Updated February 2023
After a year of relative calm and relaxing COVID-19 guidelines, following an uptick in new COVID-19 cases being reported globally, a few countries have renewed their entry restrictions, re-introducing RT-PCR tests to permit travellers into the country.
That being said, here is the complete list of countries currently mandating COVID-19 tests for international passengers entering the country.
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Test-free travel still very much available
While some countries still observe or have reinstated the test-for-entry requirement as detailed below, there remains a wide array of destinations travelers may visit without necessitating pre-departure or post-arrival tests. To learn more about these test-free destinations, please visit our article below.
Testing for passengers from China
Due to the surge of COVID-19 cases in China, the following countries have mandated a negative RT-PCR test to be taken before departure from China. Please note that some of these countries may also mandate testing for passengers arriving from other countries as well.
The Australian Government will introduce pre-departure testing for COVID-19 for people travelling to Australia from the People’s Republic of China, including the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macao, from 5 January 2023.
All arriving passengers from China will be required to undertake a COVID-19 test within the 48 hours prior to travel and show evidence of a negative test result when travelling to Australia. This measure is in response to the significant wave of COVID-19 infections in China and the potential for emerging viral variants in that country.
Alligning to recommendations from the EU, the Austrian Ministry of Health has mandated all travellers from China need to show a negative PCR test (valid for 48 hours) before boarding the plane – the tests are being checked by the airlines.
Effective 5 January 2023, all air travellers who are two years of age and older arriving in Canada on flights originating from the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong or Macao will need to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result. These planned health measures will apply to air travellers from China, regardless of nationality and vaccination status.
The test must be taken no more than two days before their departure to the airline prior to boarding. The test could be either a negative molecular (such as a PCR test) or a negative antigen test that has documentation to show that it has been monitored by a telehealth service or an accredited laboratory or testing provider.
Passengers who tested positive more than 10 days before their departure flight, but no more than 90 days, can provide the airline with documentation of their prior positive in place of a negative test result.
Authorities have announced that all passengers arriving to the country from China, including any traveller who has been to China in the seven days prior to their arrival, will have to present a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 48 hours before their flight to Chile. These travellers will also be tested upon arrival at the airport. Positive testing passengers will be quarantined for 5 days.
The European Union Health Security Committee has stated that there has been an agreement among EU members over the evolving COVID-19 scenario, and they have decided to take a “coordinated approach”. According to the European Commission, 27 member countries of the EU will make it mandatory for passengers flying out from China to be properly tested for COVID-19 before departure.
Any person (aged 8 years or over) arriving by air to Gibraltar who has been to China or the Special Administrative Regions of Macao or Hong Kong in the 14 days preceding their arrival in Gibraltar must adhere to the following:
- You will be required to buy a COVID-19 PCR test and take this test 48 hours prior to your arrival into Gibraltar.
- You should be prepared to present your negative COVID-19 PCR test result to airline staff prior to boarding.
- You must report the fact that you have been to China or the Special Administrative Regions of Macao or Hong Kong to an officer of the Borders and Coastguard Agency and be prepared to present your negative COVID-19 PCR test result on your arrival in Gibraltar.
- If you develop symptoms or feel unwell, call 111 immediately. If calling from an international number, you must dial (+350) 20072266 and ask to be transferred to 111.
All persons entering Hong Kong from Mainland China are required to undergo a PCR test for COVID-19 within 48 hours prior to the scheduled time of flight departure (for those entering via the airport) or the time of arrival (for those entering via other BCPs) and obtain a negative result. Travellers should hold the applicable nucleic test report for checking by BCP personnel.
In addition, if inbound persons from Macao have stayed in the Mainland on the day of, or in the seven days prior to, arrival at Hong Kong, they will be required to undergo a PCR test within 48 hours prior to the scheduled time of arrival at Hong Kong, and obtain a negative result for entering Hong Kong.
Non-Israeli nationals flying to Israel from China need to present a negative COVID-19 test in order to be permitted to enter the aircraft.
Malaysia will screen all arriving passengers for fever, and wastewater from aircraft arriving in China will be sent to the National Public Health Laboratory for polymerase chain reaction testing before being dispatched for genome sequencing if the results are positive for COVID-19.
“All travellers arriving from abroad, including China, at the international entry points will undergo fever screening. Those who have been detected with fever, symptoms, or through self-declaration will be referred to a quarantine centre or the health authorities for re-examination. In the event of suspected COVID-19, a test will be carried out,” as Health Minister Zaliha Mustafa announced.
Morocco became the very first country this year to ban all passengers from China, regardless of their vaccination status or nationality.
The Philippines may require COVID-19 testing on inbound Chinese travellers as it keeps its borders open to visitors from China, as announced by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Maria Rosario Vergeire, the officer in charge at the Department of Health, said there’s no need yet to shut the country’s borders or impose tighter COVID restrictions on Chinese visitors. “The direction of this administration is that as much as possible, restrictions should be minimal where we don’t compromise health, but we also favour the opening up of the economy”, she said.
Like several other European countries, Portugal will also require air travellers from China to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test done no more than two days before departure.
The Ministry of Public Health of Qatar has announced a new travel requirement for all travellers (Qatar citizens, residents and visitors) entering Qatar from China. From 6 PM Qatar time on Tuesday, 3 January 2023, all travellers coming from China (regardless of vaccination/immunity status) are required to submit a negative PCR test result at the check-in counter taken within 48 hours of the time of departure to the State of Qatar.
The Ministry stated that the policy update is a temporary measure that has been made to safeguard the passengers coming to Qatar and the community against the virus, with China currently experiencing a virus surge.
South Korea will require travellers from China to present negative COVID-19 tests prior to arrival. Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said, “By the end of February next year, all arrivals from China will be required to show either a negative PCR or antigen test for the coronavirus before boarding flights to South Korea.”
Arrivals are required to receive a PCR test within 48 hours before their arrival or an antigen test within 24 hours before their arrival. All travellers from China will also be required to receive a PCR test on the first day of their arrival. Additionally, Seoul has restricted issuing short-term visas until the end of January for Chinese citizens, excluding diplomats, public officials, and essential business and humanitarian purposes.
All travellers reaching Spain from China now need to present negative COVID-19 test results, or proof of complete vaccination against the virus, with any of the vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO). The Ministry has noted that travellers from China will go through a documentary, visual and temperature control, in addition to performing a diagnostic test for active infection by SARS-CoV-2, at the point of entry into Spain.
The measures will be in place until February 15, 2023. The new restrictions will only affect travellers on flights from the mainland People’s Republic of China, which means that travellers from other places, such as Hong Kong, will not be affected.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has mandated a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of recovery for air passengers boarding flights to the United States originating from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau from 5 January 2022. Details are as follows:
- the requirement applies to these air passengers regardless of nationality and vaccination status
- this will also apply to persons travelling from the PRC via third-country transit and to passengers connecting through the United States onward to further destinations
- along with applying this requirement to direct flights from the PRC, passengers transiting Incheon International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport on their way to the United States will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test if they have been in the PRC in the last 10 days no more than 2 days before their departure to the United States
- passengers who tested positive more than 10 days before the flight can provide documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in lieu of a negative test result
- airlines must confirm the negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery for all passengers before they board or deny boarding to the passenger
The UK’s entry requirements are as follows:
- people travelling from mainland China on direct flights to England from 5 January 2023 will be asked to take a pre-departure COVID test
- in addition, the UK Health Security Agency is launching surveillance from 8 January 2023, which will see a sample of passengers arriving in England from mainland China tested for COVID at the point of their arrival
Airlines will be required to check all passengers from China have negative pre-departure tests, and passengers will not be allowed to board a flight without providing evidence of a negative test result.
Testing for all inbound passengers
A number of countries are currently implementing testing requirements for international travelers looking to enter their borders. Please note that due to the fluidity of the situation, the following list of countries may not be an exhaustive one. Furthermore, the implemented testing measures are likely subject to change.
2 per cent of all passengers arriving via flights to Pakistan will be randomly tested for COVID-19 at the airport of entry. Both RAT and PCR tests are available at the airport.
Proof of pre-departure negative test result is required.
Unvaccinated travellers need to present a negative COVID-19 test certificate issued no more than 72 hours before travel. Fully vaccinated travellers are no longer required to present the negative pre-travel test result if they have submitted proof that they have received full doses of an approved vaccine. Children under 12 years are exempt.
Unvaccinated travellers 5 and older (or those without vaccine proof) must continue to show results of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival or a negative antigen test taken within 48 hours.
The popular South American destination still has travel restrictions in place. Unvaccinated travellers must present a negative COVID-19 test.
As is the case with several South American countries, Chile mandates that unvaccinated travellers provide a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter the country.
Vaccinated travellers are welcome without restrictions. However, those who are unvaccinated are required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival.
Proof of pre-departure negative test result is required.
Indonesia is only open to vaccinated travellers at this time. Non-vaccinated may enter the country only with a negative COVID-19 test, a 5-day hotel quarantine, and the agreement to receive the first dose of the vaccine at their quarantine hotel.
Proof of pre-departure negative test result is required.
All travellers must isolate until a PCR test returns a negative result. If it is positive, they must quarantine for 14 days.
Nepal has reinstated mandatory testing for international passengers looking to visit the country. Passengers arriving from abroad must present proof of a COVID-19 vaccine certificate or COVID-19 PCR negative report.
Vaccinated travellers can visit without restrictions, but unvaccinated travellers must present a negative COVID-19 test.
Most passengers are required to present a negative result of a pre-travel COVID-19 test. Fully vaccinated passengers and other categories are exempt.
Unvaccinated travellers must present a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival. Additionally, inbound travelers must provide proof of travel insurance that covers COVID-19.
A pre-travel COVID-19 test is required for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travellers. Fully vaccinated passengers must provide vaccination proof. Required documents must be in English.
Mandatory COVID-19 test on arrival.