Expert Advice

Covid Rules and Restrictions: What You Need to Do and Know to Travel the World

by Pavia Rosati
Photo by Pavia Rosati.

This article was updated on June 11, 2022.

If you first read or bookmarked this page when we published it last December, you will have seen something very different than what we're writing today. The pandemic continues to spread around the world, but life is returning back to normal — or to a new normal.

Mask mandates, pre-flight Covid tests, proof of vaccination, country-specific travel declarations, and other travel restrictions have largely been lifted, most recently in the United States, which will no longer require visitors to show proof of a negative Covid test to enter the country. The last major travel limitation left among Western countries, the easing of the requirement will be a boon not only for foreigners who want to travel to the United States but also for Americans won’t have to worry about being stranded at overseas if they test positive. Many countries in Asia still have stricter policies.

While fewer restrictions are good news for travelers and for the still-recovering travel industry, it's still a good idea to be aware of local rules before traveling, especially if you're heading to another country.

The information on this page is a cheat sheet for the info before you head out into the world, with special notes for more popular destinations.

The One-Stop Guide for Every Country on Earth

Sherpa

Sherpa is a travel tech company that powers tools for such global companies as American Airlines and Airbnb. They've developed an incredibly simple, useful, and free tool that tells you everything you need to know wherever you're going. You input a few variables — the country of your passport, departure and arrival countries, and vaccination status — and the tool generates the essential info you'll need about testing, quarantine, visas, any documentation you'll need to enter the country, and helpful links. A separate page on their site lists the latest health and travel restrictions by country. Bookmark this one.

And If You're Traveling To...

Here's country-specific info for popular destinations around the world. You'll notice a theme as rules are relaxing: If you're not vaccinated, you should reconsider traveling to keep yourself and everyone else safe.

Canada

Foreigners can go back to Canada! If they're fully vaccinated, that is, and have proof of a negative antigen/rapid test (taken within 24 hours of arriving in the country) or PCR/molecular test (taken within 72 hours or a flight's departure). This is for everyone over age 5. Here's more info.

The United States

As of June 12, the US Center for Disease Control will no longer require visitors to show proof of a negative Covid test before arriving in the United States. Get more details here.

The Caribbean

Barbados: Per newly relaxed rules, vaccinated travelers need to present a negative PCR/molecular test taken within three days of arrival or an antigen/rapid test within 2 hours. Non-vaccinated travelers, in addition to taking a test, have to quarantine for five days. The country is also easing the 12-5 a.m. curfew that has been in place since December 2020. Here's more info.

Jamaica: Starting March 1, visitors no longer need to complete a travel authorization form. Those over the age of 12 need to provide a negative antigen or PCR test taken within 72 hours of arriving in Jamaica. Jamaica has dropped all quarantine requirements. Here's more info.

Bermuda: Starting March 7, travelers over age 12 need to show proof of vaccination. Everyone over age 2 needs to complete a travel authorization form and have proof of a negative Covid test taken with two (for antigen) or four (for PCR) days of arrival. Here's more info.

England

Getting In
The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has the United Kingdom on its Level 3- High Level of COVID-19 list.

The United Kingdom has relaxes all travel restrictions. That's right: Vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers no longer need to complete a passenger locator form, take a Covid test, present proof of vaccination, or quarantine when entering the country. Here is more info (in case you think this sounds too good to be true). 

If you need to get a Covid test when leaving England to enter another country, we have tried and liked Project Screen by Prenetics for self-administered tests and DocTap for in-person tests.

Getting Around
Under the new Living With Covid government plan, masks are no longer required on public transportation, though they are still "strongly encouraged." The Brits have been lax about masking since the beginning of the pandemic. Restaurants and other public places don't usually check for proof of vaccination.

Here's more info on the UK government website.

France

Getting In
The United States CDC has France on its Level 3: High Level of COVID-19 list.

France has relaxed many travel restrictions.

All countries are classified into three categories according to risk levels: red, amber/orange, and green. The United States and the United Kingdom are both green. 

Green countries: Vaccinated travelers need to carry proof of vaccination. Unvaccinated travelers must have proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel or an antigen within 48 hours or a certificate of recovery.

Amber/orange countries: Vaccinated travelers need proof of vaccination and a sworn statement certifying they don't have Covid-19 symptoms and have not had contact with anyone with Covid. Additionally, unvaccinated travelers also need to carry a travel certificate and may be subject to random testing. Those who test positive have to quarantine.

There are no restrictions for leaving France. Here's more info.

Getting Around
The French no longer require travelers to carry a "pass sanitaire" (the health pass or the Green Pass) unless they are visiting a healthcare facility or another place where there are at-risk individuals. Here's more info and a directory of French pharmacies if you need a pass.

Germany

Getting In
The United States CDC has Germany on its Level 3 - High Level of COVID-19 list.

On June 11, all restrictions for entry into Germany were lifted. No proof of vaccination or recovery required. Here's more info.

Italy

Getting In
The United States CDC has Italy on its Level 3 - High Level of COVID-19 list.

On June 1, all entry requirements to Italy were lifted. The green pass is no longer required. Here's more info.

Mexico

The US CDC has Mexico on its Level 3 - Reconsider Travel list

Mexico is open, with no quarantine or testing required. The health declaration form is no longer required.

Australia

Down Under is Down Open! After a very long and very stringent lockdown, the country reopened to vaccinated travelers starting February 21. Unvaccinated travelers will need a special exemption to enter (and cheating will not be well received, as we learned from Novak Djokovic). All travelers need a visa (as usual) and to complete a Digital Passenger Declaration form. Here's more info.

Asia

India: The United States CDC has India on its Level 1 - Low Level of COVID list. International travelers must have a visa issued after October 15, 2021, and must complete a self-declaration form, and upload results of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel. Here's more official info from the US Embassy in India.

Japan: The United States CDC has Japan on its Level 3 - High Level of COVID-19 list. On June 10, Japan began allowing tourists back into the country, provided they are booked on a guided, package tour. Here is more info.

Vietnam: The United States CDC has Vietnam on its Level 3 - High Level of COVID-19 list. Restrictions will ease beginning March 15: Vaccinated visitors with a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel will only have to quarantine for one day, not three, upon arrival. Travelers also need a valid visa. Here's more info.

Cambodia: The United States CDC recommends avoiding travel to Cambodia. Vaccinated international travelers must have proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival to Cambodia, then take a rapid test upon arrival and wait for the results. Here's more info from the Kingdom of Cambodia and from the US Embassy in Cambodia.

Thailand: The United States CDC has Thailand on its Level 3 - High Level of COVID list. The country is open, with limitations. Starting March 1, vaccinated visitors arriving by air must have a Thailand Pass, proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel, an insurance policy worth at least $20,000, and proof of payment at a government-approved hotel for day 1 of their trip, as well as proof of payment for a PCR tests to be taken on day 1 and and an antigen test on day 5. Here's more info.

China, Hong Kong, and Japan remain closed.