Britain has relaxed rules for returning travellers, with all testing for vaccinated arrivals ending on February 11, and unvaccinated arrivals no longer required to self-isolate from that date. However, a complex web of rules exists in many of our favorite vacation destinations.

The rules will likely be relaxed in the weeks and months to come. Indeed, Norway and Denmark have already announced their intention to follow the UK’s lead. But as things stand, testing remains commonplace, unvaccinated people are often banned, mask rules are strict and Covid passports are widespread.

Our regularly updated country-by-country guide explains the main restrictions in all major holiday destinations. However, they change quickly, so it would be wise to refer to the Foreign Office website as well.

In one look

No test for vaccinees

Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, Peru, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey

No masks

Sweden, Denmark, USA (some states, e.g. Florida)

Open to unvaccinated

Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Greece, Ireland, Maldives, Mexico, Portugal, Seychelles, Slovenia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Turkey

Difficult for (or closed to) unvaccinated teenagers

Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, USA (some states, e.g. New York)

Easy for unvaccinated teens

Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ireland, Maldives, Mexico, Seychelles, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United States (some states, e.g. Florida)

Covid Passports

Austria, Belgium, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Peru, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, United States (some states, e.g. New York)

Closed to all UK tourists

India, Netherlands


Austria

  • Proof of vaccination or recovery required
  • Booster may be needed
  • Mandatory FFP2 masks
  • Covid passports used

Entry rules for vaccinated

Double-shot (from February 1, two-dose vaccinations are only valid for 270 days) or recovered travelers can enter the country with a PCR test (valid for 72 hours) or proof of a booster (received at least 120 days after the second shot, valid for 270 days). Proof of recovery (within the last 180 days) also counts as a recall. Further details on Austria’s entry rules can be found here.

Entry rules for the unvaccinated

Anyone who is not fully vaccinated is generally not allowed entry or faces 10 days of quarantine.

Covid Passports

Proof of vaccination (also known as 2G status), as listed in entry rules above, also applies to access to restaurants, hotels and use of ski lifts. See below for national rules for children.

Mask rules and other restrictions

FFP2 masks are mandatory in all enclosed spaces, including on public transport and inside taxis. Where social distancing of two meters (6.5 feet) is not possible, FFP2 masks are also mandatory outdoors.

Regional Covid measures vary, including whether non-essential shops, hotels, restaurants, bars and cultural institutions are open. Restaurants have a 10 p.m. curfew.

Austria is also applying a lockdown for the unvaccinated.

Rules for children

Children under 12 do not need proof of vaccination/recovery or PCR testing if accompanied by fully vaccinated or recovered adults. If the accompanying adult must be quarantined, the child must also be quarantined. The child can then come out of isolation at the same time as the adult. Children aged 12 or over, born on or after September 1, 2006, can use the first PCR test of a Holiday Ninja Pass to enter Austria. Adult entry rules apply to anyone born before September 1, 2005.


Belgium

  • Proof of vaccination or recovery required
  • Covid passports used
  • Mandatory masks indoors for anyone over the age of six

Entry rules for vaccinated

Fully vaccinated Britons are allowed to visit Belgium for any reason as long as they have proof of a second dose administered 14 days before travel. To enter, you must pass two tests. The first is before departure, this can be a lateral flow test within 24 hours of arrival or a PCR no more than 72 hours before – your result must be negative. Arrivals must then take a PCR test on the first day of their stay and self-quarantine until they receive a negative result. If you say for a week, a follow-up PCR test should be done seven days after arrival. Details on how to get tested in Belgium can be found here – in Brussels, test centers are available on arrival at Gare du Midi/Zuidstation and Brussels Airport, as well as in pharmacies. Anyone staying in Belgium for less than 48 hours is not required to take a test upon arrival. All arrivals must complete a passenger locator form

Entry rules for the unvaccinated

Unvaccinated Britons can only visit Belgium for a very limited set of reasons and must have documentation proving their exemption. If permitted, the same pre-departure rules as above apply, but arrivals must quarantine for 10 days, testing on the first and seventh day – if the latter comes back negative you can leave isolation.

Covid Passports

To enter bars, restaurants, cafes, museums and many other indoor spaces and events, you will need to demonstrate your Covid status via the Belgian Covid Safe Ticket (CST) system by showing proof of vaccination, a recent negative test or a certificate recovery.

Mask rules and other restrictions

Anyone over the age of six must wear a mask in most public spaces, including shops, where only two people can enter together unless they belong to the same household, restaurants and bars (when not not sitting), and in public transport – the use of FFP2 masks is recommended. There remain capacity limits on the number of people allowed in certain venues, including hotels, cinemas and museums, as well as social distancing measures. Restaurants, bars and takeaways must close early at 11 p.m. – nightclubs are closed. These establishments only operate table service and there is a limit of six people per table, unless they belong to the same household. Some cities and towns in Belgium have stricter rules than others – full details can be found on the government website.

Rules for children

Unvaccinated or single-shot under 18s (Belgium does not consider children who have received a dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to be fully vaccinated) can visit Belgium as long as they are traveling with a fully vaccinated adult – but unvaccinated over 12s must follow quarantine requirements as above. Under-12s are exempt from testing requirements but must self-isolate with their adults until their day one test is negative.


Costa Rica

  • Easy for travelers with children
  • No test
  • Open to all, but Covid passports to come

Entry rules for vaccinated

All children (under the age of 18) and all doubly vaccinated adults can enter without any tests or restrictions, except for the obligation to complete a prior epidemiological information form.

Entry rules for the unvaccinated

Unvaccinated arrivals are also welcome, but they must also purchase insurance with specific coverage requirements.

Covid Passports

Until at least March 7, commercial establishments can voluntarily ask customers to prove their vaccination status using either a QR code or the physical card provided during vaccination. This means they can run at 100% capacity, otherwise they must stay at 50%. Reports say some hotels are asking for proof of vaccinations and operating at full capacity, but most restaurants and shops remain at 50%. Check with your hotel or tour operator before booking.

From March 8, the vaccine passport system could become mandatory (pending a legal challenge led largely by Costa Rica’s tourism industry).

Mask rules and other restrictions

Masks should be worn in most indoor public places.

Rules for children

All children (under 18) can enter without testing or restrictions. However, from January 3, children aged 12 and over will need to show proof of full vaccination to enter places that require it (see ‘Covid Passports’, above).

More details about visiting Costa Rica can be found here.