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Coronavirus

COVID-19 jab done? These nations are opening their frontiers to vaccinated visitors

Published: Updated:

COVID-19 vaccination programs are in many countries around the world and, as more people get inoculated against the coronavirus, a handful of destinations are looking to welcome back tourists by opening borders to vaccinated visitors.

From beach getaways, European city destinations and mountainous retreats, here are the countries that have announced they will, or will soon, begin permitting entry across their closed borders. Some are removing mandatory quarantine and testing restrictions, for those who wish to visit and are fully vaccinated.

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Seychelles

Last month, Seychelles became the first destination to open its borders to vaccinated visitors.

Between a four-and five hour flight from most GCC countries, the archipelago is boosting its tourism industry by getting rid of any quarantine requirements for incoming visitors who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 – travelers just need to show that they have taken two doses of any of the four main vaccines currently on the market.

View a palm tree on a beach on Praslin island, Seychelles (AFP)
View a palm tree on a beach on Praslin island, Seychelles (AFP)

The Seychelles embassy in the UAE confirmed these include all the vaccines currently available in the Emirates.

The second dose will need to have been administered at least two weeks before arrival in the country.

Visitors will need to simply need submit an “authentic certificate from their national health authority” to prove they have had the vaccine.

By March, the country will further relax its rules as it expects to have about three quarters of its adult population vaccinated by then. Once that happens, the country will grant entry to all – regardless of vaccination status – butas long as they can show a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel.

Cyprus

Greek getaway Cyprus became the first EU country abolish entry requirements for vaccinated visitors.

Tourists sunbathe at the beach in the resort town of Ayia Napa in southeastern Cyprus. (File photo: AFP)
Tourists sunbathe at the beach in the resort town of Ayia Napa in southeastern Cyprus. (File photo: AFP)

As of March 1, 2021, those vaccinated, and that can prove it on arrival into Cyprus, will no longer have to present a negative PCR test or be subject to quarantine.

Iceland

Iceland has also announced that it will not require travelers to quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Current rules stipulate all arrivals must undergo a PCR test upon arrival followed by a 5-6 day quarantine. However, the new policy means travelers who can show they have received two doses of a vaccine will not be required to under screenings or self-isolaton.

Iceland’s borders are currently only open to residents and citizens of Switzerland, the UK, the European Economic Area (EEA), European Free Trade Association (EFTA), Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican, as well as citizens of Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.

Visitors from the EEA and EFTA who can present a valid Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca vaccination certificate are now eligible to enter the country without having to quarantine. Visitors must be able to provide a proper vaccination certificate showing where, when and which vaccines were given. This must include the manufacturer and batch lot.

Only digital and paper vaccine certificates issued by the European Medicines Agency will be accepted, and they must be written in either Icelandic, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, English or French.

Those from EU / EFTA states who can confirm through a PCR or antibody test that they have previously had and recovered from COVID-19 are also exempt.

Georgia

As of February 1, 2021, citizens from all countries are permitted to enter Georgia by air - on the condition that they can prove they have received the full course of any of the COVID-19 vaccinations available on the market.

This aerial photo shows the centre of the Georgian capital Tbilisi.
This aerial photo shows the centre of the Georgian capital Tbilisi.

Other foreign visitors must present a negative PCR test result in the 72 hours before arrival in the former Soviet republic, and another test again on the third day of their stay.

Estonia

Estonia has also announced it is easing its arrivals for vaccines – as well as allowing those who have recovered from COVID-19 to visit without quarantine.

A picture of a shopping street in Estonia (File photo: AFP)
A picture of a shopping street in Estonia (File photo: AFP)

Vaccinated tourists visiting the baltic country must present a valid vaccination certificate. The information required on the certificate is: where the vaccine was made, which vaccine was used, the issuer of the vaccine and the batch number of the vaccine. The certificate will only be accepted in Estonian, Russian or English.

Lebanon

As of 11 January 2021, arrivals into Lebanon who can prove they have received a COVID-19 vaccine are exempt from having to quarantine.

Tourists sit in a boat near the sea castle in the port city of Sidon, Lebanon July 9, 2019. (Reuters)
Tourists sit in a boat near the sea castle in the port city of Sidon, Lebanon July 9, 2019. (Reuters)

As a precautionary measure, arrivals will still be expected to take a PCR test at the airport on arrival.

Poland

Poland introduced a mandatory 10-day self-isolation for all arrivals into the country from December. However, visitors who can present a certificate proving they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 (and had both of the required doses) will be exempt from self-isolation.

People bathe in the Wisla river in Warsaw, Poland (File photo: AFP)
People bathe in the Wisla river in Warsaw, Poland (File photo: AFP)

Poland’s borders are currently only open to residents of European Union member states and EFTA member states, as well as Georgia, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Thailand, South Korea, Tunisia and Australia.

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Romania

The Balkan country of Romania has also opened its frontiers to vaccinated travelers.

An ice hotel in Romania (File photo: AFP)
An ice hotel in Romania (File photo: AFP)

Since mid-January, visitors to the country have been allowed entry without having to quarantine if they’re able to prove they’ve had the vaccine. If the vaccine requires two doses, both must be taken at least 10 days before traveling to Romania. This is as long as they fly in from a destination on Romania’s “yellow list”, which is updated regularly and currently includes the UAE.

Read more:

Pack your passport: The top ‘coronavirus-safe’ destinations of 2021 for GCC residents

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