelling reason to travel to France.
The U.K. is among the nations due to have relaxed restrictions “because the U.K. variant now also circulates widely in France”, said French Tourism Minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne on Twitter.
According to Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theocharis, “Greece is ready with a complete protocol for summer 2021.”
The best part is, as well as those who have been vaccinated, the popular tourist destination is planning on also allowing visitors who haven’t been vaccinated, but instead have antibodies or test negative for COVID-19.
The plan is to reopen as of 17 May, the preliminary date set for the return of international travel for Britons.
In anticipation of a max exodus to Greece, Ryanair will be adding new routes and increasing its frequencies for this summer.
Sun-soaked Spanish holidays are looking like a possibility for this summer.
Fernando Valdés, the Tourism Secretary for Spain, is hopeful for a bilateral agreement with the U.K. that would allow British tourists back into Spain — a move that would benefit both the Spanish economy as well as the well-being of cooped up Brits.
We’ll have to wait for further updates on when international travel will be made legal again before we can say with certainty that we’ll be back on the Costas this summer.
Vaccine passport and digital health pass developments
Air New Zealand announced it will be trialling a digital Travel Pass initiative on its route from Auckland (AKL) to Sydney (SYD). The Travel Pass is designed by IATA and can be used by passengers and crew who have been vaccinated. It is hoped that it will streamline the health verification of travellers and make journeys contactless as well as speed the airport process up.
Additionally, vaccine or digital health passports are a hot topic of discussion as they are likely to be crucial to the reboot of international travel. There are currently several in development, including a version by IATA called the Travel Pass. Once immunised, ‘digital health passports’ will be a means to storing the relevant information related to your vaccination in one place, which you will then be able to show at the required checkpoints throughout your journey.
Finally, it’s not just countries that are requiring vaccines for entry. Some cruise lines also now require that passengers have been immunised against COVID-19 in order to cruise.
Featured image by Courtneyk/Getty Images
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