Updated 5 January 2022
In light of the fact that entry to many countries or destinations is largely contingent upon a traveller’s COVID vaccination status, like it or not, COVID-19 vaccines are now an almost indispensable part of travelling. This is especially true in light of the Omicron variant; reportedly the most infective COVID strain yet.
Still, if you’re unvaccinated and are looking to travel, there remain countries and destinations that do not impose COVID vaccination requirements upon international arrivals. Countries like the UAE and Mexico are among the handful of countries not requiring international arrivals to have been fully vaccinated.
Here, we take a look at unvaccinated travel along with the countries allowing unvaccinated international arrivals to enter their borders.
Can I still travel if I’m not vaccinated?
The short answer is yes. However, it also depends on where you’re looking to travel to.
As mentioned, there are a number of countries allowing unvaccinated travellers to enter their borders. But gaining entry into a country without being vaccinated doesn’t necessarily mean you can move about freely at your destination.
Case in point; the emirate of Abu Dhabi does not require travellers to be fully inoculated to enter its borders. However, Abu Dhabi does differentiate between those who are unable to get vaccinated due to health reasons and those who simply refuse to get inoculated.
Depending on which type of unvaccinated traveller you are, you may be denied access to restaurants, shopping malls, concert venues, theme parks, and other attractions. Those who are unable to receive the vaccine due to medical reasons will be granted entry.
Additionally, there are also countries that prohibit their unvaccinated citizens from travelling to some places, or at all. Saudi Arabia, for example, limits access to air travel only to fully-vaccinated citizens.
Risks and downsides for unvaccinated travellers
Essentially, unvaccinated travel requires travellers to decide whether or not they’re willing to risk infection during their travels as well as subjecting themselves to more stringent requirements the likes of additional testings and quarantine.
For example, unvaccinated travellers may enter France provided they are not departing from a country categorized into the red list as well as the newly introduced ‘scarlet red’ category in relation to the Omicron variant. Those who have been fully vaccinated are not required to undergo enhanced measures the likes of PCR testing and a seven-day quarantine period. Unvaccinated travellers from the amber list may only be allowed to visit France only if they have a compelling reason to do so.
Naturally, travellers must decide for themselves whether the heightened risk of infection along with the extra inconveniences are ultimately worth the trade-off.
More and more countries are requiring international arrivals to be fully vaccinated before being granted entry into their borders with the United States being the latest example. The US has lifted its entry ban from most of the world but only fully vaccinated travellers will generally be allowed entry without additional testing and quarantine requirements. In light of the emergence of the omicron variant, travel to the US for non-vaccinated foreign travellers is not possible with very limited exceptions.
While most travellers do reserve the option to not take the COVID jabs, the fact is that not being vaccinated will increasingly deny travellers privileges and options associated with a fully vaccinated status.
Where can I travel to without a vaccine?
The handful of countries that do not require international arrivals to have been vaccinated are as follows. Please note that the list is subject to change.
Open countries (no test and quarantine required)
The following countries are generally open to all visitors regardless of vaccination status and do not require quarantine as well as PCR testing for entry.
Mexico is one of the few countries that did not close its borders during the pandemic and one that has minimum entry requirements in the form of a questionnaire. Mexico does not currently request tests or vaccines for entry into the country.
Costa Rica does not request proof of vaccination or COVID-19 tests for admission. However, unvaccinated travellers are requested to purchase international travel insurance that covers the cost of accommodation in case of quarantine.
Furthermore, starting from 8 January 2022 unvaccinated travellers will not be able to enter commercial establishments such as restaurants, bars, hotels, shopping malls, and many others.
Most travellers do not need to present a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival to enter the Dominican Republic. However, travellers from Brazil, the United Kingdom, and South Africa must present a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival.
It is also not required to present a vaccination certificate upon arrival in the Dominican Republic. Fully vaccinated travellers will be exempted from the on-arrival random test.
While vaccine certificates are not mandatory, they are required to access establishments outside of the ones regulated by the Ministry of Tourism. Unvaccinated travellers will essentially be confined to specified areas.
Travellers to El Salvador are not required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Unvaccinated travellers may, however, get a viral test 1-3 days before their trip to El Salvador and have their proof of vaccination ready as it might occasionally be required for entry to specific events.
The countries listed here allow unvaccinated travellers to enter provided they can provide a negative PCR test result issued within 48 to 96 hours prior to departure and/or are willing to undergo quarantine. The quarantine period varies between the countries and unvaccinated travellers may need to isolate for up to 14 days.
Note that travellers from some countries in Africa and other regions may be denied entry until further notice. Some countries on this list may also not accommodate non-essential travel.
Middle East and North Africa
- Algeria- All arrivals in Algeria, above 12 years of age, will have to present a printed negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test result issued at most 36 hours before arrival. Passengers are also subject to a COVID-19 antigen test upon arrival. If the test result is positive, travellers will be required to undertake a 10-day quarantine at their own expense. If they test negative, they will be allowed to continue with their journey.
- Egypt- All arriving international travellers over the age of 6, will need to present either a negative PCR test certificate for COVID-19 taken at the most 72 (96 hours for some countries) hours prior to arrival or a valid vaccine certificate.
- Iran- Unvaccinated passengers over the age of 8 are required to submit a negative PCR test (in English) taken within 96 hours prior to arrival.
- Tunisia- All travelers must present a negative PCR test result for COVID-19 issued no more than 72 hours prior to departure. Fully vaccinated travellers are exempt from the requirement to self-isolate if they provide COVID-19 vaccination certificate that has a QR code. Unvaccinated travellers are subject to 10 days of quarantine.
- The UAE- Abu Dhabi- Unvaccinated travellers from Green List countries and regions are welcomed to Abu Dhabi with no quarantine measures. However, they must take a PCR test on day 1 and day 6 (Day 1 being the day of arrival). Unvaccinated travellers coming from non-green list countries must undergo a 10-day quarantine period. On arrival at Abu Dhabi International Airport, download and register on the Alhosn app.
- Dubai- All travellers to Dubai are required to hold a negative certificate for a COVID-19 PCR test that was performed no more than 72 hours after departure.
Asia and Africa
- Afghanistan– Passengers over 8 years of age must have a pre-approval letter from the local authority in Afghanistan and a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken at most 72 hours before arrival. The test result must be in English or Persian.
- Angola– Fully vaccinated travellers are no longer required to quarantine on arrival or get tested for COVID-19 on their seventh day in the country.
- Bangladesh– Passengers who have received the full dose of a COVID‑19 vaccine 14 days before travel will be allowed entry to Bangladesh but must undergo a 14‑day home quarantine on arrival. Unvaccinated travelers must pre-book a hotel for a 14-day quarantine stay at their own expense.
- Botswana– All travellers must have proof of a negative PCR test result for COVID-19 issued no more than 72 hours prior to departure. Passengers are subject to medical screening upon arrival and will have to quarantine at their own expense.
- Burkina Faso– All international travellers will need to present a negative COVID 19 PCR test certificate dated no more than 5 days prior to arrival in Burkina Faso.
- Ethiopia– Travellers must produce proof of a negative COVID-19 RT PCR test result issued within the previous 120 hours (5 days), starting from the time the sample is given, is required for all air passengers over the age of 10 years entering Ethiopia. Arrivals must then complete 7 days mandatory self-quarantine.
- Gabon– All passengers travelling to Gabon must present a valid negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test no older than 3 days or a valid COVID-19 vaccination certificate for entry into Gabon.
- Gambia– Visitors must have a medical certificate with a negative Coronavirus (COVID-19) PCR test result issued at most 72 hours before arrival. Arrivals from high-risk countries will be tested upon arrival.
- Kyrgyzstan– A negative PCR test from no more than 72 hours before your arrival by air is now needed for foreign citizens to enter Kyrgyzstan regardless of vaccination status.
- Mali– To enter Mali you will either need to present a negative COVID test certificate less than 72 hours old or be tested on arrival at the airport. While waiting for the test results, you will either have to quarantine at home or in a hotel. If you test positive, you will be made to go to a government designated facility. Even if a negative test is presented on arrival but you show symptoms, you will be made to quarantine until a negative result is obtained.
- Mauritania– If you cannot provide proof of vaccination, you must take a PCR test dated within 3 days before arrival and show evidence of the negative test result, with the date of the test clearly labelled. You should not use the NHS testing service to facilitate your travel to another country. You should take a private test
- Mozambique– Visitors are required to present a negative COVID-19 test result taken no more than 72 hours before departure.
- Namibia– All travellers above 4 years of age must have a negative COVID-19 antigen or PCR test taken at most 7 days before departure from the first embarkation point. Travellers will also be required to possess proof of travel insurance valid for use in Namibia for the duration of their stay. Passengers must present a completed epidemiological questionnaire upon arrival.
- Nigeria– Prior to departure, passengers travelling to Nigeria must complete the online pre-boarding health declaration at the Nigeria International Travel Portal and upload a negative PCR test certificate taken within 72 hours of their departure. Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated inbound passengers are required to observe a mandatory 7-day self-isolation in addition to a Covid-19 PCR test on days 2 and 7 after arrival.
- The Republic of the Congo- Travellers aged 11 and above need to provide proof of a negative coronavirus test taken within 72 hours before arrival. In addition, all passengers will be subjected to a PCR COVID-19 test at the airport upon arrival.
- South Africa– A paper copy of a negative PCR (polymerase chain reaction) COVID-19 test must be presented to border officials upon arrival in South Africa. The test must have taken place no more than 72 hours before your departure. Children under 5 do not require a PCR test.
- Senegal– Travelers will have to provide a negative COVID-19 test from the country of departure, taken not more than 5 days before departure. All travellers to Senegal must fill out a passenger locator form before entry.
- Sierra Leone– All unvaccinated passengers travelling into Sierra Leone will be required to undergo mandatory hotel quarantine at their own cost until proof of a negative PCR test, taken on arrival, is available.
- Sri Lanka– All travellers will have to submit a completed Health Declaration Form. Unvaccinated passengers entering Sri Lanka must stay under the protection of the ‘Tourism Bio Bubble’ for a duration of 13 nights/14 days and do PCR tests.
- Sudan– All passengers over 8 years of age must possess a certificate confirming a negative COVID-19 test, which must be taken less than 72 hours before arrival. Some countries need to present a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 96 hours before arrival.
- Tajikistan– Passengers over the age of 3 years must present a negative RT-PCR test taken 72 hours before departure to Tajikistan.
- Tanzania– All passengers arriving in Tanzania will be required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate upon arrival. The test should be taken within 96 hours of departure for Tanzania.
- Thailand– For international travellers who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated will be required to undergo the mandatory alternative quarantine of 10 days in a designated quarantine hotel in Phuket.
- Togo– All passengers travelling to Togo must show documentary proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than seven (7) days prior to boarding.
- Uganda– All arriving passengers are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test certificate issued no more than 72 hours before boarding the aircraft to Uganda or crossing land borders. Foreign nationals without a valid negative test certificate will be denied entry. Children aged three and under are exempt when accompanying parents arrive with a negative test certificate.
- Uzbekistan– To enter Uzbekistan you must be able to show a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test for coronavirus taken no more than 72 hours before your arrival into the country. This includes people who are vaccinated.
- Zambia– All travellers to Zambia must produce evidence of a PCR COVID-19 negative test taken in the 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin. Travellers to Zambia are encouraged to be fully vaccinated but this is not mandatory.
- Zimbabwe– Tourists, residents and citizens entering Zimbabwe must possess a negative COVID-19 test result, issued no more than 48 hours before their departure to Zimbabwe. They will undergo a further PCR test on arrival.
- Albania- Unvaccinated travellers must present a negative RT-PCR test taken 72 hours before departure or an Antigen test taken 48 hours before departing to Albania.
- Armenia– Travellers are asked to present the results of a PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival or take to a PCR test at the airport. If you hold an appropriate vaccine certificate, you do not need to provide a PCR test.
- Austria- Entry to Austria requires proof of a full vaccination. Additionally, lockdown for the unvaccinated is in effect. People who are not fully vaccinated must remain at home.
- Belarus- Unvaccinated travellers must present a negative RT-PCR test taken 72 hours before departing to Belarus. Individuals arriving from locations with confirmed cases of COVID-19 migt have to undergo a 10-day quarantine upon arrival.
- Belgium- For unvaccinated travellers, entry to Belgium is possible only for a very limited set of reasons. Unvaccinated arrivals from certain countries and regions must undergo a 10-day quarantine upon arrival.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina- Unvaccinated travellers arriving in Bosnia and Herzegovina will be required to present a negative PCR or antigen test result, no older than 48 hours if arriving from Europe, or 72 hours if arriving from other countries.
- Croatia- Unvaccinated travellers arriving in Croatia must present a negative RT-PCR test taken 72 before departure or an Antigen test taken 48 hours before departing to Croatia. Travellers can also present a doctor’s certificate of recovery following a positive test result between 11-180 days before entering the country.
- Cyprus- Unvaccinated travellers must present a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure. They will also need to take another PCR test upon arrival at the airport and remain in isolation (for around three hours) until the test result comes back.
- Denmark- Whether you are required to test and/or self-isolate upon your arrival in Denmark depends on the country you arrive from and whether you are fully vaccinated or have previously recovered from COVID-19. Unvaccinated foreign nationals who are authorized to travel to Denmark will need to undergo COVID-19 testing within 24 hours of their arrival in Denmark.
- France- Unvaccinated travellers will need to present proof of a PCR or antigen test taken within the last 72 hours before their arrival to France. Unvaccinated travellers from ‘red list’ countries will be subject to a mandatory 10-day quarantine supervised by security forces, and will also be required to present a PCR or antigen test taken within the last 48 hours before their arrival to France. They will also be subject to on-arrival testing.
- Germany- Entry to Germany from any other country other than EU member states and specified third countries for any purpose (including visits and tourism) is only possible for fully vaccinated people.
- Greece- Unvaccinated travellers who wish to visit Greece can do so with a proof of a negative PCR test issued within 72 hours of arrival or proof of a negative Covid-19 rapid antigen test from an authorized laboratory, undertaken within the 48-hour period before their arrival.
- Iceland- Non-essential travels are limited to fully vaccinated travellers.
- Ireland- All travellers are required to present a pre-departure PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival in Ireland. People arriving in Ireland do not need to quarantine unless they have been in certain countries in southern Africa.
- Moldova- Unvaccinated travellers who do not have a negative COVID-19 PCR test result prior to boarding must self-quarantine for 14 days on arrival in Moldova. They can take a COVID-19 PCR or rapid antigen test on day 7 of quarantine and end their quarantine period if the test result is negative.
- Montenegro- Unvaccinated travellers over the age of 5 years are required to provide a negative PCR test result from a registered lab, taken within 72 hours of travel or a negative rapid antigen test recognised by the European Commission and issued by a registered lab taken within 48 hours of entry into the country.
- The Netherlands- Unvaccinated travellers arriving from safe areas outside of the EU not designated “very high risk” must provide a negative PCR test result or antigen test taken within 48 hours (or collected within 24 hours for antigen tests).
- North Macedonia- All travellers aged 18 and over will be able to enter North Macedonia if they’re able to produce either a full vaccination certificate, a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours, or
a certificate of recovery in the last 45 days counting from the day of recovery
- Portugal- Portuguese authorities require travellers regardless of vaccination status to take a PCR test 72 hours or an antigen test taken within 24 hours before entering the country for both essential and non-essential reasons.
- Serbia- Unvaccinated travellers must present a negative RT-PCR test taken 72 hours before departure or an Antigen test taken 48 hours before departing to Serbia.
- Slovenia- Unvaccinated travellers must present a negative RT-PCR test taken 72 hours before departure or an Antigen test taken 48 hours before departing to Slovenia.
- Spain- Unvaccinated travellers from countries who fall under Spain’s exemption list can enter Spain as long as their trip is considered essential. However, they must take a negative PCR test within 72 hours before reaching Spain in order to be permitted entry.
- the UK- Unvaccinated travellers to the UK must take a PCR test within 48 hours before travelling to the UK and book and pay for a day two and day eight PCR test. They must also quarantine at home, or at the place they are staying, for 10 days.
- Turkey- Unvaccinated travellers may gain entry to Turkey if they can present either a recent recovery documentation from COVID-19 or a negative PCR test (less than 72 hours of arrival).
- Ukraine- Travellers over 18 years of age who have not been vaccinated against coronavirus and cross the state border to enter must install the Vdoma mobile app which monitors self-isolation. A negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours of arrival will allow travellers to end isolation.
- Belize- All travellers arriving in Belize must present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 96 hours or an Antigen taken within 48 hours before departing to Belize.
- Brazil-Unvaccinated travellers, or travellers without proof of vaccination, will not be allowed access to Brazil unless they meet the criteria set out in the decree – in this case, they will also be required to undergo quarantine for up to 14 days.
- Cuba- Unvaccinated travellers need to present a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before travelling to Cuba.
- Jamaica- Unvaccinated travellers above the age of 12 years must present a negative RT-PCR or Antigen test taken 72 hours before departing to Jamaica. Unvaccinated travellers will also be placed under the Home Quarantine measure for a period of 14 days following the date of landing in Jamaica.
- Haiti- All arrivals to Haiti will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding flights. This may be either an Antigen or PCR test and must have been taken no more than 72 hours prior to boarding. Passengers will also be subject to medical screening. A completed Health Declaration Form must be presented to immigration upon arrival.
- Honduras- Passengers who cannot provide proof of full vaccination must hand-carry the negative test results for a PCR or rapid test taken less than 72 hours before entry into Honduras. Passengers must show the test results at check-in.
- Panama- Unvaccinated travellers must present a negative COVID-19 test (PCR or Antigen) taken within 72 hours before travelling to Panama or be tested at the airport at their expense. The travellers may need to quarantine at a hotel for 14 days. If the unvaccinated travellers have visited a high-risk country 14 days prior to their arrival in Panama, they will be required to complete 72 hours of mandatory hotel quarantine and will be tested at the end of the 72 hour period to end quarantine.
- Paraguay- Unvaccinated travellers must present a negative RT-PCR test taken 72 hours before departure or an Antigen test taken 24 hours before departing to Paraguay. They must quarantine for 5 days after the date of their pre-departure COVID-19 test and can end quarantine with a negative result.
- The Bahamas- Unvaccinated travellers, ages 12 and older, entering The Bahamas must obtain a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR (including PCR, NAA, NAAT, TMA or RNA) test taken no more than three days (72 hours) prior to the date of arrival.
- Venezuela- Passengers entering or transiting through Venezuela must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test result issued at most 72 hours before arrival and must register online before departure to generate a QR code which must be presented upon arrival. Passengers will also be subject to a COVID-19 PCR test upon arrival.