November 27, 2022

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Travel without COVID restrictions: List of countries from Italy to India, Saudi Arabia to Japan

How to lift travel restrictions further? Officials underscore the importance of working together. Restarting the recovery process for tourism — a sector estimated to employ 271 million people across the globe — requires collaboration, open data sharing in order to continue to boost confidence in international travel, they said.

There’s been a raft of upsides for the sector, with the scrapping of pre-departure negative COVID-19 test in many countries.

For travellers from the UAE, we list below some of the countries that already lifted key COVID-19 entry restrictions:

Armenia

Entry of foreigners to Armenia continues to remain open both via air and land borders. Effective May 1, 2022, in-bound passengers are no longer required to present a COVID-19 PCR test or a certificate of complete vaccination against COVID-19 to enter Armenia.

Armenia encompasses the best of Europe and Asia. A requirement for tourists to produce a PCR test or vaccination certificate has been scrapped from May 1, 2022.

Mask/vaccination rules for visitors:

Within Armenia, public transportation is open. On March 3, 2022, the Health Ministry has lifted the mask mandate for indoor spaces. As of June 13, 2022, however, passengers are still required to wear a face mask in all public transportation, as well as in taxis, according to the US Embassy in Yerevan.

Canada

Pre-entry tests are not required for fully-vaccinated travellers entering Canada. However, make sure you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines before traveling to Canada.

More importantly, travellers must use ArriveCAN within 72 hours before arrival to Canada (available for iOS, Android and web). The app is free — available in English, French and Spanish. All travellers, whether entering Canada by air, land, rail or marine vessel, are mandated to use ArriveCAN, according to the official government website.

Toronto
A scene in Toronto: Pre-entry tests are not required for fully-vaccinated travellers entering Canada.

Mask/vaccination rules for visitors:

To qualify as a fully-vaccinated traveller to Canada, you must have received at least 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine accepted for travel, a mix of 2 accepted vaccines, or at least 1 dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Indoor masking is still a must — anyone 2 years or older should properly wear a well-fitting mask in indoor public spaces.

Egypt

On June 16, Egypt joined several countries in lifting coronavirus restrictions. Cairo announced the lifting of all COVID-related travel rules for arriving tourists — regardless of citizenship status.

Previously, tourists looking to visit Egypt had to be fully vaccinated or take a PCR test 72 hours before travelling. But a spokesperson told Egyptian media that the Egyptian Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly announced that all restrictions would be lifted ahead of the summer holidays.

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File photo: Tourists at the Giza pyramids, near Cairo. Previously, tourists looking to visit Egypt had to be fully vaccinated or take a PCR test 72 hours before travelling. All COVID travel restrictions had been scrapped starting June 16, 2022.

Mask/vaccination rules for visitors:

Wearing of face masks on board Nile cruise ships and on excursions is no longer mandatory, and is also optional in public spaces across the country. Still, health authorities urge travellers to make sure they are up to date with COVID-19 vaccines before traveling to Egypt.

Germany

As of Saturday, June 11, 2022, all COVID-19 entry restrictions to Germany will be provisionally lifted, according to Germany’s Federal Foreign Office. From this date, entries to Germany will again be permitted for all travel purposes (including tourism and visiting trips). Proof of vaccination, proof of convalescence (recoverY) or proof of testing is no longer required for entry into Germany. 

Mask/vaccination rules for visitors:

On Friday (June 17, 2022) German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach recommended the voluntary wearing of masks indoors and indicated stricter rules could return during winter as research suggests those who had the earliest version of omicron may be vulnerable to reinfection with newer variants. Lauterbach, a trained epidemiologist, said it was sensible to continue to wear masks indoors in the meantime.

India

All international passengers arriving in the country are mandated to fill in the Air Suvidha Self Declaration Form. To ease the process, inbound flyers must accomplish the Air Suvidha registration before the flight as the registration number must be produced at the check-in counters, in order for the boarding pass to be issued.

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Travellers to India are advised get a COVID-19 vaccine, though this is not mandatory.

Mask/vaccination rules for visitors:

On Wednesday, June 8, India’s aviation regulator General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has announced masks remain mandatory at Indian airports and during flights. Mask removal is permitted only under exceptional circumstances. Travellers to India are advised get a COVID-19 vaccine, though this is not mandatory. Travellers who have received at least two doses of a valid COVID-19 vaccine and have their certificate can skip other requirements, like PCR testing.

Italy

Effective June 1, 2022, Italy has scrapped all entry rules for inbound travellers. Unvaccinated tourists were earlier required to take a test before visiting the country — but this rule expired on May 31, marking the end of all entry restrictions on travellers.

Earlier, on May 1, Italy has dropped the requirement for arrivals to complete an EU digital passenger locator form (dPLF), following a similar move by other European nations. In March the country ended its “state of emergency”, thereby doing away with “Green” and “Super Green” passes to enter venues.

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A waiter wears a face mask as she prepares a table in a tavern in the town of Areopoli on the Mani Peninsula, Laconia, Peloponnese region, Greece on Wednesday July 29, 2020. Some travelers from Europe’s wealthier north appear more inclined to stay closer to home on concerns about coronavirus infections, which is a potential blow to countries like Spain, Italy and Greece, where tourism accounts for a big chunk of their economies. Photographer: Konstantinos Tsakalidis/Bloomberg
Image Credit: Bloomberg

Mask/vaccination rules for visitors:

Italy has lifted travel restriction requiring vaccination or testing. However, a mask mandate remained in force until at least September 30, 2022. Though the EU-wide mask requirement on flights lifted in May, airports and airlines flying to and from Italy may require passengers to wear masks until that date.

In a July 16 Health Ministry update, using masks in air travel, theatre, cinema, and indoor sports events was no longer mandatory — but the public was still advised to use masks.

Due to the high risk of spreading the virus, the rule to use masks in urban public transport, health institutions and nursing homes has been extended until September 30.

Israel

A rule requiring foreign tourists to present a negative COVID-19 test before boarding a flight to Israel, a cruise to Israel, or before arriving at an Israeli border has been scrapped. On May 23, Israel further eased its COVID-19 protocols on foreign tourists as it lifted its mask mandate on international flights. “No need of mask, no need of testing, no need of quarantine,” the Israeli Embassy in Manila stated. It has also lifted the testing and isolation mandate for those entering Israel at airports and maritime and land borders.

Overlooking the Old City and named for the olive groves that once covered its slopes, the mount offers vast vistas for contemplation..

Mask/vaccination rules for visitors:

On April 24, 2022, Israel officially lifted the indoor mask mandate. As of May 21, 2022, tourists of all ages are permitted to enter Israel — vaccinated and unvaccinated alike — with no need for PCR tests before or after arrival and no need for quarantine upon arrival.

Masking rules were first imposed in April 2020 and Israelis were required to wear face coverings indoors. It was briefly lifted for 10 days in June last year, but was swiftly brought back amid rising cases at the time. Israeli media quoting a Health Ministry official reported recently that a return to the mask mandate will be examined and a decision may be made this week.

Thailand

Effective May 1, 2022, Thailand scrapped COVID testing mandate, but visitors will still need medical insurance, and proof of vaccination. Instead, the RT-PCR tests will be replaced with a voluntary self-administered antigen tests for those entering via air and land borders. This means travellers will no longer need to reserve a one-night hotel accommodation to secure visas.

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Thailand’s relaxation of the mask mandate comes following similar moves by neighbours including Cambodia and Singapore.

Mask/vaccination rules for visitors:

On June 17, Thailand announced it would drop rules requiring people to wear masks outdoors — and no longer require foreign visitors to register before travel. Facemasks had been compulsory in public in Thailand, including outdoors, since mid-2021. Thailand’s relaxation of the mask mandate comes following similar moves by neighbours including Cambodia and Singapore.

Japan

From June 10, 2022, international travel to Japan is back on after more than two years. Strict tourism measures remain in place that form part of the country’s multi-phased reopening plan. Visitors still need to be fully escorted from the moment they touch down to the moment they depart, according to Japan National Tourism Organisation.

Japan
Japan is easily one of the most stunning places in the world
Image Credit: Shutterstock

Mask / vaccination rules for visitors:

Japan still requires all visitors to wear masks, travel with an organised tour group, and buy private medical insurance as a condition of entry. Only approved tour companies are able to file visa applications on behalf of tourists. Foreign tourists will require an Entrants, Returnees Follow-up System (ERFS) certificate, applied for by the tour company’s local tourism partners.

Countries and regions designated as blue are exempt from arrival testing and quarantine, regardless of vaccination status; countries under the “yellow” category are exempt from arrival testing and quarantine upon presentation of a valid vaccination certificate. Those designated as “red” will be required to do on-arrival PCR test and self-isolate. For those who cannot provide a valid vaccination certificate, on-arrival testing and quarantine still applies.

Saudi Arabia

On June 13, Saudi Arabia has dropped more COVID-19 measures, including indoor mask and proof of vaccination requirements for most places, the Ministry of Interior announced on Monday.

PCR tests for inbound travellers, quarantine-on-arrival rules and Social distancing measures were dropped in March. Proof of vaccination in the Tawakkalna contact-tracing app is no longer needed to enter various facilities, participate in activities, attend events, or board planes or public transportation, with some exceptions, according to the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA)

Saudi Arabia tourist sites
SAUDI ARABIA’S TOURISM GEM: Asir is considered one of the the kingdom’s top tourist destinations, in the country’s southwest region, with a rich offering and nature and heritage sites. Scenic cable car rides in Saudi’s Asir region offer visitors unbeatable views, but also the chance to discover destinations such as the mysterious hanging village of Al Habala. Twitter / @VisitSaudiNow
Image Credit: Twitter / @VisitSaudiNow

Mask/vaccination rules for visitors:

COVID-19 restrictions in the Kingdom were loosened in March 2022 when outdoor mask mandates were dropped. Wearing of face mask is not mandatory at closed places inside the airports or in the airplane, according to the Saudia website.

People will still be required to wear masks in the Grand Mosque in Mecca, the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, places regulated by the Saudi Public Health Authority (Weqaya), and places and events that impose their own mask mandates. Weqaya continues to promote awareness and urges the public to use face masks.

UK

The UK has scrapped the requirement to complete a pre-travel passenger locator form. It has also discarded the mandate for inbound passengers to take any COVID-19 tests or quarantine on arrival in England. This applies whether you are vaccinated or not. It also includes people who are transiting through England.

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A tour boat on the River Thames in central London, with the London Eye wheel at right.

Mask/vaccination rules for visitors:

As of January 27, 2022 you are not legally required to wear a face mask anywhere in England. However, individual premises may have their own policies. Public transport in London, and several supermarkets, have introduced their own policies requiring people to wear face masks.

In May 11, 2022, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped the recommendation for mandatory wearing of medical masks in airports and on board a flight. It noted, however, that a face mask is still one of the best protections against the transmission of COVID-19.

US

From June 12, 2022, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) no longer requires air passengers traveling from a foreign country to the US to show a negative COVID-19 viral test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board their flight.

The CDC has said it may reinstitute the measure if necessary to protect the public’s health.

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Image Credit: A view of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC. As of June 12, 2022, all air passengers, regardless of citizenship or vaccination status, are no longer required to show a negative viral COVID-19 test result before boarding your flight, or documentation of recovery from COVID, before boarding a flight to the US.

Mask/vaccination rules for visitors:

Mask-wearing is encouraged in some states, but not required. The nationwide mask order is no longer in effect. Several states, however, still mandate masking for most people in certain high-risk settings, including health care and long-term care facilities.

Under CDC’s amended order, all non-immigrant, non-US citizen inbound air travelers are required to be fully vaccinated and show proof of vaccination status prior to boarding an airplane. This requirement does not apply to US citizens, US nationals, US lawful permanent residents (Green Card holders), or immigrants.

Australia

From June 1, the state of Western Australia has removed the cap on unvaccinated international arrivals and the seven-day quarantine for returning unvaccinated Australians and permanent residents.

International travellers to Australia (including Australians overseas) must still declare their COVID-19 vaccination status to enter Australia and must be able to provide appropriate supporting evidence. Travellers may need to present this at check-in for their travel to Australia.

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Residents cycle in front of the Harbour Bridge in Sydney, Australia in this file photo. On June 14, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) proposed that mask mandates be scrapped from June 17, 2022.

Mask/vaccination rules for visitors:

Vaccine requirements remain for certain industries in Australian (required three-dose mandates in education, food distribution, meat and seafood processing and quarantine accommodation sectors will be scrapped). Education workers will also be able to return to work without a third dose.

Current rules require plane passengers to wear masks, and remain mandatory on inbound flights and other forms of public transport, such as trains, trams and buses.

On June 14, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) proposed that mask mandates be scrapped from June 17, 2022.

The committee, however, said it “continues to recognise the role of masks, along with other public health measures, in minimising COVID-19 and influenza transmission and protecting the broader community”. The committee continues to “strongly recommend” continued mask wearing in airport terminals and other indoor settings.

France

According to rules updated as of June 13, 2022, France has lifted most hygiene and social distancing rules. COVID-19 restrictions at the French border were eased for fully-vaccinated travellers from February 12, 2022 for. Conditions for entry to French territory are defined by the classification of departure countries (countries and territories on “green” and “orange” lists). Children under age 12 are exempt from testing. If you’re flying to France, check if your departure country is on which list.

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Mask/vaccination rules for visitors:

Since March 14, 2022, France has lifted the “vaccine pass” in all areas where it was previously required (cultural and leisure venues, commercial catering, professional trade shows, etc.). Masks are still mandatory in hospitals and care homes.