Haven’t traveled abroad in our post-pandemic world yet? The idea may seem daunting before you take off. It is true that the steps to prepare for international travel have evolved since borders reopened in 2021. While the process may seem daunting at first, you can relax knowing that tons of people all over the world travel every day despite the new steps. In July 2021, our Abbey Road students traveled from the US to Europe and back, without a single issue in regards to entry requirements, thanks to their excellent preparation and willingness to be flexible! We have laid out a few tips to review before you travel abroad so that you too can arrive at the airport as well prepared and confident as our students.
In case you need to renew it, be sure to begin the process well in advance. Due to the delay in renewing passports and inability to visit government offices in person in 2020, the renewal process of the US passport has slowed down immensely. It currently takes up to 18 weeks to be issued a renewed passport, or 12 weeks if you choose to pay the expedite fee (for reference, the wait time was at 4 weeks before the pandemic). It may be worth renewing your passport even before you begin planning for future international travel, to avoid running into a passport related delay.
When checking, be sure to use government sources, where the most updated requirements will surely be correctly reported. While the frequency with which these entry requirements change has slowed down since earlier in 2021, there are still changes made every now and then. Your destination country’s government website is always your best source of information.
It is most likely that in order to go abroad you will need to present either a vaccination card, a negative Covid test, or both. Read the instructions on the government website very carefully. For example, it is important to know how soon to be tested for Covid-19 before travel, as the required timeline varies per country. Normally, it is required that the test should be administered no earlier than 72 (though many countries require 48) hours before arrival at your destination. It is also important to check which types of tests are accepted. At the moment, both PCR and Antigen tests are accepted in most countries, but this detail is also ever-evolving. Read the requirements very carefully when doing your research beforehand.
Many countries are now requiring the use of a government-issued mobile app or website where travelers fill out their personal details before entering a country. Consider this a type of online health declaration, which ensures the local government of your country of destination can keep track of international entries and Covid-19 related data. Details about this information are usually found on the official government websites. To enter Spain, for example, travelers are required to show a QR code that is generated once having filled out the Spain Travel Health Portal form on their website or via their mobile app. The Spanish government even made an informational video about it in English here.
Remember, it is worth every new step in order to feel the thrill of international travel (and doing so safely!) after the pandemic. Throw some extra masks in your bag and enjoy the trip!