Can vaccinated people travel? This question has been top of mind for many Americans as millions receive the COVID-19 vaccine each day. After more than a year of social restrictions, canceled trips and postponed events, Americans are eager to start exploring again. But, of course, traveling should come second to safety.
Although health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise fully vaccinated people to refrain from domestic and international travel, there are still multiple countries open to these vaccinated people. (The CDC considers a person fully vaccinated two weeks after his or her final vaccine dose, no matter which brand of vaccine received.) Currently, the CDC recommends vaccines developed by Pfizer (two doses), Moderna (two doses) and Johnson & Johnson (one dose). Vaccines developed by AstraZeneca and Novavax are in Phase 3 clinical trials in the United States. Depending on the country you’re visiting, you’ll need to supply documented proof of a vaccine (in the form of the record card you receive at your place of vaccination), as well as some additional information. This official documentation will typically allow you to bypass any testing or quarantine requirements.
Though vaccinated travelers will surely be safer than their unvaccinated counterparts when it comes to sharing public spaces like airplanes, vaccinated people should take special care when traveling, according to Dr. Tom Kenyon, the chief health officer at Project HOPE, an international global health and humanitarian organization. While the top-notch air filtration systems on airplanes and mask requirements lessen the concern of in-flight virus transmission, travelers should know “the situation you’re traveling to is more important than the flight,” Kenyon said. Vaccinated individuals can likely still bring disease (coronavirus and others) into other states and countries by traveling there. Beating the coronavirus is a global effort as much as it is a nationwide concern, Kenyon added, saying, “we’ll never control [the virus] here if it’s left uncontrolled everywhere else.” Vaccinated individuals should continue to practice safety measures, including social distancing, hand-washing and mask-wearing while traveling, according to the CDC.
If you are vaccinated and decide to travel, you’ll want to check with the State Department for information on returning from your visit. As of Jan. 26, the CDC requires all passengers, regardless of vaccination status, traveling to the U.S. from a foreign country (including American citizens) to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than three days before their flight. Before embarking on your next journey, be sure to consult your physician and the CDC guidelines as well, which change often.
See below for a list of countries open to fully vaccinated travelers. (Note: This information was accurate at the time of publication and will be updated as additional information becomes available.)
This Caribbean nation is open to fully vaccinated individuals from all countries, as long as they show proof their final dose was administered no less than two weeks before traveling. Travelers should present their COVID-19 vaccination record cards upon arrival. Proof of vaccine allows travelers to bypass the country’s negative coronavirus test requirement. Additionally, before landing in Belize, passengers are required to download the Belize Health App and complete a short form within, where they’ll fill in some personal information for contact tracing and location monitoring. For more information, visit the country’s tourism board website.
Travelers can visit Ecuador as long as they show proof of vaccination at the airport before departure. Entry into Ecuador also means vaccinated visitors can explore the famous Galápagos Islands. At this time, unvaccinated people can also visit Ecuador as long as they show proof of a negative coronavirus test. For more information about visiting this country, see the U.S. embassy in Ecuador website.
Estonia will accept people who have received COVID-19 vaccines from any of the nine global suppliers, not just those approved by the European Union. Proof of vaccination must meet a set of requirements to be accepted. For example, documents must include the vaccine manufacturer and batch number, and they must be written in Estonian, English or Russian. Additionally, no more than six months can have passed since vaccination has been completed. This policy is a step forward for Americans who, if not vaccinated, are prohibited from traveling to Estonia. Note that while visiting this country, you’ll find many stores and restaurants are closed, and you’ll still need to abide by safety measures, including social distancing. For more information about traveling to Estonia, visit the country’s tourism board website.
Fully vaccinated travelers from around the world can visit the country of Georgia. Travelers just need to show proof that they received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine (or one dose, in the case of the J&J vaccine) at the border checkpoints. For more information, read the country’s official entry regulations here.
This Central American destination is welcoming visitors who can provide documentation they have received their final vaccine dose at least two weeks prior to travel. Guatemala is also open to those who haven’t been vaccinated, but those individuals must test negative for the coronavirus no more than 72 hours before traveling. The vaccine documentation eliminates the need for a test. Once in Guatemala, there are health screenings at the airport, but there are no restrictions on interstate travel, dining or curfews. For more information on the country’s requirements, visit the embassy website.
Iceland has begun allowing fully vaccinated travelers to enjoy its many beautiful landscapes. Proof of vaccination must come in the form of an official document (written in Icelandic, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, or English) stating that the traveler has received one of four approved vaccines: Pfizer, Moderna, J&J or AstraZeneca. Providing a vaccination card means people can travel to this country without prior testing. There are no curfew rules or movement restrictions within Iceland, so once they arrive, vaccinated travelers can enjoy the Blue Lagoon, the Golden Circle and all other unique attractions at their leisure. For more information on traveling to Iceland, visit the government’s official website.
Without vaccine documentation, anyone entering Lithuania must provide proof of a negative coronavirus test taken no more than 72 hours before travel. However, with documented evidence of full vaccination, travelers are exempt from the testing and quarantine requirements. Travelers should be prepared for restrictions on interstate travel, dining and public gatherings once in Lithuania, though. For more information, visit the official government website.
Fully vaccinated individuals can bypass the quarantine requirement in Romania as long as they provide documentation of vaccination. The proof must come in the form of a document issued by the health unit that administered the vaccine, whether from Romania or another country. Travelers also must wait at least 10 days after their final vaccine dose to travel. For more information, visit the Romania tourism board website.
The island nation of Seychelles, off the eastern coast of Africa, is now accepting visitors from all over the world. Unvaccinated travelers must provide proof of a negative coronavirus test to visit, while vaccinated travelers can enter by showing a vaccination card administered by their country’s national health authority. There are no movement restrictions, so travelers can enjoy the many attractions and beautiful beaches Seychelles has to offer. For more information, visit the country’s official tourism website.
Slovenia has a 10-day quarantine requirement for anyone arriving in the country. However, vaccinated individuals can bypass this requirement as long as they present proof of vaccination. Slovenia considers travelers fully vaccinated at least a week after their final dose. However, specific times depend on the type of vaccine a traveler received: Visitors can travel to Slovenia seven days after the second Pfizer dose, 14 days after the second Moderna dose or 21 days after the second AstraZeneca dose. For additional information, keep an eye on the embassy website.
While the countries outlined above are open to vaccinated travelers, there are also several other countries Americans can travel to regardless of their vaccination status. However, more restrictions are in place in those cases, which can include negative COVID-19 test requirements and days of quarantine, among other stipulations.
Kenyon explains that vaccinated individuals can take a coronavirus test (not an antibody test) before traveling to help further ensure they’re not infected. Also, while vaccinated individuals don’t have to quarantine when they return home, Kenyon still advises monitoring your health in the following days to ensure you’re not experiencing any symptoms.
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