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Navigating the confusing global travel landscape

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After two years of uncertainty, the world is just now beginning to emerge from the global pandemic crisis. But some travel restrictions remain in play, and thus the travel landscape looks a bit different than before. Understanding the entry requirements of each country can be a daunting task, and begs the question — what is open and to whom?

The International Air Transport Association’s Travel Regulations Map, powered by Timatic, as well as Sherpa’s tool which allows travelers to find the latest travel and health restrictions for their individual trip, are proverbially doing god’s work right now.

But let’s take a look at a smattering of countries and their approaches to entry requirements, as readers seek to reunite with friends and family, feed their wanderlust and consider where to spend their hard-earned funds. Please note that it is nonetheless important to independently check each country’s specific requirements, as they can change quickly. 


Canada set the stage for some of the strictest travel restrictions during the pandemic, going so far as to prevent unvaccinated Canadian citizens from availing of air and rail transport within its borders. 

Vaccination Requirement:

Vaccination is mandatory to enter all aircraft, trains and cruise ships — whether domestic or international — for anyone over 12 years old and four months.

One is considered fully vaccinated: two weeks (14 days) after receiving the second dose of a two-dose vaccine; a mix of two accepted vaccines; or one dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two weeks (14 days) prior to travel.  

Testing Requirement:

Starting on 1 April, fully vaccinated travelers entering Canada no longer have to provide a negative pre-entry COVID-19 test but they must still use the country’s ArriveCAN app to show proof of vaccination within 72 hours before arrival into Canada.

Mask Requirement:

For 14 days following entry into Canada, travelers must wear a mask when in public spaces, both indoors and outdoors, and maintain a list of all contacts and locations visited. 

United States

Vaccination Requirement: 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Non-US Citizens and Non-US Immigrants must be fully vaccinated to enter the country. 

You are considered fully vaccinated: two weeks (14 days) after your dose of an accepted single-dose COVID-19 vaccine; two weeks after your second dose of an accepted two-dose series; or two weeks after you received two doses of any “mix-and-match” combination of accepted COVID-19 vaccines administered at least 17 days apart, though the CDC does not recommend mixing and matching.

Children under 18 are exempted from the vaccination requirement for foreign national travelers.

The CDC also states that “a booster dose is not needed to meet this requirement”.

Unvaccinated US citizens can, however, enter the country.

Testing requirement:

If you are flying into the United States, regardless of vaccination status, you are required to show a negative antigen or PCR test taken within 24 hours of travel.


Vaccination Requirement:

Anyone 12 years and three months or older must be fully vaccinated to enter Australia. Unvaccinated passengers require a valid travel exemption to enter the country.

For travelers to qualify as fully vaccinated they must have two doses — at least 14 days apart — of an approved vaccine (2 mRNA) or one dose of the Johnson/Janssen-Cilag vaccine. Australia also accepts mixed doses of approved vaccines. 

Please note that seven days must have passed since the final dose of vaccine in order to travel (unlike the 14-day wait requirement of other countries). 

Testing Requirement:

As of 18 April, pre-departure testing will no longer be required to enter Australia. 

New Zealand

Vaccination Requirement:

New Zealand has opened its borders to vaccinated travelers from around the world.

Proof of vaccination is not required if you are a New Zealand citizen, a child under 16 years, have a medical exemption, a refugee arriving for the first time, or a citizen evacuating Afghanistan or arriving from Antarctica. All others require proof of vaccination. 

Testing Requirement:

Pre-departure negative COVID-19 tests (PCR within 48 hours or rapid antigen/LAMP within 24 hours) are also required.

European Union*

The European Commission implemented the EU Digital COVID Certificate on 1 July, 2021. This QR code sets the standards for entry. Now, in order to enter EU member states, you can provide certification of vaccination (no more than 270 days since your last dose), recovery from the disease (no more than six months since recovery) or a negative COVID-19 test (no more than 48 hours for antigen or 72 hours for molecular). Travelers with a booster dose are not subject to the acceptance period. This is a more flexible approach than in prior months, when vaccination requirements were more rigid.

*Entry requirements for Portugal, Italy, Spain and Greece are in line with these standards for all travelers with some minor differences. However, France and Germany, for example, have more specific requirements.

Passengers traveling to France, Italy, Malta or Slovenia as their final destination should complete a passenger locator form via the European Digital Passenger Locator Form (dPLF). The Passenger Locator Forms are used by public health authorities to facilitate contact tracing in case travelers are exposed during their travel.


As of 1 March, Italy has removed quarantine obligations for those travelers who fill out the Passenger Locator Form and hold a Green Pass (EU Digital COVID Certificate equivalent).

*For travelers unable to show an EU Digital COVID Certificate or equivalent (showing a completed vaccination cycle, full recovery from COVID-19 or a negative molecular or antigen test), entry is still granted with a five-day quarantine and a negative test at the end of those five days.

Travel to and from the Republic of San Marino and the Vatican City State is not subject to any obligation or declaration.


All people entering Spain from other countries, except children under the age of 12 and passengers in international transit, must show an EU COVID Digital Certificate or equivalent or, fill in Spain’s Health Control Form and obtain their so-called SpTH QR code.

The 270-day expiry date after last vaccine dose does not apply to individuals 18 years old and under.


Greece no longer requires completion of Passenger Locator Form (PLF) by visitors from ALL countries as of 15 March. 

All travelers arriving in Greece, regardless of the certificate in their possession, may be subject to random COVID-19 testing. 


The restrictions you face depend on whether you come from a “green” or “orange” listed country (countries with higher rates of COVID-19 infections are orange).

France says that testing is no longer required for fully vaccinated travelers providing they show proof of vaccination, and complete France’s so-called Eos electronic form if they’re coming from “orange” countries and territories.

A traveler is deemed fully vaccinated 28 days after receiving one dose of the J&J/Janssen vaccine, seven days after a second dose of other vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (namely Pfizer/Comirnaty, Moderna, AstraZeneca/Vaxzevria/Covishield). For any travelers who have received all of the required doses of a WHO-licensed vaccine that is not approved by the European Medicines Agency, they are deemed fully vaccinated seven days after receiving an additional dose of a duly approved mRNA vaccine.


Those who are 18 years or older and are fully vaccinated must have a booster dose of mRNA vaccine no later than nine months after receiving the last mandatory dose in order to be considered fully vaccinated by France’s standards.

Notably, France is permitting unvaccinated travelers to enter the country with conditions. Unvaccinated travelers must provide a pre-departure negative COVID-19 test on entry, but can skip arrival testing and isolation if they are coming from a country on the “green” list.

Unvaccinated travelers coming from a country on the “orange” list must continue to present a compelling reason justifying the need for them to come to France and may be subject to a random testing on arrival.

Unvaccinated travelers may also provide a certificate of recovery (positive result of a PCR or antigenic test carried out more than eleven days and less than six months before). This certificate is only valid for a period of six months from the date of completion of the examination or test).


To enter Germany travelers 12 and older will need a: negative test result; proof of vaccination; or proof of recovery. To that end, if you are entering following a stay in a high-risk area, you will need to self-isolate for ten days. If coming from an area with a variant of concern, the isolation time increases to 14 days. 

As of 3 March, no states or regions are considered high-risk areas, according to the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community.

Germany defines fully vaccinated as two doses of any approved vaccine.

The single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine appears to have fallen out of favor in Germany, with a second dose — or a dose of mRNA — required to be considered fully vaccinated. 

United Kingdom and EU member state Ireland 

Both countries are quite clear that regardless of vaccination status you do not need to show proof of vaccination or a negative test for entry.


Singapore defines fully vaccinated as those who have received a full regimen of WHO EUL vaccines in the list of accepted vaccinations and meet the minimum dose interval period, or contracted COVID-19 before being vaccinated, and received at least one dose of any WHO EUL vaccines at least 28 days from their first diagnosis of a COVID-19 infection. Recovered travelers must produce acceptable proof of their first positive COVID-19 diagnosis.

Fully vaccinated travelers must have a recognized Digitally Verifiable Vaccination Certificate (DVC). Use the Vaccination Check Portal (VCP) to verify that your DVC is recognized by the Singapore authorities. The VCP will issue a vaccination acceptance letter if the verification is successful.

If travelers do not have a recognized DVC they must show a Vaccination Certificate that is in English, or accompanied with a notarized English Translation, with the following details:

  1. Name (per travel document used for entry)
  2. At least one other personal identifier, e.g. date of birth or passport number (per travel document used for entry)
  3. Country of vaccination
  4. Name of vaccine(s) administered, i.e. different names for different vaccine type
  5. Vaccination date(s)

Additionally, travelers will need to fill out the SG Arrival Card (SGAC),with electronic Health declaration, install the TraceTogether mobile app, and provide a negative PCR or antigen test less than two days prior to departure.

Non-vaccinated Long-Term Pass Holders aged 18 and above, and non-vaccinated Short-Term Visitors aged 13 and above are generally not allowed to enter Singapore, with only very specific exceptions made, such as, in one for-instance, family members of a Singapore Citizen. Upon entry, unvaccinated exempt travelers will then receive a 7-day Stay-Home Notice to which they must go directly to via private transport. Public transport is prohibited. At the end of the seven days, these travelers are to complete a SHN-exit COVID-19 PCR test.

Notably, upon entry, travelers must complete the full vaccination regimen within two months of arrival if:

  • Aged 13 and above; AND
  • Hold a Long-term Pass, e.g. Student’s Pass, Work Pass.


According to IATA’s digital map, Mexico, Costa Rica, Romania, Poland, Hungary, Iceland, Sweden, Montenegro and Norway are all restriction-free locations to travel, in addition to the aforementioned UK and Ireland.

While IATA’s digital map and the Sherpa route-specific tool are great starting points, this information — like RGN’s roundup here — is available for information purposes only. It is important to check each country’s specific requirements, as they can change quickly. 

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Featured image credited to Bridget Kirby