A number of countries have closed the door on unvaccinated Britons (a cohort in excess of 10 million people, according to some estimates), with Spain among the most recent to announce that only double-jabbed Britons would be welcomed. Previously, a negative test was sufficient.
However, with omicron proving to be a far milder version of the virus, other are ditching their divisive entry rules. Norway, for example, now welcoming all visitors from anywhere in the world, regardless of vaccination status, as are Iceland, Lithuania and Slovenia.
Here are 20 destinations still welcoming unvaccinated holidaymakers. This article will be updated regularly.
Open to unvaccinated arrivals, and no domestic Covid passports
In a sea of confusing travel policies, with borders closing at the drop of a sombrero, Mexico has kept things simple. For the duration of the pandemic it has been open to all (vaccinated and unvaccinated alike) – without even a requirement to take a test.
It is mandatory to register on the Mexico Vuela Seguro Platform before boarding your flight to Mexico, and to show a QR code generated by the system upon arrival at the airport. But that’s it.
Having previously barred unvaccinated arrivals, Norway recently lifted all its Covid rules. Entry requirements are the same for all travellers, and there is no requirement to provide your vaccination status.
On February 25, Iceland removed all Covid-related travel restrictions, as well as domestic rules regarding vaccine passports and masks.
The reliance on tourism in the Caribbean means border closures have been few and far between, while several islands remain open to the unjabbed. Jamaica is one. All travellers aged 12 years or older must present evidence of a negative Covid test (PCR or antigen), with the test taken within the 72 hours prior to the date of travel. Based on a health screening and risk assessment on arrival, they may also be required to be tested at the airport or a designated facility and must await their test result in their hotel room. If the test is negative, they must remain at your hotel/resort within the island’s “resilient corridor”, but are permitted to join approved excursions.
A fine option for sunseekers with a limited budget, the Dominican Republic welcomes unvaccinated travellers who can present evidence of a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before their arrival. Health screenings and random testing takes place upon arrival.
Passengers from all countries are required to complete a health declaration with personal details, and will need to provide confirmation of a valid health insurance policy to airport authorities. Passengers arriving from countries where variants of concern have been identified (such as the UK) may be required to undertake a rapid test on arrival, which if positive will lead to a subsequent PCR test to determine if isolation at a government hospital is necessary.
All unvaccinated persons must have proof of a negative PCR test (taken within 72 hours prior to departure). Children under the age of six are exempt. Proof of recovery will not be accepted.
All arrivals into Turkey aged six and over, including Turkish citizens and residence permit holders, must complete an online form (Form for Entry to Turkey) a maximum of 72 hours prior to travel.
All unvaccinated arrivals aged 12 and over must also have proof of one of the following:
- Recent recovery from Covid-19
- A negative PCR test (less than 72 hours of arrival)
- A rapid antigen test (less than 48 hours of arrival).
For children aged 11 and under, no test is needed.
Turkey uses a domestic Covid passport, which requires proof of either two Covid vaccinations, recent Covid recovery, or a negative PCR test (within 48 hours). However, tourists are exempt.
Residents, tourists and visitors travelling from or through the UK and arriving in Dubai and Abu Dhabi must have a negative PCR test before departure and present the certificate at check-in. These need to be taken no more than 48 hours prior to departure. Travellers arriving in Abu Dhabi will also be required to undertake a PCR test on arrival. Travellers arriving in Dubai may be required to undertake a further PCR test on arrival and will have to isolate pending the result.
Travellers aged 12 and over who are not fully vaccinated or in possession of a proof of recovery certificate have to show a negative PCR test (taken no more than 72 hours before entry). This includes travellers from Great Britain, but not those whose journey originates in Northern Ireland.
Under new guidelines, announced on January 21, hospitality venues have returned to normal operations (previously, pubs and restaurants were required to close at 8pm), and customers are no longer asked for a Covid pass.
The wildlife paradise of Costa Rica, along with Mexico and El Salvador, is one of only three countries that not only welcomes unvaccinated arrivals but does not require them to take a test. They must, however, buy insurance with specific cover requirements and complete an advance epidemiological information form.
Until at least March 7, commercial establishments may voluntarily ask customers to prove their vaccination status using either a QR code or the physical card provided when they were vaccinated. Doing so means they can operate at 100% capacity, otherwise they must remain at 50%. According to reports, some hotels are asking for proof of vaccination and operating at full capacity, but most restaurants and shops are remaining at 50%. Check with your hotel or tour operator before you book.
From March 8, the vaccine passport scheme may become mandatory (pending a legal challenge driven largely by Costa Rica’s tourism industry).
Many of the Balkan states remain relatively relaxed when it comes to Covid controls. Albania, for example, will permit entry to unvaccinated travellers who can show one of the following:
- A negative PCR test performed up to 72 hours ahead of arrival
- A negative rapid antigen test performed no more than 48 hours ahead of arrival
- Evidence proving that you have recovered from Covid within the last six months
Having been briefly ostracized for having the temerity to inform the world about the omicron variant, South Africa is once again a holiday option. Furthermore, it has no additional restrictions on unvaccinated arrivals. All visitors need to produce a paper copy of a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before departure (children under five excluded). The Foreign Office advises visitors to carry several copies of their test result as they may be asked to produce it more than once.
If you fail to produce a paper copy of a negative PCR test you will be required to do an antigen test on arrival at your own expense. If you test positive for Covid-19, you will be required to self-isolate in line with government guidelines at your own cost for 10 days.
Like South Africa, Tanzania offers both sunshine and safari. It also became somewhat notable early in the pandemic for refusing to impose any kind of Covid restrictions. That attitude has hardened slightly, with all visitors now required to present both a negative PCR test taken within 96 hours of arrival and submit to a rapid test on arrival, but there is no need to prove you have been vaccinated.
British nationals travelling to Lithuania from the UK are no longer required to prove their vaccination status, recovery from Covid or produce a negative test result on arrival.
As of February 19, travellers arriving in Slovenia are no longer required to present proof of vaccination. Proof of a negative Covid test is also not required.
As one would expect of a country that worships Novak Djokovic, unvaccinated visitors are welcome in Serbia. They must, however, present one of the following documents on arrival:
- A negative PCR test result issued within 48 hours of arrival.
- Certificate of Covid-19 recovery, issued within six months of arrival, issued in Serbia or a country with which Serbia has concluded an agreement on such documents (does not include the UK).
Open to unvaccinated arrivals, but Covid passports used domestically
You must complete an online passenger locator card and show evidence of an antigen test taken within 48 hours of departure, or a PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure. However, there are no requirements to show proof of vaccination.
However, Portugal uses domestic vaccine passports. You must show evidence of Covid vaccination to enter restaurants and hotels, and evidence of a recent negative Covid test, on top of your vaccination record, to enter bars, nightclubs, sports arenas and events without reserved seating.
To be allowed entry into Croatia, unvaccinated travellers from the UK must present one of the following documents on arrival:
- A negative Covid-19 antigen not older than 48 hours, or;
- A negative PCR test result not older than 72 hours, or;
- A doctor’s certificate of recovery from Covid-19.
Children under 12 are exempt from these requirements if their parent or guardian has one of the documents set out above.
However, Croatia uses domestic Covid passports. Anyone entering public services, local and regional municipalities, state-owned companies and institutions will be required to show either a digital Covoid-19 certificate or appropriate proof of vaccination, proof of recovery or a negative test.
If you are unvaccinated, you will need one of the following:
- Proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test, undertaken within the 72-hour period before arrival into Greece
- Proof of a negative Covid-19 rapid antigen test from an authorised laboratory, undertaken within the 48-hour period before your arrival into Greece
- Proof of recovery from Covid-19. Evidence of a positive PCR test result taken between 30 to 180 days of your travel dates can be used and can be demonstrated via the NHS Covid Pass.
Note, however, that Greece’s domestic rules mean it only permits indoor entry to bars, restaurants, entertainment and sports venues if you are fully vaccinated or under 12. Similar measures apply to some public transport networks. To board boats or ferries to travel between Greek islands or take a long distance bus, you will also need proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test result.
Unvaccinated Britons must undergo a PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure and provide proof of a negative result. They must then undergo another PCR test upon arrival at the airport in Cyprus. Test results should be available within three hours through the country’s online platform. The cost of both tests is borne by the passenger.
However, Cyprus has strict Covid passport requirements domestically. People aged six and above require a SafePass, which can only be obtained if you are vaccinated or have recovered from Covid in the previous six months, to enter venues including restaurants.