Updated September 19, 2020
There is no doubt this pandemic has upended our lives completely, and travel is definitely no exception. From wanderlusting after summer holidays to daydreaming about taking our now-remote jobs on the road permanently as digital nomads, many are wondering when we can travel internationally again, myself included!
I understand the need to be cautious — and clean! — during this global pandemic. But the fact of the matter is, many of the COVID-19 containment efforts are also negatively impacting public health. Isolation, loneliness, the lack of human touch, constant stress and fear, unemployment…
The way I see it, we have to take calculated risks at some point if we want to live fully and enjoy our lives.
So when can we Americans get back on the wagon — er, airplane? What countries can Americans travel to in 2020? I am personally invested in answering these questions so I figured I would organize and publicize my research as this country-by-country reopening guide.
Things are changing fast so I will be updating this post as we go.
What to consider when traveling overseas again
Even if your destination doesn’t require it, you will probably want some form of travel insurance to cover things like canceled flights or emergency medical care.
US Department of State travel warnings
First thing’s first: You should check the Department of State’s travel warning for the specific country you have in mind. They have recently downgraded the Worldwide Level 4 ‘Do Not Travel’ advisory to Worldwide ‘Caution’. Each country now has its own advisory label instead.
How open is your destination?
Meaning, is there a curfew? Are hotels and sights and restaurants open? Definitely check on this beforehand or you could be very very disappointed when you land!
Your destination’s safety protocols
Many countries are requiring a negative PCR COVID-19 test from no more than a few days before departure. Are you okay with getting testing before flying if that’s what’s required?
A few countries are requiring a 14-day quarantine upon arrival. These probably aren’t the best places for a vacation if you have limited time.
I would also consider how the country in question is managing the pandemic once you arrive:
- What are the cases per 100,000?
- Will businesses be required to maintain certain disinfection and social distancing protocols?
- Do you feel comfortable with the quality of their health system should you fall ill and need to go to the hospital?
How to stay safe while traveling post-COVID
Lastly, you’ll want to consider what your vacation will look like. How can you maintain social distancing while still enjoying your time abroad?
Justin of JustIn Travel blog wrote up a post on How to Stay Safe: Traveling During the Coronavirus Outbreak.
Countries reopened to Americans
(click for country details below)
- A bunch of Caribbean islands
- Costa Rica (only Americans from certain states)
- French Polynesia
- The Maldives
- Mexico (only by air)
- North Macedonia
Reopened with 14-day quarantine required:
Americas & the Caribbean
The Caribbean islands have been the first region to open to American tourists. This makes sense when you consider Americans make up a huge chunk of their usual tourism economy.
Mexico is sort of half-open: the land border is closed but apparently you can arrive by air. Certain states have more businesses allowed open than others.
Canada, one of the most popular destinations for American tourists, is still on the no-go list, unfortunately. Two islands – Bermuda and Barbados – have introduced long-stay ‘digital nomad visas’, which is very exciting! I hope to see more countries around the world following their lead.
Antigua & Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda have opened to international tourists. You must complete a health declaration form and present a negative test from 7 days or less before arrival. You are required to wear a mask while in transit and in public places.
Aruba has been open to American tourists since July 10. You will need to either submit a negative COVID PCR test from 72 hours before travel or pay for a test once you arrive in Aruba.
The Bahamas have been open to international tourists since July 1. They flip-flopped a bit saying they were going to restrict Americans again but have now settled on a policy that allows Americans but you must quarantine for 14 days and take a COVID test at the end of quarantine.
Barbados reopened to international travelers including Americans on July 12. You can either present a negative COVID test from 72 hours or less before you arrive or do a test in the airport and quarantine until the results are ready.
They have also announced a new visa called the Barbados Welcome Stamp that allows people to live and work remotely on the island for a year. This is basically a digital nomad visa and I’m so excited to see countries rolling this out! The program comes at a steep price though – you can get the stamp for $2,000.
Belize previously announced it will reopen to international tourists presumably including Americans starting August 15. However, they have since extended their reopening. They are now saying they will reopen their borders to international tourists on October 1. Once they reopen, you’ll need a negative PCR test from 72 hours or less before you fly and you might have to take a rapid test upon entry.
Bermuda opened to American tourists on July 1. You’ll need to fill out an online travel authorization and pay $75, which includes the cost of testing when you arrive. You must also take a PCR COVID test no more than 7 days before departure and present negative results when you arrive.
You’ll have to take another test when you arrive.
Like Barbados, Bermuda has released a ‘digital nomad’ one-year residential certificate called ‘Work from Bermuda‘. It costs $263, which is waaaaay more affordable than its Bajan counterpart.
This is surprising but apparently you can travel to Brazil as an American tourist. They opened their borders by air as of July 29. You need proof of health insurance that’s valid in Brazil and would cover your entire stay.
Can Americans travel to Canada right now? Americans cannot cross the border into Canada for tourism purposes until at least October 21 (and probably longer).
I thought maybe you could cross the land border into Canada but apparently that’s off-limits too until the restrictions let up according to Nat Geo.
There is a ban on international air travel to Colombia until at least August 31.
Costa Rica is reopening for some American tourists. Residents of Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont can travel there as of September 1. As of September 15, residents of Colorado, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Montana, Wyoming, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Wyoming, New Mexico, Michigan, and Rhode Island can also enter the country. Residents of California can enter starting October 1.
You will need a negative PCR-RT coronavirus test taken within 72 hours of departure as well as travel insurance that covers any costs associated with quarantine or COVID medical expenses.
Dominica is open to US residents from August 7. They must bring a negative PCR COVID test from 72 hours or less before boarding and take a rapid test upon arrival.
The Dominican Republic reopened on July 1 for all tourists. Visitors to the DR no longer need to present a negative test result. According to their tourism site, as of September 15, they will randomly spot test people in the airport upon arrival instead.
Americans can now travel to Ecuador! You can either present proof of a negative PCR test from 10 days or less before departure or take a test on arrival at your own expense and quarantine while waiting for the results. You also have to quarantine for 14 days.
Grenada opened to American tourists starting August 1. The US is considered a High-Risk country so the requirements for entry include using a contact tracing app, presenting a negative PCR test from 7 days or less beforehand, taking another PCR test upon arrival, and quarantining for 14 days.
Haiti is open to American travelers. You must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival according to the US Embassy in Haiti.
Honduras is open to American tourists as of August 17. You need to bring proof of a negative COVID test, which can be either PCR or rapid, from 72 hours or less beforehand.
Jamaica reopened for international travelers on June 15! You must submit a Travel Authorization along with a negative PCR test from 7 days or less beforehand. You will be tested for COVID upon arrival.
Can you travel to Mexico right now? Border restrictions for any non-essential travel between Mexico and the US are in place until at least October 21. These restrictions apply to land crossings. According to The New York Times, you can still enter Mexico by air.
Some states in Mexico are currently only allowing essential businesses to be open while others have opened hotels and restaurants, etc. Check with the specific place you’re interested in going first.
Peru has closed its borders to all international travel indefinitely.
Saint Barths opened to travelers from all countries including the US on June 22. You have to bring proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test from 72 hours or less beforehand or pay to get tested at the airport when you arrive. If you’re on the island for more than seven days, you have to get tested again.
Reportedly, Saint Lucia is open to tourists (since June 4).
You will need to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test from 7 days or less before flying to enter.
St Vincent and The Grenadines
St Vincent and The Grenadines reopened for international tourists. Americans are required to bring a negative PCR COVID test from within 7 days of arrival. They will be tested again upon arrival and must have proof of funds to quarantine for 5 days while waiting for results. They will be tested again on the 5th day and then must quarantine for 9-16 more days in lodging of their choice. (This is a lot. No thank you, St Vincent!)
Turks and Caicos
When can Americans travel to Europe? Not yet.
The EU opened to some international tourists starting July 1 but the US was not on the list because of our failure to successfully suppress COVID. Their opening is based on one’s residency, not nationality, so if you are American but have residency in another country they are allowing in, you are in luck.
There are a few exceptions, however: Croatia, Albania, and Montenegro, among others, are allowing Americans to enter. A few European countries like the Netherlands and Denmark are now allowing foreign national long-term partners of residents to enter.
But overall, the EU will likely not reopen its borders to Americans until we have the virus more under control and have opened our borders to them.
Take my money already, Portugal, amirite??
Albania has been open to American tourists since the start of July. There’s no testing requirement currently.
Americans can travel to Belarus. There’s no testing requirement currently.
Woohoo Americans can travel to Croatia for tourism! You must provide proof of accommodation reservations. You must provide a negative COVID test from 48 hours before travel.
The EU has reopened its external borders to some countries since July 1 but the US is not on the list.
The EU has reopened its external borders to some countries since July 1 but the US is not on the list.
Germany is now allowing entry to unmarried partners of German citizens.
US citizens cannot travel to Georgia as tourists. There are a few exemptions to the Georgian travel ban, however. One is travelers who plan to live in the country for at least 6 months through their new ‘digital nomad visa‘. They have said you will be able to apply for this visa online but haven’t released the online platform yet.
The EU has reopened its external borders to some countries since July 1 but the US is not on the list. Earlier, Greece announced wanting to reopen sooner and would have taken Americans as long as they test negatively for COVID. Not sure what they will do now.
The EU has reopened its external borders to some countries since July 1 but the US is not on the list.
Can Americans travel to Italy in August? All signs point to no. The EU has reopened its external borders to some countries since July 1 but the US is not on the list.
There are rumors the Sicilian government will pay for half of your ticket to visit the island once borders are open again.
Might I recommend Sardinia once the country opens?
Is Ireland open to Americans? Actually, yes. Americans can enter Ireland but must quarantine for 14 days.
US citizens residing in the States are not permitted to travel to Malta as tourists.
Americans can travel to Montenegro!
You must have a negative PCR test from 72 hours or less before departure or “or a positive coronavirus antibody test result (SARS-CoV-2) of the IgG class obtained by ELISA serologic test”.
The Netherlands is now allowing entry to long-term partners of Dutch residents.
Americans can travel to North Macedonia as of July 1.
The EU has reopened its external borders to some countries since July 1 but the US is not on the list. Before, Portugal was planning to reopen to foreign tourists in June, and Americans would have been allowed in. This gives me a reason to hope this will be one of the first European countries we’ll be allowed into. Fingers crossed.
Americans can enter Serbia without proof of a negative test or need to quarantine. Masks are required in most places.
The EU has reopened its external borders to some countries since July 1 but the US is not on the list. It’s likely the Balearic and Canary Islands will reopen before mainland Spain. Overall, Americans cannot travel to Spain in August 2020.
As a Schengen-associated state, Switzerland appears to be included in the EU border restrictions. American tourists are not permitted to enter the country until further notice.
Unmarried partners of Swiss residents can now enter the country.
Americans can travel to Ukraine as of June 15. The US is considered a Red Zone, so you must either 1) bring a negative PCR test from no less than 48 hours before departure; 2) take a PCR test upon arrival and quarantine while waiting for the results; or 3) quarantine for 14 days.
The United Kingdom does not have border restrictions in place for international travelers. You must quarantine for 14 days after arriving and the government is allegedly planning spot checks to enforce this policy.
I recently spent 2 months quarantined in London and I can confirm the airlines are indeed flying but the airport was completely deserted when I went.
Asia & Oceania
Asia has been killin’ it in their response to COVID. Why did I ever leave Vietnam again??
That said, they aren’t letting Americans in so fast. Turkey, the Maldives, and Dubai seem to be the standouts so far. I think Australia and New Zealand will be the last of the countries in this region to open their borders since they are aiming for the elimination of the virus within their countries.
US citizens can travel to Armenia by air as long as they have a negative Covid-19 test at airport or 14-day mandatory quarantine.
Borders are closed to all non-citizens and non-residents indefinitely. Some Australian economists have said they do not expect to open back up to international tourists until 2021.
Ah, coronavirus Ground Zero.
Their borders are closed to “almost all foreigners”. They might open up to nationals of certain countries soon but that probably won’t include the US.
It’s my understanding that you cannot travel to India as an American tourist right now but I am having trouble finding any sources with details on this.
The Indonesian island of Bali was supposed to reopen to international tourists on September 11 but that has been pushed back. It may not reopen until 2021.
Foreigners are not allowed to enter Israel. They are even talking about implementing a second lockdown because they can’t seem to keep cases down.
Here’s my favorite two-week itinerary if you wanna daydream while we wait.
Foreign nationals from a pretty long list of countries (including the US) are banned from entering Japan indefinitely.
Japan plans to reopen borders in stages: Business travelers and researchers will be allowed in first, followed by international students, and finally tourists. It will probably open to certain regions initially as well, like Taiwan, Vietnam, and some parts of Europe with low COVID rates.
There are rumors the Japanese government may cover half of your trip costs as an incentive to lure tourists back once borders are open. Wish they did that when I was there in October!
Here’s a 2-week Japan itinerary you can get excited about in the meantime.
The Philippines has banned foreigners from entering until further notice.
Sri Lanka previously announced reopening August 1 but is now delaying that. It’s unclear when they will reopen to international tourists.
American tourists can travel to South Korea but must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival at their own expense.
Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea, and other French Polynesian islands
Excellent news – These exotic tropical islands in the Pacific reopened to tourists from all countries on July 15th. They are not requiring a 14-day quarantine upon arrival but you must have a negative COVID test within 72 hours of departure, you must have travel insurance, and you might be selected for random testing.
Thailand’s commercial flight ban has been lifted however they are only allowing entrance to “Thai nationals and their family members, residents, students, medical and wellness tourists and those with special permission to enter the country.”
Thailand probably won’t reopen its borders to foreign tourists until the “third or fourth quarter of 2020”.
Turkey has reopened to international tourists from all countries, including the US. They are doing health screenings in the airports and you are required to wear a mask while in transit as well as during your stay while in public spaces.
United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Dubai reopened to international tourists including Americans July 7. Visitors will need proof of health insurance and a negative PCR test from 96 hours or less before departure.
Foreigners are not allowed to enter Vietnam. They are looking to reopen to international tourists starting in September 2020 and starting with visitors from Southeast and Northeast Asia. I think tourism is going to blow up in Vietnam once they are open to it since they’ve done a remarkably good job of repressing the virus.
I’m not really sure what’s going on with Egypt but it appears Americans CAN travel there, at least anecdotally. You must have proof of a negative COVID PCR test from 72 hours or less before departure as well as proof of health insurance.
US citizens can travel to Ethiopia but will need a negative COVID-19 test result from 72 hours or less. You’ll also have to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
American tourists can now travel to Ghana as long as you bring along a negative COVID test from 72 hours or less beforehand.
Kenya opened its borders to international travel on August 1. You need a negative COVID test from within 96 hours of arrival.
US citizens can travel to Morocco as long as they reservations with a Moroccan hotel or travel agency or be invited by a Moroccan company for business. Travelers entering Morocco must complete a PCR test (of less than 48 hours) and a serological test (can be outside 48 hours).
US citizens can travel to Namibia but must present a negative COVID test from no more than 72 hours beforehand. You must stay in the same lodging (must be government-approved) for your first week there. You must register your arrival with the government.
Rwanda has opened its borders to international visitors, including Americans. You need a negative PCR test from no more than 72 hours beforehand. They will test you again at the airport and you must quarantine in a government-approved hotel at your own expense for 24 hours while waiting for the results.
Tanzania has opened its borders to international travelers, including those from the US, as of June. Woop woop. You must present a negative PCR test from 72 hours or less before travel.
Tunisia has opened its borders as of June 27 to many travelers but Americans are not on the list.
Americans can travel to Zambia. There is currently no testing or quarantine requirement.
BONUS SECTION! US States and Territories
You can go to Hawaii but there’s a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Starting September 1, you must provide proof of a negative test from 72 hours or less before travel to avoid the 2-week quarantine.
Puerto Rico has been open for inbound tourism since July 15 but you must provide proof of a negative COVID test from 72 hours or less before arrival. Also apparently they really don’t want tourists coming right now.