Travel to Asia: A Reopening Timeline, Country by Country

Vietnam Slowly Recovers From Coronavirus Outbreak
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Throughout Asia, many countries have upheld strict testing, tracking, and quarantine methods that have kept case numbers low, and only a small number of countries, like Sri Lanka and the Maldives, have fully reopened for tourism. Others, such as Japan and China, are either keeping borders closed or enforcing strict mandatory quarantines while Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam are experimenting with limited reopening programs that let tourists visit without quarantining.

Following the surge of the Omicron variant, several Asian countries have barred the entry of foreign nationals again. Here’s what you need to know about current border regulations and travel restrictions in Asia.

Bhutan

Bhutan's borders are closed and there is an active travel ban in place for most countries. A reopening of borders for tourism is not expected until later in 2021.

Cambodia

Although the government has not reinstated its visa-on-arrival program, Cambodia has reopened to tourists who can apply for an eVisa. They will also need proof of vaccination and a negative test taken within 72 hours of arrival. Every traveler will be retested on arrival. There is no requirement to quarantine as long as travelers can show proof of vaccination.

China

U.S. citizens who already have visas and wish to enter China will be subject to a health screening and a 14-day quarantine. Requirements may vary depending on your port of entry.

Regardless of vaccination status, anyone traveling to China must apply for a health code via the government website and must take two tests: one PCR test within seven days of departure and one PCR, antigen, or antibody test within 48 hours.

Hong Kong

Until January 21, direct flights from the U.S., the UK, Canada, Australia, and other high-risk countries have been suspended. Travelers who have spent 14 days prior to entering Hong Kong in China, Macau, or other low-risk countries can enter Hong Kong regardless of vaccination or residency status.

Hong Kong generally allows vaccinated visitors from high-risk countries, like the United States, to enter for tourism. Each traveler is required to show a negative PCR test and quarantine for 21 days, plus seven days of self-monitoring. The United States is classified as a high-risk country, which means travelers are only allowed entry if they are fully vaccinated and possess residency status in Hong Kong.

India Extends Lockdown Amid The Coronavirus Pandemic
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India

India has reopened for short-term tourism. International passengers must submit a negative PCR test and proof of vaccination via declaration form. Upon arrival, they will also be required to submit to a health screening quarantine for at least seven days if they are not fully vaccinated or are arriving from an at-risk country.

Indonesia

U.S. citizens will be allowed to enter Indonesia only if they have an existing and valid visa or residence permit. If so, travelers must show proof of insurance, vaccination, and a negative test taken within 72 hours of arrival. After arrival, all visitors must complete a mandatory quarantine at a government-designated facility for at least seven days or more, depending on the result of two PCR tests. Entry is restricted to arrivals from South Africa, France, Denmark, the United Kingdom, and other high-risk countries

Japan

Foreign nationals and non-residents are not allowed to enter Japan for any reason. Non-Japanese citizens will be denied entry if they are traveling from South Africa, Eswatini, Namibia, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho, Angola, Botswana, or Zimbabwe. Anyone allowed to enter Japan must be tested within 72 hours of departure and quarantine for 14 days, regardless of vaccination status.

Laos

Most borders remain closed and all entrants will be subject to COVID-19 testing on arrival and a 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense. U.S. citizens will not be allowed to enter unless they already hold a long-term visa. The government hopes to reopen tourism in 2022.

Malaysia

Malaysia has banned the entry of foreign nationals from high-risk countries, including the U.S. Some exceptions can be made for foreign travelers with long-term passes, but they will have to request approval from the Immigration Department first. These travelers will need a PCR test 48 hours before their trip and must quarantine for at least seven days when they arrive. They will also be tested on arrival and must pay for this test in advance via the government website.

Fully vaccinated travelers may be allowed to travel between Malaysia and Singapore. Malaysia has restricted entry to foreigners arriving from South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. Residents and Malaysian citizens may enter if arriving from one of these countries but must quarantine for two weeks at a designated quarantine center.

Maldives

The Maldives is welcoming all foreign nationals, but tourists will be required to show a negative test taken within 96 hours of leaving for their trip regardless of vaccination status. They will also need a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours to check out of their accommodation. The test results will need to be attached when filling out the required Traveler Health Declaration form online.

Myanmar

All international flights have been suspended. All foreign nationals who enter Myanmar will need to provide a negative test result taken within 72 hours of departing. Vaccinated travelers will be required to quarantine at a government facility or hotel for at least seven days while unvaccinated travelers must quarantine for 10 days.

Nepal

Tourists visiting Nepal can once again obtain a visa on arrival without needing to complete a quarantine. Passengers must provide proof of vaccination and a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival, in addition to proof of a hotel reservation and a printed-out copy of the International Online Arrival Form. Unvaccinated travelers will not be allowed to enter Nepal in most cases after January 21, 2022.

Singapore

Short-term visitors may now enter Singapore if they have been issued a Safe Travel Pass. To enter, they will need a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours and must submit to another PCR test upon arrival. Visitors will be issued a notice to stay home and quarantine for seven days. Those who break their Stay-Home Notice (SHN) could be fined up to $10,000 or face jail time.

Vaccinated U.S. travelers can apply for a quarantine-free entry, also known as the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) program, via the Safe Travel Lanes website. A negative test will still be required and travelers must arrive on an approved airline. As of December 22, VTL ticket sales have been temporarily suspended.

South Korea

Most foreign travelers, including U.S. citizens, arriving in South Korea must show a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure and complete a 10-day quarantine at a government facility at their own expense, regardless of vaccination status. After two negative tests, it is possible to be released from quarantine early.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is open and to enter, visitors will be required to show a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of their flight. Unless they can show proof of vaccination, travelers must quarantine for 14 days on arrival. Unvaccinated visitors must purchase COVID insurance when filling out the form on the government website.

Taiwan

Foreign visitors, including U.S. citizens, are allowed to enter Taiwan if they qualify for an exception, but the country is still closed for tourism. Anyone qualified to enter Taiwan, regardless of nationality and vaccination status, must submit a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of departure, provide their travel and contact history, and undergo a 14-day quarantine, followed by seven days of self-monitoring, after being PCR tested on arrival. Travelers will also be required to purchase a Taiwanese SIM card for location-tracking purposes.

Thailand

Thailand has reopened for international tourists including U.S. travelers. Tourists will be required to show a negative PCR test and proof of medical insurance. Travelers must also request the Thailand Pass online at least seven days before their travel date. Visa processing is reportedly slow and applications could take up to 15 business days to be approved.

As of January 11, travelers can enter Thailand and quarantine at an approved Alternative Quarantine (AQ) hotel or resort for at least seven days.

Vietnam

The government has suspended entry to all foreigners, with a limited number of exceptions. Foreign nationals who are allowed to enter will have to present a negative PCR test and will be subject to more testing and a mandatory quarantine at their own expense when they arrive. For fully vaccinated travelers, the quarantine period has been shortened to three days. Vietnam plans to reopen in June 2022.

Article Sources
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  2. U.S. Embassy in Cambodia. "COVID-19 Information." January 10, 2022.

  3. U.S. Embassy & Consulates in China. "COVID-19 Information." January 13, 2022.

  4. Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the United States. "Notice on China-bound Foreign Passengers' Application of Health Code (January 2022)." January 5, 2022.

  5. U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong & Macau. "COVID-19 Information." January 13, 2022.

  6. U.S. Embassy & Consulates in India. "COVID-19 Information." January 7, 2022.

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  8. Government of the United Kingdom. "Foreign Travel Advice: Japan." January 7, 2022.

  9. U.S. Embassy in Laos. "COVID-19 Information." December 4, 2021.

  10. U.S. Embassy in Malaysia. "COVID-19 Information." December 29, 2021.

  11. U.S. Mission to Maldives. "COVID-19 Information." January 13, 2022.

  12. Maldives Immigration. "Pre-Entry PCR Certificate with Negative Test Result, as an Entry Requirement for Tourists and Other Short-Term Visitors Traveling to Maldives." September 10, 2020.

  13. U.S. Embassy in Burma. "COVID-19 Information." January 7, 2022.

  14. U.S. Embassy in Nepal. "COVID-19 Information." January 13, 2022.

  15. U.S. Embassy in Singapore. "COVID-19 Information." December 6, 2021.

  16. Singapore Immigration & Checkpoints Authority. "Vaccinated Travel Lane (Air) Overview." December 22, 2021.

  17. U.S. Embassy & Consulate in the Republic of Korea. "COVID-19 Information." January 11, 2022.

  18. U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka. “COVID-19 Information.” December 30, 2021.

  19. American Institute in Taiwan. “COVID-19 Information.” January 11, 2022.

  20. Royal Thai Embassy, Washington D.C. "Visas and Thailand Pass [During COVID Situation]. December 7, 2021.

  21. Tourism Authority of Thailand. "UPDATED! Happy Quarantine Entry Rules from 11 January 2022." January 7, 2022.

  22. U.S. Embassy & Consulate in Vietnam. "COVID-19 Information." January 13, 2022.

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