Editor’s note: This post will be regularly updated with new information about travel restrictions and news. It was last updated on April 5, 2021.
Your proof of vaccination could soon become the most powerful card in your wallet.
The pandemic isn’t over yet, but millions of Americans are getting vaccinated each and every day, spurring hope for a return to normal life and normal travels. Countries around the globe are making plans to re-open to fully vaccinated travelers – and some like Iceland already have.
But that comes with a host of questions as you gear up to get your COVID-19 shot and get back out into the world. Where can you travel once you’re vaccinated? What do you need to prove your vaccination? What’s a vaccine passport or digital health passport, and do you need one? And what about traveling with kids who haven’t yet gotten their vaccine?
Let’s dive in.
Where You Can Travel If You’re Vaccinated
The list of countries where proof of COVID-19 vaccination will get you in – and bypass other travel restrictions like testing or quarantine – is small. But it’s growing.
Most countries around the world still have COVID-19 testing requirements – and some states do too, like Hawaii. And currently, even a vaccination card won’t allow you to bypass them. But a handful of countries will now let you in with proof of vaccination. Other countries have few, if any, entry restrictions at all.
Keep in mind that if you leave the U.S., you’ll still need a negative COVID-19 test no more than three days before your flight home – regardless of your vaccination status. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently gave vaccinated Americans the go-ahead to travel, it hasn’t removed this new international travel requirement yet.
Below is a list of the countries that you can visit without getting a COVID-19 test if you’re vaccinated – plus the countries without any travel restrictions.
Destinations Currently Open to Vaccinated Travelers
There are no travel requirements for U.S. citizens for entry into Albania.
Belize is now open to fully vaccinated travelers. Travelers must have proof of full vaccination completed two weeks or more prior to travel.
Costa Rica is open to travelers, with no requirements for vaccination nor COVID-19 testing. You will need to fill out the digital health pass and purchase health insurance that would cover COVID-19 related expenses in the country.
The Dominican Republic does not have any requirements for entry. No proof of vaccination is necessary.
For entry into Ecuador, you can present your vaccine card showing that you have completed the series of shots. Ecuador also allows travelers to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than three days prior to arrival.
The country of Georgia is now open to travelers that are fully vaccinated with two doses for Moderna and Pfizer – or one Johnson & Johnson shot. You must present your vaccine card.
Greece is now open, as of April 19, to U.S. travelers. You must present either a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of arrival, or present your vaccine card.
Iceland is open to vaccinated travelers. With an approved vaccine certificate, either paper or digital, you can bypass the pre-COVID-19 testing requirement and quarantine required for non-vaccinated travelers. You will still be required to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival in Iceland.
If you are fully vaccinated you can now enter the Maldives and bypass the COVID-19 testing requirement. Children accompanying vaccinated adults can enter with a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours prior to arrival.
There are no current restrictions for traveling to Mexico.
There are no travel requirements for U.S. citizens arriving in North Macedonia, although anyone traveling to Macedonia from Africa must quarantine for 14 days.
There are no travel restrictions for entry into Tanzania.
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Destinations Opening Soon to Vaccinated Travelers
France’s President, Emanuel Macron, announced that France hopes to open to some travelers, including vaccinated Americans, this summer. A digital vaccine passport, called a digital green certificate, is in the works to allow travelers to show proof of vaccination when traveling to the EU.
Hawaii currently still requires a COVID-19 test within 72 hours. But state officials have said they plan to allow fully vaccinated travelers to bypass quarantine and testing requirements, perhaps as soon as June.
Spain’s tourism minister announced that the government plans to re-open tourism when 30-40% of the country has been vaccinated, which may be mid-summer. It’s not clear if tourism will open to travelers from the U.S. at that time.
Starting July 1, vaccinated travelers will only be allowed to travel the island of Phuket. The rest of the country is expected to open to vaccinated travelers on October 1.
Destinations Open with a COVID-19 Testing Requirements
Countries around the globe have made COVID-19 testing the key for entry. And today, that’s still the case across much of the world.
Many countries are open to U.S. travelers if you present a negative COVID-19 test within a certain time frame of arrival. For all of the details and requirements on every destination, check out our country-by-country guide.
FAQs About Vaccines & Travel
What’s a vaccine passport? And how do I get one?
Call them vaccine passports, digital health certificates, or something else… whatever you call them, they’re coming. Probably.
So far, no country or destination has reopened with a requirement for digital proof of vaccination. Most simply require proof of vaccination, in either paper or digital form.
But countries are working on them. Japan is reportedly working on setting up a vaccine passport system. The European Union Commission unveiled its plan last month for a “digital green certificate” that could eventually allow travelers to prove their vaccination status for entry. Airline industry groups and even some individual airlines are setting up their own systems for travelers to upload their vaccination documents.
And that brings us to an important point: It’s unlikely there will be one single vaccine passport or digital proof-of-vaccination system. What digital tools you may need to get into a country will likely vary based upon where you’re heading, and what airline you’re flying with.
President Joe Biden’s administration recently ruled out mandating a single “vaccine passport” solution. That also makes it unlikely such a requirement would be in place for domestic travel within the U.S.
Do I need to travel with my vaccine card?
If you are traveling to a country that requires vaccination for entry, you will likely need to show your vaccine card. There may be digital vaccine passports in the future where you can just upload a photo of your vaccine card.
Read up on the requirements of your destination to make sure your vaccination card, be it a CDC card or something similar, will pass muster.
But for now, make sure your vaccine card is protected so it stays clean and easy to read. And consider getting a plastic sleeve to protect your card.
What If I Lose My Vaccine Card?
Vaccine cards are about to become even more precious than your passport. So what happens if your vaccine card gets lost or damaged?
Every state has an immunization information system that centralizes all immunization records for the state. It doesn’t matter if you were vaccinated at a hospital, clinic, pharmacy, or a public vaccination event … all vaccine providers are required to report this information. All you need to do is request your immunization records. This can be done through your state agency, through your health care provider, or through the location where you received your vaccine.
It may take some time to get your records and a new card, so be sure to take some steps to keep your vaccine card safe, and don’t carry it around with you unless you need it.
Put it somewhere safe with your other important records. And take a photo, email it to yourself, and make a copy so you have all of the pertinent information handy if you need to request a new card.
Can unvaccinated kids travel?
No COVID-19 vaccinations have yet been authorized for use in children under 16, and the timeline for kids may be able to get their shots remains unclear.
So what does that mean if you’re planning to travel somewhere with vaccination requirements? Can your kids come with?
It depends. Each country has its own rules about who can enter, including what is required for minors.
For traveling to Iceland, children born in 2005 or later will be tested for COVID-19 at the borders. A child who travels with an family member or companion who is required to quarantine has to stay with that person and can leave the quarantine if the second test of the child’s parent or companion.
But if the companion or family member is not required to quarantine – for example, if they got in by presenting a COVID-19 vaccination card – the same rules apply to that child. And a child traveling alone is not required to quarantine in Iceland, other than while that child waits for COVID-19 test results.
Other countries like Ecuador allow travelers entry with either a vaccine card or a COVID-19 test within three days. In this case, a vaccinated traveler could get in by showing proof, while a child could provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
Now more than ever, it’s critical to read the fine print. Make sure to thoroughly research all of the requirements of the destination you have in mind before booking.
Do I still have to wear a mask?
Even once you’ve been vaccinated, it’s not time to get rid of the mask. At least not yet.
The CDC still recommends vaccinated people wear masks. And masks are still mandatory on public transport, including in airports and on planes. Make sure you know the rules and regulations of your destination to comply with any ongoing mask requirements.
I’m not (or won’t be) vaccinated, can I still travel abroad?
Currently, a few countries like Mexico and Costa Rica do not have entry requirements or restrictions beyond a passport. Many more destinations still require a COVID-19 test within a certain period of time for entry.
Every country is setting its own rules for travel and visitors. Over time, more and more may move toward accepting proof of vaccination for entry. And others may still accept negative COVID-19 tests to open to travelers.
Vaccinations are ramping up fast, but travel restrictions around the world are changing even faster.
Expect to see more and more countries open up to vaccinated travelers in the coming months. Digital vaccine passports could make it easier to prove your vaccination status – though there won’t be one single solution.
One thing is clear: As travel slowly resumes, travel rules will continue changing.