Which countries still have Covid travel restrictions?

While much of Europe and many popular tourist destinations have done away with Covid-19 documentation at the border, these 25 countries and territories still insist on it

Lucy Thackray
Friday 14 October 2022 09:11 BST
With COVID Restrictions Relaxed, Are We Okay to Travel Like We Used To?

As Taiwan ends its long-standing Covid-19 rules for tourists, the list of holiday destinations still insisting on tests, proof of vaccination or quarantine is shrinking fast.

As of 13 October, the east Asian island nation only asks tourists to “self-monitor” their health for a week after arrival. Morocco, Samoa and Bhutan have also eased their travel rules in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, Canada ended an unpopular policy of on-arrival testing and potential quarantine on 1 October, also allowing unvaccinated visitors; while Thailand scrapped the remainder of its rules the same day. South Korea has ended its on-arrival testing policy, but still asks tourists to fill in a health form prior to their journey; as does New Zealand.

While travel editors are now used to rounding up the places removing travel restrictions, the scrapping of Covid holiday admin is now so common that it is becoming easier to list countries which do still demand vaccination or tests.

So which countries do you still have to plan ahead for when it comes to Covid-related documents?

Here’s the current list:


Spain’s lingering Covid restrictions are expected to be eased in late autumn, but until an announcement is made, they are as follows: you must show either proof of full vaccination (three doses); a PCR test result taken within 72 hours prior to departure, or an antigen test taken within 24 hours prior to departure; or proof of recovery within the past six months. If you are aged 18 and over and have received two doses, the second one between 14 days and 270 days ago, you are still deemed fully vaccinated. If it’s been more than 270 days since the last one, you’ll need a booster or a PCR. Children aged up to 11 are exempt; children aged 12 to 17 only need two doses to be considered fully jabbed. No travellers need to fill in a health form at this stage.


Though the US dropped its pre-travel test in summer, you still have to be fully vaccinated to visit the US. The UK’s NHS Covid Pass, showing two or more jabs, is accepted as proof. Children aged 17 and under are exempt from the vaccination requirement, but outside of that, unvaccinated visitors would have to meet very tight exception criteria to be allowed in. All the usual ESTA and visa restrictions apply to Britons, who should also provide their contact details to their airline before arrival.

Hong Kong

Visitors to Hong Kong must be fully vaccinated, and take a rapid antigen test within the 24 hours before departure. As of 26 September, Britons visiting Hong Kong from the UK may avoid the previous three-day quarantine period on arrival, and instead self-monitor in their accommodation for three days, with certain venues such as restaurants and bars off-limits until several PCR and antigen tests have shown up negative. If you test positive for Covid-19 after arrival, or show up as a contact for someone who does, you will need to quarantine in a government-determined facility for seven days.


Both visas and flights to China remain restricted, so travel direct from the UK is unlikely. The few that do qualify for a visa at present need to complete a Health Declaration Certificate to the Chinese embassy ahead of travel; take two separate PCR tests at different testing centres in the 48 hours before travel; be Covid-free for the 14 days before travel; undergo PCR testing on arrival; quarantine for seven days in a government centre and three more in your accommodation. Children may be separated from parents for quarantine purposes. It is also advised to have confirmed accommodation before you travel.


Japan will finally allow individual tourists to visit from 11 October (Britons on approved, guided tours by certain operators have been allowed in since June). Like China, some flight routes and visas for Japan are still restricted or suspended. If you meet the requirements, you can visit without a test if you are triple vaccinated (one pitfall is that AstraZeneca is not accepted as a booster shot). If you are double jabbed, you must take a PCR test within the 72 hours before your flight. Children under 18 may follow the same rules as their parents (eg they may avoid testing if their parents are triple vaccinated). All visitors must use the country’s MySOS app or website to sign a health declaration and generate a QR code.

The Seychelles

You still need to show either proof of full vaccination (two doses) or take a Covid test (a PCR within 72 hours or an antigen within 24 hours) to enter the Seychelles islands. Children 12-18 who have had two jabs are exempt from the pre-travel test; while children aged 0-11 are exempt from all testing and vaccination requirements. On top of this, advises the FCDO, “all visitors need to have a Health Travel Authorisation and a valid Travel and Health Insurance for entry to Seychelles. You are also required to stay in certified tourism establishments.”


For Singapore, you must still show proof of vaccination (two jabs of most vaccines) or a negative Covid test (PCR or antigen) taken within 48 hours, as well as filling in a digital SG Arrival Card within the three days before arriving. Since 29 August, unvaccinated travellers have been able to enter with a pre-travel test to avoid quarantine or further testing, but must purchase travel insurance covering Covid-19 treatment for the duration of their stay there.


The UAE’s rules are now largely the same for both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. You must show either proof of full (double) vaccination; a PCR test result taken within 48 hours before flight time; or proof of recovery from Covid-19 within 30 days before arrival. According to Etihad, you must also download the country’s Al Hosn app before arrival in Abu Dhabi.

The Bahamas

These Caribbean isles ask for either proof of full vaccination (two doses with the second given at least 14 days ago) or a negative PCR test, taken no more than three days (72 hours) prior to the date of arrival. Children aged one and under are exempt from any testing requirements. Children visiting aged two-11 inclusive can do an antigen test instead of a PCR (within 72 hours), while children aged 12 and over must follow the rules set out for vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers.


You still need to arrange a travel authorisation form to enter Bermuda, to which you must upload a pre-travel test result (PCR or antigen) taken within 48 hours before travel and proof of valid health insurance. Children 11 years and have their travel authorisation form assessed based on the vaccination status of their parent or guardian.

St Maarten

While vaccinated visitors can enter with their Covid Pass alone, unvaccinated people must provide results of a negative PCR test result taken 48 hours prior to arrival or an antigen test taken 24 hours before arrival. Children aged five-10 can take an antigen test instead, with the pre-travel information uploaded to the island’s online application system, along with specific Covid-19 cover travel insurance.


While visitors to Cuba do not have to test or show proof of vaccination to enter, they are subject to random testing upon arrival. If you test positive, you must quarantine in a government facility or hospital for 14 days at your own expense. “Direct contacts of those testing positive will either be moved to a designated government health centre or allowed to self-isolate in their own accommodation depending on their circumstances,” warns the FCDO.


All visitors who qualify for a visa to Myanmar (formerly Burma) need to take a Covid test: a professionally-administered antigen for fully vaccinated travellers, and a PCR for the unvaccinated or partly vaccinated. Children under six are exempt from the latter if their parents or guardians are fully vaccinated. You’ll also need to complete a Health Declaration Form before arrival, as well as taking a rapid antigen test on arrival at the airport, at your own expense, and purchase Covid-19 medical insurance from Myanma Insurance. Unvaccinated arrivals also need to quarantine for five days on arrival, with two further Covid tests administered during that time.


The entry point for the Galapagos Islands insists on either proof of full vaccination (with second dose given 14 days before travel), or a pre-travel PCR or antigen test taken within 72 hours before boarding your flight. Children under three years old do not need to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR or antigen test. If you’re travelling on to the Galapagos, you need to present the same (a vaccination record or a PCR test taken before your flight to the islands).


Fully vaccinated travellers to Indonesia need to upload their vaccination certificate to the country’s Peduli Lindungi app (under 18s are exempt). They may have to undergo temperature checks at the border, and if a high temperature is found, a PCR test - which could result in quarantine at your own expense. Unvaccinated travellers may visit, but they must take a PCR test on arrival and quarantine in their accommodation for five days, taking a second PCR test before emerging.

Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

While Chile has scrapped its pre-travel test, its territory Rapa Nui (also known as Easter Island) has its own individual rules. All visitors arriving into the island must have either a vaccine certificate showing two doses or more of an approved vaccine, or a negative PCR test taken within the 24 hours prior to boarding their flight (an antigen test is allowed for children under six only). Visitors will be given a rapid antigen test on arrival and must quarantine for seven days. You may be asked to take further Covid tests in the first five days of your trip.


Though it’s not top of most travellers’ South America lists, Venezuela also still insists on either a full certificate of Covid vaccinations, or a PCR test result from a test taken within the 72 hours before arrival. “If more than 270 days have passed since your last dose of a complete vaccination scheme, proof of a vaccine booster is required,” advises the FCDO.


To visit Tunisia, you can use either your Covid vaccination certificate or a negative PCR test (taken no more than 48 hours before entry) or antigen test (taken no more than 24 hours before entry); the latter is only required for unvaccinated visitors 18 and over. Once you arrive in Tunisia, you might be subject to a random rapid lateral flow or PCR test. If you test positive, you will need to self-isolate at your own accommodation for five days. To be considered fully vaccinated, at least seven days must have passed since your second dose of the vaccine (28 days for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine).


For the African country of Zambia, you need to show full vaccination (paper copy of the NHS Covid Pass advised) or a PCR test result taken within 72 hours before departure. Children aged 11 and under are exempt from this requirement. Travellers are also required to complete a health declaration form before arrival, as well as being temperature-scanned on arrival. Those with a high temperature risk being told to quarantine in their own accommodation.


All travellers 12 and over need to show either proof of full vaccination or a negative PCR test result, with the test conducted no more than 72 hours before departure. Under 12s are exempt. If neither document is provided, tourists will be charged $30 US to take an antigen test on arrival. If you test positive you’ll have to pay $50 for a further PCR test and self-isolate in your accommodation. Those with “flu-like symptoms” will also be told to take the on-arrival test and fill in a form.


Unvaccinated people aged over five arriving in Nepal still need to show a negative PCR test completed no more than 72 hours before their first flight leg. Fully vaccinated people (at least two doses with the latter given 14 days before arrival) can get a visa-on-arrival by showing their NHS Covid Pass.


The island of Fiji still insists on full vaccination for all its visitors. This is defined as two doses of a vaccine, with the second given at least 14 days before arrival. “Only in exceptional circumstances will an exemption be provided,” advises the FCDO. Children aged up to 15 are exempt from this requirement.

Cook Islands

These islands also still insist on full vaccination for all tourists (two doses with the second given at least 14 days before arrival). There are only a few exemptions for adult unvaccinated visitors, but children aged under 16 are exempt from having to show proof of vaccination.

Papua New Guinea

International passengers over the age of 18 must be fully vaccinated (two doses) to enter Papua New Guinea. However, “commercial options for travel to and from Papua New Guinea remain very limited,” the FCDO warns.


This Micronesian diving spot still insists on full vaccination for all international visitors, who must also take a pre-travel test. Vaccinated visitors must provide a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours or an antigen test taken within 24 hours. On top of this, your movement around the destination is restricted for the first four days, with a PCR test mandatory on day four. Unvaccinated children under 12 must follow the entry requirements stated above, while children under three are exempt from the pre-travel test.

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