Travel to Africa and the Middle East: A Reopening Timeline, Country by Country

Holy Month of Ramadan in UAE During The Coronavirus Crisis
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The novel coronavirus has cropped up in every country across Africa and the Middle East, with the largest outbreak centered in South Africa, where there have been over two million cases. Most countries responded to the virus by imposing strict lockdown procedures and travel bans, closing their borders to all except for returning citizens and permanent residents.

Although some countries in the Middle East and Africa, such as Egypt and Rwanda, are already welcoming back tourists, precautions are in place to detect and prevent the spread of the virus. Others are more cautiously keeping borders closed to everyone except citizens and residents. New variants discovered in the United Kingdom (UK), Brazil, and South Africa, which are reported to be more contagious, spurred harsher restrictions for passengers who have traveled through those areas.

Read on for a country-by-country listing of how some countries in Africa and the Middle East are handling border security, lockdowns, and more. 


Foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens, are allowed to enter, but they will need a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of their flight to Botswana. A 10-day quarantine is mandatory for any symptomatic traveler. Anyone traveling in close contact with someone who tests positive will be asked to isolate for 10 to 14 days.


Foreigners, including U.S. citizens, are allowed to enter Egypt so long as they can present proof of health insurance and a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure time. Test results must be presented on paper and digital copies will not be accepted. Children under the age of six do not need to be tested. There is no requirement to quarantine upon entering Egypt unless you arrive without a negative test. In this case, you can get tested at the airport and must quarantine until the results come back negative.


Foreign nationals must apply for a permit from the Immigration Authority to enter Israel. Anyone over the age of two traveling to Israel will need proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours. Non-vaccinated travelers must quarantine for 10 to 14 days with the option to test out after two negative tests.


Foreigners, including U.S. citizens, will be allowed to enter Kenya so long as they can present a negative PCR test, taken within 96 hours of arrival, and are not showing flu-like symptoms. U.S citizens will not be required to quarantine.


Morocco is open for tourism and the government has classified all countries as either "List A" or "List B" countries. Travelers from List A countries, like the United States, are allowed to enter Morocco with proof of vaccination or a negative test taken within 48 hours. Travelers from List B countries, like Brazil and South Africa, will need to present a negative test and, if they are not fully vaccinated, undergo a 10-day quarantine at an approved hotel.


Mozambique is open for U.S. citizens and all travelers will need to show proof of a hotel reservation and return ticket to obtain a visa on arrival. However, it's strongly recommended that you obtain your visa in advance. Anyone over the age of 11 will also need a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of their departure, regardless of vaccination status. There is no quarantine requirement.


Namibia's borders are open for tourists, including U.S. citizens, and commercial flights have resumed. Tourists entering Namibia will need to show a negative PCR test taken within seven days before arriving. With a negative PCR or antigen test there is no requirement to quarantine, but arriving travelers may be screened for symptoms at the airport.


U.S. citizens and other foreign travelers are permitted to enter Rwanda. All travelers must fill out the Passenger Locator Form and present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before their flight. When entering Rwanda, travelers will be tested again and required to quarantine in a transit hotel where they will have to wait 24 hours or until the test results return negative.

Passengers arriving from India or Uganda must spend seven days in a quarantine hotel. Travelers will also need another PCR test, taken within 72 hours before they leave Rwanda. Tests can be booked using the government's online platform.

South Africa

South Africa is open for international travel and is welcoming foreign tourists, including U.S. citizens. All travelers will need to show a negative test taken within 72 hours of departure. There is no need to quarantine if you can provide a negative test result. However, travelers will be screened on arrival and asked to download the COVID Alert South Africa app.


A negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival is required for entry and all travelers must complete a Health Surveillance Form. At the airport, all travelers will be subject to a health screening and must pay $25 for a rapid test upon entry. U.S. citizens do not have to quarantine, but anyone arriving from India will be subject to a 14-day quarantine at their own expense.


All non-vaccinated travelers will need a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours to enter Tunisia, regardless of vaccination status. Travelers should also complete, print, and sign the required questionnaire. On arrival, non-vaccinated travelers must also self-quarantine for at least seven days.


U.S. citizens are among the nationalities allowed to enter Uganda and must arrive with a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours, regardless of vaccination status. All travelers will then be subject to a PCR test at their own expense on arrival. After which, they will be transported to a holding area to wait for the test results, or they have the option to check into a designated hotel. If the traveler tests positive, they will be transported to an isolation facility at their own expense.

When leaving Uganda, travelers must present another negative PCR test taken within 72 hours, even if the destination country doesn't require it.

United Arab Emirates

The borders of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are open for tourism and flights to Dubai and Abu Dhabi are operating. U.S. citizens must show a negative PCR test before flying taken within 96 hours. Anyone who plans on staying for more than four days will be required to take another test on the fourth day of their trip, or they could be subject to fines.

Quarantine requirements vary by Emirate, but generally, U.S. citizens and vaccinated travelers from green list countries do not have to quarantine so long as they test negative before and after arriving.


U.S. citizens are allowed to enter Zimbabwe, but they must have a negative PCR test taken with 48 hours of departure. All travelers arriving from a country with increasing cases of either the Alpha or Delta variant will be and tested on arrival and must quarantine for 10 days at their own expense.

Article Sources
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  1. U.S. Embassy in Botswana. "COVID-19 Information." July 21, 2021.

  2. U.S. Embassy in Egypt. "COVID-19 Information." July 13, 2021.

  3. U.S. Embassy in Israel. "COVID-19 Information." June 5, 2021.

  4. U.S. Embassy in Kenya. "COVID-19 Information." July 16, 2021.

  5. U.S. Embassy & Consulate in Morocco. "COVID-19 Information." July 12, 2021.

  6. U.S. Embassy in Mozambique. "COVID-19 Information." July 16, 2021.

  7. U.S. Embassy in Namibia. "COVID-19 Information." June 20, 2021.

  8. U.S. Embassy in Rwanda. "COVID-19 Information." July 15, 2021.

  9. U.S. Embassy & Consulates in South Africa. "COVID-19 Information." July 21, 2021.

  10. U.S. Embassy in Tanzania. "COVID-19 Information." July 9, 2021.

  11. U.S. Embassy in Tunisia. "COVID-19 Information." July 1, 2021.

  12. U.S. Embassy in Uganda. "COVID-19 Information." July 2, 2021.

  13. U.S. Embassy & Consulate in the United Arab Emirates. "COVID-19 Information." June 16, 2021.

  14. U.S. Embassy in Zimbabwe. "COVID-19 Information." July 21, 2021.

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