Travelling in a world that lives with Covid-19: Who can fly to which countries?

In this photo taken on June 18, 2020,  passengers walk under a departure display at an airport in Munich.
In this photo taken on June 18, 2020, passengers walk under a departure display at an airport in Munich.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - As air travel returns gingerly around the world, concerns remain that Covid-19 cases will see an uptick as more people mingle across borders. Here's a look at the measures and restrictions imposed by various countries that have allowed air travel to resume.

United States

Who can fly in:

From early November, fully vaccinated air travellers from the 26 Schengen countries in Europe, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Greece, as well as Britain, Ireland, China, India, Singapore, South Africa, Iran and Brazil.

Fully vaccinated visitors will also be allowed to cross US land borders from Canada and Mexico from early November. Currently, travel from Canada and Mexico is limited to air passengers only.

From early January 2022, all inbound foreign travellers must be fully vaccinated, regardless of country of origin and whether they are travelling for essential or non-essential reasons.

Requirements/necessary tests:

Foreign nationals will need to present proof of vaccination before travelling and will not be required to quarantine on arrival. The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has yet to announce the list of accepted vaccines, though it is expected to be announced in tandem with the expiry of restrictions on Canada and Mexico on Oct 21.

All airline passengers to the US aged two years and older must provide a negative Covid-19 test taken 72 hours before departure. Alternatively, travellers may provide documentation from a licensed healthcare provider of having recovered from Covid-19 in the 90 days preceding travel.

United Kingdom

Who can fly in:

Travellers outside of a "red list" of countries can enter, though those not vaccinated will be subject to additional requirements.

If you have been in one of these countries in the last 10 days, you cannot travel to the UK: Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.

Requirements/necessary tests:

Those vaccinated no longer have to take a Covid-19 test before their departure, but all travellers - except children under five years old - still have to book and pay for a PCR test two days after arrival. They will also need to complete a passenger locator form.

From end-October, fully vaccinated people arriving in England will no longer have to take a PCR test after arrival. Instead, they can take a cheaper and simpler lateral flow test. Passengers will be able to send a picture of their lateral flow test to verify the result.


From end-October, fully vaccinated people arriving in England will no longer have to take a PCR test after arrival. PHOTO: REUTERS

Accepted proof of vaccination and accepted vaccines are available online.

Non-vaccinated travellers must register a negative test result before their departure and book, as well as pay for, a PCR test on the second and eighth day after arrival. Non-vaccinated travellers must also quarantine at home, or at the place they are staying, for 10 days. Non-vaccinated travellers quarantining in England may be able to end quarantine early via the Test to Release scheme.

European Union

Who can fly in:

Non-essential travellers from the following countries should have access to EU member states (including Schengen associated countries) regardless of vaccination status: Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Chile, China (subject to confirmation of reciprocity), Jordan, Kuwait, New Zealand, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.

However, the recommendation made by EU leaders is not legally binding and specific laws of member states still apply.

From Oct 19, Singaporeans will be able to fly to Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain without going through a mandatory quarantine.

Requirements/necessary tests:

All persons travelling from any country should have tested negative for Covid-19 in a PCR test taken 72 hours before departure.

In addition, member states may require self-isolation or quarantine for a period of up to 14 days, as well as further Covid-19 testing as needed during the same period.


All persons travelling from any country should have tested negative for Covid-19 in a PCR test taken 72 hours before departure. PHOTO: REUTERS

The acceptance of vaccines may also vary based on member state laws.

Covid-19 certificates from the following countries have joined the EU Digital Covid certificate system and should be accepted throughout the EU: Albania, Andorra, Switzerland, Faroe Islands, Israel, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Morocco, Monaco, North Macedonia, Norway, Panama, San Marino, Turkey, Ukraine and Vatican City.

Japan

Who can fly in:

Currently, non-essential travel into Japan is prohibited from all countries. Visa-free travel remains suspended.

Requirements/necessary tests:

All travellers, including Japanese nationals, have to submit proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours before departure, as well as take a Covid-19 test upon arrival. 

Quarantine has been cut from 14 days to 10 days for travellers who are fully inoculated with any of the three vaccines recognised by Japan - Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca - and who produce a negative test result on the 10th day. Unvaccinated travellers from higher-risk regions are required to be isolated at a government-designated facility for three days, and can complete the remainder of their quarantine at their place of stay.

South Korea

Who can fly in:

Holders of specific visas such as diplomats or government officials.

Short-term travellers without a valid visa may apply for a Korea Electronic Travel Authorisation (K-ETA) if they are from the following countries: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guam, Guyana, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Caledonia, Nicaragua, Norway, Palau, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saint Kitts And Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, US, Vatican City and Venezuela.


In this photo taken on Dec 29, 2020, a health worker waits to screen passengers at Incheon international airport. PHOTO: AFP

From Nov 15, as part of the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme, travellers to and from Singapore will be able to fly between Changi Airport and Incheon International Airport. They must undergo polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests in lieu of serving quarantine or stay-home notice.

Requirements/necessary tests:

All other travellers to South Korea must provide proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test result issued within 72 hours of their departure. There is a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon entry for most travellers, though waivers may be granted based on the purpose of travel and vaccination status.

Malaysia

Who can fly in:

Borders are not yet opened to foreign tourists, though Malaysians who are fully vaccinated, along with their children, will be allowed to travel interstate. Those who want to travel overseas will be able to do so.

Requirements/necessary tests:

A mandatory 14-day quarantine period remains in force for anyone entering Malaysia. Travellers wishing to enter the country will be required to make payment in advance for their accommodation during quarantine as well as an after-arrival Covid-19 screening test.

Indonesia

Who can fly in:

From Oct 14, tourists from 19 countries are allowed entry into Indonesia. These countries are Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Liechtenstein, Italy, France, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Poland, Hungary and Norway.

Outside these countries, only foreigners who hold work permits, business visas, permanent residence, and diplomatic visas, as well as those travelling under special corridor arrangements with the country are allowed to enter.

Requirements/necessary tests:

Tourists must have an insurance plan that covers Covid-19 treatment. They will also have to undergo mandatory quarantine at designated hotels. Proof of paid booking for five-day hotel stay must be produced at arrival.

Travellers will need to show a negative PCR test taken 72 hours prior to departure. Another PCR test is required 24 hours after arrival, following which the traveller will undergo mandatory quarantine at a government approved hotel for five days, with another PCR test administered on the fourth day of quarantine.

Foreigners are also required to show a Covid-19 vaccination card or certificate (physical or digital) as a requirement, except those under the age of 12. The second vaccination shot must be taken at least 14 days prior to departure.

They will also need to install the PeduliLindungi mobile app on their devices.

Thailand

Who can fly in:

Under the Phuket and Samui Plus sandbox scheme, vaccinated travellers from any country, as well as unvaccinated children under 18 years old travelling with vaccinated parents.

Travellers from the following countries are not required to apply for a visa, but will need to obtain a Certificate of Entry: Andora, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Sweden, UAE, UK, US and Vietnam.

Tourists from countries not on the visa exemption list can apply for a Special Tourist Visa (STV), which allows for 90-day stays, and can be renewed twice. You must apply for an STV via the Thai consulate or embassy in your own country.


People passing through immigration at the Phuket airport in Thailand on Sept 10, 2021. PHOTO: NYTIMES

All travellers who have received a Certificate of Entry are required to download the ThailandPlus app and register. Upon arrival in Thailand, they will have to show a QR code that will be scanned by Thai authorities.

Requirements/necessary tests:

All travellers must provide proof of an insurance policy that covers treatment for Covid-19 up to the cost of US$100,000 (S$135,300) and a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before departure.

Another PCR test must be taken on arrival, after which travellers must quarantine at government-approved quarantine facilities.

Fully vaccinated travellers taking advantage of the sandbox scheme will not need to serve a quarantine period but must stay in the areas designated to be under the sandbox scheme for at least seven days before going on to any other destination in Thailand.

India

Who can fly in:

From Oct 15, tourist visas will be granted to those entering by chartered flights. International visitors on commercial flights will be allowed from Nov 15.

Requirements/necessary tests:

Regardless of vaccination status, travellers arriving at all destinations in India must undergo a PCR test no more than 72 hours before departure.

All travellers will also need to upload a self-declaration form to an online portal, including a declaration to quarantine at home for 14 days on arrival.

Correction note: An earlier version of the article contained outdated information on measures imposed in Japan and Indonesia. It has been updated with the latest information. We are sorry for the error.