October 2020 U.S. Travel Advisory Status for 210 Countries by Level

Thousands of couples in long-distance relationships and those separated by travel restrictions around the world are struggling to get back together. There’s little in the way of consistent news, and even governments are confused about long-distance couples and how their travel exemptions should be handled. To make matters worse, if you are unmarried, then you may need to prove that your relationship is a meaningful one – a near-impossible task for many couples who have only recently met or don’t have a legal document to say they are together. This article deals with couples where one partner is in the United States and looking to join their partner in another country. If you’re traveling within the United States to join a loved one in another state, please read this article: U.S. Statewise Travel Restrictions During the COVID-19 Pandemic – Sep-Oct

Travel from the U.S. to other countries is currently in a state of flux. As of October 2020, the United States Department of State has listed 210 countries and territories and assigned U.S. travel advisory levels to each, along with the date the advisory came into effect. This list is valid as of October 2, 2020. The original map was published at the start of global travel restrictions and is updated as new information becomes available. The table presented here is reproduced from the State Department website and filtered in descending order of level. The 4 main levels, in order of severity, are:

  • Level 4: Do Not Travel
  • Level 3: Reconsider Travel
  • Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution
  • Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions

Since travel restrictions, border closures, and travel exemptions are constantly evolving, please check with the embassy or consulate of the country you intend to travel to prior to making any travel arrangements. Also note that there may be testing, quarantine, document submissions, and other requirements on arrival. Please be informed of all necessary documentation and mandates before you leave. You can also register for alerts regarding particular countries on the State Department website.

U.S. Travel Advisory World Map Showing Levels

U.S. travel advisory world map

Advisory Level Date Updated
Afghanistan Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 24, 2020
Namibia Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Kazakhstan Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Belize Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 11, 2020
Brazil Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
South Sudan Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Guyana Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Haiti Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Honduras Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
India Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Indonesia Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Iran Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Iraq Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 12, 2020
North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Kosovo Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
The Kyrgyz Republic Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Libya Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Malawi Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Mali Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Oman Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Panama Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Peru Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Russia Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Somalia Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Syria Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Tajikistan Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Turkmenistan Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 7, 2020
Venezuela Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Yemen Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
French Guiana Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Argentina Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
The Bahamas Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Bhutan Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Bolivia Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Burkina Faso Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Burundi Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 11, 2020
Central African Republic Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 31, 2020
Colombia Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Costa Rica Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Cuba Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Dominican Republic Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Liechtenstein Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
North Macedonia Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Nauru Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Burma (Myanmar) Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Albania Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Algeria Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Andorra Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Angola Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Anguilla Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 17, 2020
Antigua and Barbuda Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Botswana Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Cabo Verde Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 17, 2020
Comoros Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Djibouti Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Equatorial Guinea Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel September 21, 2020
Guinea Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Lesotho Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Eswatini Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel September 28, 2020
Australia Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
French Polynesia Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 31, 2020
Hong Kong Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel September 14, 2020
Japan Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Kiribati Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Mongolia Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel September 14, 2020
Papua New Guinea Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Samoa Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Austria Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Belarus Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel September 28, 2020
Belgium Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Bulgaria Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Croatia Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Cyprus Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Czech Republic Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Denmark Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Estonia Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Finland Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
France Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Germany Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Greece Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Hungary Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Iceland Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Ireland Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Latvia Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Lithuania Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Luxembourg Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Malta Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Montenegro Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Netherlands Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Norway Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Poland Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Portugal Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Romania Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Serbia Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Slovakia Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Slovenia Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Spain Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 10, 2020
Sweden Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Switzerland Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
United Kingdom Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
United Arab Emirates Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 17, 2020
Aruba Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Barbados Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Bermuda Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 17, 2020
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel September 28, 2020
Cayman Islands Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Curacao Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel September 28, 2020
French West Indies Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Montserrat Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 31, 2020
Saint Kitts and Nevis Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 17, 2020
Sint Maarten Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Saint Vincent and The Grenadines Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel September 8, 2020
Trinidad and Tobago Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Turks and Caicos Islands Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Guatemala Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel September 28, 2020
Israel, The West Bank and Gaza Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel September 23, 2020
Italy Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Jamaica Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Jordan Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Kenya Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
South Korea Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Kuwait Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel September 17, 2020
Laos Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Lebanon Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Liberia Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 31, 2020
Madagascar Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Malaysia Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 17, 2020
Maldives Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Mauritania Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Mexico Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel September 8, 2020
Moldova Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Morocco Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Mozambique Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 7, 2020
Nepal Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Nicaragua Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel September 28, 2020
Niger Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Nigeria Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel September 21, 2020
Pakistan Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel September 8, 2020
Paraguay Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Philippines Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Qatar Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Rwanda Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Sao Tome and Principe Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 31, 2020
Saudi Arabia Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 31, 2020
Senegal Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Seychelles Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Sierra Leone Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 31, 2020
Singapore Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Solomon Island Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
South Africa Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel September 15, 2020
Sri Lanka Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Sudan Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 24, 2020
Suriname Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Tanzania Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel September 28, 2020
Timor-Leste Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Togo Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Tunisia Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Turkey Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 26, 2020
Tuvalu Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Uganda Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Ukraine Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 24, 2020
Uruguay Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Uzbekistan Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Vanuatu Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Vietnam Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Zambia Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Zimbabwe Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
British Virgin Islands Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 31, 2020
Tonga Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Armenia Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 17, 2020
Azerbaijan Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Bahrain Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Bangladesh Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel September 8, 2020
Benin Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel September 8, 2020
Bosnia and Herzegovina Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Cameroon Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel September 28, 2020
Canada Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Chad Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel September 28, 2020
Chile Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
China Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel September 14, 2020
Cote d’Ivoire Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Ecuador Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Egypt Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel September 21, 2020
El Salvador Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel September 14, 2020
Eritrea Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Ethiopia Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 31, 2020
Gabon Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
The Gambia Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Georgia Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Ghana Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel September 21, 2020
Democratic Republic of the Congo Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 24, 2020
Republic of the Congo Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel September 28, 2020
Guinea-Bissau Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel August 6, 2020
Palau Travel Advisory Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution August 17, 2020
Antarctica Travel Advisory Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution August 6, 2020
Brunei Travel Advisory Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution August 6, 2020
Fiji Travel Advisory Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution September 21, 2020
New Caledonia Travel Advisory Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution August 6, 2020
New Zealand Travel Advisory Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution August 6, 2020
Saint Lucia Travel Advisory Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution August 31, 2020
Grenada Travel Advisory Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution August 31, 2020
Marshall Islands Travel Advisory Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution August 17, 2020
Mauritius Travel Advisory Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution August 6, 2020
Micronesia Travel Advisory Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution August 24, 2020
Thailand Travel Advisory Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution August 6, 2020
Cambodia Travel Advisory Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution September 14, 2020
Dominica Travel Advisory Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution August 31, 2020
Macau Travel Advisory Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions August 6, 2020
Taiwan Travel Advisory Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions August 6, 2020
Worldwide Caution Caution January 15, 2019

U.S. Statewise Travel Restrictions During the COVID-19 Pandemic – Sep-Oct

As the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to criss-cross and goes back and forth across the United States, travel restrictions are constantly in flux. As of today, September 29, 2020, the 50 states have the following regulations in place regarding inward-bound travelers. Long-distance relationships have been hard-hit by these restrictions as thousands of couples have been forced to remain apart due to the evolving restriction landscape. Not just long-distance couples but families and friends have been separated for months on end because quarantine requirements or closed borders have not allowed them to travel.

If you intend to travel to join your long-distance spouse or partner or are planning a trip with your family, traveling for business or traveling for any other purpose, you are advised to check the current status on the official government website of each state you intend to cross or transit through, as well as that of your destination state. Anything can change at a moment’s notice.

Please ensure that you have a face mask on your person at all times and are wearing it whenever you are in public. Be ready for self-quarantine and testing mandates; some states may require you to bear all costs. During your travel and at your destination state, continue wearing your face mask or covering when in public, maintain social distancing norms, and wash your hands frequently. This is still the best way to stay safe.

Following is a list of statewise travel restrictions across the United States when arriving at your destination state by air, road, or train. For your convenience, a Red, Amber, and Green color code has been applied below to indicate states with restrictions, states with recommendations or mask mandates, and states with no restrictions, respectively. All data is as of the date of publication and may be subject to change at any time. Once again, please check with state and local government websites for the most current information prior to travel. Bon voyage!


Alabama

No restrictions on inward travel but the wearing of face masks and other safety mandates are in place until October 2.

Alaska

Out-of-state travelers must purchase their own test and quarantine at their own expense until the results of the test are available. They must also submit a written declaration and their plan for self-quarantine. A negative COVID-19 test is also required. In addition, visitors who have come for work must follow the plan that their employer previously filed with state authorities.

Arizona

No travel restrictions applicable statewide as of this publication but local restrictions may apply. Please verify with local sources prior to travel.

Arkansas

No travel restrictions applicable statewide as of this publication but local restrictions may apply. Please verify with local sources prior to travel.

California

No travel restrictions applicable statewide as of this publication but local restrictions may apply. Please verify with local sources prior to travel. Please check for local wildfire alerts.

Colorado

No travel restrictions applicable statewide as of this publication but local restrictions may apply. Please verify with local sources prior to travel.

Connecticut

Travel restrictions apply to anyone who has spent more than 24 hours in a state showing a 10% positivity rate or a 10 out of 100,000 person infection rate (or higher, in both cases). Such visitors are required to self-isolate for 14 days or may be exempted if they have a COVID-19 test no older than 72 hours. It is mandatory to submit a travel health form on arrival. The list of states and territories with 10% or higher positivity rates currently number 35 (including Guam.)

Delaware

No travel restrictions applicable statewide as of this publication but local restrictions may apply. Please verify with local sources prior to travel.

Florida

No travel restrictions applicable statewide as of this publication but local restrictions may apply. Please verify with local sources prior to travel.

Georgia

No travel restrictions applicable statewide as of this publication but local restrictions may apply. Please verify with local sources prior to travel.

Hawaii

Current travel restrictions: Mandatory 14-day quarantine. Visitors are also required to sign a form declaring their awareness of the quarantine and the fact that violating it constitutes a criminal offense.

New travel restrictions applicable from Oct. 15, 2020: Inward travelers are required to have a CLIA-certified lab show negative results and must do a NAAT test (FDA-approved) 72 hours prior to flying. This will enable them to bypass the mandatory quarantine. A similar quarantine has been reinstated for inter-island travelers until Sep. 30. Please check local sources for specifics.

Idaho

14-day self-isolation for inbound travelers is recommended or “encouraged”, not mandatory, in Ada County.

Illinois

Visitors from 19 other states, as listed on the government portal, will be quarantined for 14 days.

Indiana

No travel restrictions applicable statewide as of this publication but local restrictions may apply. Please verify with local sources prior to travel.

Iowa

No travel restrictions applicable statewide as of this publication but local restrictions may apply. Please verify with local sources prior to travel.

Kansas

No travel restrictions and no mandatory quarantine period. However, if you did one of these things, whether you are a visitor or a resident, a 14-day quarantine is required.

  • Went to Aruba after or on Sep. 24.
  • Participated in any event where 500 people or more were present.
  • Have gone on a cruise (river or sea) since March.

Kentucky

Travelers from states with a 15% or higher positivity rate (per the Johns Hopkins University tracking portal) are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine. 5 states and Puerto Rico are on this list as of this publication.

Louisiana

No travel restrictions applicable statewide as of this publication but local restrictions may apply. Please verify with local sources prior to travel.

Maine

Visitors may sign a declaration saying they tested negative in the past three days in the absence of which quarantine is required. Testing on arrival is also an option but the quarantine will apply until the results come back. These restrictions and requirements do not apply to visitors from Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

Maryland

No travel restrictions applicable statewide as of this publication but local restrictions may apply. Please verify with local sources prior to travel.

Massachusetts

The Department of Public Health has designated several states as low risk. If you are traveling from a state that is not on this list, a travel form must be filled out and submitted prior to arriving in the state. The low-risk states are, as of this publication, Washington state, Vermont, Oregon, New York, New Mexico, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut, and Colorado.

Along with the travel form, you must submit a negative test no older than three days (72 hours) or be subject to a 14-day quarantine. You may choose to do the test on arrival but must be quarantined until the results are released and are negative. There’s a $500 fine for violating these directives.

Michigan

No travel restrictions applicable statewide as of this publication but local restrictions may apply. Please verify with local sources prior to travel.

Minnesota

No travel restrictions applicable statewide as of this publication but local restrictions may apply. Please verify with local sources prior to travel.

Mississippi

No travel restrictions applicable statewide as of this publication but local restrictions may apply. Please verify with local sources prior to travel.

Missouri

No travel restrictions applicable statewide as of this publication but local restrictions may apply. Please verify with local sources prior to travel.

Montana

No travel restrictions applicable statewide as of this publication but local restrictions apply at 7 Native American reservations. Please verify with local sources prior to travel.

Nebraska

No travel restrictions applicable statewide as of this publication but local restrictions may apply. Please verify with local sources prior to travel.

Nevada

No travel restrictions applicable statewide as of this publication but local restrictions may apply. Please verify with local sources prior to travel.

New Hampshire

A self-quarantine period of two weeks is required if you’re coming in from anywhere except the five New England states; namely, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine.

New Jersey

If you intend to spend more than 24 hours in New Jersey and your state of origin has a 10% or higher positivity rate or a positive rate of 10 per 100,000 people, you are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine.

New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut have been working together on a hotspot list, which has now grown to 35 states and territories as of this publication. All three states require travelers from these states to undergo quarantine.

New Mexico

Visitors arriving from states not on the exemption list must self-isolate for the shorter of the duration of stay or 14 days. States currently exempt from this restriction are Washington state, Washington D.C., Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Massachusetts, Maine, Hawaii, and Connecticut.

New York

New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut have been working together on a hotspot list, which has now grown to 35 states and territories as of this publication. All three states require travelers from these states to undergo a 14-day quarantine.

Those entering by air must hand in a form indicating where they’ve been and other details, and failure to do this will attract a fine of $2,000. Travelers entering by other means of transportation can fill an online form.

North Carolina

No travel restrictions applicable statewide as of this publication but local restrictions may apply. Please verify with local sources prior to travel.

North Dakota

No travel restrictions applicable statewide as of this publication but local restrictions may apply. Please verify with local sources prior to travel.

Ohio

The threshold for entry without a mandatory quarantine is a less than 15% positive testing rate in the state of origin. Ohio currently has Wisconsin, South Dakota, Kansas, Iowa, and Idaho on this list of must-quarantine states as of this publication.

Oklahoma

No travel restrictions applicable statewide as of this publication but local restrictions may apply. Please verify with local sources prior to travel.

Oregon

No travel restrictions applicable statewide as of this publication but local restrictions may apply. Please verify with local sources prior to travel. Please check for local wildfire alerts.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania maintains a list of states that have a “high number of COVID-19 cases”, and travelers from these states are required to self-isolate for 14 days. There are currently 19 states on this list as of this publication.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island’s threshold is much lower: a less-than-5% positive testing rate is required to avoid the mandatory 14-day quarantine. If you carry a negative COVID-19 test no older than three days (72 hours), you may opt out of the quarantine requirement. If you are awaiting test results, you must self-isolate until a negative result is obtained and submitted. The recommendation is still a 14-day quarantine rather than a reliance on the test result.

If you plan to stay at a rental property or a hotel, you will need to sign a compliance certificate for the self-quarantine or produce a recent negative test.

South Carolina

No travel restrictions applicable statewide as of this publication but local restrictions may apply. Please verify with local sources prior to travel.

South Dakota

No travel restrictions applicable statewide as of this publication but local (movement through Native American reservations) restrictions may apply. Please verify with local sources prior to travel.

Tennessee

No travel restrictions applicable statewide as of this publication but local restrictions may apply. Please verify with local sources prior to travel.

Texas

No travel restrictions applicable statewide as of this publication but local restrictions may apply. Please verify with local sources prior to travel. Mask-wearing in public is highly encouraged.

Utah

No travel restrictions applicable statewide as of this publication but local restrictions may apply. Please verify with local sources prior to travel.

Vermont

Travelers from states with less than 400 active cases per million residents are exempt from the 14-day quarantine. All others must self-quarantine for the entire duration or self-isolate for 7 days if they can show a recent negative test.

Self-isolation prior to arrival is allowed if a self-owned vehicle is used for travel. However, these visitors must not have made frequent stops and must have followed all the necessary precautions, such as wearing a mask, frequent hand-washing, and social distancing.

Virginia

No travel restrictions applicable statewide as of this publication but local restrictions may apply. Please verify with local sources prior to travel.

Washington, D.C.

D.C. requires that visitors from 31 states (as of this publication) quarantine themselves for 14 days.

Washington state

No travel restrictions applicable statewide as of this publication but local restrictions may apply. Please verify with local sources prior to travel. Please check for local wildfire alerts.

West Virginia

No travel restrictions applicable statewide as of this publication but local restrictions may apply. Please verify with local sources prior to travel.

Wisconsin

No quarantine requirement statewide. Inbound travelers are asked to self-assess for symptoms and not leave their place of residence unless absolutely necessary. Visitors are advised not to visit rental homes or private residences during the quarantine window.

Wyoming

No travel restrictions applicable statewide as of this publication but local restrictions may apply. Please verify with local sources prior to travel.


 

Long-distance Couples Travel Alert: NJ, NY, CT Add 5 New States to Hotspot List

If you’re in a long-distance relationship with someone living in New Jersey, New York, or Connecticut, you should be aware that several new states have been added to the growing list of identified hotspots. Wyoming, Nevada, Rhode Island, Minnesota, and Arizona were added to the hotspot list that grew out of an agreement between the governors of the three states to identify states where COVID-19 infection rates had either not abated or were showing signs of resurgence. The total number of states and territories on the hotspot list is now 35 including the five that were just added. None were removed as of the last update, which clearly indicates that the pandemic is by no means under control in most of the United States.

self quarantine list

Long-distance couples are advised not to travel from hotspot states if they’re not ready to factor in the self-quarantine time to the total duration of their trip. If it’s for a quick trip to meet up with your loved one, it’s probably a no-go for you.

The Impact of the Hotspot List and Other Travel Restrictions on Long-distance Relationship Couples

Around the world, unmarried couples who are either in a long-distance relationship or separated by the sudden travel restrictions implemented at the start of the pandemic have been struggling to find ways of being reunited. A few EU countries have lifted their respective bans on travel for such couples but it remains a major bureaucratic challenge to verify whether or not such couples are really in a ‘serious’ relationship.

In the United States, travel options to and from a lot of countries remain closed for the time being. Nobody knows when such restrictions will be lifted, and it has left thousands of couples around the world and in-country fending for themselves, alone and distraught.

The issue is different for married couples because there are already laws to allow them to be reunited in times of emergency. The same isn’t true for live-in partners or any civil union outside of marriage, unfortunately. That has resulted in chaos and conflict, with governments trying to appease human rights and other lobby groups putting intense pressure on them to open their borders to couples forced into long-distance relationships by the onset of the pandemic.

There are no official numbers around how many couples have been separated by the novel coronavirus since it started spreading to the western hemisphere in March this year. However, if you go by the fact that there are currently over 30,000 members in a Facebook group called Love is Not Tourism, which is the same group responsible for popularizing the #loveisnottourism hashtag on Twitter, it’s clear that thousands of couples are still separated by the pandemic and the resulting border closures that each country has implemented.

Granted, the rules are there to protect people who have not been affected, but even 6 months after the bans first started being put into place, there is no respite for couples who are not married. The biggest challenge, as we said, is for governments to be able to verify the ‘authenticity’ of a relationship.

The hesitance stance taken by politicians around the world is understandable. Nobody wants to be the one to open a conduit that invites fraudulent entry into their country. Allowing unmarried couples unrestricted access across closed borders could trigger a wave of illegal immigration. That’s one side of the argument. The other side contends that these couples have suffered long enough and it’s time to give them their due.

There are valid arguments on both sides but the power clearly rests with the respective governments. With a globally available vaccine still months away and several countries seeing a resurgence of the virus after relaxing restrictions, this is likely a low-priority item on most governments’ to-do lists.


Are you separated from a loved one by the pandemic? Have you considered using Friendship Lamps to stay in touch and stay emotionally connected? Learn more…

U.S. State Department Issues Passport Operations Update for Phased Reopening

The United States Department of State has issued an update to U.S. Passport Operations as of September 10, 2020, that it is “resuming operations in phases” as “global conditions evolve” around the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement of reopenings comes months after the State Department “significantly reduced passport operations in March 2020.” The website states that expedited processing at acceptance facilities are temporarily suspended, along with renewal by mail. For the week ending September 10, 2020, there were approximately 944,000 passports awaiting issuance. A footnote indicates that all March applications have been processed. The number has gone up since last week, when it was slightly down over the prior week.

The State Department has also answered some FAQs or frequently asked questions about passport operations, which we have summarized here:

  • How many passport operation agencies and centers are open right now?

As of September 8, 2020, there were 15 agencies and centers in Phase 1 of reopening and 11 in Phase 2. However, both phases only involve granting appointments to those traveling for “life or death emergencies.” Phase 3 will open up appointments for those traveling within a 2-week period. There is no update on when all services will resume normalcy. The image below depicts the three phases and what they entail.

U.S State Department Passport Operations Update

  • Which passport operations centers and agencies are open right now, as of September 10, 2020?

The State Department has provided a list of currently open locations of passport centers and agencies that have reopened as of September 8, 2020. The following passport operations agencies and centers are open in the phases mentioned:

Status of reopening of passport centers and agencies by phase as of Sep 8, 2020

  • How is the term “life or death emergency” defined?

Per the U.S. Department of State, an emergency can be considered “life or death” if a member of your immediate family or a guardian is either seriously ill, injured, or has passed on. This includes parents, siblings, legal guardians, grandparents, children, and spouses, and involves the need to travel within the next 72 hours. In such cases, three types of documents must be provided:

  1. The application for the passport with all supporting documents
  2. A document proving the emergency, which includes either a letter from a medical professional or hospital, a mortuary statement, or a death certificate. The certificates must be issued in or translated to English
  3. Documents to prove that you are traveling – airline ticket/itinerary/reservations
  • How do I get a status update on my passport application?

Status updates are available from seven to 10 days after the application has been submitted. The online passport status system – https://passportstatus(dot)state(dot)gov/ – will be updated with your information within that time. Due to the unusually high volume of applications, there could be delays, according to the State Department.

  • My check has been cashed but I don’t see the status being updated.

Per the State Department, the first step in the process is to cash your check at the central receiving facility. Once the staff at the applicable center or agency has returned to work – based on the phase-wise approach mentioned above – the other documents are expected to be processed and the status updated.

  • Can my passport application be expedited?

No, says the State Department’s website. Unless you can prove that you need to travel due to a life or death emergency, no expedited passport applications will be processed at this time. This facility will only be available after Phase 3 of reopening has been implemented. There’s no firm timeline provided for this.

  • Can I get a refund on the $60 expedited service fee?

Yes, you can request a refund of this fee. However, no refund requests are being entertained for any other fees or expenses related to your passport application. As of March 19, 2020, the expedited passport service was stopped; it is not expected to start again until Phase 3 has been implemented at the corresponding passport agency or center.

  • Can I apply for a new passport or a renewal now?

The website says that you can but adds the stipulation that “you will experience delays before receiving your passport and the return of your citizenship documents such as previous passports, and birth and naturalization certificates.” It also estimates a return to normal processing “this fall.”

  • Are REAL IDs mandatory this year from October 1, 2020, for domestic travel?

The deadline for mandatory REAL IDs for domestic travel has been extended by a period of one year, which means it will come into effect on October 1, 2021.

Editor’s Note: A REAL ID is related to the REAL ID Act passed by Congress in 2005, which “established minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards.” The purpose of a REAL ID is for “accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and, no sooner than 2016, boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.”

  • Can I apply for a passport if I’m overseas?

U.S. citizens overseas are being provided with emergency and, in some instances, routine passport services at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world. It is advised that you check with your nearest consulate or embassy regarding passport services.

The U.S. Department of State update closes with a final note:

“Customers should expect delays when applying for non-emergency passport or citizenship services. We hope to return to normal passport processing, as soon as it is safe for us to do so.”

That leaves a wide-open timeline for resumption to normalcy. Unless a vaccine is available soon or the rates of infection in the worst-hit parts of the country abate, there’s no predicting when passport services will return to normal. Since the State Department does not specifically tell us the duration of each phase, it’s hard to know when and which agencies and centers will enter Phase 3.

Meanwhile, here is a quick list of countries that have a ‘Level 4 – Do Not Travel’ designation, as mentioned in the State Department website:

Advisory Level Date Updated
Afghanistan Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 24, 2020
Argentina Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Belize Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 11, 2020
Bhutan Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Bolivia Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Brazil Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Burkina Faso Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Burundi Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 11, 2020
Central African Republic Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 31, 2020
China Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel June 5, 2020
Colombia Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Costa Rica Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Cuba Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Dominican Republic Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Egypt Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
El Salvador Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Eswatini Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
French Guiana Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Guatemala Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Guyana Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Haiti Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Honduras Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
India Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Indonesia Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Iran Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Iraq Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 12, 2020
Kazakhstan Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Kosovo Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Libya Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Malawi Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Mali Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Mongolia Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Namibia Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Nicaragua Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Oman Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Panama Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Peru Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Russia Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Somalia Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
South Sudan Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Syria Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Tajikistan Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
The Bahamas Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
The Kyrgyz Republic Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Turkmenistan Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 7, 2020
Venezuela Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020
Yemen Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel August 6, 2020

COVID-19 Travel Advisory FAQs from the World Health Organization

At the end of July, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a travel advisory Q&A article in light of international travel resuming around the globe. These FAQs from the WHO cover various aspects that travellers should be aware of when undertaking any sort of international or domestic travel.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from the World Health Organization

  • What do you mean by “essential travel”?

As of now, only essential travel is recommended per the travel advisory. In simple terms, that means “for emergencies only.” If you are traveling for non-essential purposes, you are recommended to follow safety protocols as outlined in the rest of the questions here.

  • What is the “high risk” category and who is advised against travelling?

If you are in the “high risk” group of people who are more likely to contract a viral infection, it is advisable not to travel at this time, per the WHO travel advisory. High risk individuals include people over the age of 60, people with comorbidities (chronic conditions current affecting their health), and, of course, people with confirmed diagnoses of COVID-19 and anyone with whom they have come into contact and has not been quarantined.

  • How can I be safe while travelling?

The WHO has set out various protocols for safety during the pandemic; these include:

  1. Wearing your mask at all times
  2. Washing and/or disinfecting the hands frequently
  3. Sneezing or coughing into a tissue or the crook of your arm (inside of a bent elbow)
  4. Social distancing – at least 1 meter distance from others
  5. Any other requirements as mandated by local travel authorities and the airline
  • What type of mask is best?

There are four main types of masks that help protect the wearer from a possible viral infection. None of them are 100% guaranteed to be preventive, but all of them help to varying degrees. The following information was originally published in Loma Linda University’s Health portal.

Cloth or Fabric Masks: These masks primarily stop droplets of infection-carrying saliva when speaking, coughing, or sneezing. They are washable and reusable, as well as easy to buy. This is the most common variety of masks you’ll find people wearing.

Surgical or Medical Masks: These are also easily available at most stores today. They are disposable and convenient but they’ve been causing disposal issues over the last few months. These masks protect the wearer from droplets of moisture carrying the virus, as well as larger particulate matter.

N95 Masks: The name of these masks comes from the fact that they are able to block up to 95% of the particular and suspended liquid matter reaching your nose and mouth. Experts do not recommend these for normal use; they are only recommended for health and frontline workers and need to be fit-tested before being approved for use. Although they are single-use masks, new ways have been developed to clean and reuse them.

Masks with Valves: These masks allow easy exhalation but the one-way direction of the valve means people around them are not safe. More and more medical experts are advising against the use of such masks. Instead, a mask with a simple filter is recommended as the better option.

The WHO recommends fabric or medical masks for members of the general population but also notes that wearing a mask alone is not sufficient protection unless combined with other best practices as outlined in the previous question.

What about inside the aircraft? Isn’t is more dangerous because it’s sealed and pressurized?

Most aircraft cabins are now designed to circulate mixed air from inside and outside the craft. Outside air is mixed with filtered and recirculated inside air, and HEPA filters ensure that any germs or viruses in the air are quickly removed. However, most airlines recommend wearing some sort of PPE or personal protective equipment when flying. Check with the airline you intend to use for current information on this.

What sort of testing and/or documentation will I need to travel into restricted countries?

The answer varies based on which country you’re referring to. Most countries require you to fill out a special form for the purpose of your visit. In addition, you may be required to carry a negative PCR test for COVID-19 that was issued no longer than a few days prior to your travel date. Your travel agent or the embassy/consulate of the country you intend to travel to will have the latest information.

Will I be quarantined on arrival?

Some countries have implemented mandatory quarantines for travellers arriving from specific countries where positive cases are still on the rise or already very high. Several countries in the EU, for example, still ban travellers from countries not on their approved list. In cases where travel is allowed, self-isolation may be required. For accurate and up-to-date information, check with the embassy or consulate prior to making travel arrangements.

What should I do after I get there?

It is highly recommended that you monitor yourself for any symptoms of COVID-19 for at least two weeks after arriving at your destination. Report any symptoms immediately to local authorities. They may require you to self-quarantine or be isolated in a health facility. You may also be asked to list any persons you have been in contact with in the two weeks leading up to that date; all of them will also need to be quarantined for their safety and that of others around them.

Will I be charged for anything at my destination country if I show symptoms on arrival?

According to the WHO travel advisory, in the event that exhibit COVID-19 symptoms on arrival, you should not be charged for any examination, quarantining, PPE, vaccinations, certificates, or even your baggage.

What if I fall ill while travelling?

If you are found to exhibit symptoms during your journey, you may be reseated away from other passengers as a precaution. On arrival, you may need to be tested and, if required, quarantined or treated. As part of its travel advisory, the WHO states that if you are asked to self-quarantine in a particular place, you should not be charged for the facility or for any related care. You should also not be asked to stay longer than the two-week recommended period.

=======

Forced to stay away from a loved one or your family members because of ongoing travel restrictions?

Try our Friendship Lamps and Stay Connected

EU Travel Ban Lifted for ‘Forced LDR Couples’ for Germany, France, Finland

Good news for long-distance couples where one partner is living in Germany, France, or Finland. All three European Union (EU) member countries have now lifted the EU travel ban on people coming from countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA) as of August 14, 2020. Couples, both married and unmarried, separated by the pandemic have now been in forced long-distance relationships (forced LDRs) for as long as five months. With this decision, the EU is now urging other member nations who still have travel bans in place to respect the wishes of couples seeking to get back together after the long period of separation.

EU Travel Ban Lifted for Forced LDR Couples - Germany France Finland

The tweet by the official EU account reads as follows:

“Under the current legal situation, member states can allow unmarried partners with duly attested relationships to enter the EU, if they choose to do so.”

With Switzerland joining the bandwagon just last week, a total of 10 EU countries are now accepting arrivals from countries that were formerly not in the “allowed” list, including the United States. The countries that have lifted the travel restrictions for partners in a long-distance relationship with EU citizens or residents are France, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria, Iceland, the Czech Republic, Denmark, and Norway.

There are still 20 countries where the entry ban is still in place, which potentially affects hundreds of thousands of couples forced into separation by the sudden onset of the pandemic and the resulting panic that caused governments to shut their borders. Twitter groups like @LoveIsNotTourism and @LoveIsEssential have been putting pressure on government officials to allow couples to be reunited after nearly a year of forced separation.

Now that three key member nations have lifted their restrictions on non-EU partners entering their borders for the sake of love, it is likely that other countries will follow suit. However, there is no official confirmation that this will happen in the near future.

If you have been affected in this way by the pandemic, do consult with the relevant embassy to see what documents you will need to submit and what procedures are to be followed for you to be reunited with your partner. Governments typically require a negative COVID-19 test taken within a few days of the date of intended travel, and you may need to fill out certain forms to state your case.

The process is usually quick, but get started right away so you can get there soon. Be sure to check with a travel agent about available tickets as well, as the current situation is very volatile when it comes to flights and other means of crossing the border.

Good luck to you, and we hope you are reunited with your loved one soon!

Second US to EU Travel Ban Extension Confirmed on July 30

After the initial travel ban exemption list for travelers into the European Union (EU) was created on July 1, where the U.S. was left out, the first extension of the EU travel ban to US travelers came on July 16, when the EU conducted its first fortnightly review. As of this Thursday, July 30, the US has once again been left out of the approved list of countries from which international travelers can enter the European Economic Area (EEA).

The EU’s simple criterion for putting countries on the travel ban exemption list was that the country in question must match the EU in terms of being able to control the spread of COVID-19 infections. The U.S. has been unable to do that through the month of July as cases have started rising again in several states.

As of July 30, the countries from which traveling to EU states is allowed are Australia, Canada, China (subject to China opening up entry to EU nationals), Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay.

EU citizens are already allowed to enter if they were overseas when the travel restrictions first began, as are their family members and other essential travelers.

According to reports from the New York Times, the EU had an average COVID-19 infection rate of 16 people per 100,000 as of June; in contrast, the United States had an average of 107 per 100,000.

The U.S. is still a major hotbed for the novel coronavirus, as the lack of federal guidance and the virtual absence of any leadership at the highest levels has left the states to fend for themselves. State governors have been struggling against a growing number of protests against stay-at-home orders, mask-wearing, social distancing, and other forms of restrictions intended to control the spread of the novel coronavirus. Counterintuitively, President Trump himself, in April, appeared to instigate protestors:

“In a series of all-caps tweets that started two minutes after a Fox News report on the protesters, the president declared, “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” and “LIBERATE MINNESOTA!” — two states whose Democratic governors have imposed strict social distancing restrictions. He also lashed out at Virginia, where the state’s Democratic governor and legislature have pushed for strict gun control measures, saying: “LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!”

If the situation persists, there’s no doubt the EU will continue to leave the United States out of the approved list when it reviews its travel ban exemption list again in a fortnight from July 30.

As of July 30, these are the shocking statistics for the damage that the novel coronavirus has caused in the U.S.:

Total Cases: 4.5 million

Total Deaths: 152,000

The map below shows where the spread is on the rise, where it is plateauing, and where it is reducing.

EU travel ban exemption list leaves out the US again and this is why

As you can see, apart from the 10 states marked in green, the rest of the U.S. is seeing fortnight-over-fortnight increases in daily infection rates.

In the short term, it seems improbable that the U.S. will be able to show infection metrics to match those of the EU, thereby allowing regulators to add America to the list of countries from which entry into its ports is allowed. For now, the status quo on the travel ban is being maintained for a further two weeks.

Returning to Australia during the Pandemic? 5 Things You Should Know

The COVID-19 pandemic is already seeing second waves across the globe. In Australia, specifically, there were 363 new cases of infection reported on Sunday, July 19, 2020, in Victoria. Mask-wearing has become mandatory, per Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews, who also confirmed that 300,000 of the 3 million masks ordered by the state government are due to arrive within the week. As such, there’s still a blanket ban on travel from and to Australia except for citizens, residents, and immediate family members. If you are eligible and are looking at returning to Australia during the pandemic-triggered border shutdown, there are certain things for you to be aware of.

  1. Be prepared for travel delays and last-minute flight disruptions: Plan your travel well in advance but be ready to wing it. Make sure you check with the local authorities regarding exit requirements; this includes countries of transit. Keep checking with your travel agent for updated information because flight availability is extremely volatile at this point in time.
  2. Don’t travel if you don’t have to: Consider all options before returning to Australia. The COVID-19 threat is still very much a clear and present danger. If you can remain safe where you are and have the option to stay longer, use it.
  3. Get ready for a two-week quarantine: You may be subjected to a mandatory quarantine period of 14 days depending on where you’re returning to Australia from. Inter-state restrictions may also apply on arrival, so make sure you can make it all the way home if you decide to make the trip back to Australia from another country.
  4. Know the rules regarding travel exemptions: Non-citizens who are immediate family members or New Zealand citizens living in Australia can apply to return to Australia but there is a window of 3 months to 4 weeks prior to the date of travel during which your application must be submitted. In addition, you should be aware of the quarantine requirements and other restrictions upon arrival.
  5. Make alternative arrangements if your trip falls through: In this unpredictable environment, always have a Plan B in place in case your original travel plans do not materialize. Flights may be canceled, transit points might close on short notice, and other hindrances may affect your safe return to Australia. As such, ensure you have other options to fall back on, should anything untoward happen.

If you absolutely need to return to Australia for whatever reason, you can take a chance and make travel arrangements. However, be flexible with your travel dates and always have a contingency plan, as outlined above. Most of all, re-evaluate your situation and determine whether it is absolutely necessary for you to return home. If you have family or close friends outside the country where you know you can stay safe, that might be a better option for a few months. Until a vaccine or a cure is officially announced and made widely available, this will be the status quo for traveling from and returning to Australia.

On a lighter note, if you are or your family is overseas and you’re looking for a unique way to communicate with them, consider a Wi-FI touch light set-up. It’s a great way to say “I love you and I’m thinking of you” from miles away, and it works anywhere in the world.

Travel from the U.S. to These Countries is Now Allowed [July 2020 Update]

International travel rules are a mess of misinformation and confusion because of rising COVID-19 infection rates around the world. While many countries have relaxed such restrictions for travelers from low-infection-rate countries, the regulations are in a constant state of evolution. As such, it pays to stay abreast of the latest information if you’re planning to travel from the United States to another country for the purpose of visiting a person you’re in a long-distance relationship with. Here are the countries currently open to accepting visitors who travel from the U.S. If you’re in the States and are in a long-distance relationship with someone from one of the countries listed here, you’re in luck. Depending on your eligibility and whether you’re okay with the conditions imposed, you may be able to book a flight and finally get to be with your significant other across the border.

First of all, a lot of Americans don’t know the answer to the question: “Can I leave the U.S. and travel to another country?” The answer is “Yes, you can.” Although the latest travel advisory issued by the government is to “Avoid All Travel”, which is a Level 4, you are allowed to leave the country. The only catch is that you may be forced into quarantine for two weeks when you return, but that’s based on which state you’re returning to. You may also be subjected to tests, symptom checks, and additional requirements at the port of arrival.

These are the countries and territories you can visit at this moment, but please check with local authorities before you travel to make sure the allowance is still in place. Also, make sure you have all the required documentation to be allowed to make the trip.

U.S. Virgin Islands

No testing or quarantine if you don’t have symptoms such as an elevated temperature on arrival.

UAE (United Arab Emirates)

As of July 7, 2020, passengers arriving at Dubai from the United States are required to provide a ‘health declaration’, must have the necessary health coverage in terms of insurance, and must carry a negative CDC 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel test (PCR test) that is no older than 4 days (96 hours.)

Mexico

No testing required. Any U.S. passport holder is allowed entry into the country. Hotels in key tourist destinations such as Cabo, Cancun, and Playa De Carmen are now open for international tourists as well.

Puerto Rico

You’ll need a negative PCR test to get in, but as of July 15, 2020, Puerto Rico’s doors are open for business (and pleasure, of course.) If your long-distance lover or spouse is in Puerto Rico, you can finally visit them after getting your test done.

Jamaica

As of June 15, 2020, Jamaica opened its borders to U.S. travelers. Testing may be done on arrival and you’ll need to fill out a Travel Authorization Card before embarking on your journey. Several airlines including Jet Blue, Delta, and American Airlines have begun servicing this route from specific cities in the U.S.

Dominican Republic

July 1, 2020 was the date that the DR was opened to American tourists. Until now, the local authorities have not implemented a ‘testing on arrival’ rule, but if you’re headed over to see your LDR spouse or lover, make sure to check with an authentic and official source before making your travel plans.

Ecuador

A mandatory quarantine period of 14 days will apply to all travelers from the United States. That’s even if you have a negative PCR test that’s recent. Moreover, you’ll have to pay for a hotel room for the duration of the quarantine, and your bookings must be made ahead of your departure from the U.S.

Bermuda, Barbados, The Bahamas, Aruba, Belize, and Antigua and Barbuda

All these countries are now open to receiving U.S. travelers. Some of them opened during the second week of July 2020 but Antigua and Barbuda opened their borders to U.S. tourists as early as June 4, 2020. Belize will open its airport to U.S. flights on August 15, 2020. Depending on the country, you may have to do one of the following:

  1. Pay $100 for being tested on arrival (Antigua and Barbuda)
  2. Submit a declaration form and a negative PCR test no more than 3 days (72 hours) prior to boarding the flight (Aruba, Barbados, Bermuda (test on arrival))
  3. Online declaration form to be filled out before you fly, along with a negative PCR test done within 10 days of travel
  4. Download a health app that can perform contact tracing (Belize, still inactive)

What About Travel from the U.S. into Europe?

Unfortunately, European Union countries are still closed to anyone traveling from the U.S. The restrictions, which came into place on July 1, 2020, were reviewed on July 14, 2020, per a Bloomberg report, and have been extended for a further two weeks. That means no traveling to EU nations from the U.S. until the end of July 2020, possibly even after that. The EU currently allows travelers from 13 countries to enter borders of the 27-country bloc. These are Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, and China. Serbia and Montenegro have been removed from the original list of 15 countries from which travel into the EU were previously allowed.

The restrictions will be reviewed in another two weeks, at the end of July 2020.

If your long-distance spouse or lover is NOT in the EU or lives in Croatia, you may still be able to visit them.

List of European Countries Permitting Travel from the U.S.

Albania (Candidate for EU Member Status)

Albania opened up to U.S. travelers as of June 15, 2020. No formal procedure on arrival has been announced, other than that “there will be additional medical personnel at all points of entry, as well as screenings and potential quarantine requirements.”

Croatia (EU Member Nation)

Croatia has ignored the EU directive and opened its border to U.S. travelers on July 10, 2020. If you’re traveling from the U.S. to Croatia to visit someone you’re in a long-distance relationship with, you will need to produce a negative PCR test no older than 48 hours prior to arriving at the Croatian border.

Kosovo (Candidate for EU Member Status)

Kosovo is open to visitors from the United States, but the embassy has issued this statement:

“The Pristina International Airport is reportedly open to all travelers; however, some US citizens continue to be denied boarding in the US because they cannot prove they are residents or citizens of Kosovo.

“Despite being open to tourists, the Embassy strongly suggests US visitors cancel or postpone any travel plans to Kosovo this summer.”

So, you might have trouble at the boarding end but if you make it on board, you shouldn’t have problems when disembarking at Pristina airport.

North Macedonia (Candidate for EU Member Status)

The only thing you should be ready for is thermal screening when you land. Other than that, you shouldn’t have any problems at either Skopje or Ohrid.

Serbia (Candidate for EU Member Status)

You can travel to Serbia, but be warned that the number of COVID-19 cases has once again started to spike after a brief respite. There are also reports of widespread protests in the capital city of Belgrade against newly announced lockdown measures by President Aleksandar Vucic. Here’s a photo from last week outside the Serbian parliament building.

protest against COVID-19 lockdown announcement in Belgrade, Serbia, outside the parliament building

Turkey (Candidate for EU Member Status)

Turkey has been open to all international travelers from June 12, 2020; however, visitors from the U.S. are required by the embassy to have return tickets to the States. You may need to fill out a form and be subjected to a check for COVID-19 symptoms, though.

Ukraine

Ukraine currently lists the U.S. as a “red zone”, meaning there are 40 or more active cases per 100,000 people in the country. However, if you’re willing to download an app called Dii Vdoma and choose to either self-quarantine, request an isolation unit, or agree to be PCR-tested within 24 hours of entering the country, you can travel from the U.S. to Ukraine to see your loved one.

United Kingdom (Post-Brexit)

For certain purposes, the UK still comes under the EU until the end of 2020, which is the Brexit transition period. However, the island nation has not closed its borders to U.S. travelers. Tourists and visitors from American cities must necessarily agree to be quarantined for 14 days. So you can definitely go across the pond for the sake of an LDR if you’re willing to be isolated for two weeks on arrival.

For news on traveling from the United States to Asian and African countries, as well as Australia and New Zealand, please bookmark this blog. More to come…

Note: If you cannot travel from the U.S. to where your long-distance relationship partner resides, why not consider sending them a unique gift to help you communicate with each other?

‘Travel to Sweden’ Restrictions Eased for Long-distance Relationship Couples

International travel restrictions during the novel coronavirus pandemic have made it hard for millions of long-distance relationship couples (LDR couples) around the world. In many cases, the long-distance part has been forced because of closed borders in the wake of positive cases of COVID-19. However, the restrictions on travel to Sweden for long-distance couples traveling from neighboring Nordic countries such as Norway, Finland, and Denmark have been eased to a great extent. If you’re looking to travel to Sweden to meet your LDR partner or spouse, here’s the latest information on who can travel and how to go about it.

Finland and Sweden

As of June 2020 (around the middle of the month), border restrictions have been loosened for people visiting their long-distance relationship partner or spouse. You aren’t required to be married or even living together but you’ll need to self-isolate for a period of 14 days once you get to your destination. You will most probably be asked to give your LDR partner’s address and name for verification purposes but the ban on leisure travel has been lifted for people in a serious relationship.

Sweden and Norway

Norway had closed its borders to travelers from most regions of Sweden except a few like Blekinge, Kronoberg, and Skåne, and the Gotland region. On July 13, 2020, those restrictions have been lifted to a great degree. From mid-July, a 90-day travel period is being granted; however, you will have to self-isolate when you get there, you should have met your partner at least once before, and you should have been in the LDR for a period of at least nine months prior to applying for a permit to travel. You’ll need to fill out a form in Norwegian to provide these details, but it’s more than likely to pass through once verification has been conducted.

Sweden and Denmark

The rules in Denmark are a little different. Although the restrictions on travel from other Nordic countries are still in place, people who have tested negative for the novel coronavirus are allowed to enter even if they’re from a region with a relatively high infection rate. The good news is that no such qualification is required if you’re traveling to meet a partner of at least three months. The catch is that you should have spent time together prior to applying, even if only for a short while. The partner residing in Denmark will need to fill out a form before making travel plans.

Fortunately, there are almost no restrictions for traveling to Sweden from any of these countries. The only travel restrictions in place are in other Nordic countries, specifically for those traveling from these countries into Sweden. Four regions are currently tagged as being “safe” to travel to, and these are the three aforementioned regions (see Sweden to Norway) and Västerbotten.

Please keep in mind that travel restrictions for International passengers keep changing at a rapid pace, so always check with the local authorities or the embassy of the country you intend to travel to for the most current information.

If you plan to travel to Sweden from – or from Sweden to – any one of the countries we’ve listed here, be sure to take all precautions that you can. Travel light, carry your own food (home-prepared, preferably) and water, keep your social distance at all times, and wash and/or sanitize your hands whenever you can. Keep yourself safe and you can soon be with your long-distance lover.

Good luck, and please visit us again for the latest news on all LDR-related topics in the days to come.

Have a question about Friendship lamps?

Contact us today