As the deadly COVID-19 Delta variant continues to spread and vaccination rates aren’t moving much in the right direction, tourist destinations around the U.S. and beyond have been forced to make difficult decisions around what to do with unvaccinated visitors. They’re trying to balance bringing in the most significant number of tourists to offset massive financial losses from the pandemic and creating safety protocols that will keep everyone safe. In recent weeks, an increasing number of foreign countries have put vaccine requirements on U.S. travelers to their shores. And, citing rising COVID numbers, the European Union announced in August that it had moved the U.S. off of its “safe travel list” and encouraged member countries to implement restrictions for travelers from the U.S.
Several countries, Sweden, Bulgaria, and Norway, have now banned all travelers from the U.S., regardless of vaccination status. In Sweden, “there is a ban on non-essential travel … directly from countries outside the EU/EEA. The ban applies to foreign nationals from countries outside the EU/EEA and will remain in effect until 31 October 2021,” which includes Americans.
Bulgaria’s restrictions note that “U.S. citizens traveling directly from the United States to Bulgaria are not allowed to enter Bulgaria unless they meet an exception because the United States is categorized as a Red Zone country.” Some of these exceptions include citizens of the E.U. and essential workers.
And Norway’s approach is similar. On the country’s tourism website, Norway officials note: “If you live in most other countries outside the EU/EEA (including the U.S.) … you are currently not permitted to enter Norway.” Though there are some exemptions there too, holding a U.S. vaccine certificate is not among them. However, the Norway websites says “solutions are being worked on to extend [entry] … to persons who have been vaccinated with vaccines approved in the United Kingdom, the United States and by the WHO. This has not been clarified yet.”
Meanwhile, France, Netherlands, Spain, Greenland, Estonia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Malta, and Latvia have all opened their borders to vaccinated people from the U.S., but tourists who are unvaccinated from the States are largely not allowed.
Many Caribbean countries have also issued vaccination mandates for tourists. For example, visitors to Turks and Caicos must bring not only proof of vaccination but also a negative COVID test before entry is allowed. Those planning a trip to Trinidad and Tobago should also note that the country has imposed a strict daily curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. to minimize potential transmissions. Grenada, however, has some of the most strict set of requirements for entry. The country says visitors must be fully vaccinated with a World Health Organization-approved vaccine and must provide proof of a negative COVID test within 72 hours of departure. Once you arrive, you’ll be required to take an additional PCR test and must quarantine until the results of the test are made available (which is usually a 48-hour period).
Other European countries, including Czech Republic, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, and Romania, currently allow unvaccinated travelers from the U.S., but they require that they complete several COVID tests and/or lengthy quarantines before entering.
Given the fluidity of the pandemic, it’s recommended that you regularly check with the U.S. State Department’s most up-to-date travel recommendations and research rules at your planned destination before booking a trip.