Dozens of countries in Europe and Asia remain off-limits for American travelers as the world continues to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic. Other countries do remain open, with and without quarantine, to Americans who can meet certain conditions.
Many, such as Albania, are off the beaten path for most Americans. Others, such as Mexico, are more familiar. At least two of those nations, Aruba and Costa Rica, have different policies depending on which U.S. state you are from.
Unfortunately, you won’t find Canada on the open list. Canada has banned most foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens, from entering its territory. There are exceptions for some students and people with Canadian family, but otherwise, the ban on nonessential travel is firm.
The U.S.’ other neighbor, Mexico, requires no test and no quarantine for those traveling by air. Under a pact the two countries have been renewing monthly, U.S. travelers are forbidden from traveling by land across the border for nonessential reasons, but no such ban applies to those who fly. That large loophole, by the way, is often unacknowledged in Department of Homeland Security communications.
Regarding those European nations: If you aren’t familiar with the term “Schengen countries,” you should be. The term refers to 26 European Union nations that are acting collectively when it comes to allowing travelers to safely cross their borders without spreading COVID-19. Many have been tightening internal restrictions in recent days in hopes of thwarting a new surge of cases. Americans currently are not allowed in; residents of Canada, New Zealand and Japan are. The list is reviewed every two weeks.
In the Asia-Pacific region, too, many doors are also closed. American tourists are not allowed to visit Japan, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines. The same goes for Australia and New Zealand.
What to consider before you go
Before you make plans for going abroad, bear in mind that travel increases your risk of infection and the chance that you might unknowing pass infection to others, worsening a catastrophe that has already claimed 1 million lives . Since March, local, state and national health officials have all urged Americans to stay close to home — preferably within their neighborhoods — and defer any nonessential travel.
The U.S. State Department has detailed nation-by-nation information on COVID-19 conditions abroad. The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have information on COVID-19 cases and deaths (with countries assessed four levels of risk), and the World Health Organization maintains an updated dashboard. For another perspective, you can also check which countries the British government believes are safe to visit. (As of late October, more than 50 countries