Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, today international travel is a very different experience than it was prior to COVID-19. Many countries are now open to U.S. travelers, and you may be itching to use your passport again. However, it’s important to take precautions so that your international travel experience can be as smooth and safe as possible.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention Disclosure 1 (CDC) recommends that U.S. travelers adhere to the following guidelines before leaving U.S. borders.
1. Get vaccinated.
2. Be aware of your destination's COVID-19 risk assessment.
The CDC monitors COVID-19 risk assessments Disclosure 2 for every country around the globe, advising travelers to pay close attention to conditions at their destination before going abroad. The CDC currently ranks each country with one of the following risk levels:
- Level 1: Low Risk – While the risk of traveling to one of these countries is low, the CDC still recommends that travelers obtain the COVID-19 vaccine as a precaution.
- Level 2: Moderate Risk – Unvaccinated travelers who are at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (such as older adults, people with ongoing health conditions, and pregnant women) should avoid nonessential travel to these areas.
- Level 3: High Risk – Unvaccinated travelers should avoid nonessential travel to these countries, according to the CDC.
- Level 4: Very High Risk – The CDC recommends avoiding travel to these destinations. If you must travel to one of these countries, the CDC encourages visitors to be vaccinated for COVID-19.
- Level Unknown – The CDC does not possess enough data to make a COVID-19 risk assessment for these countries.
3. Understand your destination's requirements.
Each country has its own requirements related to travel, testing, mask wearing, and quarantining, which may differ from U.S. requirements. Be sure to research these requirements in the country where you’ll be traveling. The U.S. Department of State maintains a resource with COVID-19 country-specific travel information. If you don’t follow all of your destination’s requirements, then you may be denied entry to the country.
4. Understand U.S. re-entry requirements.
The United States requires all air passengers, even U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people, to follow certain requirements before they can enter or re-enter the U.S. Please refer to the CDC’s guidance on proof of negative COVID-19 test results or COVID-19 recovery before booking travel outside the United States.
5. Don't travel under the following conditions.
The CDC recommends that U.S. citizens should not travel if you can answer “yes” to any of the following: Disclosure 1
- You’ve been exposed to COVID-19.
- You’re sick.
- You test positive for COVID-19.
You may also want to consider travel insurance before embarking on an international trip. However, it’s important to carefully review any travel insurance plan so that you fully understand what it does and doesn’t cover. If you have any questions, be sure to talk with your McGriff insurance professional.
The information, analyses, opinions, and/or recommendations contained herein relating to the impact or the potential impact of coronavirus/COVID-19 on insurance coverage or any insurance policy is not a legal opinion, warranty, or guarantee, and should not be relied upon as such. This communication is intended for informational use only. As insurance agents or brokers, we do not have the authority to render legal advice or to make coverage decisions, and you should submit all claims to your insurance carrier for evaluation. Given the ongoing and constantly changing situation with respect to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, this communication does not necessarily reflect the latest information regarding recently enacted, pending, or proposed legislation or guidance that could override, alter, or otherwise affect existing insurance coverage. At your discretion, please consult with an attorney at your own expense for specific advice in this regard.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “International Travel During COVID-19,” https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/international-travel-during-covid19.html, accessed August 20, 2021.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination,” https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/map-and-travel-notices.html, accessed August 20, 2021.
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