After two years of tough restrictions, travel has started to resemble the pre-pandemic ‘normal.’
From vaccination certificates to testing to last-minute border closures, would-be jetsetters have abided by stringent rules.
But this year, the tide has turned. Over the past few months, 30 countries have scrapped their remaining entry rules.
Though 109 countries still have some travel restrictions in place, 118 are completely open - at least to vaccinated travellers, who we have focused on here.
A few countries still have closed borders - even to vaccinated travellers. So where are they, and what are the rules?
Which countries have the strictest COVID rules for vaccinated travellers?
China is still pursuing a ‘zero-COVID’ policy, so all incoming travellers face 10 days of hotel quarantine at their own expense. They must also test negative on arrival.
Tourists are not currently permitted. However, according to a draft policy document released by China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism in September, tour groups organised by travel agencies may soon be permitted.
All travellers must isolate until a PCR test returns a negative result. If it is positive, they must quarantine for 14 days.
All foreign travellers are banned.
All foreign travellers are banned, though this has been the case since before COVID.
Where is quarantine still required for vaccinated travellers who test positive?
In some countries, vaccinated travellers must still quarantine - but only if they test positive on a mandatory COVID test performed on arrival.
- Nepal (only symptomatic travellers are required to test)
- Bangladesh (only symptomatic travellers are required to test)
- Iran (pre-flight test required)
- Burkina Faso (Travellers with a positive COVID lateral flow test on arrival must quarantine for 72 hours in a hotel at their own cost and wait for the PCR test result. Travellers who test COVID PCR positive must quarantine in medical facilities.)
- Mali (only symptomatic travellers are required to test)
- Mauritania (10 days quarantine if you test positive)
These countries have varying reasons for retaining border restrictions. In some nations, the vaccine rollout has stalled due to a lack of available doses. In Burundi, for example, less than one per cent of the population have had two doses of the jab.
Places where unvaccinated travellers are still completely banned
- United States
In addition to this, some countries still require unvaccinated travellers to quarantine, or to return a negative test. See country-by-country restrictions here.