UPDATED: When will international travel return? A country-by-country guide to coronavirus recovery
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As the travel industry reopens following COVID-19 shutdowns, TPG suggests that you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidance and research local travel restrictions before booking that next trip. We will be here to help you prepare, whether it is next month or next year.
Editor’s note: This post was last updated on 5 September 2020, with new information.
Coronavirus has us all frozen in place and dreaming of when we can start booking again. We’ve been doing a lot of stories at The Points Guy about our dream trips, and when we can realistically book those trips.
This guide summarizes each country’s current status for international travel.
Canada remains in lockdown, and the border between the United States and Canada is closed through at least 21 September. Canada is allowing most province-to-province travel, but Americans are not welcome.
President Trump has said Canada would be one of the first countries to open to American visitors: “It will be one of the early borders to be released.” But the border has been closed since 21 March, and additional 30-day extensions are likely.
U.S. Congress members have sent a letter to both countries to push them to open the border immediately. Canadian specialists have stated that the border should remain closed until next year as the U.S faces a resurgence in cases.
Like many other nations, Canada requires all visitors to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival. It’s unclear when that might be lifted.
Canada has had more than 131,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 9,000 deaths.
Mexico began a slow regional opening on 29 June. However, the country was still seeing a rise in coronavirus cases and deaths.
Restaurants, gyms, barbershops, hotels and other facilities must operate at no more than 50% of capacity in the capital.
Tourism plays a large part in Mexico’s economy which the virus has shuttered. “The target is domestic travelers first, followed by travelers from the US and Canada and then the rest of the world”, said World Travel & Tourism Council CEO Gloria Guevara.
Many hotels have reopened, but so far only a trickle of tourists have been showing up. Hotels are only allowed to have up to 50% capacity as of July.
Two of Mexico’s most popular vacation destinations have joined Cancun in reopening for tourism — Puerto Vallarta and Baja California Sur.
Cancun’s International airport (CUN) has reopened to domestic and international flights. In fact, all Mexican airports are open to Americans. Tourists are advised that enhanced screening and cleaning procedures are in effect. There are also health checks at all airports, but not testing requirements.
The Washington Post reports that hotel occupancy rates in Cancun fell to as low as 2.8% at the height of the crisis. The country is planning a major campaign to get tourists to come back with a tagline of “Mexico needs you.”
Currently, the U.S and Mexico border is closed until at least 21 September. That date can be extended and many Mexican citizens have advocated for the border to remain closed until the virus has lessened in the U.S.
Mexico has had more than 600,000 cases and 66,000 deaths.
The United States has become the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak. As of early September, the U.S. has had more than 6 million cases, with more than 185,000 deaths — significantly more than any other country in the world.
All states are in various stages of their own reopening processes however states such as Florida, Arizona and South Carolina have seen a spike in cases since doing so. Some states are now reversing their re-openings.
Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recommended that states who see a spike should consider pausing their reopening plans.
The CDC still has a strong warning against any nonessential travel within the United States. The CDC website advises, “It is possible that some state and local governments may put in place travel restrictions, stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, mandated quarantines upon arrival, or even state border closures while you are travelling”.
In early August, the U.S. State Department lifted its “Level 4,” warning against any international travel – the department’s highest warning. But it is still recommending against international travel.
Additionally, the U.S. has strict restrictions on arriving visitors including a ban on tourist visitors from all of Canada, Mexico, Europe and much of Asia. U.S. citizens are also currently banned from visiting E.U. countries.
Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the U.S., officially reopened to all international travellers on 15 July, but don’t expect everything to be back to normal.
Upon arrival, travellers will be subject to health screenings, including COVID-19 testing. You could be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days, regardless of symptoms.
Hotels will limit capacity at pools to 50%. Fitness centres and spas, which are currently closed, will reopen and operate at 50% capacity sometime later this summer.
Public beaches and water activities are allowed with appropriate social distancing.
If you’re thinking of bypassing some of these restrictions by booking an Airbnb, keep in mind that many of the same rules will apply.
Restaurants are currently open with reduced capacity. As is now the norm in the age of COVID-19, buffets will not reopen and restaurant staff will serve meals wearing gloves and masks.
Shopping malls will be open but accessible via appointment only. No plans have been announced regarding casinos and playgrounds reopening.
San Juan International Airport (SJU) is open.
Puerto Rico has seen more than 34,000 cases.
U.S. Virgin Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands, which includes St. Thomas and St. Croix, was under a state of emergency until 11 July, but it began welcoming back tourists as of 1 June with restrictions. Unfortunately due to a new surge in cases, the island returned to a “stay at home” order as of 13 August that lasts through mid-September.
That means the closure of non-essential businesses, restaurants limited to take-out, delivery or drive-through service and prohibiting hotels, villas, Airbnbs, temporary vacation housing and charter vessels and similar businesses from accepting leisure travel reservations.
Although the U.S. Virgin Islands are part of United States territory, the islands have been limiting incoming travel even for domestic travellers. The only passengers allowed to enter the USVI had been residents, medical personnel, business travellers and property owners. Furthermore, local government had implemented rigorous “safer at home” protocols, resulting in closed restaurants and similar non-essential businesses. Local beaches are also closed.
Masks will be mandatory when going into businesses and attractions, beaches will also be open but social distancing is required. Large gatherings remain prohibited. Hotels, guesthouses, villas, timeshares and Airbnb accommodations are all accepting bookings. COVID-19 guidelines are in place for retail businesses and attractions; taxi vans, safari and limo services.
Philip Goldson International Airport (BEZ) reopened on 15 August, but the return of tourism has been delayed until 1 October.
Visitors and returning citizens will be required to submit a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding their flight or will be tested on arrival.
In a statement, the tourism board said, “As the country reopens for travel, Belize wants to assure travellers and residents that hotels and restaurants will be cleaner and safer than ever before”.
Note that all visitors will have to stay at one of the country’s full-service hotels or resorts that have received the Belize Tourism Gold Standard Certificate of Recognition. Among the requirements for this designation? The hotels must have private transportation to and from the airport, a restaurant on-property, and strict cleanliness protocols.
Belize tourism laid out the following guidelines and requirements for tourists.
- Obtain a certified negative PCR COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure
- Book approved housing
- Wear face masks when travelling to the departure airport
- Wear face masks and practice physical distancing at the departure airport
- Download and verify information on Belize Health App
On the plane
- Wear a face mask while on the plane
- Practice social distancing to the extent possible
- Continue to wear face masks and practice physical distancing
- Get a health screening
- Check in daily on health app
Once at the airport, you’ll need to be medically screened as well as go through customs. If a passenger is showing symptoms they may be placed in quarantine.
Still no word on when cruise ships will be allowed to return.
As of early September, Costa Rica is allowing some U.S. travellers into the country, depending on the state. “The entry of travellers from these 12 states is allowed because they currently have an epidemiological condition similar or lower levels of contagion to those of Costa Rica”, Tourism Minister Gustavo Segura said on Aug. 27.
Costa Rica has reported 26,000 cases and 272 deaths from the novel coronavirus.
Health experts attribute Costa Rica’s success to the country’s move on 9 March to suspend mass gatherings and urge employees to work from home. Costa Rica also has a strong universal health-care system and authorities have done extensive contact tracing to identify those infected.
The country of El Salvador will reopen for commercial flights on 19 September, to Óscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport (SAL) in San Salvador, for the first time since mid-March.
The country has said arriving passengers will face temperature checks. There is no official word on when tourists will be welcomed back, but the speculation is that it will be sometime in September along with other Central American nations.
El Salvador has seen 26,000 cases with 739 deaths. The country took early steps to curb the pandemic and in fact, El Salvador was one of the first Central American countries to go into lockdown before any cases of coronavirus were reported.
The country is in the middle of reopening, but El Salvador’s president postponed the second phase of its reopening twice because of a recent increase in cases. That has set off a constitutional crisis with the country’s Supreme Court ruling the plan was unconstitutional.
Though travel here is not specifically forbidden for U.S. citizens, no international flights are currently permitted in or out of the country, and visitors would be subject to the same strict isolation and movement guidelines as locals.
As a further precaution, the country also required Salvadorans arriving from other countries to quarantine for 30 days.
Guatemala has had more than 60,000 cases of coronavirus as of 13 August. According to the local U.S. embassy, the Guatemalan government has closed its borders to most non-Guatemalans. Travel within the country is highly restricted, and a mandatory curfew is being enforced.
Fifteen percent of the cases in the country have been found in people deported from the United States, and Guatemala only agreed to accept future flights of deportees if the U.S. helps test every one of them.
Honduras has reopened its international airports for tourists. In fact, Spirit Airlines has resumed service from Fort Lauderdale and Houston, and American Airlines is flying from Miami.
All tourists have to fill out a form from the government and have proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of their flight to Honduras.
Honduras is a hotspot for the virus. It’s had more than 62,000 cases and almost 2,000 deaths.
Nicaragua never really shut down. There are still football matches, food festivals and beauty pageants taking place. There were never any stay-at-home or social-distancing orders here — moves that have drawn criticism from groups like Human Rights Watch. Local sources have reported that the government is discouraging Nicaraguans, — including health workers, airport staff, and policemen — from wearing masks. Because of these relaxed rules, there have been questions about how many cases Nicaragua actually has. Official data as of 13 July show the country is reporting more than 4,000 cases and 128 deaths, but these numbers may be higher in reality.
The lack of rules does not mean travel is not impacted. The Nicaraguan government never officially implemented any travel restrictions, but its borders and airports are effectively closed. Most U.S. airlines are currently suspending services to the country through August, with Delta suspending indefinitely.
Because Panama is a major maritime and air hub, it sits in a vulnerable position for COVID-19 outbreaks. The first case was recorded on 9 March and on 22 March all international and domestic travel was banned and is still prohibited. Most provinces are under a mandatory curfew, with some regions under strict movement restrictions. The local U.S. embassy notes that the government has also mandated beginning 2 June that anyone outside must be wearing a mask that covers their nose and mouth.
Panama suspended international commercial flights through late August after flights were originally supposed to begin on 22 July. It has reported more than 78,000 cases and 1,700 deaths.
Argentina had one of the world’s strictest travel bans, restricting all international commercial flights through 1 September 2020. U.S. expatriates in Argentina should be prepared to stay abroad for an indefinite amount of time, according to the local U.S. embassy. However, U.S. expatriates wishing to come back to America can take advantage of some of the relief flights that Eastern Airlines is offering. Those wishing to book one of these flights are advised to check directly with Eastern for the most up-to-date information. Anyone needing to get to the airport should check the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires website to comply with local travel restrictions and rules.
The greater Buenos Aires area was being isolated from the rest of Argentina as some restrictions are being reactivated in the area. Public transportation was available only to essential workers and Buenos Aires residents were only permitted outside to basic necessities. This was set to last until 17 July.
According to Johns Hopkins University, Argentina has more than 270,000 confirmed infections and 5,000 deaths.
The country not only banned international flights, but also internal flights.
Argentina has defaulted on debts it could not pay for the ninth time since its founding, and has entered year three of a recession.
Bolivia is currently off-limits to tourists. No flights are entering or leaving the country aside from repatriation flights.
The government announced a total quarantine of the country through 31 August. The local US embassy reports that as of 1 June, some domestic land and air travel within Bolivia is permitted – international travel is not (with certain exceptions).
Boliviana de Aviacion (BoA) airline has announced special repatriation flights for any expatriates wishing to return to the United States. Those wishing to book a flight are advised to check directly with BoA with the most up-to-date information.
Bolivia reports nearly 2,000 confirmed deaths from COVID-19, but the true number is believed to be much higher.
Brazil has the most coronavirus cases in South America with 3.2 million, and more than 100,000 confirmed deaths as of August. Despite that, a travel ban on foreigners was totally lifted at the end of July. Tourists are welcome as long as they have health insurance.
Several carriers like United, Azul and LATAM are keeping their flights between the U.S. and Brazil open.
The government has not officially imposed any quarantine restrictions and President Jair Bolsonaro denies the need for them, insisting that only the elderly and other high-risk populations should stay home.
It wasn’t until 5 May that São Luís, the capital of Maranhão state, become the first major city in the country to implement a partial lockdown. More cities have passed lockdown measures since then, but many are now are re-opening. Some cities have progressed through their phases and are now opening larger centres such as malls, though masks are required
The Chilean government closed its borders to foreigners on 18 March and anyone permitted to return are subject to a two-week quarantine upon their arrival. The country is also closed to cruise ships. It has more than 142,000 confirmed cases and much of the nation is under mandatory quarantine rules, with a strict curfew between 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
LATAM has resumed flights between Santiago and the U.S., but mostly for humanitarian and repatriation flights.
Chile has confirmed cases of 380,000 with more than 10,000 deaths.
President Ivan Duque closed Colombian borders to foreign travellers in mid-March and borders were set to reopen on 31 August. It’s a huge setback for Avianca as the airline is effectively grounded aside from cargo flights and has already declared bankruptcy in U.S. courts.
It’s one of the world’s toughest travel bans. Colombians returning home have been asked to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. The nation extended quarantine procedures through 1 August, with a longer quarantine for individuals over age 70 until 31 August.
According to Johns Hopkins, the country currently has 434,000 confirmed cases and 14,145 deaths.
Ecuador has approved the resumption of commercial flights with limited capacity as of 1 June. All arriving passengers are required to have the results of a PCR COVID test within the last seven days prior to arrival – or must sign a document promising that they will undergo testing in Ecuador upon arrival (if coming from a country that does not have PCR tests available). In addition, all arriving passengers are subject to a 14-day quarantine at the individual’s own expense in either hotels or private accommodations – with special exceptions to those in the “priority attention groups”.
However, the recent eruption of the Sangay volcano has negatively affected certain areas within the country – most notably the city of Guayaquil.
As of 4 June, Quito and Guayaquil airports have resumed operations. American and United are resuming services to both cities, while Eastern, JetBlue and Spirit are planning to only operate out of Guayaquil. However, the local U.S. embassy is still discouraging all travels into the country and is encouraging any U.S. citizens to leave amidst this crisis.
According to Johns Hopkins, the country has about 98,000 confirmed cases with more than 6,000 deaths.
Paraguay has been under strict quarantine, and many of its cases are thought to have come from neighbouring Brazil which shares a loosely patrolled 400-kilometre border.
The country is easing its lockdown, but travel bans are still in place – with most commercial flights suspended (with exceptions to cargo and repatriation flights). Even travelling on motor vehicles is restricted, with the government authorizing up to four persons to travel in private cars and SUVs and two persons by motorcycle.
The country shows one of the lowest figures in South America, with 8,300 confirmed cases and 97 deaths.
Peru was the first in the region to implement quarantine measures, but despite its early precautions, the country now has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases in South America: Nearly half a million cases with 21,713 deaths as of 14 August.
On 12 August, the country announced renewed quarantine requirements for 19 regions.
The country entered phase three on 1 July allowing stores to open at 50% capacity. Hotels and travel agencies can reopen and restaurants can open at limited capacity. Public transportation is running but travelers must be seated and wear face masks.
No regularly scheduled commercial flights from the U.S. are available as of 14 August, but the local embassy has been providing updates on availabilities of repatriation flights. Domestic air travel has resumed.
Foreigners are barred from visiting Uruguay until further notice, and the country’s borders with Brazil and Argentina are also closed. There are no regularly scheduled commercial passenger flights, but some flights to Brazil are being allowed to fly foreigners out of Uruguay.
As of 14 August, the country has 1,400 confirmed cases and 37 deaths – one of the lowest figures in South America.
This South American country has been one of the world’s most at-risk nations amid the coronavirus pandemic, and has fewer than 200 intensive care beds available, according to President Duque in neighbouring Colombia. The U.S. has limited ability to support its citizens who are in Venezuela, and all international travel – suspension of commercial flights and closure of land and sea borders – have been shut down. In fact, borders are pretty much still closed. Some Venezuelans are trapped in the U.S.
The country has had at least 30,00 cases.
Almost every nation in the Caribbean has announced plans for reopening.
Antigua and Barbuda
The country reopened to tourists on 4 June. However, travellers will have to adhere to social distancing guidelines, including face masks in public. All snorkel and dive excursions and other activities must be booked via visitors’ resorts. Travellers cannot explore the islands freely.
The country reports it currently has zero active cases of COVID-19.
The Points Guy founder Brian Kelly cancelled an early June trip to Antigua after learning that he would have to stay on the resort “unable to do things I would really want to do.” Eventually, he was able to make the trip.
American Airlines resumed service to the Caribbean with flights to Antigua the last week of May, but it will be some time before things get back to normal.
- Face masks must be worn at all ports of entry and in public spaces from the moment of disembarkation from the plane. Failure to do so could result in a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment for up to six months.
- Health screenings and temperature checks will be conducted at each point of entry. Officials will also collect a self-reported traveller accommodation form from each passenger.
- Arriving passengers may undergo nasal swabbing for rapid antigen tests.
- Hand washing and sanitization stations will be available in many public spaces.
- Customs and ground transportation will handle traveller luggage as little as possible.
- All people must abide by social distancing guidelines of six feet or more.
You will not need to present a negative COVID-19 test before arrival, but having one can help you bypass some of the screening protocols on the ground.
Every incoming traveller will be tested for COVID-19. The test will take 15 minutes to complete, and results will be released within 48 hours, according to Antigua’s travel advisory website. Travellers will have to pay for the test, which costs $100 per person.
However, recent legal actions by tourists may change protocols for future incoming tourists.
Aruba is in the middle of phased reopening, with American visitors welcomed back on 10 July. Visitors from Europe were allowed in Aruba as of 1 July.
Prime Minister Evelyn Wever-Croes told the media, “As we prepare to reopen our borders, Aruba has put in place advanced public health procedures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 on the island. We have taken careful and deliberate steps to assess the current situation and make certain it is as safe as possible and appropriate to begin the reopening process”.
Arrivals will face new screening measures including the possibility of COVID-19 tests on arrival along with temperature checks and medical professionals available.
Americans from 20 states considered high-risk will need to upload proof of a negative test within 72 hours of flying to Aruba or they won’t be allowed to board. Those from less risky states will also need to upload a test or have one taken at Oranjestad’s airport. Those who take a test on arrival will need to quarantine at their hotel for up to 24 hours while awaiting the results. The tests are paid for by the tourist.
All guests must also purchase visitors’ insurance from the nation of Aruba to cover up to $75,000 in health insurance. For a week it will cost you about $100.
The country has also placed temporary capacity limits on some tourist spots, especially in popular destinations. Casinos will also reopen with new safety measures in place.
Aruba closed its borders to tourists back on 29 March, although airline crew members were exempt from the restrictions.
The country has had 2,200 confirmed coronavirus cases and 12 deaths.
Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis announced on 3 August that the country would go on lockdown as ICU beds were at capacity and deaths from the coronavirus were on the rise. Healthcare workers in the Bahamas have also warned about overcrowded facilities.
“There has been an exponential increase in the number of cases, an increase in hospitalizations, an increase in the demand for ICU beds, and sadly, an increase in the number of deaths”, Minnis said.
The Bahamas in mid-July banned U.S. travellers from entering its borders by plane or vessel (expect those travelling by private jet) as cases in Texas, California and Florida spiked. That ban was later amended to allow Americans to visit but required them to quarantine for 14 days at a government facility.
The lockdown remains in effect for much of two major cities, and all arriving visitors must quarantine for two weeks.
On 1 September, the government put in a new requirement that all incoming visitors to the Bahamas will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within five days of arrival. You’ll also need a “Bahamas Health Visa” required prior to arrival and will need to upload negative test results into that online form.
Good news: Barbados reopened to international travellers beginning on 12 July. U.S. commercial flights resumed 25 July for JetBlue and 5 August for American Airlines.
They have instituted mandatory protocols that all inbound travellers have to follow:
- COVID-19 PCR test from an accredited laboratory within 72 hours prior to departure for travellers from high-risk countries (one week for low-risk countries)
- Online embarkation/disembarkation card (ED card) with personal health questions relating to COVID-19 symptoms
- Test upon arrival without a documented negative COVID-19 PCR test result and mandatory quarantine at traveller’s expense until results are returned
- Social distancing, temperature checks and wearing face masks
The local government clarifies that high-risk countries are defined as those that have seen more than 10,000 new cases in the prior seven days and community transmission, which would include the United States. In addition, anyone who tests positive for the coronavirus will be placed in isolation where they will “receive care from the Ministry of Health and Wellness.”
More updates on Barbados’ response to coronavirus and any updates to its protocols can be found on the government website.
Bermuda is the latest country to reopen post-coronavirus and roll out the red carpet to Americans. In fact, tourists from many nations are able to vacation in Bermuda again since 1 July.
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The island resumed international commercial air service for visitors as part of its fourth phase of economic reopening after what it calls its “successful management of COVID-19 to date.” L.F. Wade International Airport (BDA) reopened 1 July as well.
In a news conference announcing the reopening, Bermuda’s Minister of Tourism & Transport Zane DeSilva said, “As we work to finalize the protocols and requirements for travel to Bermuda, rest assured, we will always place the safety of our island and its people above all else.”
Here are the requirements posted by the government of Bermuda:
Pre-departure — A traveller must:
- Within 48 hours of departure, complete the Bermuda travel authorization process online which gathers important information for the island’s health and immigration officials; a $75 fee per traveller is required, which includes the cost of all COVID-19 testing in Bermuda. Each passenger must have a form completed regardless of age. NOTE: Children 9 and younger do not have to be tested at any point, and their Travel Authorization fee is $30. Travel authorization FAQ
- Ideally within 72 hours, but no more than seven days before departure, visitors must take a PCR COVID-19 test and obtain a negative result. This applies to adults and children aged 10 and up. Children who are 9-years-old and younger are exempt and are subject to their adult travel companion’s quarantine. Children 10-17 must receive parental consent to be tested. If consent is denied, the young traveller must quarantine for 14 days on arrival. Test results must be entered as part of the online travel authorization process and be presented upon arrival in Bermuda. As of July 11, 2020, such visitors without a pre-departure test will not be able to obtain Travel Authorization and enter Bermuda.
- Wear face masks when travelling to the departure airport
- Wear face masks and practice physical distancing at the departure airport
Additionally, a traveller should:
- Acquire health insurance covering illness and injury outside of your home jurisdiction, including those related to a positive COVID-19 diagnosis while in Bermuda. If this is not obtained, a visitor will be responsible for all health and accommodation costs should they require treatment and/or quarantine, including costs related to a positive COVID-19 diagnosis in Bermuda
- Pack a thermometer
More information on coronavirus in Bermuda can be found here.
Cuba suspended international travel for commercial and charter flights through 1 August. There are a number of additional restrictions for U.S. travellers visiting Cuba that are not related to the pandemic, and which remain active.
Dominica is open to travellers as of 3 August. All eligible travellers arriving in the country must follow the procedures below:
- Submit a health questionnaire online at least 24 hours prior to arrival
- Present notification of clearance to travel in the form of a doctor’s note or similar document
- Submit a negative PCR test result recorded within 24-72 hours prior to arrival
As with many other countries accepting U.S. tourists, visitors must also adhere to stringent on-site policies around social distancing and safe hygiene, including:
- Wearing face masks at all times during the arrival process, up to and including departure from the airport
- Observing physical distancing guidelines
- Following all instructions from local health care staff and officials
- Undergoing a health assessment upon arrival, including a temperature check
- Providing confirmation of the health questionnaire and negative PCR test results
- Undergoing rapid COVID-19 test screening with a negative test result (children under five are exempt).
Any traveller with a high temperature, high risk alert from their questionnaire or positive rapid test will be given a PCR test, and be taken into mandatory quarantine at a government-approved facility or hotel at their expense until results are available. If the follow-up test result is positive, the traveller may be quarantined until released by an authorized health professional.
Until early August, all commercial air and sea access to the nation of Dominica had been suspended since early on in the coronavirus pandemic, with strict curfews in place.
The Dominican Republic’s borders had been closed by land, sea and air since March, but the island country announced in early June that it would reopen 1 July, although only approximately 30% of the hotels opened at that time. Social distancing guidelines will still be enforced, but not much else by way of specifics have been announced.
Punta Cana International Airport confirmed to Caribbean Journal it restarted commercial operations on 1 July.
There will be temperature checks on arrival, but it doesn’t appear there are tests required.
Apparently in early July, hotel occupancy rates were only around 10%.
The United States Embassy in Santo Domingo issued a level 4 health warning not to travel to the Dominican Republic due to the impact of COVID-19. The office warned American citizens to reconsider coming to the country in consideration of the situation with the pandemic:
The DR has had more than 46,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 910 deaths.
Like its Caribbean neighbours, Grenada began reopening to foreign tourists on 1 August — with many health conditions attached.
Travel is supposed to be extremely difficult for “high-risk” tourists from places like America where coronavirus is still rapidly spreading.
Only chartered flights are allowed from these countries.
Anyone travelling to Grenada from a high-risk country will find a 14-day mandatory quarantine period awaiting upon arrival. Additionally, tourists from “Red Zones” will have to undergo quarantining at an approved state facility for the same period — subject to the discretion of local officials.
Additionally, requirements of low and middle-risk countries still apply. A negative PCR test result, dated at most seven days prior to entry, is needed — and rapid testing upon arrival will still take place. Tourists may have to stay 2-4 days at a government-approved accommodation while awaiting PCR results and be able to resume quarantine elsewhere (as long as they are not from the “Red Zones”).
As of 1 July, Haiti has reopened its borders to regular international passenger traffic. It has also opened its land borders with the Dominican Republic.
According to the local U.S. embassy, travellers coming to Haiti are required to go through a 14-day self-quarantine. On their flight, they will also need to complete a health declaration form and submit it to immigration authorities upon arrival. They will need to keep this form for the purposes of self-quarantine and contact tracing as necessary.
There are reports that the situation on the ground in Haiti is not good. It may not be a time to consider Haiti.
Jamaica officially reopened for tourism beginning 15 June, but anyone who is hoping to plan a holiday here will have to overcome major hurdles. Arriving travellers have to submit a pre-travel health authorization registration with a customs and immigration form, and the government will issue a travel approval document based on those details. Travellers may be denied permission to visit depending on their risk for COVID-19 transmission.
All incoming travellers should expect thermal temperature checks upon arrival, and anyone who shows COVID-19 symptoms or feels ill upon arrival will be quarantined. Even after all those procedures, travellers are expected to adhere to social distancing and face mask policies in public. Travellers are also expected to follow any policies made by tourist and hospitality establishments, which are most likely derived from the government’s 119-page guide for local hospitality procedures.
As of 18 August, a new requirement was added: All U.S. travellers must bring along negative results of a COVID-19 test, dated within 10 days of the date of arrival.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still spreading in Jamaica, so keep that in mind. The country has reported 2,459 confirmed cases and 21 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.
According to the U.K. Foreign & Commonwealth Office, foreigners are required to complete an Attestation de déplacement dérogatoire to certify your reason for travel. But getting to the island is incredibly difficult as most international flights have been halted for non-citizens until further notice, and tourism businesses such as hotels are also limited to serving guests who have been stranded. The local U.S. embassy in Barbados does note, however, that Air France is running flights twice a week to Paris (CDG). All spas, pools and other amenities are closed. Airline flight crew and support staff needed are exempt from travel restrictions, although overnight stays should be avoided unless absolutely necessary.
All arrivals are subject to a 14-day quarantine.
St. Barthelemy (St Barths) opened to tourists beginning 22 June, but there are lots of caveats.
If you want to visit the Caribbean holiday spot, you’ll need to prove that you have tested negative for COVID-19 72 hours or less before you arrive. Those unable to provide such documentation will be tested on arrival, and will need to isolate at their lodging until results become available.
Visitors who test positive for the virus will be moved into quarantine on the island.
Bruno Magras, president of the island’s territorial council, told the Caribbean Journal:
“Whether you are visiting an island friend or local resident, returning to spend time in your vacation home or coming back to spend some vacation time on the island, St Barth is pleased to welcome you back. Island beaches are open without restriction, restaurants and boutiques are operating as usual, houses of worship are open and holding services and nautical services as well as the other services to which you are accustomed are being provided as usual.”
For those staying longer than seven days, a second COVID-19 test will be required.
You’ll need to plan carefully. There are no direct flights from the U.S. so make sure the country you are arriving from is allowing American tourists.
St. Barths has reported only 18 cases of coronavirus and zero deaths.
On 18 May, the government of Saint Lucia announced a phased approach to reopening the island’s tourism sector in a responsible manner beginning 4 June.
Good news for Americans, as Phase One of reopening included welcoming international flights at Hewanorra International Airport (UVF) from the United States only.
Visitors will be required to present certified proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of boarding their flights to UVF. Once they arrive, guests will undergo health checks and temperatures will be taken. Masks and social distancing will be required for the duration of the stay.
The country shut its borders on 23 March. St Lucia has only had 26 confirmed cases and zero deaths.
Phase Two began 1 August.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines began reopening 1 July. Visitors from all countries are welcome, but everyone has to fill out the “VINCY” coronavirus questionnaire form and Americans face special requirements.
All Americans will need a negative COVID-19 test within a week of arrival. All travellers are also being tested on arrival. St. Vincent and the Grenadines are now also requiring proof of a fully-paid reservation in an approved hotel for five nights, and a quarantine of five days at that hotel or other lodging.
St. Maarten was planning to reopen on 1 July for Americans, but the uptick of coronavirus cases in the U.S. has impacted the reopening policies.
They are requiring several protocols to be followed for tourists, such as submitting results of a COVID-19 RT-PCR test that is no older than 72 hours prior to the day of travel. There is also a health declaration form for all arriving passengers to submit in advance (confirmation must be shown at immigration).
U.S. tourists are not being allowed to cross the island border between Dutch Sint Maarten to French Saint Martin until further notice.
Several resorts are again accepting reservations.
Delta had planned to resume service from the U.S., but this plan appears to be on hold, if temporarily.
There are several protocols that travellers are expected to follow, and it won’t be a vacation away from the social distancing that you may have hoped for initially. This graphic illustrates some of what you can expect, including face coverings, health screenings, and increased cleaning.
Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago issued a stay-at-home order in late March, and banned tourists. The country has gotten high marks for keeping COVID-19 cases to a minimum. In fact, it’s been ranked #1 in the world for meeting reopening requirements from Oxford University.
The two islands began easing restrictions on 12 May, but so far that doesn’t include welcoming tourists.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said in May that the borders will remain closed until the government is confident the virus is contained.
The government also is giving hotels some $50 million to remodel and prepare for when tourists are welcomed back.
They also launched a “Dreaming of Tobago” campaign on social media.
Caribbean Airlines is also getting a government bailout, and released a video on their new procedures in the wake of the outbreak. So far though, no timeline on when flights or travel will resume.
Turks and Caicos
Turks and Caicos, a group of 40 low-lying coral islands popular with tourists in the Caribbean, reopened for international visitors beginning 22 July. The Providenciales Airport reopened that day
This British Overseas Territory includes the island of Providenciales, also known as Provo
Travellers to Turks and Caicos will be required to take a COVID-19 PCR test within five days of visiting the islands.
Resorts and hotels are also reopening. Ocean Club Resorts told TPG that its properties began reopening 22 July. They are offering 25% off for the remainder of the year.
Turks and Caicos has reported 555 cases of coronavirus and four deaths.
Going to the beach, grocery stores, hardware stores, pharmacies and other open-air businesses is currently permitted. Restaurants are also reopening, with restrictions
Cambodia is beginning to open back up to visitors. On 20 May, it was reported Cambodia would reopen its borders to tourists from six countries including the United States. People from America, France, Iran, Italy, Germany, and Spain are allowed to enter Cambodia. There are still severe restrictions. All visitors will need a test proving they are COVID-19 free within three days of their arrival in Cambodia. They will also need to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Tourists will also need to prove they have $50,000 worth of health insurance coverage.
It will still be difficult for visitors to try to enter. Cambodia has suspended e-visa and visa-on-arrival programs until further notice – and has also suspended tourist-related services as of 10 June.
The Health Ministry said arriving tourists would be taken to a government centre for quarantine and testing, but details remain sketchy. In a statement, Health Minister Mam Bunheng said, “All passengers, both Cambodian and foreign, who are travelling to Cambodia, are admitted to waiting centres for the COVID-19 tests and that they are waiting for results from the Pasteur laboratory.”
Tourists from the U.S., Italy, Germany, Spain and France had been forbidden within the country’s borders beginning 14 March.
The country only had 156 confirmed cases. No one has died.
China is where the outbreak started late last year, but the Chinese government says it has passed the peak of the outbreak.
China suspended entry for nearly all foreigners and slashed the volume of international passenger flights to and from the country in March and strict anti-travel measures remain in place.
People who are proven healthy can generally move around within their own cities now, but they are being closely tracked via their cellphones and temperature checks in public are common.
China is allowing South Koreans to travel to some Chinese cities on business, but strict measures are in place to make sure outbreaks don’t spread. The Wall Street Journal reports China has reportedly discussed reopening travel with some 14 countries. The plans might involve creating so-called “green lanes” that would fast-track some business travelers. China has already established one with Singapore.
Tourists from outside the country are still not welcome and there is no timeline on when that might change.
As of 1 June, Hong Kong Airport will once again welcome transit passengers for the first time since 25 March. There is no fixed timeline for tourism at this time, but there are considerations for a “travel bubble” with low-risk nations.
Current regulations state that all non-Hong Kong residents arriving by plane will be denied entry, including into the airport facilities, until further notice. All non-Hong Kong residents coming from mainland China, Macau and Taiwan will be subject to a 14-day compulsory quarantine after entering Hong Kong, but entry will be denied if the non-Hong Kong resident has travelled to any overseas countries or regions in the 14 days prior to arrival in Hong Kong.
There are talks underway to allow some travel without quarantine between Hong Kong, Macau and parts of China, but nothing is firm yet.
In fact, as of 13 July, Hong Kong has shut down parts of the city again after a small resurgence in cases. Closures include Hong Kong Disney.
India announced back in March that it was no longer allowing foreigners into the country. A suspension of international flights has been lifted, but only for humanitarian or essential travel. Some business travellers are being allowed in again.
According to the local U.S. embassy, commercial air travel is picking up slowly within the country. International commercial passenger flights are resuming, but several airlines have been offering flights to European cities that have connecting flights to the U.S.
India had begun to ease its internal lockdown, as it entered phase 2 of lockdown on 1 July. But there’s no word yet on when foreigner tourists might be welcome again.
There have been at least 48,000 deaths from COVID-19 with more than 2.4 million cases, but the real death toll is thought to be higher.
The death toll in the world’s fourth-most-populous nation is over 6,000. To manage this crisis, the government has taken uncustomary measures like cancelling this year’s hajj pilgrimage.
Meanwhile, Bali is opening tourism in three phases, with the final phase allowing international tourists. This date for full reopening is set for 11 September 2020.
Government has allowed airlines to resume domestic flights with certain restrictions. International travel is still banned with few exceptions, but the government is trying to fully reopen the economy by early August. Specifically, there are talks of reopening Bali to tourists by October – but that is still subject to change.
Prime Minister Abe has lifted the state of emergency for all of Japan and is undergoing a reopening of its economy, but is still holding onto its entry ban for nearly 111 countries and regions – including the United States.
There are talks of creating a quota of foreign travellers from Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam for this summer, limiting to a total of 250 foreign travellers per day. The government is currently planning to prioritize access for business people first and will plan to open the country up to more groups as it sees fit. It is also planning to expand the list to other countries like China, South Korea and the U.S. depending on circumstances.
The government has also announced that foreign travellers are required to submit a PCR test taken before their departure and upon their arrival in Japan and will also need to submit a detailed itinerary that includes accommodations and places they intend to visit. Visitors are asked to refrain from using public transportation as well.
Japan was supposed to host the 2020 Olympic Summer Games in July, but that date has now been pushed back to summer of 2021, and may even be further delayed.
Kazakhstan has had more than 102,000 COVID-19 cases and 1,335 deaths. The president’s spokesman was hospitalized with the disease.
The land-locked central Asian nation began emerging from a two-month lockdown back in May, but social distancing rules and closed borders remain in effect. International flights from Azerbaijan, China and South Korea are expected to resume soon, and other countries may follow later including from Czech Republic, Germany, and the United Arab Emirates.
Kyrgyzstan reopened some of its businesses in early May and allowed the national curfew to be lifted. Malls and markets were able to open their doors May 25, along with public transportation. Domestic travel is still barred. No international flights are allowed in or out of Kyrgyzstan.
Coronavirus is under control in the former Portuguese colony, but travel is still limited due to active cases in its neighbouring regions. The government is in active discussions to ease travel restrictions, however, with some travel between China and Macau resuming, and with plans to relax them between Zhuhai, China and Hong Kong.
Malaysia banned tourists in the middle of March along with a nationwide shutdown. Most businesses were allowed to reopen in early May. Malaysia is still advising tourists to avoid coming. In fact, current travel restrictions on all foreign nationals – with very limited exceptions – were extended to at least August 31. Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has eased some restrictions on internal travel.
Malaysian health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said reopening the borders is the last thing the country will do as it slowly eases restrictions.
One of our readers – Brodi – said, “All foreigners (except spouses of Malaysians) are still barred from entering the country, even if they hold a residency visa. Only Malaysians are allowed to enter and are subject to the 14-day quarantine in a government facility (typically a local hotel) at the travellers expense.”
The Maldives has announced one of the most liberal opening policies in the world. As of July 1 all are welcome with no testing or quarantine required.
The Tourism Ministry is reporting there are no screenings or tests required. But all tourists must stay at one resort or hotel for their whole stay. There are no new visa requirements or COVID-19 related fees.
Emirates Airlines is offering connections through Dubai from major global cities including Chicago. Etihad resumed flights from Abu Dhbai to the Maldives starting July 16. Turkish Airlines started flights from July 17.
TPG’s Zach Honig wrote about this risky reopening plan, and points out the country only has two hospitals and 97 ventilators, so if you were to get sick there, it would be dangerous.
The Maldives has had more than 2,750 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 13 deaths.
The nationwide lockdown that began March 24 was extended until July 22 in Nepal. All international flights were cancelled through 21 July. All residents are required to remain home and travel is barred except for life saving reasons.
Pakistan has had over 234,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus.
The lockdown was lifted in early May, and since then cases have surged in Pakistan. The Pakistan Supreme Court has stated that COVID-19 “is not a pandemic in Pakistan,” causing this premature ease in reopening.
Domestic flights resumed in mid-May from select airports. International flights have resumed at 25% capacity. No food or drinks will be allowed on flights, and new sanitation practices will be implemented.
The country has said it will begin opening up to tourism again sometime this summer, but details remain sketchy.
Philippines President Duterte has lifted a lockdown on Manila and other high-risk areas as of June 1. But by mid-June, the President put central Cebu city back on lockdown with the surge of new cases.
A ban on international travellers went into effect on March 22, and it’s unclear when this restriction will be lifted. There are more than 47,000 confirmed cases, with a majority of them in Manila.
The Bureau of Immigration stated on May 11 that no foreigners were allowed into the country. Spokeswoman Dana Sandoval said, “Only Filipinos, their foreign spouse and children, accredited foreign government and international organization officials, and foreign airline crew shall remain eligible to enter the Philippines.”
Like other countries in this section, Philippines is considering a “travel bubble” with Australia and other regions that are “infection-free.”
Singapore was an early leader in the fight against coronavirus — implementing screening of foreign visitors and some of the first quarantines. Contact tracing kept numbers and deaths low. It was also one of the first countries to ease its lockdown after that widespread testing and tracing led to a decline in cases. But a resurgence in cases has now forced it to reimpose severe restrictions. The country entered phase 2 of reopening on June 19, meaning that most businesses have reopened with social distancing measures in place.
While Singapore’s borders are still closed to visitors, the country is beginning to relax transit restrictions at the Changi Airport. It is also testing a “fast lane” for business travelers from certain Chinese provinces and municipalities, removing the need for a mandatory 14-day quarantine for them. It is planning to create travel bubbles with other countries as well.
While South Korea has been praised by other countries and media outlets for its success in its early fight against the coronavirus, a late resurgence of cases is seeking to thwart all those efforts.
South Korea temporarily suspended its visa-free entry and visa waiver programs for most countries (U.S. and the U.K. nationals are still permitted to enter visa-free) back in April, with the suspensions sill in place.
Americans can go to South Korea, but a mandatory two-week quarantine will make it undesirable for most folks.
Unless you have long-term visa, you will have to quarantine at a location overseen by the government.
While the country is technically open to foreigners on short-term visits, most (with limited exceptions) are subject to a mandatory quarantine at a government-designated facility at their own expense for 14 days. The local U.S. embassy notes that this will cost approximately $100 USD per night, and passengers will be required to sign a release form agreeing to these conditions before departing.
Most international arrivals to South Korea can expect the following on arrival. (This information was accurate as of August.)
- You will go through the quarantine stands, where staff members from the Ministry of Health and Welfare check your body temperature and ask if you have any COVID related symptoms and medications that you may have consumed. At this point, they will also check if you have downloaded relevant apps for the 14-day quarantine depending on the staff member.
- Assuming that you are considered non-symptomatic, you proceed to stands (depending on your legal status in Korea) where a soldier of the Korean Army will check for your self-quarantine eligibility. For most foreigners without a specific visa, you will get documentation for the mandatory 14-day government quarantine; if you disagree to any portions of the government quarantine, you may be asked to leave the country. App status may be checked again in this stage.
- Travellers undergoing government quarantine may be asked to group together afterwards to prevent anyone defecting, overseen by either a public health official or a police officer who will escort through the following steps.
- You will go through passport checks and submit relevant immigration forms, just as you would have done before the pandemic. Afterwards, you pick up your luggage and go through customs.
- After exiting to the main lobby, police officers (if they haven’t already) may separate those who are self-quarantining and are going to a government facility. At this time, the National Fire Agency provides buses for those undergoing government quarantine.
- Upon arrival at the government-run facility, public health officials and soldiers in the Korean Army will go through a “check-in” process with you. At this point, you will pay 2.1 million KRW (roughly $1,760, depending on the prevailing currency exchange rate) per person. All meals and coronavirus testing conducted during this time will be covered with this payment.
Last reports from Sri Lanka saw the country having just over 2000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in a population of 21 million. The country has begun to ease restrictions such as the shortening the curfew hours and allowing travel between cities except for Colombo and Gamapaha.
Limited tourism was set to begin again on August 1. Under the proposed reopening plan, groups of travellers from selected countries will have to have a valid COVID-19 test done in one of Sri Lanka’s two international airports – Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) or Mattala International Airport (HRI), and will stay in approved hotels that have met the safety and sanitation requirements. Popular tourist locations will be open with regular temperature checks. Individual travellers will still not be welcomed.
This island nation has had one of the world’s most successful responses to the coronavirus outbreaks. However, one aspect of successful containment involves greatly limiting the number of incoming travellers from other countries. To that end, Taiwan has banned international travellers as of March 19, including all transit passengers passing through the nation en route to other destinations.
Taiwan is planning to relax entry restrictions for certain nationals and will announce regulations regarding quarantine requirements. It is also looking at allowing transit passengers at Taoyuan International Airport.
According to the government, as of June 9 Tajikistan has had over 6,000 cases and only 53 deaths, but those numbers are being greeted with some scepticism.
Tajikistan never did have a full lockdown, and most businesses, hotels and restaurants reopened on June 15. As late as June 6, the U.S. embassy was arranging flights for U.S. citizens out of the country so probably not a great time to visit.
After a month of no COVID-19 cases, Thailand is looking to reopening their borders soon to about 50,000 foreigners initially. While some of these travellers will include those with work permits, residency and families in Thailand, about 60% of this quota will be allowed to enter if they are seeking medical or wellness treatments. Regardless, anyone entering the country will be subject to a 14-day quarantine.
Phuket, the popular tourist destination, has been a coronavirus hotspot, as has the megacity of Bangkok. Other countries have been in discussions to create travel bubbles with Thailand.
Turkmenistan closed its borders when the first cases of coronavirus were reported globally. However, the country itself has not officially reported any cases of the virus to the World Health Organization, claiming it has not infiltrated the borders. However, hospital employees from Turkmenistan insist there is a COVID-19 outbreak — and it’s out of control.
On June 10, Turkmenistan and Iran reopened their borders to each other for road and rail travel. The opening was delayed from June 1 due to new sanitation practices. There is no plans at the moment for tourism to restart.
In mid-June, the Uzbekistan government announced a nationwide project to guarantee safe travel by implementing safety measures at tourist sites. Uzbekistan is so committed to this program that the government promises to compensate tourists $3,000 if they catch COVID-19.
Uzbekistan said full-scale international travel would return by August 1, hoping to implement a fifth-freedom of air travel by lifting all restrictions on all flights and destinations.
The country is opening regionally based on the containment of COVID-19. In areas with less infection, businesses and sports arenas have resumed working. Domestic tourism has resumed and air and train travel is permitted domestically from the capital to major cities and provinces.
Vietnam is in the process of slowly reopening. Back in early June, Vietnam announced that foreigners from these 80 countries (including the United States) could start to visit on e-visas starting July 1.
However, this is no longer the case. As of June 24, the Vietnam Prime Minister announced that the international travel ban will continue until further notice. Foreigners were originally banned as of March 22, and it is uncertain when the Vietnamese government will revisit this travel advisory.
Some tourist attractions have reopened, and there is some good news to report. Domestic tourism within Vietnam is now open again, and Vietnam is in talks with several other countries to created so-called “travel bubbles’ allowing citizens of trusted neighbours to visit. In addition, the government is planning to resume international commercial flights to certain regions. Vietnam has had about 332 cases and zero deaths from coronavirus.
Early lockdowns have been credited with keeping coronavirus relatively contained “down under,” but Australia remains closed to foreign visitors. The country has had 375 deaths.
Foreigners are banned except for a few emergency exemptions that must be cleared in advance, and arriving citizens and non-citizens are subject to a 14-day quarantine.
Australian leaders have suggested foreign travel for Australians might not even be possible until 2021.
Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham told ABC Australia’s morning show, “I wouldn’t put any guarantees that you could undertake that overseas trip in December,” but the government has since softened its tone.
In fact, the governments of Australia and New Zealand are discussing a so-called “travel bubble” that may allow tourism only between the two nations (and possibly Fiji), but nothing firm has been decided just yet. In fact, it’s on “pause” as Australia deals with sporadic outbreaks.
Meanwhile, Australian leaders have said October is probably the earliest they would again allow international travel.
French Polynesia officially reopened on July 15. The island nation implemented a 14-day quarantine period for international travellers back in March, but it was dropped under pressure from the tourism industry (among others), and the nation has since seen a surge in cases. It has had 622 cases and zero deaths.
If you plan on traveling to French Polynesia, you need to submit to a COVID-19 (RT-PCR) test 72 hours before departure.
If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 three weeks prior to departure but have an immunity certificate from a doctor, you can bypass testing.
Additionally, all incoming travelers (residents excluded) must provide proof of international travel insurance. Luckily, credit card travel insurance satisfies this requirement. Use a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card to pay for your airfare and hotel, then provide a copy of the card’s Guide to Benefits as proof of coverage.
Travelers are also required to have a medical certificate, with the specifics to be communicated by the tourism board.
Four days after arrival, you may be subject to another COVID-19 test. The Ministry of Health and Prevention will be conducting these tests on a random basis, so keep that in mind. In addition to that, guests may also get visits from medical staff, authorized by the Department of Health to supervise.
All travellers are advised to wear a mask throughout their stay and abide by specific sanitary measures. If you do exhibit symptoms during your stay, you must self-report and self-isolate in your room until further instruction from local emergency operators.
If you’re itching to travel to French Polynesia, there are lots of options for getting there. Be sure to check out our guide on the best way to get to Tahiti using points and miles. The following airlines have or will resume flights:
- Air France
- Air New Zealand
- Air Tahiti
- Air Tahiti Nui
- French Bee
- Hawaiian Airlines
Unfortunately, the Le Meridien Bora Bora decided to use the slower times during the coronavirus epidemic to do an 18-month remodel. We’ll be sure to review it when it reopens!
Fiji has recorded only 27 cases so far, thanks in part to a strict lockdown as of March 15. The country is essentially closed to tourism with no signs of easing the lockdown anytime soon. Fiji recently celebrated 100 days without any community transmission.
Interestingly, Fiji does allow visitors by private yacht. Arriving tourists must quarantine for two weeks at sea before being allowed ashore.
Fiji Airways grounded 95% of its flights and at least 279 hotels have closed.
Fiji is apparently in talks with Australia and New Zealand about entering into their so-called “travel bubble” that would allow citizens of the three countries to travel freely, but nothing has been finalized. Obviously, Americans would not be included in that agreement.
New Zealand has been praised for its early and tough restrictions that kept cases of coronavirus low in the country. The country has only had 22 deaths. It restricted travel from Wuhan, China, by February 3. In fact, New Zealand is being hailed as one of the shining stars of dealing with COVID-19. It currently has zero active cases.
A complete ban on foreigners is now in effect and the border is effectively closed to foreign tourists. From the government website: “The New Zealand border is currently closed to almost all travelers to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The travel ban applies to all arrivals into New Zealand whether it is by air or sea.”
New Zealand and Australia are now allowing flights from their neighbor, and tourism is expected to resume as soon as September.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said of a travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand, “Both our countries’ strong record on fighting the virus has placed us in the enviable position of being able to plan the next stage in our economic rebuild and to include trans-Tasman travel and engagement in our strategy.”
Israel has had more than 32,700 confirmed coronavirus cases, and more than 343 deaths, but is already easing restrictions that were imposed to fight the spread of COVID-19, despite increasing case counts. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had quarantined himself after an aide got sick, but has since emerged unaffected. In a televised speech in mid-April he said, “We (will) start opening up both the personal sphere and the economic sphere.”
Israel’s Ministry of Health updated their Covid-19 restrictions. Bus were only allowed to have up to 20 people and houses of worship and other gatherings were limited to 20 people with masks and social distancing, as of July 6. Restaurants and bars were ordered closed, effective July 7. For restaurants, only 20 people are allowed inside and 30 are allowed outside. Gyms, pools and cultural performances were all ordered closed, and clubs and bars in hotels are closed.
On March 18, the government announced that foreigners, including U.S. citizens, would not be allowed to enter Israel. There are no current plans to ease that restriction. Some Israeli citizens returning from overseas are being allowed to return and self-quarantine.
Luxury hotel company Dan hotels just announced it was reopening all of its hotels in the next few weeks for summer bookings including the King David Jerusalem.
Jordan has had more than 1,100 cases of coronavirus and 10 deaths. It is in the middle of relaxing strict lockdown measures. On June 30, the government suspended regular commercial international flights until at least July 14. There has been no update about the opening of land borders with Israel and the West Bank.
Jordan has released a five-stage opening plan, from low risk to critical danger. Currently, the nation is at its second-lowest risk, at moderately dangerous. All economic and social activities are at 100% except for the following: universities, colleges and institutes, youth activities, cinemas, organizing facilities for parties, festivals, conferences, exhibitions, cultural events and festivals, training and cultural centres, public parks, game cities and entertainment places.
Jordan had reopened its border with Saudi Arabia, but a small cluster of cases that resulted has them now considering a quarantine of arriving truck drivers. According to the Jordan News Agency, the government has recently launched a new smart phone application called “Sehtak” (your health) that provides the latest pandemic-based news and other health information.
Kuwait now has over 52,000 cases and 379 deaths. A nationwide curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. is in effect during phase two of Kuwait’s five-stage opening plan. According to the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait, a complete lockdown was in effect “on Mahboula and Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh until July 9. The lockdown on Farwaniya (except for areas between Streets 60, 120, 502, and 129) is in effect until further notice. Per the lockdown, residents in these areas may leave their house but are not permitted to leave their neighbourhood.”
The use of face masks is mandatory in all public areas, and the Ministry of Health is randomly testing residents and citizens daily. Also according to the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait, “Kuwait International Airport is closed to all inbound commercial flights except for arriving Kuwaiti citizens and their immediate relatives who are travelling with them.” The airport planned to resume commercials inbound flights at 30% capacity on August 1.
Qatar has a total of 100,945 cases and 134 deaths. According to the U.S. Embassy in Qatar, non-Qatari citizens cannot enter Qatar. There is no curfew in place.
Those who are citizens and enter Qatar are subject to a two-week quarantine. Qatar banned inbound flights on March 18 except for cargo and transit flights.
Saudi Arabia has over 217,100 cases and 2,017 deaths. There is no curfew, but masks are mandatory in public and all persons must follow social distancing guidelines. Gatherings of more than 50 people are banned.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia, “limited domestic air travel and regional travel by bus, train, and other means of transportation has resumed, but international air travel remains suspended until further notice and land borders, including the causeway between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, remain closed to passenger traffic.”
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates is beginning to ease some strict lockdown measures, and Dubai reopened to tourists beginning July 7.
Tourists visiting the country will be required to present a recent COVID-19 PCR test negative certificate done within 96 hours of departure or undergo testing at Dubai airports. Tourists must also download the COVID-19 DXB app and register their details.
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All arrivals will also be subject to thermal screenings. If a traveller is suspected to have COVID-19 symptoms, Dubai airports have the right to re-test to ensure the tourist is free of the virus.
Tourists must comply with preventive measures and safety procedures and must self-isolate for 14 days if they test positive.
“You must have travel insurance with COVID-19 cover or declare that you will bear the costs for treatment and isolation if necessary before you travel. Bring an insurance certificate stating COVID-19 coverage to present at check-in,” according to Emirates. Emirates is only flying to four airports in the Americas: O’Hare International Airport (ORD) in Chicago, New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK), Toronto’s Pearson International Airport (YYZ) and Dulles International Airport (IAD) in D.C.
Albania has reported more than 9,700 cases of Covid-19 and 296 deaths. On June 15, commercial flights returned to Albania, and the government lifted all restrictions on tourism on July 1.
There are no testing requirements for visitors, but temperature checks on arriving passengers at the airport are mandatory. If a passenger has COVID-19 symptoms and/or a fever they may be required to undergo a mandatory government quarantine.
Related: 5 reasons to visit Albania in 2020
Austria has reported 18,513 cases and 706 deaths.
Small shops in Austria were allowed to reopen on April 14 and all trade is allowed as of May 1. Restaurants were allowed to open beginning in mid-May and hotels on May 29. As of late May, the Austrian government now requires proof of clean health in the form of a negative molecular-biological SARS-CoV2 test, which applies to the small number of third-party nationals who are allowed to enter Austria right now. The test must be written in German or English and dated within 72 hours of the travel departure date.
There had been reports that no travel would be allowed until there is a vaccine, but the government has backed away from that suggestion. European Union citizens and residents will be allowed into Austria, but must be able to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arrival and will be subject to a mandatory quarantine. Third-country nationals (that means our U.S. travellers) will not be allowed by air from outside the Schengen area.
However, if you are a foreign national (U.S. traveller) and go to Austria for “essential” travel, you’ll need a negative PCR test no more than 72 hours old. In addition, you’ll also need to self-quarantine for ten days too, in addition to the negative PCR test.
Some land borders are reopened to neighbouring EU countries only. On May 13, three border crossings between Austria and Germany reopened.
Austria released that they have not seen a significant increase in COVID-19 cases since reopening.
A lockdown of this South Caucuses nation is among the strictest still in place. All of Azerbaijan’s borders are closed to passenger traffic, and flights into and out of Azerbaijan are not available. “All arrivals to Azerbaijan, including U.S. citizens, are currently being placed in a mandatory 14-day quarantine in government-provided facilities, regardless of travel origin,” according to the U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan.
The government has instated an SMS system, requiring citizens to send text messages updating whether they are leaving their house for medical care, the grocery store, pharmacy, bank, post office time outdoors or to attend a funeral. Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited. The country has reported more than 21,374 cases and 265 deaths.
Belarus is in the middle of a popular uprising against the man called the “last dictator in Europe,” so it may not be the best time to visit, but the country bordering Russia may be open to tourism. Several TPG readers have said Belarus is open to American tourists, and we have seen a few reports that suggest Americans are on a list of 70 countries that were allowed to enter as of August 15.
If you can find a flight, you’ll need to get a visa and a COVID-19 test within 48 hours is “recommended.” You’ll also need to fill out a health questionnaire and submit to temperature/health checks on arrival.
Belarus has had more than 72,000 cases of coronavirus and nearly 700 deaths.
Belgium forbade all international travel early in the pandemic, according to the United States Embassy in Belgium. Any travellers who are permitted entry (there are strict restrictions) must self-quarantine for 14 days.
The country started easing its strict lockdown on May 4 and will continue to open parts of the country in a phased way, but tourism is not among the phases if you are from outside the Schengen Area. The country is currently reporting 62,123 cases and 9,776 deaths as of July 8.
If you’re travelling within the Schengen area, you have the ability to stop by Belgium as of June 15 when they reopened all their borders to European Union countries. Travel from countries outside the area is still restricted.
June 8 saw the reopening of most Belgian businesses including restaurants and bars with social distancing measures in place. As of July 1, the following are allowed in Belgium: swimming pools and wellness centres, amusement parks and indoor playgrounds, theatres and cinemas, casinos and slot machines, congress halls, reception and ballrooms, for a maximum of 50 people, according to their National Crisis Center.
The Bulgarian government ordered a new ban on all persons, regardless of their citizenship, through all border crossings, by air (including commercial and private aircraft), sea, rail and road transport, which was in effect July 1, to July 31, according to the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria.
Those exempt from the ban are “nationals, permanent residents and their family members of the European Union, the United Kingdom, the Schengen Agreement States including San Marino, Andorra, Monaco and Vatican City, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia. Locals are allowed to return but must quarantine for 14 days. The country has 6,102 cases and 254 deaths.
In early May, the government held celebrations for its Armed Forces Day with military demonstrations and a remote military parade. Bulgaria began to ease lockdown restrictions in mid-may and opened larger businesses such as malls to residents.
Croatia has reopened for tourists from all countries.
As of July 13, Croatia amended its COVID-19 policies due to a slight spike in recent cases. Incoming travellers must now produce a negative COVID PCR test taken less than 48 hours before departure, or else observe a 14-day self-quarantine upon arrival. Additional updates from the European Union will be announced soon.
Fair warning: The European Union has decided not to allow U.S. travelers into the E.U., but individual nations have decided to ignore that decision, and Croatia has done in regards to Americans. The Daily Beast is reporting, “… upon checking with the Croatian government directly, we can confirm that Americans can travel to Croatia for tourism this summer without quarantine.”
The Czech Republic began permitting international travel on June 15. They judged allowance of entrance by using a system to classify countries by their coronavirus risks.
According to Czech Tourism, “You can come to the Czech Republic as a tourist if you are from the green labelled EU or Schengen zone countries. You no longer need to show a negative Covid-19 test on the borders and quarantine won’t be required. If you are from an orange or red labelled country on the map, a test is still required on the borders. The countries are divided according to risk in relation to the Covid-19 virus by the Czech Ministry of Health.” Travellers from Belgium and Great Britain are deemed medium risk, meaning they must provide a recent Covid-19 test.
Americans are not welcome.
Czech Republic has had 19,401 cases and 391 deaths.
Denmark became one of the first European nations to announce a slow easing of restrictions. Schools reopened as of April 15, and some businesses have also reopened.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Denmark, the Danish border closure – imposed on March 14 – remains in place for tourism-related travel from the United States.
The ban does not apply to most travellers who reside in the EU, Schengen Zone and the United Kingdom. The Danish government recommends a 14-day quarantine for travellers arriving in Denmark, except those coming from Germany, Iceland and Norway.
Denmark was one of the first countries in the world to roll-out nationwide testing for everyone who wanted it. It’s had more than 15,000 cases and 621 deaths.
“On June 1, the Government of Estonia reopened borders to passengers arriving from other countries of the European Union, the Schengen Zone and the United Kingdom. Travellers must be symptom free and must have been present in one of the approved countries for the previous 14 days,” according to the U.S. Embassy in Estonia.
Residents from Algeria, Australia, Georgia, Japan, Canada, Morocco, Montenegro, South Korea, Rwanda, Serbia, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and New Zealand are also allowed in if they are showing no symptoms, according to the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Like other European nations, Estonia is asking visitors who have signs of the disease to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. You may be required to quarantine based on which country you depart from and the ratio of positive cases per 100,000 people. So far, if the ratio is under 16 per 100,000, you would not be required to self-isolate.
Estonia has 2,177 cases and 63 deaths.
Finland is easing a few more of its travel restrictions as of August. According to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, “On 15 June, the restrictions on non-essential travel were lifted for Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania and Norway and will be lifted on 13 July for Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Malta, the Netherlands, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland and the Vatican.” Non-essential travel is still prohibited from the U.S. Finland has had 7,697 cases and 333 deaths.
Prime Minister Sanna Marin said earlier at a news conference, “Because we have succeeded well in containing the spread of the epidemic in Finland for the time being, it is possible to move from widespread restrictions towards the principles of a hybrid strategy of testing, tracing, isolating and treating.”
Americans are not welcome.
France has been hit hard by the coronavirus, with more than 209,000 cases and 30,000 deaths, but it has continued to reopen. The country opened cafes, bars, and restaurants, as well as schools and public transportation. Even the Louvre is now open. France still requires face masks and social distancing of one meter.
France reopened its borders to travel from other European nations June 15. Those who enter the country must quarantine for 14 days. Travel from the United States is still restricted, according to the U.S. Embassy in Paris.
Residents of France will be able to vacation freely within the country during July and August. Paris-Orly airport, which has been closed since March 31, resumed commercial passenger flights on June 26.
The country of Georgia has reported only 1,306 cases and 17 coronavirus deaths. Americans are not welcome with the exception of those willing to stay for six months and work from home in the country.
Related: Work from home in these countries
While Georgia has not fully developed its plans, it too is planning to offer its own residency programs for foreigners hoping to conduct remote work there. The project, according to the government’s news site, is specifically targeting freelancers and self-employed foreigners.
While the application has not been released, foreigners hoping to apply can expect to provide personal information, a certificate of employment, proof of travel insurance (valid for six months) and acknowledgement of a 14-day quarantine at their own expense.
Travellers must submit the application and obtain relevant confirmation documents prior to arriving in Georgia. It is expected to show on the Ministry of Economy website once the application goes live.
The country opened July 31, but only citizens of five countries can visit with no restrictions.
Germany has had many fewer deaths than its European neighbours like Italy and Spain. Still, it has had more than 198,000 cases, and there have been more than 9,054 deaths.
Most events are cancelled, including one of the key events in the German tourism calendar — Oktoberfest. That’s in late September and early October, which tells you how long the Germans feel the shutdowns will last.
Germany has limited entry to just EU citizens and residents, similar to the actions taken by other EU nations. Travel from the U.S. is still prohibited.
Greece is a rare bright spot for foreign tourists, but not yet for Americans. As of now, Americans were not permitted to enter Greece through at least August 31.
EU passport holders are allowed entry, including permanent residents of Schengen countries, plus Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and the United Arab Emirates.
The country locked everything down March 23 and it’s believed to have prevented a severe COVID-19 outbreak. As of July 10, Greece had only 193 deaths. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the country had contained the virus’s first wave.
Greek Health Minister Haris Theoharis says foreign tourists can come to Greece without coronavirus tests required. There will also be no mandatory 14-day quarantine.
With relatively few confirmed cases (5,215) and 614 deaths as of Aug. 25, Hungary has done a good job of mitigating the spread of COVID-19.
Hungary banned foreigners entirely early on in the pandemic but began lifting lockdown restrictions on its own citizens in May. As of July 15, 2020, the country revised its entry requirements. Currently, it classifies countries as “green,” “yellow” or “red” based on the state of the pandemic in that nation, according to the U.S. Embassy in Hungary.
Hungarian citizens and their relatives can enter Hungary from another country designated as “green” with no health screening. Hungarians entering from “yellow” or “red” countries are subject to a 14-day quarantine after receiving a health screening at the border. An exception to this policy is if they can provide two negative COVID-19 tests taken 48 hours apart in the previous five days. A person from a “yellow” country can be released from the quarantine requirement after the first negative test, but those coming from “red” countries must have two.
Non-Hungarian citizens can enter from any yellow country with the same requirements as citizens, but non-citizens are not permitted into the country if they’re attempting to enter from a red country. The United States was designated as a yellow country by Hungary as of Aug. 5.
According to the Embassy, “Foreign citizens arriving from abroad … can enter Hungary if they undergo a medical check upon entry and such a check does not reveal the suspicion of infection.”
TPG’s Melanie Lieberman reported back in May that Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir said “Iceland will welcome international travellers back ‘no later than June 15.’” Iceland has had less severe lockdowns than most other countries, but a ban on American tourists is still in effect through July until further notice. Our own Zach Honig learned that the hard way when his flights were cancelled.
Only European citizens of the Schengen zone are being allowed. According to the U.S. Embassy in Iceland, “All travellers entering Iceland, including Icelandic citizens and residents, must self-quarantine for 14 days or submit to a COVID-19 test upon arrival at the airport.”
As of Aug. 19, Iceland will be imposing stricter entry restrictions for those eligible to travel there. This even applies to residents of Iceland, except for children born after 2005. Anyone entering will have to get a coronavirus PCR test at the airport upon arrival. Then, four to five days after this initial test, you’ll have to get a second COVID-19 test. During that time frame between tests, you must self-quarantine until the results of both tests come back negative. To even be eligible for this test, you must be a resident of the aforementioned countries (U.S. residents are not included at this time). As an alternative to the testing requirements, travellers can opt to self-quarantine for a full 14-day period.
The country has only had 1,882 cases and 10 deaths.
Ireland is open to Americans, but you must self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
All arrivals from outside Ireland including citizens and residents are required to isolate themselves for two full weeks. You’ll also need to fill out a “Passenger Locator Form” saying where you will be quarantining. There is a fine of up to $2,860 or six months in jail for refusing to fill out the form or falsifying records.
Meantime, Ireland is dealing with visitors who are violating the country’s 14-day self-quarantine rule. The New York Times wrote a whole article on this problem. Some TPG readers have also reported that Americans are going to Ireland, skipping quarantine and visiting other parts of Europe. Not only is that illegal, but it’s also unethical and endangers other humans. Don’t do that.
Italy has been among the hardest-hit countries with more than 34,000 deaths and more than 242,000 people have been sickened.
“Persons travelling to Italy from member states of the European Union, states party to the Schengen Agreement (the non-EU states party to the Schengen Agreement are: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland), the United Kingdom, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican City State will no longer be required to self-isolate under the supervision of health authorities for 14 days unless they have stayed in other countries during the 14-day period prior to entering Italy,” according to the U.S. Embassy in Italy.
On May 18, museums, libraries, shops and restaurants were allowed to reopen under social distancing rules. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is insisting that social-distancing rules will be in place for months. He also said church services remain banned, angering many in the heavily Roman Catholic country.
Rome-Ciampino Airport (CIA) and the Aeroporto di Firenze-Peretola (FLR) in Florence and other Italian airports have all reopened.
Kosovo has reopened its borders to Americans. Unfortunately, Kosovo is also one of the deadliest countries due to coronavirus.
No testing or quarantine is required for travellers arriving in Kosovo, however, some reports suggest American citizens have been denied entry if they are not citizens or residents of Kosovo, so tread carefully with this one.
Here’s the advisory from the U.S. Embassy in Kosovo:
“We urge you to postpone or cancel travel to Kosovo this summer. Kosovo remains under a Level 4 Health Advisory – Do Not Travel due to Covid-19. The health situation is deteriorating, and public institutions are struggling to keep up with demand. It is possible that border restrictions could be re-imposed with little notice, and the frequent changes are causing confusion at airports and borders.”
That’s not exactly encouraging.
Kosovo is reported to have 13,791 cases of coronavirus with 539 deaths.
Latvia has reopened to EU countries (including the U.K.), as well as to non-EU passport holders that hold EU permanent residence permits. Residents of several other countries outside are allowed to enter, which the list can be found here.
According to the local U.S. embassy, U.S. residents residing in the United States will be banned from entering Latvia for non-essential travel (which includes tourism), nor will they be allowed to enter by arriving from a country on that list. Several exceptions exist, one of which is to enter with an EU passport if you have one.
The local government is also requiring that passengers from countries with more than 15 cases per 100,000 inhabitants to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. The list of these countries can be found here.
Switzerland handles immigration and customs matters for Liechtenstein, meaning that as long as you are qualified to enter Switzerland, you are able to enter Liechtenstein. There is an open border between the two countries.
At this time, entry to Switzerland (and Liechtenstein) is permitted for U.K. and EU nationals. If you hold those passports but are travelling from the United States or any other country in this list, you will be subject to a mandatory 10-day quarantine.
U.S. passport holders will be subject to the current entry restrictions.
Like other EU countries, Lithuania has reopened its borders to other EU members (including the U.K.). In addition, residents of several other countries that have less than 25 cases per 100,000 inhabitants are allowed to enter. You can find the list of those countries here.
U.S. passport holders and residents are not allowed to enter at the moment. Several exceptions exist, one of which is to enter with an EU passport if you have one.
If you are able to arrive at Lithuania from either the U.S. or any one of the countries in this list, you are subject to a 14-day isolation upon arrival.
Luxembourg has 4,719 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 101 deaths, but it has begun to allow cross-border trips with some of its neighbours, including Germany. More information about restrictions can be found here. All normal business is now open and schools are as well.
Travel for EU citizens is open, but American travellers are still prohibited from entering the country.
Malta is small island nation in the middle of the Mediterranean, and it began reopening on May 1. Coronavirus cases have been limited (674 total cases and nine deaths), and the country’s Prime Minister Robert Abela said at a news conference, “I am pleased we have managed to weather the storm without having succumbed to pressure to order a total lockdown. The government is now starting a three-week program to reopen most commercial activity.”
As you can see in the video below, the county had an advertising campaign with the tagline, “Dream Malta now, visit later.”
But there is good news.
The first group of what Malta calls “safe corridor” destinations that are being reopened for travel include: Germany, Austria, Italy, Cyprus, Switzerland, France, Spain, Poland, Iceland, Slovakia, Norway, Denmark, Hungary, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Luxembourg and the Czech Republic. This means U.S. citizens are banned from entering Malta for non-essential travel, according to the U.S. Embassy in Malta.
Moldova declared a public healthcare emergency May 15, and it has been extended until September 15. It is, however, open to tourism from some countries though it remains unclear if that includes the United States. All international flights have resumed. Some TPG readers are reporting Americans are being allowed, but we were only able to confirm that Americans with dual-citizenship in Moldova are allowed.
Moldova has seen 36,700 cases and 992 deaths from COVID-19.
Monaco has had only 108 cases of COVID-19 and four deaths. One of those cases is reigning monarch Prince Albert who tested positive for COVID-19 and went into self-quarantine. He has since recovered and come out of quarantine.
The tiny Principality is beginning to reopen to tourists, but that doesn’t include Americans. Following France’s lead, Monaco will allow entrance to citizens of the EU, Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. This list will be revised every two weeks.
Montenegro is allowing Americans with a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within three days of arrival. No quarantine is required.
The U.S. Embassy in Montenegro posted the following notice on its website:
“Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter? YES, with a negative PCR test for novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) not older than 72 hours or a positive coronavirus antibody test result (SARS-CoV-2) of the IgG class obtained by ELISA serologic test not older than 72 hours. This does not apply to children up to the age of 5. Travelers must not have stopped, nor transited through, countries that are not permitted to enter Montenegro within the previous 15 days.”
Montenegro has had just over 5,000 reported cases of coronavirus, and 104 deaths.
As of July 10, The Netherlands had more than 51,000 cases of coronavirus. The country is in the process of a slow reopening, but that still doesn’t include most tourists. Businesses are reopening and on June 15 some tourism was allowed, but that didn’t include most of the world including Americans.
“The Dutch government is strictly enforcing the EU travel restrictions banning all non-essential travel from outside the EU,” the U.S. Embassy’s website in the Netherlands states. “On July 1, the EU non-essential travel ban was lifted for 14 countries: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay. The list of countries whose travellers will be allowed to enter the EU will be reviewed every two weeks.”
North Macedonia is now open to all tourists. Skopje International Airport (SKP) and Ohrid St. Paul the Apostle Airport (OHD) opened on July 1. All passengers will face temperature screening, but there are no quarantine or testing requirements.
North Macedonia has had 14,762 COVID-19 cases and 606 deaths.
Norway imposed a strict lockdown early in the pandemic.
In late February, Norway began testing all arriving international passengers. By March 12, most of the country was already closed down.
Norway has been able to limit the spread and has a reported 8,965 cases and 252 deaths. It began reopening in mid-April. The country has opened most businesses, schools and restaurants. Some hotels have already partially reopened. They include the luxury hotel The Britannia in Trondheim.
It is still not welcoming many tourists, and it is unlikely international tourists will be allowed this summer. Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said in a news conference reported by BBC News, “we can’t open too suddenly, that would jeopardise everything we’ve accomplished.”
“The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) and Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs advise to avoid all unnecessary international travel. The advice, which includes an entry ban for travellers that are not Norwegian citizens or residence permit holders to Norway, has been extended until August 20, 2020,” according to the U.S. Embassy in Norway.
The only countries that “meet the Norwegian Government’s criteria for removal of travel restrictions are the following: Finland, Iceland, Greenland, the Faeroe Islands, and Denmark.”
Poland began reopening after a brief lockdown in April. They are in the middle of a four-stage reopening, but borders will remain closed for now.
However, there is good news to report. Poland reopened to international tourism beginning June 13. They made exceptions for citizens and residents of European Union countries. All non-essential travellers have to self-isolate for 14 days, but check the list provided to see if you are exempt from self-isolation.
American tourists, however, remain banned. U.S. citizens should check with the U.S. embassy to confirm if they will be allowed.
Hotels are reopening, and most shops, restaurants, bars, museums and galleries are also open. Face masks mandatory in public.
There have been more than 37,000 cases and more than 1,500 deaths.
Portugal has started relaxing its lockdown within the country, but most international visitors are still not welcome. It had a strict six-week lockdown that helped limit cases. Portugal has had 45,277 cases of COVID-19 and 1,644 deaths as of July 10, but those numbers are far fewer than in neighbouring Spain.
On May 15, Portugal announced that it would reopen beaches on June 6. Prime Minister Antonio Costa is trusting that the public will be conscious and is encouraging residents to download a specially designed app that will tell them if a beach of their choice is full or not.
Prime Minister António Costa told Rádio Observador, “As we relax the measures, the risk of contamination increases. Politicians have to take care not to let their wishes override scientific know-how.”
Flights from the U.S. to Portugal resumed June 4, and there are some reports that the country is again allowing Americans to visit. Unfortunately that information is not borne out by the information on the U.S. embassy website which suggests a ban on U.S. tourists remains in effect. “The Government of Portugal currently prohibits non-essential (tourist) travel to Portugal by U.S. citizens. All travellers must present proof of a negative COVID-19 test conducted within the last 72 hours.”
Currently, events with over 20 people are prohibited, consumption of alcohol in public spaces is not allowed, social distance measures will be enforced and protective masks are required in closed public spaces.
And Portugal confirmed that while it was previously understood that U.S. travellers could enter Portugal, they are now only allowing Portuguese or dual citizens until reciprocal entry rights are granted for U.S. arrivals by visitors travelling from the Schengen area.
“The Government has eased commercial flight and travel restrictions to 22 countries with documented COVID-19 case reduction as of June 22, as determined by the National Institute of Public Health,” as stated by the U.S. Embassy in Romania. “Travelers arriving from EEA countries with per capita case growth equal to or less than Romania’s will be exempt from 14 days of isolation.” These countries include: Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland.
Restaurants in Romania with outdoor seating reopened June 1 and those with only indoor seating reopened June 15. Hotels opened again for tourists in June.
Romania reports it has had more than 31,000 coronavirus cases with a death toll of more than 1,800 as of July 10.
Russia has been battling a surge in COVID-19 cases. Only the U.S., Brazil and India have more. Russia currently has more than 712,000 confirmed cases, and has had 11,000 deaths as of July 10.
Many restrictions were eased in June, with most businesses allowed to open. Effective March 18, the Government of the Russian Federation banned the entry of all foreign nationals. There has been no change since that ban went into effect.
Scotland announced a “Dream Now, Travel Later,” campaign in April so don’t expect them to throw out the welcome mat anytime soon, but a phased reopening of the country has been announced. Still like the U.K. as a whole, outright bans on entry have not been put into place.
Scotland is part of the U.K., and is mostly following the lead of London. In addition however, Scotland is requiring tourists from Spain to self-quarantine for 14 days.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says the number of COVID-19 deaths is falling, but normal won’t return anytime soon. Lockdown restrictions will only gradually be lifted, and any welcoming of tourists may be for residents of the United Kingdom only at first.
There are no border restrictions in Serbia. The U.S. embassy in Serbia writes, “There are currently no restrictions on entry to Serbia for U.S. citizens. However, travellers should be prepared for restrictions to change with little or no advance notice. Visit the website of the Government of Serbia for additional information.”
Serbia has among the most liberal entry requirements with no testing or quarantine required. There was unrest in Serbia in July as protests against coronavirus restrictions turned violent, but it seems to have quieted.
Serbia has reported 31,676 cases and 718 deaths from COVID-19.
Slovakia shut its borders early and it has a correspondingly low infection rate. It reopened its borders to 16 countries in Europe but remains shut out to everyone else. The 14-day mandatory quarantine for foreigners from the listed countries is abolished and is a voluntary decision now. The Bratislava and Kosice airports have slowly resumed flights, while Poprad remains closed.
Slovenia has reportedly reopened its borders to tourism, but it has a traffic light system of entry requirements. Countries on the red list face a mandatory two-week quarantine on arrival. You guessed it. The U.S.A. is on the “red light” list.
And the U.S. embassy website suggests Americans still aren’t being welcomed because of the EU ban on Americans, but Slovenia may one exception to that rule. Call the U.S. embassy before planning a trip.
The CDC calls the risk of catching COVID-19 in Slovenia “high,” and says, “The CDC recommends travellers avoid all nonessential international travel to Slovenia. Travellers at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should consider postponing all travel, including essential travel, to Slovenia.”
Slovenia has had more than 3,000 cases and 134 deaths.
Spain has had more than 28,000 deaths and is among the hardest-hit countries in the world. A strict lockdown began to ease in early May but a resurgence in the number of new cases has the government reconsidering the timeline for reopening.
Like other EU countries, Spain is only open to Spanish nationals, European citizens and citizens of Schengen Partner States. U.S. citizens are not welcome.
Sweden has become well-known during the coronavirus crisis for not shutting down, instead hoping the population would develop “herd immunity” without hurting the economy or killing too many people. Unfortunately, Sweden has the highest number of deaths and cases in Scandinavia, though those numbers are lower than other countries in Europe so far.
It has had more than 5,500 deaths, and recently acknowledged it didn’t do enough of a lockdown.
All nonessential travel to Sweden from non-European visitors was banned until August 31. No timeline on when Americans can go.
As of June 15, Switzerland is now open to European travellers. The government has implemented safety and cleanliness standards to instill a sense of confidence in tourists. Still Americans are not welcomed as of now.
The country has been hard hit by COVID-19 with almost 33,000 cases and 1,700 deaths.
Turkey is welcoming Americans again.
Turkey’s international borders are open for travellers from a number of countries, including the U.S.
Travellers who show signs of COVID-19 will not be allowed to board flights or enter the country. Upon arrival, travellers will be asked to fill out a passenger information form and undergo medical screenings for infection, and anyone showing symptoms upon arrival will be tested for coronavirus. Anyone who tests positive will be referred to a Turkish hospital for quarantine and treatment.
However, the Turkish embassy’s website states that tourist travellers do not need to provide specific health documentation to enter or exit Turkey unless they are arriving for medical treatment.
We should also note that Turkey has reported more than 275,000 coronavirus cases with Istanbul especially hard-hit.
Per the US Embassy’s website on Ukraine, U.S. citizens are not permitted to enter the country, as the Ministry of Health “considers the United States a country with a high incidence of COVID-19.”
Ukraine has had more than 128,000 cases of COVID-19 and 2,710 deaths.
The United Kingdom has been especially hard-hit by coronavirus with more than 316,000 confirmed cases, and more than 41,000 deaths. Prime Minister Boris Johnson famously got and survived COVID-19.
The British government has now opened up its borders to 75 countries and its overseas territories. Americans are allowed to visit the United Kingdom, but there is a giant caveat. Americans must quarantine for 14 days on arrival. The penalty for breaking this quarantine is steep, running to more than $1,200 dollars a night in fines for violations.
Also noteworthy is that the following a spike in coronavirus case in Spain, the U.K. has added Spain (including the Canary Islands and Balearic Islands) to the list of countries requiring a 14-day quarantine on arrival to the U.K. The U.K. government says it is calling or texting one in five passengers to ensure they are self-isolating. Those who fail to comply could face a fine of up to £1,000.
Several airports in the U.K. are now requiring travellers to wear face masks and gloves.
Heathrow Airport in London (LHR) is set to test new screening methods soon including ultraviolet sanitation, facial recognition thermal screenings and contactless security.
The quarantine rules do not apply to international passengers transiting the airports.
We have seen some reports of Americans trying to get to the European Union from the U.K., but it’s not allowed and you are likely to be turned back (and you would potentially be breaking the law).
The United Kingdom has had more than 340,000 cases and 41,000 deaths.
International tourism resumed in Egypt July 1. The Great Pyramids of Giza also reopened on July 1 after being closed since March, reported Reuters. The pyramids underwent a deep cleaning of all paths and touchpoints earlier this summer.
Hotels opened to domestic tourists in May under the strict condition that they could not operate at more than 25% capacity until the end of May; that increased to 50% capacity on June 1. Reuters also reported that hotels must implement new health measures, there must be a clinic with a resident doctor to regularly screen temperatures and disinfectant equipment must be installed, among other precautionary measures.
The health minister has indicated that Red Sea resorts, including in South Sinai, will be the first to open along with beaches west of Alexandria. It’s been estimated that Egypt has and will continue to lose 1 billion tourism dollars for each month that it’s closed.
According to the New York Times, Egyptian cafes are also reopened, but with only half capacity allowed. The pyramids at Giza are open, but temperature checks are required.
A reader told TPG a Cairo-based tour guide said he took his first American tourist (since March) to the pyramids in July. There are reports that international visitors do not have to have a negative COVID-19 test, but must fill out a health certification form and show proof of insurance.
All of Ghana’s borders are closed with no announced date of reopening. Citizens are being allowed back into the country but will have to quarantine for 14 days when they arrive.
Emirates Airlines recently planned a repatriation flight out of Ghana back to the U.S, others may become available and posted through the U.S Embassy site.
Kenya is now open for tourism again as of August 1. President Uhuru Kenyatta says the country has reached enough preparedness to lessen restrictions but precautions should still be taken, reports Reuters.
Under the reopening plan travel in and out of Nairobi was allowed and general domestic travel began July 15. International travel began August 1. Mosques can open for an hour with 100 visitors.
“In the next 21 days we shall study patterns of interactions and the spread of the disease. Any trends that signal a worsening of the pandemic, we will have no choice but to return to lockdown,” said President Kenyatta. Kenya has reported more than 29,000 cases.
Americans can go to Kenya and move about freely with few restrictions.
The African nation said on July 7 it was beginning the first phase of reopening. The only requirement for entry is a negative COVID-19 test taken within 96 hours of arrival.
President Uhuru Kenyatta said back in July, “Any trends that signal a worsening of the pandemic, we will have no choice but to return to lockdown.”
Kenya has had more than 34,000 cases in total and 581 deaths.
The island nation was under lockdown from March 20 to June 15 when the restrictions were fully lifted. The tourism department announced that the nation is now coronavirus free and they are beginning to form a plan around opening borders. A date has yet to be set. A decision on reopening is likely to be made once the airport has equipment to test visitors upon arrival.
Morocco partially reopened its borders on July 14 to allow citizens to return to the country and foreign citizens to leave. The country had one of the strictest lockdowns that left Moroccan citizens trapped outside of the country and foreign citizens trapped inside.
Flights will take place through Royal Air Maroc and Air Arabia. Anyone returning to Morocco will have to provide negative PCR and serological test taken 48 hours before entering the country. Ferries will be available to bring citizens back to Morocco from some countries and they will have the option to take a test on board.
Mosques reopened July 15 however there is no word of when churches or synagogues can resume operations. According to Voice of America, Arriving passengers are required to present both a PCR virus test taken within fewer than 48 hours of the flight, as well as an antibody test, before boarding planes heading for Morocco.
To help fight coronavirus, Morocco has rapidly expanded its fleet of drones for surveillance, public service announcements and sanitization.
Namibia is reopening to tourism in September and lifting most restrictions.
International flights and tourists are now allowed to fly to Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH), but they must have a negative COVID-19 test on arrival taken within 72 hours of arrival, fill out a health questionnaire and stay in their hotel or other lodging for seven days before being allowed to move freely in the country.
President Hage Geingob said in a televised address, “The virus is likely to remain in our midst for a prolonged time and we must learn to live with it … learning to live with the virus means adapting our attitudes and behaviours so that we can reduce the damage it can do to our country.”
They’ve had more than 7,200 cases and 82 deaths.
Nigeria reopened its airports on July 8 after months of closure. Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt, Owerri and Maiduguri airports have all reopened as of July 11. International travel has not been given a date to resume.
The country is under a curfew from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m daily. Gatherings are limited to 20 people and face masks are mandatory.
Rwanda is one of the few countries in the world that is now open to American visitors again. Now might be the perfect time to plan that safari adventure you’ve always wanted to take if you are able to swing it. Rwanda has done a good job controlling the coronavirus outbreak with only 4,020 cases and 16 deaths according to Johns Hopkins University.
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Rwanda is home to three major national parks. You can even book a trip to see the endangered mountain gorillas of Volcanoes National Park.
The land-locked country reopened to all nationalities back on June 17, and the international airport reopened to commercial flights Aug. 1. All arriving passengers will be required to present a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR (Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction) test taken within 72 hours before arriving in Rwanda.
VisitRwanda says, “For passengers entering Rwanda, a second PCR test will be conducted upon arrival, with results delivered within 24 hours, during which time they will remain in designated hotels at their own cost.”
Rwanda is offering visa on arrival as well for all nationalities. There are a number of additional planning resources available at VisitRwanda.com.
All national parks in the country are open but visitors will have to test negative for coronavirus 19-48 hours before visiting.
The Seychelles is going to extremes to protect itself from coronavirus. TPG cruise reporter Gene Sloan writes about the small island nation off the coast of Africa banning cruise ships until 2022.
Sloan writes, “The Seychelles has fared well so far during the global outbreak of the new coronavirus, with an initial wave of just 11 cases and no deaths. The country moved fast to ban cruise ship arrivals and shut its international airport after the first cases were discovered in mid-March.”
Americans can now travel to The Seychelles, but the country prefers only those with big bucks.
Foreign tourists are allowed to vacation in the Seychelles, but the government’s tourism ministry is only looking for “high-end” visitors for now, according to Seychelles Nation. During the first few weeks of reopening only chartered and private jets were being allowed.
But commercial flights started back up in July.
Tourists will be required to be tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours before they arrive, and will have to present proof of their lodging arrangements before being granted entry.
“Only visitors travelling on private jets and chartered flights, and who will be heading off directly to remote island resorts, will be allowed in,” the outlet reported.
Visitors will be charged $50 to support local public health measures, and the tourism department is planning to introduce an app that will track tourists’ movements to facilitate contact tracing.
Visitors will not be allowed to leave their island resorts during their stay this month.
Commercial flights began again in July, but the government said it expects visitor numbers to be limited for a while even once they resume.
Tourists will be required to be tested for COVID-19 48 hours before they arrive, and will have to present proof of their lodging arrangements before being granted entry.
South Africa began to ease restrictions on May 1 after five weeks of one of the world’s strictest lockdowns that included a nightly curfew, limited exercise hours and a total ban on alcohol and tobacco sales. The eased restrictions will allow for more exercise time (three hours in the morning) and restaurants will be allowed to reopen, but only for delivery. Social distancing rules and masks in public will remain mandatory.
Discussions to reopen the country to some foreign tourists are ongoing. The tourism industry is pushing to reopen the country by September, but that timeline seems aggressive considering it has the most cases (more than 573,000 as of August 14) in all of Africa.
There are reports most international flights will not resume until 2021, but that timeline could be updated. In fact, the tourism department says it’s hoping to reopen for tourism by January 2021.
Tanzania is now accepting tourists under pre-COVID rules, with no quarantine conditions attached. The government is asking passengers to complete a Health Surveillance Form upon arrival, and all arriving travellers are “subjected to an intensive screening and where necessary COVID-19 rapid testing. Mask wearing and social distancing are also still in place for anyone planning a visit. Readers have confirmed that they have had no issues flying into the country.
Tanzania has received a lot of criticism on how it has handled the coronavirus pandemic. The government hasn’t actively revealed data about infection rates or death. The president says that releasing the data was “causing panic.”
Travellers should note that Tanzania’s reported coronavirus cases are comparatively low, but experts say the toll is probably much higher.
Uganda has eased some of its lockdown restrictions, allowing some businesses like hardware shops, restaurants and wholesale stores to reopen.
Uganda has loosened some restrictions, allowing some businesses like hardware shops, restaurants and wholesale stores to reopen.
President Yoweri Museveni pushed back the reopening of schools in June though he did state in prior briefings that the virus was “tamed,” said Reuters.
Previously, the government imposed strict restrictions that included the closure of all but absolutely essential businesses, dusk-to-dawn curfews, and bans on both private and public vehicles. Transportation resumed in 33 districts, others who have large refugee populations and are large hubs of transit on the border remained restricted.
The number of reported cases increased as public transportation in select districts opened in late June. The Ugandan president warned that the growing number was concerning as people who used public transportation could not trace their contacts.
Additional reporting by Katherine Fan, Jordyn Fields, Liz Hund, Brian Kim, Stella Shon and Mimi Wright.
Featured photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto/Getty Images.
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