© Photo by Gaspar Janos/Shutterstock
These Countries Are Allowing Vaccinated Travelers to Visit
Photo by Gaspar Janos/Shutterstock Have vaccine, will travel . . . to Seychelles.
So what does this mean for travelers? Does it change where you can go in the world? What are the rules of engagement? Whether or not you’re vaccinated, you can, of course, still travel. You can drive or fly to countless destinations across the U.S. and you can even venture farther afield to the Caribbean, Mexico, and countries where Americans are allowed to enter, typically when armed with negative COVID test results.
But the world hasn’t reopened just yet: Most of Europe’s borders remain closed to U.S. travelers; Canada is firmly shut and has disallowed cruising through February 2022. Vaccination isn’t a free pass to go anywhere you want.
A handful of governments have indicated they will ease entry restrictions for vaccinated travelers—but there are some catches. For instance, European countries such as Poland and Iceland have unveiled plans to relax restrictions for vaccinated travelers, but only for those who were already allowed to enter (more on that below). Vaccinated travelers are simply allowed to bypass quarantine and/or testing requirements.
The list of destinations introducing more lenient entry policies for vaccinated travelers is likely to grow in the coming weeks and months. These are the countries that say they will give travelers vaccinated for COVID-19 a pass of some kind.
Effective February 2, the northern European country of Estonia has declared that those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 can enter the country without having to submit to an otherwise mandatory 10-day quarantine and COVID-19 testing requirements. The Estonian government has said that vaccinated travelers must still adhere to any public health measures that are in place in Estonia.
As of February 1, 2021, any fully vaccinated traveler from any country is allowed to enter Georgia as long as they present documentation confirming their COVID-19 vaccination status (if the vaccine required two doses, proof of both doses must be provided).
Unvaccinated travelers arriving from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, the European Union, Israel, Kazakhstan, Norway, Northern Ireland, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, or the United States must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result conducted within 72 hours prior to travel at the Georgian border. On their third day in Georgia, travelers must submit to a second PCR test.
Iceland has made it clear: Proof of vaccination against COVID-19 does not allow travelers who are otherwise not allowed into Iceland. (Take note, American spring breakers.) Rather, proof of vaccines simply allows those who are already authorized to travel to Iceland to skip the country’s quarantine and testing requirements.
Those who are currently allowed to enter Iceland are Icelandic citizens and their family members, as well as citizens of the EU, Liechtenstein, Norway, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican, and their family members. Iceland also permits travelers from the European Commission’s approved list of non-EU countries, which are Australia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand. There are several additional exceptions for travel for essential purposes, such as students and transport and healthcare workers.
The only travelers currently allowed to enter Poland are Polish citizens and residents and their family members, diplomats and their families, essential workers, students, and EU citizens and residents. That doesn’t change for the vaccinated. Being vaccinated means the above travelers can bypass an otherwise mandatory 10-day quarantine. They can also bypass the quarantine by providing a negative COVID-19 PCR test result procured within 48 hours of departure to Poland.
On January 14, 2021, the island nation of Seychelles announced that it will welcome vaccinated visitors from anywhere in the world.
International arrivals must provide proof of having received a COVID-19 vaccine and must have been administered the second dose (if two doses are required) at least two weeks prior to arrival in Seychelles. Vaccinated visitors will also need to show a negative COVID-19 PCR test result obtained less than 72 hours prior to travel.
Infants and children are not required to be vaccinated but will still need to provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test result from within 72 hours of travel.
Those who are not vaccinated can only enter if they are coming from one of these countries: Australia, Bahrain, Botswana, Burundi, Cambodia, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, Gabon, Ghana, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Malawi, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Monaco, Mongolia, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Pakistan, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Travelers from this list must still provide a negative COVID-19 test from within 72 hours of travel.
The United States is not on the list, so currently only vaccinated travelers from the U.S. with a negative COVID test can travel to Seychelles.
“Once the majority of the adult population in Seychelles is vaccinated, the country will open up to all visitors, vaccinated or not. At that point, visitors will only need a negative PCR obtained less than 72 hours prior to travel,” according to the Seychelles Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Tourism. The estimated time frame for when that is expected to be is around mid-March.
Whether travelers are vaccinated or not, they must adhere to public health measures, such as wearing face masks and social distancing.
The central European country of Slovenia currently has a long list of countries both within Europe and outside of Europe on its so-called red list, or list of countries with an unstable epidemiological situation. The list of more than 150 countries includes the United States.
Anyone who enters Slovenia from any of these countries must quarantine for 10 days, unless they provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test procured within 48 hours of departure, or a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test taken no more than 24 hours before departure.
Another way to bypass the quarantine is providing proof of a COVID-19 vaccination. (You won’t be allowed entry until at least 7 days after having the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine administered, at least 14 days after the second dose of the Moderna vaccine, or 21 days after the AstraZeneca vaccine.)
Coming soon . . .
On March 9, 2021, Greece tourism minister Harry Theocharis said that those who are vaccinated against COVID-19, have antibodies, or test negative for COVID will be able to travel to Greece this summer, Reuters reported. “Greece is ready with a complete protocol for summer 2021,” Theocharis said at the global tourism trade fair ITB Berlin. He added that Greece wants to be ready to start its summer travel season by mid-May.
There have also been numerous reports that the Mediterranean island of Cyprus is working on a plan to allow vaccinated travelers to bypass quarantine requirements. But on March 1, 2021, the Cypriot government stated that it will provide information about travel requirements for those who are vaccinated for COVID-19 at a later date. “Until then, the same travel procedures will apply as for non-vaccinated persons,” the government advised.
Last month, Hawaii News Now reported that the state of Hawaii is considering implementing a system that would allow vaccinated travelers to bypass quarantine requirements, something travelers can do now if they submit to COVID testing. According to the Hawaiian news network, the program could start as early as March and could encompass travel from the U.S. mainland by May.
>> Next: Europe Could Have COVID-19 Vaccine Passports by Summer
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