These Countries Are Allowing Vaccinated Travelers to Visit

Here's your guide to traveling after vaccination

Illustration showing a Covid Checked passport

TripSavvy / Ellen Lindner

With the vaccine rollout finally picking up steam, people are wondering not just when they will be able to travel again but where they can safely travel to. After many months of sheltering in place and local staycations, international travel is back on the table, and people are itching for some new stamps in their passports. 

However, the supposed “summer of travel” isn’t turning out to be quite as expected. Due to the Delta variant, slowing vaccination rates, and rising cases around the world, many places have brought back seemingly bygone restrictions that travelers need to be aware of. Even destinations that are open to vaccinated U.S. travelers—including many European countries—are imposing new restrictions throughout the summer like curfews and mandatory testing that could have major repercussions on your trip. 

There are a lot of tempting reasons to book a flight and go abroad, including sweet airline deals and fewer tourists in usually crowded destinations, but constantly changing restrictions can still throw a wrench in your plans. Flexibility is crucial, so it’s worth paying a little extra to be able to change flights if needed. Look for accommodations with lenient cancellation policies and consider focusing your vacation on just one country to minimize potential headaches.


Even though most European countries opened up to vaccinated American travelers in June, the United Kingdom still required a strict quarantine for everyone entering the U.K.—until now. As of July 29, 2021, American tourists who have been fully vaccinated can bypass the mandatory 10-day quarantine, making a vacation to London much more appealing. Keep in mind that the new rules only apply to England and not the entire U.K., so entrance to Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland is still restricted unless you’ve been vaccinated in the U.K.


Portugal was one of the first European countries to start re-accepting American tourists in June. In fact, Americans can visit Portugal whether they’re vaccinated or not, as long as they arrive with a negative COVID-19 test. However, Portugal is one of the countries making extensive use of the European digital vaccine pass, sometimes known as a “green pass,” which is available to residents in Europe to show they’ve been vaccinated. In high-risk cities—including Lisbon and Porto—you must either show a digital pass or a recent negative test to check in to your accommodation or eat inside a restaurant on the weekend. Because Americans don’t have a way to access this digital pass, even vaccinated travelers are effectively forced to take constant COVID-19 tests. 


Vaccinated travelers can enter France without any extra steps, and unvaccinated American travelers can enter as long as they have a negative COVID test. Like Portugal, France requires a “green pass” to show that the holder has been vaccinated to enter restaurants, bars, cafes, tourist attractions, and trains as of Aug. 1, 2021. Unlike Portugal, tourists who received their vaccine outside of France can access that pass, called the ​​passe sanitaire. The process for validating your American vaccine card into a French passe sanitaire isn’t regulated. Still, the U.S. Embassy in France says that travelers have been able to do so at local pharmacies, which can be found all over the country.


One of the worst-hit countries at the beginning of the pandemic, Italy suffered a long and strict lockdown in hopes that tourism would bounce back by summer 2021. American travelers are welcome in Italy as long as they’re vaccinated or arrive with a negative COVID-19 test. However, Italy is following France’s and Portugal’s lead by requiring its own green pass—the certificazione verde—in order to eat inside restaurants, enter museums or attend festivals, among other activities. The law goes into effect on Aug. 6, 2021, and while an American vaccine card is valid to enter the country, the Italian government hasn’t clarified if it can be used as a green pass for other activities.


The U.S. is on Spain’s list of low-risk countries, meaning American travelers can enter without showing proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. But just like how health restrictions in the U.S. are mostly determined by states, restrictions in Spain are generally left to the individual provinces, meaning there’s a hodgepodge of rules across the country. The main tourist centers of Madrid and Barcelona are open to travelers and you don’t need to show a vaccine pass to eat out or visit tourist attractions—yet. As of July 30, the northern province of Galicia and the Canary Islands do require a vaccine pass to eat in restaurants or visit other attractions, and other regions are likely to follow. 


While most of Thailand requires a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival, the island of Phuket is an exception for vaccinated travelers. Beginning July 1, visitors who are fully vaccinated and have a negative COVID-19 test can fly directly into Phuket without needing to self-quarantine. If this pilot program is successful in attracting tourists without causing case numbers to go up, the Thai government plans to expand it to other popular tourist destinations by October. If you want to explore other parts of Thailand without quarantining, you just have to start in Phuket and after 14 days you’re free to travel throughout the rest of the country.


The first country to open its borders to vaccinated tourists was the Seychelles, the archipelago off the coast of East Africa that’s practically synonymous with paradise. Visitors need a certificate showing that at least two weeks have passed since being fully vaccinated—meaning both shots—and also bring a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure. Getting to the Seychelles may seem like a long journey, but after being cooped up at home for over a year, an escape to one of the most far-flung places in the world sounds better than ever. 


If you’re looking to explore somewhere new and the country of Georgia wasn’t on your travel radar before, it should be now. Beginning Feb. 1, 2021, any foreign nationals entering Georgia with a certificate showing they’ve received the full vaccination are exempt from the current restrictions of arriving with a negative test and self-quarantining. But that’s not to say that the only reason for visiting is the lack of obstacles. The Caucasus Mountains rival the Alps in terms of scenery and ski opportunities but at a fraction of the cost. When you get tired of the snow, the beaches of the Black Sea are just a few hours away. Between the two, don’t forget to make a pitstop at the Georgian vineyards in one of the oldest wine regions in the world. 


The small island nation has had one of the lowest incidence rates of COVID globally, largely due to being naturally isolated and enforcing a strict double screening where visitors must take a PCR test on arrival, quarantine for five days, and then take another test. Since March, vaccinated travelers have been exempt from the testing and quarantine process, including those from the U.S. However, as of July 27, vaccinated travelers also need a negative COVID-19 test to enter Iceland, while non-vaccinated travelers still need to complete the five-day quarantine.


If being homebound for over a year has you dreaming of lounging away on a Greek island, vaccinated American travelers can skip the testing requirements that Greece has in place. Unvaccinated travelers need at least one negative COVID-19 test to enter the country and then additional tests to travel around to the islands, but if you've already got your shots then you don't need to worry about testing at all. About one-fifth of the country’s GDP comes from tourism, so Greece has been particularly eager to safely welcome back visitors as quickly as possible. To keep locals safe, the government has been prioritizing vaccinations for workers in the tourism industry. 


The country of Belize has a lot in common with Cancun. They both have Mayan ruins to explore, Caribbean beaches with turquoise water, and they’re both open to U.S. travelers. The difference is that Cancun is open to all travelers without restrictions, while Belize is opening exclusively to vaccinated travelers and those with a negative PCR test result after enduring one of the toughest lockdowns in the Caribbean. Visitors show they’ve either been fully vaccinated for at least two weeks or have a negative PCR test result. International tourists also must stay in a Gold Standard Hotel, which are accommodations that the government has recognized for implementing high-quality safety procedures (there are over 500 options and counting). 


Just across the border from Belize, Guatemala is allowing travelers who have been fully vaccinated for at least two weeks to enter the country without completing the mandatory PCR test before arrival (travelers who can show they’ve recovered from COVID-19 within the last three months can also enter the country). If getting your shots has you hankering for something adventurous, then Guatemala may be just what you’re looking for. Camp out at the base of an active volcano, try surfing on the black sand beaches of the Pacific Coast, or go for a swim in the underground caves of K’an Ba. 

Article Sources
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  1. GOV.UK. "Red, amber and green list rules for entering England." July 28, 2021

  2. U.S. Embassy & Consulate in Portugal. "COVID-19 Information." July 29, 2021

  3. U.S. Embassy & Consulates in France. "COVID-19 Information." July 27, 2021

  4. U.S. Embassy in France. "COVID-19 Information." July 27, 2021.

  5. U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Italy. "COVID-19 Information." July 28, 2021

  6. Ministerio de Sanidad. "Travel and COVID-19." July 30, 2021.

  7. U.S. Embassy & Consulate in Thailand. "COVID-19 Information." August 2, 2021

  8. U.S. Department of State - Bureau of Consular Affairs. "Seychelles International Travel Information."

  9. U.S. Embassy in Georgia. "COVID-19 Information for Georgia." July 28, 2021

  10. U.S. Embassy in Iceland. "COVID-19 Information." July 29, 2021

  11. U.S. Embassy & Consulate in Greece. "COVID-19 Information." August 2, 2021

  12. Belizing. "Belize COVID-19 Travel Restrictions and Travel Updates." August 1, 2021

  13. U.S. Embassy in Guatemala. "COVID-19 Information." June 16, 2021

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