Expats’ Covid restrictions travel checklist

Expats lead, typically, a more transient lifestyle than those who reside in their country of birth. Nipping back and forth between their adopted country and ‘back home’ to see friends and family, as well as going on business trips and holidays to other expat destinations from their new place of residence is a frequent occurrence. In times of Covid, these regular trips have become more complicated, of course. Each country has their own set of rules and regulations for people arriving and/or leaving. Let’s take a look at those requirements in some of the world’s top expat locations. However, it should be remembered that these can – and regularly do – change as governments review the situation in their respective countries. Also, it will depend on where you are coming from, there could be more stringent rules if you’re arriving from some countries, but here are the basics that ALL travellers must adhere to.


When you land in Spain you’ll need to present a Covid passport or proof of a negative test done within the last 72 hours or a medical certificate showing you’ve recovered from Covid in the last six months. You could be fined €3,000 if you don’t fulfil these obligations upon arrival. You’ll need to take additional tests and/or show your Covid passport again if you’re travelling from the mainland to the Canary Islands or Balearics. More info can be found here.


Currently, France will only allow those who are fully vaccinated or have an essential reason to visit. If you are not fully vaccinated, you will need to complete a certificate to explain your essential reason for visiting; complete a legal statement to confirm you have not had symptoms before travelling; and prove you’ve had a negative PCR test taken no less than 24 hours before travelling. If you do travel not fully vaccinated, you’ll also need to quarantine for seven days on arrival before taking another PCR test. More info can be found here.


Germany welcomes travellers if you are fully vaccinated. German expats who are not fully vaccinated are also permitted to return home. Anyone entering Germany – even if you are vaccinated – must complete digital pre-registration before travelling.


If you’re resident in other EU countries, the Schengen area, from Israel, Andorra or Monaco you can enter Italy without the obligation of quarantine, provided that you fill in the Passenger Locator Form before entering Italy and you present the EU Digital COVID Certificate on arrival. Non-EU citizens can present a Covid Green Certificate, in paper or digital form, issued by the health authorities of their home country, certifying negativity to the virus, successful recovery or vaccination recognised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

United States

Currently, the United States has banned travel from many countries, including the UK and EU, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated or not. U.S. expats are allowed to enter if they show proof of a negative PCR test and complete a seven day quarantine when they arrive. More info here.

Hong Kong

All passengers arriving into Hong Kong will be required to undergo a PCR test for Covid before clearing immigration and baggage collection. The test will be conducted by medical professionals from the Department of Health. You’ll be required to wait for their test results. More info here.


Australia’s borders are currently closed. The only people who can travel to Oz are Australian citizens, permanent residents, immediate family members, travellers who have been in New Zealand for at least the 14 days before the date of departure. Quarantine free travel from New Zealand is suspended until at least 11:59pm on 27 August 2021. Learn more here about who can enter Australia.


You’ll need to show a negative PCR test has been done no more than 72 hours before arriving in the UAE – depending where in the UAE you arrive as different emirates have different rules, so make sure you check in advance. For example, Dubai-based expats returning back will need to have a permit to return which can be found here.


The UK has a traffic light system, Green, Amber and Red. Those arriving from green and amber listed countries can enter the UK if they have proof of double vaccination, have completed a PCR test no more than 72 hours days before arriving, and have completed a passenger locator document.

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