These Countries are Open for US TravelersJune 3, 2020 | By Kemi Adewumi
UPDATED FEBRUARY 22, 2021
With 2020 behind us many of us are looking forward to a year that will be very different than the past one. Countries are working hard to contain COVID-19 and are trying to find creative ways for societies to function somewhat normally with it. The holiday season gatherings and colder weather in certain parts of the world lead to an uptick in COVID cases in many countries, but it appears we’re again on a downward trend in new cases and deaths.
The US State Department and CDC have downgraded their travel warnings from a global level 4 to levels 1-4 on a country by country basis. With Coronavirus restrictions and regulations changing daily, before booking a trip, check what the specific requirements are to enter your destination of choice, have a good idea of what will be open once you get there, and check requirements for returning to your home country.
It takes some detective work to figure out which countries are open for international tourists and if that includes tourists from the United States. Here’s a snapshot of what’s open for tourism to US travelers.
The land border between the US and Mexico remains closed, but air and sea travel are open. Mexico doesn’t require proof of a negative PCR test, a quarantine upon entry, or proof of vaccination to enter. Hotels are open for tourism with capacity restrictions in popular vacation states Quintana Roo (Cancun, Tulum) and Jalisco (Puerto Vallarta).
Canada is still restricting nonessential travel. US citizens are only allowed to enter Canada if they meet these eligibility requirements (vacation is NOT one of them), and everyone must have a quarantine plan.
To get real-time info to travelers the EU launched a “Re-open EU” platform that allows you to follow the evolution of the virus situation in different countries and provides information on restrictions by country. Although the EU is trying to have a coordinated approach, some countries are imposing and lifting restrictions based on their own criteria.
Turkey requires proof of a negative PCR test and travelers are subject to health screening, but no quarantine. Shopping centers, markets, restaurants, and a few other types of businesses are open from 10am – 8pm, with restaurants only doing takeaway service.
Ukraine requires Americans to arrive with a negative PCR test taken within 48hours or take a test upon arrival and quarantine until their results are ready. Masks are mandatory in public spaces. You must also have proof of medical insurance.
Serbia is open to US travelers with negative PCR or rapid antigen test results taken with 48hours of arrival. Masks are required indoors, and outdoors when physical distancing is not possible. Public gatherings are limited to a maximum of 5 people.
Albania is open as well. You don’t need to present a negative COVID test or quarantine, but you may have to undergo health screenings upon arrival. Restaurants and cafes are open, with a nightly curfew in place. Masks are required for indoor and outdoor public areas. They warn that restrictions could change with little or no advance notice, so beware.
Croatia is allowing Americans in but there are some restrictions outlined on the Croatian Ministry of Interior website. It looks like American citizens who are coming from EU or EEA countries will be allowed in with no test results needed, if coming from a country on the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s green list. Americans coming from EU or EEA countries not on this green list will need to show proof of a negative PCR test taken within 48hours of arrival, or take a test upon arrival & quarantine until you receive your results at your own expense. If you’re coming from outside of the EU or EEA you’ll need to provide a valid reason for travel- vacation isn’t one of them.
The UK, which is not an EU member is still on national lockdown. While travel there is possible, why would you?
Although COVID numbers on the Continent aren’t as large as those in Europe and the United States, some nations remain close to international travel or are just opening for controlled regional travel. Kayak’s tracker gives a quick snapshot of what’s open and what’s not on The Continent.
Egypt is open with hardcopy only proof of a negative test taken within 72 hours of arrival and health insurance. Certain countries including the United State are allowed to present negative test results taken within 96 hours of arrival.
Ethiopia requires a negative PCR test taken within 5 days (120 hours), and a mandatory 7-day sel isolation.
Ghana requires a negative test within 72 hours and testing on arrival at your expense ($150 USD). Travelers must also complete a Port Health Declaration Form before departure. Recently, authorities have tightened COVID-19 restrictions nationwide. Some outdoor tourist attractions are open, but beaches, bars, and nightclubs are closed. Masks are mandatory in public places.
Kenya requires negative test results taken within 4 days (96 hours) and no quarantine. Negative test results are also required to leave the country. There is a curfew of 9 pm for restaurants and bars.
According to the US Embassy, Morocco is open to certain US travelers (and others from Visa exempt nations) with negative test results taken within 72 hours, and a reservation with a hotel or travel agency.
Namibia requires negative test results from a test no more than 7 days old. You’ll need to stay at a government-approved hotel, retest a few days late and await your results before continuing with your travel itinerary.
For Nigeria, travelers must present a negative COVID test issued within 96 hours of arrival, complete an online form, test upon arrival, and self-isolate. On the 7th day of arrival, a 2nd test will be administered. With a negative result you’ll be free to move around but will need to carry proof of your negative test results with you.
For Rwanda, travelers must present proof of negative test results taken no more than 72 hours before the flight, quarantine for 7 days, and then take another test before leaving quarantine. You must also test negative 5 days before leaving the country for your return flight. There is a nightly curfew with restaurants and national parks open.
Senegal requires people 3 years & older to present negative results no older than 5 days, and no quarantine is required. Masks must be worn in public and private places, while restaurants, markets, and private beaches have reopened.
Seychelles is open to fully vaccinated travelers. You cannot enter the country until 2 weeks have passed until your last COVID-19 vaccine dose. You’ll also need to present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival. Once all residents have been vaccinated Seychelles plans to open to all travelers regardless of their vaccination status.
South Africa requires a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours from the time of departure and proof of accommodations.
Tanzania hasn’t implemented any entry restrictions, but everyone arriving is subject to medical screenings. Those who show symptoms will be tested and subject to a 14-day quarantine. The government is also collecting tracking data on all international travelers.
According to the US Embassy, Zambia requires negative test results no older than 7 days. There will be additional testing upon arrival and masks are mandatory.
Zimbabwe requires a negative PCR test result taken within 48hours of arrival. Quarantine isn’t mandatory for visitors, but temperature checks and masks are. There is also a nightly curfew.
Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Uganda are all open to US travelers with various testing requirements.
Thankfully most islands in the Caribbean have a great handle on COVID-19. Most islands are open for tourism, even American tourism. Some have curfews and limits on what’s open, but the sun is always open!
Barbados opened to American visitors and has done a great job of communicating entry requirements. To enter from America, you must present a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of arrival, quarantine in an approved hotel/villa, and take a 2nd. If that test is negative you’re free to roam about the country. Barbados currently has a 7pm – 6am curfew, limited beach hours, and restaurants just reopened for take-out only.
Curacao requires visitors to present a negative PCR test result from a sample no older than 72 hours prior to departure and to fill out a Digital Immigration/Passenger Locator Card prior to arrival. Curfew island-wide is 11pm – 4:30am, but bars & restaurants are open with some COVID prevention tactics in place.
St Vincent and the Grenadines are open and require negative test results taken within 5 days of arrival. You’ll then need to retest upon arrival, quarantine for 5 days at an approved hotel, and retest 4-5 days into quarantine. After that, you must continue nine to sixteen monitored days in an approved home/hotel/vessel at the discretion of the Port Health Officer.
Sint Maarten is requiring a negative test result within 5 days of arrival and proof of health insurance. If you don’t take the correct test you’ll have to shell out $125 to be tested upon arrival.
According to the Bahamas Tourism Board, visitors will need to apply for a Health Visa. Part of that process will be uploading negative COVID-19 test results no more than 5 days old. If you’re staying longer than 5 days you’ll need to take a follow-up rapid COVID-19 antigen. You’ll also need to get Bahamian health insurance as part of the Health Visa process. There’s no vacation in place/quarantine policy, but there is a 10pm – 5am curfew in place for most islands of the Bahamas.
As of November 1, 2020 Americans traveling to Aruba from all 50 US states have the option of testing before or upon arrival. The hotspot regulations for certain states have been removed.
Belize opened its international airport on October 1st. Their procedure requires download of the Belize Health App, upload of negative test results taken within 72 hours of travel, and stay at approved hotels. You’ll be given a “Safe Corridor” wristband for tracking purposes. Testing upon arrival is also available for $50USD. There is also a 10pm- 5am.
Puerto Rico required a negative test taken within 72 hours or testing on arrival at the airport for $110USD. There’s also a curfew from 12am – 5am.
The Dominican Republic doesn’t require proof of negative test results and will only test visitors at random at the airport. They are however offering free travel assistance plans through March 31, covering testing and accommodations should a traveler fall ill.
In Turks & Caicos you’re required to present negative test results taken within 5 days of arrival, and have health insurance that covers medevac.
Dominica required negative PCR test results from no more than 72 hours prior to arrival. Visitors must then have a rapid test at the airport, self-isolate for 5 days at designated accommodations, and take one last test. You’re also required to submit a health questionnaire 24 hours before arrival.
Many other islands are open and have specific entry protocols:
Central & South America
Nicaragua seems to never have closed, but they are now requiring negative test results to enter the country.
Costa Rica’s limitation of Americans from certain states has been lifted, but all are required to present a negative test result from testing within 48 hours. You’ll also need to provide proof of medical insurance.
For Ecuador, show proof of negative test results taken within 10 days of arrival and you’re in without needing to quarantine. Testing upon arrival is available, but you’ll need to shelter in place while awaiting your results. If you’re going to the Galapagos Islands you’ll be required to take another test.
Guyana requires negative test results taken within 7 days of arrival. If your results are older than 3 days you’ll need to take a test at the airport at your own expense and wait for results at the airport or a government-approved facility.
Colombia is open and requires negative test results taken within 96 hours (4 days) prior to departure.
Brazil has a “level 4: do not travel” warning from the US and requires negative PCR test results taken with 72 hours of boarding your flight.
Other countries are open with specific entry requirements
Asia & The Middle East
Cambodia is kind of open but visitors are required to provide negative COVID-19 test results, pay a $2,000 travel deposit, take a test upon arrival, provide proof of health insurance, and self-isolate for two weeks. If someone on your flight there tests positive all arriving passengers on that flight will have to quarantine for 14 days at a location chosen by Cambodian authorities.
The popular Maldives opened its uninhabited islands on July 15, and the inhabited islands on August 1. You’ll need to have a negative test result taken within 96 hours (4 days) of arrival.
Dubai opened on July 7th. Your negative test results can’t be more than 4 days old and must have proof of health insurance. The rest of the United Arab Emirates has restricted entry of most non-residents.
Jordan’s international airport is open and visas are being issued on arrival to American citizens coming from the US. You’ll need to quarantine for 14 days and retest on day 7 of your quarantine
Thailand requires a negative PCR test taken with 72 hours, testing upon arrival, a 14-day quarantine, and proof of medical insurance.
Travelers going to South Korea on a 90-day tourist visa can test upon arrival, others will need to provide a negative test result.
Lebanon requires a negative test result no more than 96 hours old. You’ll then have to test again upon arrival, quarantine for up to 72 hours at a designated hotel while awaiting those test results. If your 2nd test is negative you’ll then have to self-isolate for the rest of the week and take another PCR test. A nightly curfew from 6pm – 5am has been implemented.