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Travel Updates For March 2023

Spring is almost here, which means many people want to travel for spring break to enjoy the mild weather or to take advantage of the off-season travel discounts. There are relatively few international travel restrictions that can impact journeys. However, some popular pre-pandemic destinations can still be challenging to reach.

United States Travel Restrictions

Citizens and permanent residents of the United States will not encounter travel restrictions for domestic trips or when returning from abroad. Individuals wishing to enter the United States for tourism or business will continue to face several requirements.

Vaccine Mandate To Visit The United States

The U.S. requires most foreign visitors to be fully vaccinated to enter by plane. As a reminder, this entry requirement doesn’t affect returning citizens.

Mask Requirements

In most situations, wearing a face mask in public also remains optional, but the federal government continues to encourage this practice. No major airport or public transportation hub has indoor mask mandates.

However, some airlines and destinations may require passengers to wear a mask in the cabin on select flights.

Pre-Arrival Testing

Several Western nations, including the United States, require all returning citizens and visitors to have a negative pre-arrival test under these circumstances:

  • Returning from travel to China, Hong Kong or Macau
  • Have been in any of the above locations during the last ten months AND are flying through Seoul, Toronto or Vancouver

This testing requirement applies to all affected travelers entering the United States that are at least two years old. No testing requirements apply when coming from any other part of the world.

Canada Travel Restrictions

Americans can drive or fly to Canada without restrictions, except for needing a valid travel passport. The country removed its international and domestic travel testing and quarantine protocols in 2022.

Caribbean Travel Restrictions

With a few exceptions, the Caribbean Islands are back to normal. There are no entry restrictions to visit popular destinations such as Aruba, the Bahamas, Dominican Republic and Jamaica.

Turks And Caicos Travel Restrictions

The Turks and Caicos is the only high-profile tourist destination in the Caribbean islands that restricts visitors. Through March 31, 2023, visitors at least 18 years old need to be fully vaccinated but do not need a pre-arrival test or Covid-19 travel insurance.

Unvaccinated adults are currently unable to visit these islands. The nation hasn’t indicated if they will extend the travel vaccine mandate as of March 3, 2023.

Latin America Travel Restrictions

There are no entry restrictions in Latin America for vaccinated visitors. However, a negative pre-arrival test is necessary for unvaccinated travelers to enter these nations:

  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • Suriname
  • Uruguay

Public masking requirements can differ by country.

Europe Travel Restrictions

There are no coronavirus-related entry restrictions to Europe, although the year-long Russia and Ukraine conflict impedes travel to Eastern Europe. Airlines are launching several new international flights for 2023 to the continent.

ETIAS Delayed To 2024

While the world has been focusing on pandemic-related travel restrictions for the past three years, long-term travelers to Europe may need to get a special travel visa waiver for trips of 90 days or shorter.

The EU announced in late February that the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) requirement is delayed from November 2023 to 2024. This travel visa requires travelers from 59 of 62 countries that currently don’t need a visa to receive clearance through ETIAS to visit most European countries.

Once the system rolls out, travelers from the United States will likely be required to apply for ETIAS clearance at least 96 hours before arriving in Europe. The good news is that your credentials are valid for three years, and you can visit the various ETIAS countries.

All travelers from the United States will need to be processed through ETIAS when it launches. Additionally, travelers from 18 to 70 years old must pay a 7 euros application fee. Children and elderly passengers can apply for free.

This system was initially supposed to launch in 2019, but its rollout has been delayed several times. Further, several regions are implementing similar biographic data protocols, such as the United States ESTA program.

Africa Travel Restrictions

The most popular African destinations of Egypt, Morocco and South Africa have zero entry restrictions for the vaccinated and unvaccinated.

Entry protocols vary by destination for most of the continent. In general, fully vaccinated visitors can enter without restrictions, while the unvaccinated can anticipate getting a pre-arrival test for most destinations.

Asia Travel Restrictions

Many popular Asian destinations are open for business and tourism, but the entry requirements differ. At the moment, the popular beach resort destinations of Cambodia and Thailand don’t require a pre-arrival test for unvaccinated or vaccinated guests. But, it’s still common for countries to have testing requirements if you don’t have a recent vaccine.

China Travel Restrictions

China officially waived its quarantine requirements and daily flight limits on January 8, 2023. Unfortunately, the country isn’t issuing tourism permits yet. It is open for business travel, students and returning citizens. Those eligible to enter China must obtain a negative PCR test no sooner than 48 hours before arriving.

Japan Travel Restrictions

Japan re-opened for tourism in 2022 but still requires the unvaccinated to have a negative pre-arrival test. No additional entry protocols apply at this time.

Philippines Travel Restrictions

Like Japan, the Philippines has no restrictions for the fully vaccinated, while the unvaccinated must have a negative pre-arrival test.

Indonesia Travel Restrictions

Indonesia is open for fully vaccinated travelers but is one of a handful of countries worldwide to still ban unvaccinated guests. This country is an overlooked destination for tropical vacations.

Oceania Travel Restrictions

There are no entry restrictions to visit Australia or New Zealand, regardless of the traveler’s vaccination status.

Final Thoughts

March is shaping up to be an excellent time for domestic and international travel. So far, in 2023, the world has had the fewest travel restrictions since the initial border closures began. As the weather warms in the Global North, the lack of restrictions is good news for those wanting to book a spring trip and avoid the oppressive summer heat and crowds.

Source : Forbes