Have COVID vaccine, will travel: These are the countries open to fully vaccinated Americans

As vaccination levels continue to rise in the U.S. and around the world, countries that had been off limits to foreigners for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic are beginning to reopen – and some are specifically opening to vaccinated travelers.

On Wednesday, the European Union announced it had agreed on measures to welcome fully vaccinated travelers and those from countries where COVID is under control. However, it did not say when its 27 member countries would be rolling out the welcome mat.

► Europe reopening to American vacationers:  What we know

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last month that fully vaccinated Americans could resume travel at low risk to themselves, though the agency still recommended against travel due to rising COVID case counts. 

However, in mid-April, the State Department also announced it would raise the alert level for a significant number of countries to factor the CDC’s COVID data more heavily into its rating system.

The agency said approximately 80% of countries now carry the “do not travel” label (level 4), its most severe warning.

The State Department said the pandemic continues to pose “unprecedented risks” to travelers. “In light of those risks, the Department of State strongly recommends U.S. citizens reconsider all travel abroad.”

►’Do not travel’ list:  The US State Department is raising the alert level for most countries due to COVID

You’ll still need a negative COVID test to fly back to the US

If Americans do decide to travel abroad, no matter which country they decide to visit, they’ll still need to be tested for COVID within three days of an international flight back to the U.S. – even vaccinated travelers. You can find available testing sites in your destination country and turnaround times on the website for the U.S. embassy there.

Some resorts are also offering COVID testing on site to help satisfy the U.S. requirement. 

► Beware:  These Americans were stranded in Mexico after testing positive for COVID

About the list of countries allowing vaccinated travelers

Rules are evolving, so we’ve chosen to focus on countries that did not admit Americans before COVID-19 vaccines began to roll out and now are open or opening to vaccinated Americans. Keep in mind that countries’ rules and plans are evolving quickly, so before planning, check with your destination to find out the latest requirements. 

The information below pertaining to vaccination and testing requirements comes from official sources such as government agencies (such as embassies and immigration ministries and the U.S. State Department) or official tourism websites. 

If you would like to find out how much of the local population is at least partially vaccinated in a country you plan to visit, you can find the latest data on USA TODAY. Johns Hopkins University, which has tracked COVID infection and death statistics since the earliest days of the pandemic, drills down even further, with percentages for both the partially and fully vaccinated.

Europe

The European Union is still determining how it will provide travel documentation for its own vaccinated citizens so it may be awhile before they announce how they plan to handle Americans. (Photo: koya79/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

When will Americans be allowed back in Europe? That remains murky because while the European Union has agreed on steps to allow vaccinated tourists and updated criteria for what defines a COVID-safe country, from which all tourists can travel, it did not specify when those travelers would be allowed. 

In late April, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told The New York Times that it hoped to welcome vaccinated travelers back by summer.

Until then, most EU countries are only accepting residents of other member countries or tourists from countries the EU deems low risk, which does not include the U.S. at this time. 

However, some countries have already announced their own plans independent of the EU.

And finally, while the United Kingdom does admit Americans with a negative COVID test, they must quarantine for 10 days upon arrival and pay for tests on Days 2 and 8.

Countries that allow Americans in with a negative COVID test (and other conditions: Italy

Italy announced that Americans can enter and bypass quarantine with a negative COVID test taken no more than 48 hours prior to entry; vaccinated travelers are not exempt from the testing requirements. Italy also noted visitors would be allowed to enter the country even if they’ve recently been in other EU countries.

Austria travel

Vaccine requirements: Vaccinated travelers need a certificate or vaccine passport. Certificates for people who received their first of two shots or a single-dose vaccine at least 22 days prior to entry are valid for three months; documents for people who have had both shots are good for an additional six months.

Testing requirements: Visitors who are unvaccinated or who have not had COVID need a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours or an antigen test no older than 48 hours. If you do not arrive with a valid negative test, you will have to take one within 24 hours after arriving. People who have proof they have recovered from COVID may enter for three months from their last antibody test date.

Other restrictions: All travelers must complete an advance clearance form to get permission to enter.

Details:Austria official travel portal

CDC travel advisory threat level: 4 (very high)

State Department travel advisory threat level: 4 (do not travel)

Bulgaria travel

Vaccine requirements: Visitors need to show proof that their final dose was administered at least 14 days prior to entry may enter Bulgaria. 

Testing requirements: Unvaccinated visitors over the age of 5 need a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours or an antigen test no older than 48 hours. People who have recovered from COVID need a positive PCR or antigen test taken between 15 days and 180 days prior.

Other restrictions: Look for businesses with a Safe Travels stamp from World Travel & Tourism Council 

Details:U.S. Embassy, Sofia; Bulgarian government tourism site

CDC travel advisory threat level: 4 (very high)

State Department travel advisory threat level: 4 (do not travel)

Croatia travel

Vaccination requirements: Tourists must present a vaccine certificate showing they received their final dose or single dose at least 14 days prior to entering the country.

Testing requirements: Individuals who have not vaccinated yet must have a negative PCR or rapid antigen test taken within the last 48 hours or proof they have recovered from COVID-19. 

Other restrictions: Tourists must pay lodging fully in advance and provide proof. They must also complete an arrival form with their contact-tracing information.

Details:U.S. Embassy, Zagreb 

CDC travel advisory threat level: 4 (very high)

State Department travel advisory threat level: 4 (do not travel)

Cyprus travel

Vaccine requirements:Though COVID vaccinations are not required to enter Cyprus, Americans who can prove they are fully vaccinated will not be subject to testing or quarantine as long as their vaccine is approved by the European Medicines Agency.

Prior to travel, visitors must upload a copy of their vaccination certificate to the Cyprus Fight Pass platform. Verification is the responsibility of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Cyprus reserves the right to randomly test passengers on any arriving flight, including vaccinated travelers.

Testing requirements: Unvaccinated visitors from countries classified as red must have a PCR test from a certified lab taken within 72 hours prior of departure.

Other restrictions: Visitors must present their Cyprus Flight Pass to enter crowded venues. In addition, there is a curfew in effect from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. 

Details: Cyprus Flight Pass

CDC travel advisory threat level: 4 (very high)

State Department travel advisory threat level: 4 (do not travel)

Germany travel

Vaccination requirements: Residents of a “risk area” must provide proof of vaccination in digital or print format showing their final vaccine dose was received at least 14 days prior to entry.

Testing requirements: Unvaccinated visitors need to present proof of a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours or antigen test no older than 48 hours prior to entry. Alternately, people who have recovered from COVID can provide a positive PCR test carried out at least 28 days before entry but not more than six months prior.

Other restrictions: Regardless of vaccination or test status, all visitors must complete a digital entry registration prior to travel.

Details:German Foreign Office 

CDC travel advisory threat level: 4 (very high)

State Department travel advisory threat level: 4 (do not travel)

Greece travel

Vaccine requirements: The country announced it is reopening to international tourists on May 15. Fully vaccinated individuals may  bypass the testing requirement if they they present a vaccination certificate issued by a public authority showing their second shot occurred at least 14 days prior to arrival in Greece. 

Testing requirements: Unvaccinated visitors must have a negative PCR test performed within 72 hours prior to entering the country.

Other restrictions: All visitors must complete Greece’s online Passenger Locator Form at least 48 hours before entering the country.

Details:U.S. Embassy, Athens

CDC travel advisory threat level: 4 (very high)

State Department travel advisory threat level: 4 (do not travel)

Non EU-member countries that allow Americans in with a negative COVID test (or other conditions):

  • Albania 
  • Moldova
  • San Marino 
  • Ukraine (also requires medical insurance) 

Iceland travel

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