As vaccine distribution continues at pace, the number of nations opening up to vaccinated travelers from the States is also increasing. There is growing interest by American volunteers to travel abroad this year, especially to Globe Aware locations such as Central and South America.
Where Can Vaccinated US Travelers Fly This Summer?
By Joanna Bailey
April 30, 2021
As vaccine distribution continues at pace, the number of nations opening up to vaccinated travelers from the States is also increasing. While the rules for travel remain complex in many cases, there is a growing potential for US citizens to travel abroad this year. Let’s take a look at where they could fly.
43% of the US is now ‘vaccinated’
According to information from Our World In Data, the United States has deployed at least one dose of the vaccine to 43% of the population. All in, it has delivered more than 237 million doses of the vaccine since the program began in January. This puts it behind only the UK and Israel in terms of the proportion of the population vaccinated.
However, some countries only recognize ‘vaccinated’ travelers as those who have received both doses. For the United States, this number is, understandably, rather lower. Just over 29% of the population are currently classed as ‘fully vaccinated,’ which could have a bearing on which countries are open.
Adding to the complication is the varying requirements for pre- and post-travel testing, as well as the rejection of some types of vaccines by some countries. Others may still require a quarantine period, although it’s likely to be significantly shorter for a vaccinated traveler.
With all this in mind, anyone thinking of traveling this summer should double-check all the requirements of the country they plan to visit. Nevertheless, some nations are making it much easier to travel and are looking forward to welcoming their American visitors. Here’s where they are.
Popular vacation hotspots in the Caribbean are keen to get travelers back on their beaches. Anguilla has had to temporarily close due to an outbreak but plans to reopen from July 1st to fully vaccinated travelers.
Nearby Barbados is opening from May 8th but still requires a PCR test within three days of travel. On arrival, vaccinated travelers can take a rapid PCR test and will only be subject to quarantine if there is a delay in getting the results of this test. Grenada has a similar rule, promising no more than 48 hours in quarantine.
The British Virgin Islands have the same rule in place, but requires a full PCR test on arrival, which means waiting in quarantine for 24 hours or more for the result. They also don’t approve every vaccine, so check which one you’ve had.
Belize makes it easiest of all, with incoming travelers not even required to test before arriving on the island.
Central and South America
Ecuador is are opening for the summer for those who are vaccinated. Proof of vaccination replaces the need to test, and those who have had COVID and recovered can also enter the country. No quarantines are needed, and unvaccinated travelers can enter too, with a negative test result.
Guatemala isn’t yet looking at vaccine status, but does require either a negative test or proof of recovery for everyone aged 10 and above.
Popular destination Seychelles has been open to vaccinated travelers since January and was the first country in the world to do so. In March, it opened up to all visitors, with or without vaccination. Now, it is restricting arrivals from some countries, notably India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, all of whom require a vaccine to arrive.
Those who have spent time in Brazil or South Africa are banned from entry. Although there is no vaccine requirement for travelers from the US, the government does ‘strongly encourage’ visitors to get vaccinated before traveling.
Over in the Maldives, tourism is already restarting. Where an island’s local population is at least 60% vaccinated, visitors can arrive with or without the vaccine with no quarantine necessary. They will still require a test, however. Vaccinated travelers can avoid quarantine and testing at all Maldives islands, but unvaccinated children will need to take a test.
In Sri Lanka, vaccinated travelers still have to have a PCR test before departing the US. However, they only have to take one more PCR test on arrival, and only need to enter quarantine until the test results return. Sri Lanka’s ‘bio bubble,’ designed to stop tourists mixing with locals, will not be enforced for fully vaccinated travelers.
Nepal just asks for a PCR test on arrival; no pre-flight test is required. Other countries, including Thailand, are still struggling to meaningfully reopen amid growing cases of COVID in their populations.
Some European countries have been well-publicized to be opening to vaccinated travelers. Airlines noted a significant uptick in bookings for both Greece and Iceland after they were announced as being open to inoculated arrivals. But these aren’t the only places open for US arrivals.
Croatia is open to travelers with both doses of the vaccine, as well as those with a negative PCR test or evidence of recovery from COVID. Cyprus is allowing arrivals from Europe, the US, Canada and Russia, as well as some others, if they are vaccinated, with no testing. Unusually, Cyprus doesn’t require any wait time between the second vaccine dose and arriving in the country.
In contrast, Slovenia is allowing its 10-day quarantine to be bypassed by vaccinated travelers, but only if there has been a certain window of time since their last shot. This ranges from seven to 21 days, depending on the vaccine brand.
Estonia is allowing vaccinated travelers who received their shots in the last six months. Georgia is open to all, provided they have not been to India in the past 14 days. Poland, Montenegro and Madeira are open to vaccinated travelers, but with varying testing requirements.
The EU, as a whole, is formulating a plan for vaccinated travelers to be allowed entry to all 27 member states. The vaccines taken need to be EU-approved (so Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca), but no timeline has been given for this to take effect.
Israel was planning to welcome vaccinated tourists by July, and will welcome a limited number of groups in May. However, the emergence of new COVID variants has brought doubt to this plan. The Israeli cabinet will discuss the way forward at a forthcoming meeting.
Lebanon is also open to vaccinated travelers, but only those who have been vaccinated in a specific country. The US is included, as are Canada, Australia and most of Europe.