Though COVID-19 is still raging in the United States and many countries have blocked Americans from visiting, Caribbean islands continue to reopen their borders to us. All are requiring the use of masks in public spaces and requiring health declaration forms. Most are conducting temperature checks upon arrival and requiring proof of negative COVID results prior to travel and, often, follow-up tests while visiting. Each country or territory has its own requirements, some much more stringent than others. And many places continue to change their entry requirements as the pandemic evolves.
Whether stoked or scared to travel these days, Americans currently do have viable options for leaving the country, enjoying Caribbean dreamscapes, and even making sun-kissed plans for the festive season. More Caribbean destinations are scheduled to reopen by the year’s close. At press time, St. Kitts and Nevis should open November 1, 2020, and the British Virgin Islands (BVI) on December 1, 2020. For now, here are the islands accepting US passports for entry and the health requirements for entry, ordered from the simplest to the most complicated.
United States Virgin Islands (USVIs)
Reopened to US citizens: September 19
COVID testing requirements: USVIs are taking a different approach to testing requirements and allowing antigen and antibody tests (other destinations specifically require PCR tests). Plus, there’s always the added bonus of not having to go through immigration and customs since it’s still considered domestic travel. According to Visit USVI, “Effective September 19, 2020, every traveler aged five and older who enters the U.S. Virgin Islands is required to use the USVI Travel Screening Portal and submit a COVID-19 test result. Travelers are required to provide either: a COVID-19 antigen (molecular/PCR/rapid) test taken and negative result received (both within five days of commencement of travel to the Territory), OR a COVID-19 antibody test taken and positive result received (both within four months of commencement of travel to the Territory).”
Reopened to US citizens: July 1
COVID testing requirements: According to the Dominican Republic official tourism website, no pre-arrival COVID testing is required (Yes, for real!). Passengers will need to fill a Traveler’s Health Affidavit ensuring they have not felt any COVID-19-related symptoms. In addition, “airports and other ports of entry will administer a quick, aleatory breath test to between 3% and 10% of passengers, and all those who present symptoms, upon arrival. All passengers will also need to perform a temperature check. Passengers who present symptoms or whose test results are positive will be isolated and attended at authorized locations.”
Reopened to US citizens: June 15
COVID testing requirements: According to Visit Jamaica, travelers from all states now require COVID testing before flying (originally, only travelers from Arizona, Florida, New York, and Texas were required to get tested.) “All residents of the United States of America who are 12 years of age or over, are required to obtain and upload a COVID-19 PCR test result for travel authorization approval.” The test result must be from a College of American Pathologists (CAP) accredited medical laboratory, and the sample collection date “must be less than 10 days from the travel date to Jamaica” in order to obtain a Travel Authorization.
Reopened to US citizens: June 22
COVID testing requirements: According to St. Barth Tourism, visitors (age 11+) arriving in St. Barth “are required to show a negative RT-PCR Covid-19 test (this is the molecular-based nasal swab test) where the date the test was administered is within 72 hours of their arrival. Visitors (age 11+) staying longer than 7 days will be required to take an additional RT-PCR Covid-19 test in St. Barth, at their own expense (€135), on the 8th day following their arrival.”
Antigua and Barbuda
Reopened to US citizens: June 1
COVID testing requirements: According to the government of Antigua and Barbuda, “All arriving passengers by air must have a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR taken within seven (7) days of their flight,” including transit passengers. In addition, “Visitors may be required to undergo testing for COVID-19 on arrival or at the hotel or place of lodging as determined by the Health Authorities.”
Reopened to US citizens: June 4
COVID testing requirements: According to St. Lucia Tourism Authority, “All arriving passengers 5 years and older must have a negative result from a PCR test done no more than 7 days before their travel to Saint Lucia.” Also, “All passengers 18 years and older must complete and submit a Travel registration form no less than 3 days before travel to Saint Lucia.”
Reopened to US citizens: July 10
COVID testing requirements: As of September 24, the Aruba Tourism Authority states that all travelers from the United States must produce a negative COVID test. Those from 23 high-risk states (Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming) must take a COVID-19 RT-PCR test within 72 hours of their flight time and upload their test results at least 12 hours prior to flight departure time. Travelers from other states can also do the same or can pay for a test upon arrival. In all cases, negative status must be proved.
Turks and Caicos
Reopened to US citizens: July 22
COVID testing requirements: The Government of the Turks and Caicos is requiring passengers to upload the following prior to departure: “A negative COVID-19 PCR test result…taken within 5 days prior to arrival in the islands; Medical/travel insurance that covers medevac, any costs related to quarantine, ambulance care or care at the local hospital; and a completed online health screening questionnaire.” Many hotels can help arrange the special required travel insurance, which often costs upward of $100 per person.
Reopened to US citizens: July 12
COVID testing requirements: According to Visit Barbados, as of October 1, 2020, travelers coming from high-risk countries, including the United States, will have to undergo more than one test but face a much shorter quarantine than originally stipulated. The first test is to be done in the United States within 72 hours of the flight. After arrival, travelers will quarantine at their hotel, resort, or villa for two to three days—they are able to roam the property. A second COVID-19 PCR test will then be conducted, which will reveal results within 24 hours. Once this second negative result is obtained, travelers are free to roam the island.
Reopened to US citizens: July 1
COVID testing requirements: According to Bermuda Tourism Authority, “Ideally within 72 hours, but no more than seven days before departure, visitors must take a PCR COVID-19 test and obtain a negative result. Test results must be entered as part of the online travel authorization process ($75) and be presented upon arrival in Bermuda.” Upon arrival in Bermuda, travelers will again be tested for COVID-19 and will then need to quarantine at their “accommodation until results are ready (turnaround time between 6 to 8 hours in most cases, when arrival happens during the day, but can take longer).” After that, travelers can explore Bermuda but must report their temperature online twice daily. And if staying more than three days, travelers must retake their COVID-19 tests on day 4, day 8, and day 14 at designated testing centers on-island. So, yeah, a two-week vacation = a whopping five nasal swabs.
Reopened to US citizens: August 7
COVID testing requirements: According to the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica, before embarking on a flight, travelers from high-risk countries like the United States must submit a health questionnaire at least 24 hours prior to arrival and “upload a negative PCR test result where samples were obtained within 24–72 hours prior to arrival.” Upon arrival, a Rapid Diagnostic Test will be administered, and if negative the traveler will undergo a five-day mandatory quarantine at a government-approved facility or hotel. On day 5, the traveler will take a PCR test, and if negative the traveler will be free to roam.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG)
Reopened to US citizens: July 1
COVID testing requirements: According to the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines , as of September 16, 2020, travelers from high-risk countries such as the United States “must arrive with a negative result of a COVID-19 (RT- PCR) test done no more than five (5) days before arrival, will be retested for COVID-19 (RT-PCR) on arrival in SVG,” must complete a “mandatory five (5) day quarantine in a Tourism Authority/MOHWE approved Transition/Quarantine Hotel at their cost” and then “must be retested between day four (4) and day (5) of quarantine.” All this to say, entering SVG is possible but not an option for a quick trip.
Reopened to US citizens: July 1
COVID testing requirements: The Bahamas reopened to US citizens on July 1 and then banned airlift between the United States and the Bahamas just three weeks later. Since then, it has developed a two-week quarantine policy for visitors. According to The Islands of the Bahamas, travelers must arrive with a negative result of a COVID-19 (RT- PCR) test done no more than five days before arrival. Upon arrival, all travelers must “vacation in place” for “14 days or the length of their stay, whichever is shorter.”
Reopened to US citizens: July 15
COVID testing requirements: Grenada’s testing and quarantine requirements are the strictest in the Caribbean for those coming from high-risk countries like the United States. First, “All passengers are required to have a Negative PCR test, to be taken within 7 days prior to arrival” and will “undergo a Covid19 PCR test on arrival at the airport.” Then, passengers must quarantine for a minimum of 14 days at a Government approved facility/hotel. Following the 14 days, “all passengers will undergo a Covid19 rapid test prior to exit from the Government approved facility” and “persons testing negative will be allowed to exit quarantine from the Government approved facility based on their agreement to wear a geofencing watch.”
Since all matters concerning the pandemic are changing in real time, requirements could change or borders could close overnight. Before you make any travel plans, check the latest information on the links provided. If you do decide to travel to the Caribbean during these uncertain times, have fun, stay safe, and keep abreast of ever-changing restrictions.