NEW YORK — Once one of the world’s most powerful travel documents, the might of the US passport has shriveled under the cloud of coronavirus, with doors slammed shut across the planet to American travelers.
With US coronavirus cases near the 6 million mark, many nations now view America with trepidation. No matter how much they want those tourism dollars, they’re unwilling to take the risk of opening their borders.
Even as restrictions ease up in some places, Americans are still on the danger list. The European Union omitted the United States from its list of 15 countries whose tourists are permitted to visit.
While most US travelers are staying close to home, preferring short-distance car trips to international air travel, some voyagers won’t let a global pandemic curb their travel plans.
And there are still a handful of options.
Most of the Caribbean, for example, is open for US tourists. Other countries — including the Maldives and Turkey — aren’t exactly welcoming US travelers with open arms (more like a temperature check and a Covid-19 test), but they are allowing visitors to cross their borders for the first time since coronavirus shut down much of the world.
Whether travel to “open” international destinations is responsible or advisable is up to individuals to decide. But it’s worth noting that since the pandemic is ongoing, anything can change at any time.
Also worth noting: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US State Department are providing country-by-country Covd-19 transmission risk assessments. The vast majority of countries on the CDC website are deemed “high risk,” while the State Department categorizes most countries as Level 3, or “reconsider travel.”
While there may be bookable international flights to restricted countries, any outbound US passenger should check with the US Embassy and the airline before finalizing travel plans.
Here are the countries where it’s still possible for US passport holders to visit, in alphabetical order:
Across the Adriatic Sea from Italy, the former communist country of Albania resumed international commercial flights in June.
There are no specific details in terms of what US travelers can expect upon arrival to Albania, however, the US Embassy website states that there will be additional medical personnel at all points of entry, as well as screenings and potential quarantine requirements.
“Travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice,” it states.
Antigua and Barbuda
As of US travelers to Antigua and Barbuda “arriving by air must present a negative Covid-19-RT-PCR (real time polymerase chain reaction) test result, taken within seven days of their flight,” according a travel advisory on the country’s tourism website.
Further to that, visitors are subject to monitoring by local health officials for periods of 14 days and another Covid-19 test may be required while visiting, which could mean quarantining while waiting for the test result.
Masks are required in public spaces and any person violating safety measures could be subject to a $5,000 fine and the possibility of six months imprisonment. Anyone going is advised to read the fine print.
While Armenia may not be on everyone’s travel bucket list, Turkey’s neighbor to the east is open for US tourists to explore.
Travelers will need to submit to a Covid-19 PCR test upon arrival or face mandatory isolation for 14 days.
Passengers who get tested must isolate until they receive a negative result. A list of testing sites can be found on Zvartnots International Airport website.
US passengers from 24 states, including hotspots such as California and Florida, will be required to upload a negative Covid-19 test result via Aruba’s embarkation/disembarkation card process, 72 hours prior to arrival in Aruba.
Travelers arriving from the other 26 states can opt to have a test taken upon arrival, though the test must be prepaid and there is a mandatory quarantine while awaiting test results.
Aruba also requires travelers to be insured so that they are protected from medical expenses should they test positive for coronavirus during their stay.
The Aruba tourism site has all the specific health requirements for incoming passengers, which are both considerable and subject to change, so confirm the latest information prior to booking travel.
The Bahamas has a mandatory 14-day quarantine for inbound passengers. Visitors must request a health visa before travel, upload and later present negative Covid-19 PCR test result — the date of the test cannot be more than 10 days before travel.
Updates on tourism status can be found on their dedicated Covid-19 travel website.
The island of Barbados has implemented new protocols to safeguard visitors and residents when it reopened in July. Travelers are required to complete an online immigration card, which can be done 72 hours before departure and submitted 24 hours before traveling.
The form includes health questions, including whether the traveler has a negative Covid-19 test result.
Travelers can opt to take a Covid-19 PCR test upon arrival, though travelers from the United States who wish for a more seamless experience are strongly encouraged to pre-submit their negative test results via the immigration portal and arrive with proof of those results in hand.
While in the midst of mass protests, the borders of Belarus are open to Americans. There are no restrictions on entry, although passengers should expect temperature checks at Minsk National Airport.
Welcoming visitors since July, Bermuda requires each inbound passenger (regardless of age) to apply for travel authorization, at the cost of $75 per adult and $30 for flight crew and children aged nine and under.
Visitors who do not have a negative Covid-19 PCR test result will not be given authorization to travel to Bermuda.
Upon arrival, passengers must present the pre-departure negative test results, submit to an additional Covid-19 test and quarantine in their accommodation until the results are ready, which takes between six and eight hours.
Additional testing is required after day three, seven and 14, depending on the length of stay, at various testing sites around the island.
The fee for the travel authorization covers the cost of testing.
While Brazil maintains a “Level 4 Travel Advisory (Do Not Travel) due to Covid-19” by the US State Department, its borders are open to US visitors who show proof of health insurance that is valid in Brazil and covers the entire length of stay.
Owing to the ongoing pandemic, “only emergency American Citizen Services are available at the US Embassy in Brasilia and Consulates General” throughout the country.
If you’re sitting on $3,000 and want to fly to Phnom Penh International Airport to embark on a Cambodian adventure, it’s a real option.
Visitors will be required to take a Covid-19 test, and if negative, the remaining funds will be returned minus $160 to cover the cost of the test and a fully catered day in a waiting center.
A positive test result carries serious financial and social consequences, involving hospitalization and medical care, and the 14-day quarantine of all fellow inbound flight passengers and additional affiliated expenses.
As of September 1, US tourists from the following six states may enter Costa Rica: Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Vermont. Travelers’ residency in these states is to be verified by driver’s license.
Visitors must also complete a “health pass” form, as well as a Covid-19 PCR test with a negative result, taken within 48 hours of travel and proof of travel medical insurance, which can also be purchased in Costa Rica.
Ignoring the EU ban Americans traveling to Europe, Croatia began welcoming US tourists in July.
Travelers need to present a negative Covid-19 PCR test,”not older than 48 hours (starting from the time of taking the swab until arrival at the border crossing),” according to an alert on the website of the US Embassy in Zagreb.
This commonwealth in the eastern Caribbean reopened to international tourism in early August. All travelers to Dominica must present a negative Covid-19 PCR test result, recorded between 24 and 72 hours before arrival, and complete an electronic Immigration and Customs form via Dominica’s online portal 24 hours prior to traveling.
US travelers should expect to be subject to further testing and screening.
As part of the standard immigration and customs forms, US passengers traveling to the Dominican Republic will have to fill out a Health Affidavit to confirm they have not had any coronavirus symptoms within 72 hours of travel.
However, anyone presenting symptoms or registering a temperature above 100.6 F (38 C) will have to be tested. Passengers who test positive will be isolated and treated.
Visitors also need to provide contact information, but the gist is that when it comes to Covid-19 symptoms and testing, the DR is willing to take your word for it.
Dubai resumed tourism in July. Visitors to the UAE are required to have medical travel insurance to cover any necessary Covid-19 treatment and present a negative Covid-19 PCR test result within 96 hours of arrival.
Travelers must complete a “health declaration form” before departing to confirm they are not experiencing any coronavirus symptoms.
Passengers can expect temperature checks and mandatory testing if they display symptoms.
Furthermore, “tourists are required to register all their details in the COVID-19 DXB app on arrival,” according to the Visit Dubai website.
Ecuador requires US travelers to present proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 10 days of arrival to avoid quarantine. Testing is available for those who do not present negative results at the expense of the traveler who must quarantine at an approved facility while waiting for results.
The Galapagos islands’ tourist sites require visitors to take another Covid-19 PCR test and present negative results from a test taken within 96 hours of arrival in Ecuador.
Egypt relaxed tourism restrictions in July, and there are regular direct flights on EgyptAir from New York City and Washington, DC, to Cairo.
US travelers need to procure a visa either before travel or upon arrival and will be subject to temperature checks and must adhere to social distancing and mask-wearing requirements.
In terms of precisely what awaits US passport holders upon arrival, details are hard to come by. Coming prepared with a negative Covid-19 test result that is at most 48-hours old and proof of medical insurance is advisable
Egypt announced it was resuming many tourist operations, including the opening of the Giza pyramids on July 7.
Travelers seeking the ultimate in tropical isolation are now welcome to the islands of Tahiti and Bora Bora.
French Polynesia requires a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of departure, to be presented before travelers board their flight.
Passengers must also complete a “sanitary entry form” (one per family), detailing their current state of health and agree to report symptoms and submit to additional testing should it be deemed necessary upon arrival or during the stay.
Arriving passengers must complete a health declaration form and prepare to quarantine for 14 days.
According to the US Embassy in Haiti website, “The Ministry of Public Health (MSPP) will check in with passengers three times after arrival in Haiti, using information provided in the health declaration form, to determine any onset of COVID-19 symptoms.”
Travel to Honduras is permitted with a negative Covid-19 PCR and/or serology test. There may also be a quarantine requirement for passengers who have symptoms. Honduras is rated Level 4: Do not travel by the US State Department, owing to the pandemic and crime.
US travelers were never banned from visiting Ireland — they just have to submit to a mandatory, 14-day quarantine.
Jamaica reopened to tourists in June and has since updated its requirements for travelers, which include the completion of an online “travel authorization” and the possibility of being tested upon arrival.
Because of the increase in coronavirus cases in the United States, all passengers arriving from the US are required to upload negative Covid-19 test results to receive travel authorization. The test date must be within 10 days of arrival.
Each passenger must present the travel authorization along with their passport at the point of departure.
All travelers “from areas where there is high community transmission of the virus” will be tested at the airport upon arrival and required to quarantine in their chosen accommodations until the results are ready, usually within 48 hours.
Only hotels, villas or guesthouses within the “resilient corridor” are accepting guests. According to Visit Jamaica, “the resilient corridor includes the coastline from Negril to Port Antonio. Only businesses within the corridor that have been trained and assessed for adherence to Covid-19 protocols are allowed to open to tourists.”
No testing or quarantine is required for travelers arriving in Kosovo.
According to the US Embassy Kosovo website: “The Pristina International Airport is reportedly open to all travelers; however, some US citizens continue to be denied boarding in the US because they cannot prove they are residents or citizens of Kosovo.
“Despite being open to tourists, the Embassy strongly suggests US visitors cancel or postpone any travel plans to Kosovo this summer.”
One of the world’s most desirable holiday destinations, the Maldives is reopened to all international tourists. US travelers are not required to be tested prior to departure, but will need to complete a health declaration upon arrival.
All tourists must have booked their accommodations in advance.
Travelers wishing to sidestep the EU travel ban and who are willing to quarantine can visit Malta — but make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into before embarking. Passengers who transit via a “safe corridor country,” one that allows US visitors, may enter Malta after they’ve been in that country for 14 days.
For example, US travelers can travel to and stay 14 days in Croatia or Turkey, and then be eligible to enter Malta. All passengers must fill out Public Health Travel Declaration and the Passenger Locator Forms prior to departure.
Though the land border between the United States and Mexico remains closed, US travelers can fly to Mexico.
No testing requirements are currently in place, although Mexico’s recent reopening has coincided with increased cases of coronavirus.
Travelers can expect temperature checks and other additional screenings upon arrival.
Montenegro is welcoming Americans with a negative Covid-19 PCR test result that or a positive coronavirus antibody test result, neither older than 72 hours. Travelers aged 5 and under do not have to show test results. This does not apply to children up to the age of 5.
Further, according to the U.S. Embassy in Montenegro website, “Travelers must not have stopped, nor transited through, countries that are not permitted to enter Montenegro within the previous 15 days.”
North Macedonia is open for tourists. There are no test or quarantine requirements, but airports are conducting thermal screening for all passengers.
Rwanda’s national parks make it one of the most desirable destinations in Africa.
Rwanda reopened to international commercial flights on August 1. At that time all international visitors must present a negative Covid-19 PCR test, taken within 72 hours of arriving in Rwanda.
Any tourists who wish to visit attractions like the Volcanoes National Park must take an additional Covid-19 test at the airport, and expect to quarantine in their hotel until the results are ready.
Serbia’s borders are open, but tourists should be aware of a recent spate of protests around new restrictions, including a weekend long curfew. There has also been a recent spike in coronavirus cases in the country.
The island of St. Barts reopened to international travelers in late June. Visitors are required to show a negative Covid-19 PCR test result, taken within 72 hours of arrival.
Those staying longer than a week will need to pay about $150 for an additional test on their eighth day.
Those traveling to St. Lucia from the United States are required to provide a negative result from a Covid-19 PCR test, taken within seven days of travel. Visitors must also complete a Pre-Arrival Registration form — and travel with a printed, completed form.
Visitors must have confirmed reservations at a Covid-certified property (currently there are seven) for the duration of their trip. And tourists must stay where they have registered, unless the hotel has coordinated an approved excursion.
St. Maarten reopened to US travelers on August 1. Travelers must complete an online immigration card before travel and upload a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken with in 72 hours of arrival to gain entry.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
All travelers to St. Vincent and the Grenadines must take a Covid-19 PCR test upon arrival, unless they arrive with a negative Covid-19 test result (antibody test within five days, PCR test within two days), in which case they will not be required to quarantine.
Visitors must be granted “VINCYCOVID App*Approval” and complete the “VINCYCOVID questionnaire.”
In addition, all passengers will be screened for symptoms upon arrival, including temperature checks.
US travelers can visit South Korea, but you must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
According to the US Embassy & Consulate in the Republic of Korea website, “Generally speaking, US citizens traveling to Korea from the United States as tourists on the 90-day visa-waiver program do not need a Covid-19 test prior to travel but will be tested upon arrival in Korea and may be subject to quarantine in government facilities at their own expense.”
Another instance where travel is not forbidden, Tanzania is officially open to tourists. While there are no testing or quarantine requirements in place, travelers will be subject to extensive screenings and in some cases, will be required to take a Covid-19 test.
Incoming passengers are required to fill out a “health surveillance form” upon arrival.
The majority of Turkey’s borders have been open since June 12. There are currently no restrictions for US citizens traveling to Turkey, although passengers must complete an information form and prepare to be checked for coronavirus symptoms upon arrival.
In addition, the US Embassy and Consulates in Turkey stipulates that all US citizens must purchase tickets for onward travel to the United States.
Turks and Caicos
The most recent information related to US travelers who wish to visit Turks and Caicos is as follows:
Visitors must provide a negative Covid-19 test result and the test must have been taken within five days of arrival. Children 10 and under are not bound to this requirement.
Travelers must also complete an online health screening questionnaire and carry travel medical insurance to cover any Covid-19-related costs (from quarantine to hospital care).
The US is considered a “red zone” country in Ukraine, meaning it has more than 40 active coronavirus cases per 100,000 people. To gain entry to Ukraine, passengers should download the “Dii Vdoma” app and choose one of three options.
They can either take a Covid-19 PCR test within 24 hours of crossing the border, enter an isolation unit, or quarantine at their destination, which they can register via the app.
There more details on official Visit Ukraine Today website.
Travel health insurance is also a requirement, to cover any costs related the treatment of Covid-19.
US travelers have always been allowed to travel to the United Kingdom — they just have to submit to a mandatory, 14-day quarantine.
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