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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Pay $100 for being tested on arrival (Antigua and Barbuda)
- 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))
- Online declaration form to be filled out before you fly, along with a negative PCR test done within 10 days of travel
- 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.
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 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...
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