COVID-19 Travel: No-quarantine Destinations, Requirements & Insurance
3rd May 2023
White-sand beaches, palm trees, turquoise waters… missing your last adventure or simply want to escape from the city? Here’s the good news: more countries are reopening for quarantine-free international tourism and welcoming travelers!
However, with COVID-19 still going on around the world, your trip may be slightly different from your pre-pandemic ones, with a few extra precautions needed.
Can’t wait to hop on a plane? Here’s our practical guide to get you on board.
Entry requirements & pre-departure preparations
While many countries have lifted quarantine for vaccinated visitors, you will be likely be required to present a few things before traveling: (1) proof of vaccinations; (2) a negative PCR test or RAT result within 48 hours (may be different according to your destination); (3) medical insurance with coverage for COVID-19 expenses; and (4) a valid visa.
Proof of vaccination
To be considered as “fully vaccinated”, most countries require you to have received at least 2 doses of any recognized COVID-19 vaccines for no less than 14 days before departure, which often includes Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, where Sinopharm and Sinovac may not have been approved in some countries.
Travelers who are not fully vaccinated (with 0 or 1 dose) may not be eligible for traveling in some countries or are subject to compulsory quarantine or other restrictions during their travel. Children under 18 years of age may be exempted from the vaccination requirements.
COVID-19 test with a negative result
You must take a recognized COVID-19 test within 48 hours prior to departure (72 hours for some countries) and present a negative test result before boarding. The COVID-19 test should be done with a recognized provider of molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) tests. Singapore, Australia, Vietnam and some other countries also accept a professionally-administered or supervised ART (antigen rapid test) / RAT (rapid antigen test).
COVID-19 health insurance and travel insurance
Medical insurance covering COVID-19 related expenses is mandatory for travelers in many locations under the current endemic situation. By choosing Worldwide, Worldwide excluding the United States or Asia as the geographical area of coverage, the plan should cover hospitalization expenses, emergency medical evacuation and repatriation overseas if you test positive for COVID-19.
International medical insurance vs. travel insurance
The difference between international medical insurance and travel insurance may confuse many expats, but these two types of products are intended for different purposes. Simply put, international medical insurance aims to provide comprehensive health care to people residing outside of their home countries for longer periods of time. These plans generally require a 12-month contract which can be reviewed with your broker ahead of the renewal date. Insurers would also take into account any pre-existing medical conditions a person may have and require continual care for.
On the other hand, travel insurance would cover some medical treatments like emergencies but also include things like flight cancellations, loss of personal belongings or baggage during a short and specific period of time. It would be relatively easy to purchase and exclude any pre-existing conditions a person may have.
Some key points to check when purchasing your international cover:
- Are your destinations covered by your insurer?
- If you are traveling via a stopover, is it also covered?
- Are you covered for the full duration of your trip? In case there is any change in situation or flights, can the cover be extended?
- What is the amount covered? Does it meet the requirements of your destination?
- Are there any limits in your insurance policy on the covered?
- Does your travel insurance cover trip cancellation if you or any of your companions get Covid and have to change travel plans?
- Are you covered for trip cancellations because of government travel bans or mandatory quarantine requirements at your destination?
At Alea, we work with insurers like AXA Smart Traveller, April My Tempo Cover, AIG and CHUBB to offer travel insurance that keeps you protected at all times during your expedition. See our guide here to check if you are covered overseas. Talk to our advisors to find out your best options!
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Entry requirements in different countries
For your easy reference, below are the entry requirements in some popular Asia travel destinations with no quarantine for Hongkongers.
|Destination||Proof of vaccination||Pre-departure COVID-19 tests||Health/ travel Insurance||Visa or travel arrangements|
|Indonesia (Bali)||✔️||✔️ RT-PCR test (within 48 hours pre-departure)||✔️ COVID-19 health/ travel insurance: min. US$25,000||Visit Visa B211A; download the PeduliLindungi app & the e-HAC|
|Laos||✔️||✔️ PCR test (within 72 hours pre-departurea)||✔️ COVID-19 health/ travel insurance: min. US$50,000 for COVID-19||Green Zone Travel Plan|
|Malaysia (from April 1)||✔️||✔️ RT-PCR test (within 2 days pre-departure)||✔️ COVID-19 travel insurance: min. RM$100,000||Register with MySejahtera and download the app|
|Maldives||Not required||Not required for all passengers||Not required||Free 30-day visa on arrival|
|Philippines||✔️||✔️ RT-PCR test (within 48 hours pre-departure) or professionally administered RAT (within 24 hours pre-departure)||✔️ COVID-19 health/travel insurance: min. US$35,000||Visa-free for Hong Kong travelers|
|Singapore||✔️||✔️ PCR test / professionally administered or supervised ART (within 2 days pre-departure)||✔️ COVID-19 travel insurance: min. SG$30,000||The Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme|
|Sri Lanka||✔️ |
(unvaccinated visitors have to quarantine for 7 days; not-fully vaccinated’’ visitors have to stay in a “Flexible bio-bubble”
|Exempted for fully vaccinated travelers||✔️ Mandatory COVID-19 Local Insurance of US$75,000||Apply online visa|
(unvaccinated visitors have to quarantine for 10 days under Alternative Quarantine (AQ))
|✔️ RT-PCR test (within 72 hours pre-departure)||No longer required from April 1||✔️ COVID-19 health insurance: min. US$20,000|
|Vietnam||Not required||✔️ RT-PCR/ RT-LAMP test (within 72 hours pre-departure) or RAT (within 24 hours)||✔️ COVID-19 medical/travel insurance: min. US$10,000||Apply E-visa online (fee: US$25), valid for 30 days|
*The above entry requirements are accurate as of March 29, 2022. As situations keep changing, you should check the latest announcement by authorities in your destination. No responsibility is accepted for any inaccuracies, errors, or omissions.
For your trip back to Hong Kong
The Hong Kong government has lifted all compulsory quarantine and vaccination requirements for incoming travelers. However, if you are traveling from Taiwan or places outside China, you should obtain a negative rapid Antigen Test (RAT) result within 24 hours or a negative PCR-based nucleic acid test result within 48 hours prior to the scheduled time of departure. You are also recommended to conduct a daily RAT in the first 5 days after arrival.
Border settings and entry restrictions in Hong Kong and over the globe are subject to change at any time, often at short notice, so be sure to subscribe to the latest announcements about your destination before your departure. It is always wise to be flexible with your travel plans to accommodate unforeseen changes in reality.
Bon voyage and stay safe!
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This article was independently written by Alea and is not sponsored. It is informative only and not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and should never be relied upon for specific advice.