Ask RedWeek / October, 2021

Are vaccines required for travel?

I'm trying to make sense of all the latest news regarding vaccines. Will vaccines be required for travel?

The Delta variant appears to be turning a corner, with cases in the U.S. rapidly improving. Most destinations remain open. You can expect to keep being asked to wear masks and encounter various restrictions in your travels...but now news is beginning to surface speculating widespread vaccination requirements in some countries. This has some travelers concerned about planning for their upcoming trips.

Here are the latest updates regarding travel requirements and vaccine mandates in our most frequently visited destinations:

United States

There is no current vaccine mandate to travel into, or within the United States. But proof of vaccination may be helpful for some travelers entering the country.

Currently all air travelers coming to the U.S. from a foreign country are required to provide a negative COVID test, or proof of recovery. This includes U.S. residents returning from abroad, with an exception for travelers coming from the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The United States plans to relax travel restrictions beginning in November to air travelers from 33 countries including China, India, Brazil, and most of Europe who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Just announced: fully-vaccinated travelers will be able to enter the country's land borders from Mexico and Canada in November, for non-essential purposes.


On October 6, Canada announced that all travelers will be required to be fully vaccinated if traveling by plane, train, or cruise. The new requirement will begin to take effect on October 30, 2021, with a flexible extension granted for those in the process of being vaccinated until the end of November.

All travelers entering Canada, regardless of citizenship, must follow testing and quarantine requirements. Read more about Canada's protocols here.

Currently, foreign nationals may only be permitted to enter Canada under specific circumstances. Find out if you can enter Canada via their online tool.


Obviously part of the United States, but Hawaii has it's own set of requirements for entry to the islands. COVID vaccinations are not required for entry, but are helpful if travelers want to avoid pre-flight testing with Hawaii's vaccine exemption program.

Vaccines are currently required for indoor dining in some locations. Starting September 1, Oahu (including Honolulu) is now requiring a COVID-19 vaccine or negative test (within 48 hours) for guests 12 and older to dine indoors at bars and restaurants, in addition to other indoor entertainment facilities (theaters, museums, arcades, etc.). This change will last for at least 60 days. Maui has followed Oahu's lead - requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for indoor dining and drinking, starting September 15 - expected through mid-November. Unvaccinated travelers still have access to outdoor dining and takeout.

Hawaii is also in the process of rolling out a digital health pass program.

Before booking a Hawaii vacation, travelers should ask themselves if these restrictions will put a damper on their trip. If a Hawaii vacation would not be complete in your book without eating out every night and perhaps even some bar-hopping, then now may not be your time to go. However, if you prefer to relax with your family on the beach and take in the sights, then the restrictions may not bother you as much.


Currently, COVID vaccinations are not mandatory to enter Aruba, and there has been no indication that will change anytime soon.

The island is open to all visitors, provided they comply with entry requirements including a mandatory COVID test, temperature checks, mask usage, and the purchase of a medical insurance policy. The island had been bypassing requirements for fully vaccinated travelers, but that is on pause.

As of August 30, Aruba is implementing some local restrictions to curtail the spread of COVID – new curfews, alcohol restrictions, group gathering limits, and limitations on dining are in place. Get details on current requirements here.


Mexico is open to travelers. COVID vaccinations are not currently required.

There is no need to provide a negative PCR test or quarantine on arrival, though most resorts ask guests to fill out health questionnaires. Additionally, travelers must complete a health declaration form upon arrival to the country.

As of July 21, the United States government extended its ban on nonessential travel along the borders with Mexico as part of an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus. The extension will last until at least October 21.

***Please note, the status of travel restrictions around the world are constantly changing. If you see an update that has since been changed, please let us know.

Stay apprised of COVID travel updates via our Coronavirus Info Page.

Comments (7)

    Avatar for Kathleen E.
    Kathleen E.
    Oct 16, 2021

    Why doesn't natural immunity (already had covid) count as good as a vaccine?

    Avatar for Keith F.
    Keith F.
    Oct 16, 2021 (edited)

    Because it’s not as protective as getting a vaccine in addition to research possibly showing once you catch covid naturally you may be likely to get it a second time. Talk to your Doctor, who you already trust your health, about any questions or concerns you may have about getting vaccinated.

    Avatar for Robert H.
    Robert H.
    Oct 16, 2021 (edited)

    Keith F. is ill informed. Recent large study in Israel (most highly vaccinated country in the world) shows natural immunity up to 13 times less likely than 2 shot to get covid, spread, or become hospitalized.

    Avatar for Gene N.
    Gene N.
    Oct 16, 2021 (edited)

    I agree with a gentleman Keith doesn’t know what he’s talking about you’re much better off if you’ve already been exposed to Covid and a vaccination I’ve been double vaccinated.

    Avatar for Bonnie A.
    Bonnie A.
    Oct 16, 2021 (edited)

    Keith F is ill-informed. Innate Immunity (natural immunity) is protective against COVID--19. A science background and graduate level coursework would help. Alot of doctors have little to no training in immunology unfortunately.

    Avatar for Keith F.
    Keith F.
    Oct 18, 2021 (edited)

    One of the few studies done on this topic. Do yourself a favor and speak to your Doctor, you owe it to your family.

    Avatar for Faye B.
    Faye B.
    Oct 30, 2021

    seeing as how the vaccine does not create immunity, why require it? Also seems that those who have had the shot can also spread the virus. What give here?