There’s a growing debate in the US over the use of COVID-19 vaccine passports. Pavlo Gonchar/Getty Images
Generally, you do not need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to travel.
However, fully vaccinated travelers may be subject to fewer restrictions.
Some cruise companies and airlines are increasingly announcing vaccination requirements.
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As more people receive the COVID-19 vaccine and the world gears up for post-pandemic summer, many are wondering if they need to be vaccinated to travel.
At the moment, you don’t need to be vaccinated to travel generally, but full vaccination opens up more doors for travelers, and it may be required for certain types of travel in the future.
Full vaccination is already making travel easier for some
A handful of countries around the world, like Ecuador and Iceland, have waived entry restrictions for travelers who have been fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travelers, on the other hand, may need to present negative COVID-19 test results and quarantine upon arrival.
This easy-to-use, interactive map by travel company Sherpa shows travelers what restrictions apply to them based on their vaccination status and departure location.
Cruise lines and airlines are increasingly announcing vaccination requirements
Several private companies have also instituted, or plan to institute, vaccination requirements for travelers.
On April 6, Qatar Airlines became the first airline to operate a fully vaccinated flight, carrying only vaccinated crew and passengers. In March, Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines, told NBC Nightly News that the airline will likely require proof of vaccination on international flights in the future.
And major cruise lines like Royal Caribbean have also announced fully vaccinated journeys that will set sail starting in late spring.
Down the road, governments may require travelers to present digital health certificates, or vaccine passports, proving their vaccination status upon arrival.
On February 21, Israel became the first country to launch a digital vaccine-passport program. Called the “green pass,” it allows fully vaccinated residents to travel more freely throughout the country than unvaccinated residents.
The EU is also currently working on a vaccine passport program that will allow fully vaccinated residents to move freely among member states. It hopes to launch the program by mid-June.
While vaccine passports won’t be federally mandated in the US, states and businesses may require them.
Last month, New York launched a vaccine passport program called the “Excelsior Pass” that allows fully vaccinated people to attend events, like concerts and sports games, with more people than the state’s social-gathering limit. Florida and Texas, on the other hand, have banned vaccine passport programs.
Whether or not you are fully vaccinated, you should still take precautions like wearing a face mask and social distancing wherever you are traveling, since there is still a chance that fully vaccinated people may catch and spread COVID-19.
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