On this page:
Quick references for travel recommendations
Travel-related requirements in Virginia
Recommendations for fully vaccinated travelers
Recommendations for travelers who are not fully vaccinated
Considerations for people who recently recovered from COVID-19
People returning to Virginia after international travel
If you start to feel sick
COVID-19 is still spreading within Virginia, across the United States (U.S.), and in other countries. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) urges Virginians who are not fully vaccinated to avoid travel, especially if they are at higher risk of serious COVID-19 or if they will be visiting someone at higher risk of serious COVID-19. Travelers who are fully vaccinated are less likely to get or spread COVID-19 while traveling, but international travelers should still follow additional precautions listed below. All travelers should consider the risks for getting or spreading COVID-19 and follow recommendations and requirements at their destination.
As of October 21, 2021:
- With specific exceptions, several presidential proclamations prohibit the entry into the U.S. of foreign nationals who have been in any of the following countries during the past 14 days:
- European Schengen area (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City).
- United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland)
- Republic of Ireland
- South Africa
The White House has announced that vaccines will be required for international travelers coming into the United States, effective November 8, 2021. Vaccines approved or authorized by the FDA, as well as WHO Emergency Use Listing vaccines will be accepted.
The CDC is working to develop the orders and guidance documents to implement this new travel policy. Those details (for the airlines, for airline passengers, and for people coming to the land border) will be available before November 8.
- VDH strongly recommends that travelers who are not fully vaccinated quarantine (stay home) after domestic or international travel.
- All travelers aged 2 years and older are required to wear face masks while on public transportation in the U.S., including Virginia (e.g., planes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, rideshares) and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs, such as airports, bus and train stations.
- Travelers are not required to wear masks in outdoor areas of a transportation conveyance or transportation hub, but masks are still recommended in these areas for travelers who are not fully vaccinated. If fully vaccinated, VDH recommends travelers follow CDC guidance.
- This requirement applies to passengers, transportation operators (e.g., crew, drivers, conductors, and other workers involved in public transportation), and operators of transportation hubs.
- In Virginia, fully vaccinated people should wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial to high transmission. This means you are in a place where the spread of COVID-19 is happening more often. Check here to see if you are traveling to, or are in one of those areas.
- Fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks in most outdoor settings.
- Any person aged 2 years or older and not fully vaccinated should continue to wear a mask in public indoor and in crowded outdoor settings as recommended by CDC.
- There are some settings where there are still mask requirements, including some federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations and local business and workplace guidance.
- For the most current advice about when to wear masks, see here.
- Effective January 26, 2021, there are testing requirements for certain travelers arriving in the U.S. (including Virginia) from another country by airplane. The U.S. requires all air passengers arriving from a foreign country to have proof of a negative COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen test) conducted within 3 days before departure. People who have had a positive viral test in the past 3 months and who met the criteria to end isolation may travel with documentation of the positive viral test result and a letter from their healthcare provider or a public health official that states they have been cleared for travel. This testing requirement applies to all air passengers, 2 years of age or older, traveling into the U.S., including U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents. It also applies to people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
People who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are less likely to get and spread COVID-19. VDH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that all people delay traveling domestically or internationally until they are fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
Fully vaccinated means that it has been two weeks after your final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This means two weeks after your one dose of Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine or after your second dose of Pfizer (Comirnaty) or Moderna vaccine. You are also considered to be fully vaccinated if you have completed a COVID-19 vaccination series with a vaccine that has been authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization (such as AstraZeneca/Oxford). Information on additional situations where individuals may be considered fully vaccinated is available here.
If you have a condition or are taking medications that weaken your immune system, you may not be fully protected even if you are fully vaccinated. You should continue taking all precautions until your healthcare provider says you no longer need to do so. If you have a moderately or severely weakened immune system, CDC recommends that you should receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, to improve your initial response to the vaccine.
Certain people are eligible to receive a Pfizer vaccine booster dose at least 6 months after completing their initial series of Pfizer vaccine. More information is available here.
Information for domestic travelers
- You can travel safely within the U.S.
- You do not need to get tested before or after travel, and you do not need to stay home (quarantine) after travel.
Information for international travelers
- All air passengers entering the U.S., including fully vaccinated people, must have proof of a negative COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen test) conducted within the 3 days before departure or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 within the past 3 months.
- You should get tested 3-5 days after travel, as international travel poses additional risks.
- You do not need to stay home (quarantine) after arriving in the U.S.
All fully vaccinated travelers should follow these recommendations and requirements for traveling safely:
- Before travel, make sure you understand your destination’s requirements for travelers related to masking, testing, and quarantine. You only need to get tested before travel if it is required by your destination. For international travel, information about requirements for your destination may be available from the Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health, or the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Country Information webpage.
- During travel, follow U.S. state and local or international recommendations and requirements, including those for masking and physical distancing.
- Wear a mask that covers both your mouth and nose when waiting for, traveling on, or departing from public transportation within, into or out of the United States. Travelers are not required to wear masks in outdoor areas of a transportation conveyance or outdoor areas of transportation hubs in the U.S.
- Monitor yourself for symptoms for 14 days after you travel. Isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms of COVID-19.
Delay travel until you are fully vaccinated. After receiving your final dose of vaccine, wait for 2 weeks before traveling because it takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel either in the U.S. or internationally, follow the recommendations provided below.
- Get a COVID-19 viral test (e.g., PCR or antigen test) 1-3 days before traveling. Testing does not eliminate all risk, but it can help make travel safer.
- Do not travel if you are ill, if your PCR or antigen test result is positive, if you are waiting for your test result, or if you have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
- Determine if COVID-19 is spreading at or near your destination. Check here for U.S. states or counties. Look at the cases in the area in the last seven days.
- Consider getting travel insurance in case you need to cancel your trip due to illness.
- Wear a mask covering both your mouth and nose in most public settings, including public transportation. It is recommended, but not required, that travelers who are not fully vaccinated wear masks in outdoor areas of a transportation conveyance or transportation hubs in the U.S.
- Avoid crowds and close contact by staying at least 6 feet (about two arms’ length) from anyone who is not traveling with you.
- Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Follow U.S. state and local or international recommendations or requirements for masking, physical distancing, and testing. For international travel, information about requirements for your destination may be available from the Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health, or the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Country Information webpage.
- Make sure you know where and how you can get medical care if needed at your destination.
- If you know that you were exposed to someone with COVID-19, stay home (quarantine) and postpone further travel. You and your travel companions (including children) pose a risk to your family, friends, and community for 14 days after you were exposed to the virus.
Important reminder for international travelers: All air passengers entering the U.S. are required to have proof of a negative COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen test) conducted within the 3 days before departure or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 within the past 3 months.
- Get tested with a viral test (e.g., PCR or antigen test) 3-5 days after travel and stay home (quarantine) for 7 days. Even if you test negative, stay home for the full 7days.
- If you don’t get tested, it’s safest to stay home for 10 days after travel.
- Avoid being around people at increased risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 for 14 days after you return.
- Watch your health for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days after travel. You can download VDH’s Daily Symptom Monitoring Log to help keep track of your symptoms.
Considerations for people who recently recovered from COVID-19
Travelers who have recovered from COVID-19 within the last 3 months do not need to get tested for COVID-19 or quarantine after travel. Testing is not recommended for people who have had COVID-19 in the last 3 months unless they have symptoms. In order to meet CDC’s requirements for travelers flying into the United States, international travelers may show documentation of recovery to the airline instead of getting tested 1-3 days before travel.
VDH is sending an email message with health information and guidance to people who recently returned to Virginia after international travel. The email message provides information about monitoring for symptoms, staying home (quarantine or isolation), as well as testing recommendations. This email will also have links to helpful information and resources, as well as the option to request a home COVID-19 test kit from VDH.
If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected. This applies to all travelers, even if you are fully vaccinated. If you are traveling when you get sick, do not travel until it is safe for you to be around others. This includes your return trip home.
You should also get tested for COVID-19. To find a testing location near you, contact a healthcare provider or visit Virginia COVID-19 Testing Sites or the local health department website in the area where you are traveling. Learn more about what to do if you feel sick here.
- Visit CDC’s website for additional travel considerations.
- Visit CDC’s Travel Planner for information on travel policies and restrictions of state, local, territorial, and tribal communities and destinations.
- Visit the Travelers section of the VDH FAQ page for more information.
- Visit CDC’s Holiday Celebrations and Gatherings and VDH’s Social Gatherings and Public Spaces if you are planning holiday travel.
- Call VDH COVID-19 hotline at 877-ASK-VDH3 (877-275-8343)
Page Last Updated: October 21, 2021