Travel is my normal state of being. There’s no ‘home’ or ‘home culture’ to compare it to


“HOW DO YOU SAY UZBEKISTAN IN CHINESE?” I asked my colleague. “I’m telling my taxi driver from Uzbekistan so I won’t have to explain where I’m from.”

“Wuzi bieke” (烏茲別克), he said.

It was almost an everyday occurrence in Taiwan, people asking me where I was “from,” because I spoke Chinese with a waiguo (外國) or “foreign” accent. Sometimes I said I was from Greenland. Other times, I was half Laotian and half Marshall Islander.

In the past year, I had been in a different country almost every month, but for someone who writes about culture, lifestyle, and travel for a living, my brain is blank whenever I get back from vacation.

“You should pitch to a travel publication,” my parents and friends always tell me.

But what should I write? That the ocean in Hawaii was a tranquil kind of blue? That the snow-capped mountains in Switzerland were majestic white? I’ve been on the road for almost 26 years now – basically my whole life – yet, whenever I read a travel blog or magazine the last thing I feel is inspired. The level of enthusiasm in these stories astounds me. Every single experience – whether it be scuba diving with tiger sharks in Thailand, volunteering in Cameroon, or cross-country skiing in Norway — is exhilarating, life-changing, and an eye-opening experience. Why couldn’t I feel those same things as my globe-trotting compatriots?

I’m not jaded. I love traveling. But traveling is my normal state of being. There’s no “home” or “home culture” to compare it to. When I travel, shop owners and street food vendors ask me if I can purchase this merchandise or this dessert in “my country.” I stare at them blankly. I don’t know how to say that I don’t have a country, that I’m not going “home” after this trip – just back to the place where I happened to be living at that moment. At one time it was London. Another time it was New York. Now it’s Taipei.

August 31, 1990, was Malaysia’s 33rd birthday. It was also the day of my first plane ride. My family – mom, dad, grandma, grandpa and little one-year-old Dana – packed all our belongings (which at that time consisted of only a few suitcases) and hopped on a plane from Kuala Lumpur to Hong Kong. I didn’t have a seat number. Instead, I sat on the floor near the divider between economy and business class. My mom said I was a brave baby, that I simply clenched my fists when the plane took off and landed.

A few months back, my dad, who was only a little older than I am now, had received an expatriate job offer in Hong Kong. He took it, thinking it’ll only be for a few years. Four and a half years later, we moved to Indonesia, and four years after that, to Singapore. A year later, it was Taiwan. And nearly 26 years since that fateful day in 1990, I had lived in 17 houses in 10 countries across four continents.

My classmates at the seven different international schools I attended were on the same boat as me. Introductions were always, “Which country did you move from?” not, “Where are you from?”

Of course, I also knew that this existence was not an “ordinary” one. On a family vacation to Singapore when I was in middle school, I was getting my hair washed at a salon when the stylist, upon hearing my American accent (picked up from attending international schools), asked me where I was from.

“I live in Taiwan,” I said.

I felt her fingers stop massaging my skull for a moment and I could sense her confusion. “Your family immigrated to Taiwan from Singapore?” She asked.

Why would we immigrate to Taiwan, of all places? I remember thinking. Back then, we had to drive 45 minutes to the nearest cinema just to watch a movie.

“No, we just live in Taiwan. But we’ll probably live in another country in a few years,” I replied.

I couldn’t comprehend her difficulty in comprehending the situation.

Growing up in a number of different countries because of our parents’ jobs, “Third Culture Kids” (TCKs) are supposed to be highly adaptable and embracing of cultural differences. We live in a constant state of identity crisis and belong everywhere and nowhere at the same time. We feel most at home in airports. Disillusioned with life on the move, some TCKs decide to stay put in one country when they grow up, whereas others (like me), find jobs that will allow them to travel all the time.

Yes, it’s a privileged existence and a real first-world problem. But I don’t believe that my “different” upbringing makes my ability to look back on my life and feel love, empathy, sadness, or happiness any less than someone who was born and bred in one country.

I’ve moved thousands of miles away from my family and my best friends to places where I knew absolutely no one. I’ve been in love with guys from villages in Bulgaria and farms in Sweden and left knowing that it was going to be almost impossible to build a life together with me always on the move and the other rooted to one place, at least for the foreseeable future.

“You can’t move here – it won’t make any sense,” they all say.

“No, it makes sense; I can write from anywhere,” is always my defense.

But deep down inside, I know – and they know – that I’ll never be content living a modest existence on one tiny corner of the earth.

I’ve found myself in too many situations where I’ve felt lonely beyond words. Yet I’m also the one who keeps putting myself in situations like these. Sure, I have friends and family to commiserate with, but too few people understand.

As I placed my cut fruits and salad boxes on the conveyor belt at the check-out counter at Marks & Spencer at Waterloo Station, I felt the check-out lady’s eyes gaze at me. I prepared myself for the inevitable.

“Where are you from?” she asked.

Crap. Which country should I say today? Fed up, I decided to tell the truth.

“I’ve lived in 10 countries; I’m not from anywhere,” I said coldly.

“10 countries?! But you still have to be from somewhere! Where are your parents from?” She said, still trying to make friendly conversation.

“I’m not from anywhere,” I said, louder this time.

“You’re not an alien, are you?” she joked.

“Nope, I’m just a human who’s living on this earth and who happens to be in London and craving fruit and salad at this moment,” I replied, grabbing my cut fruit and salad boxes and stomping away after paying.

“Just checking to make sure that you’re not alien…” I heard her voice drift as I walked off.

Three and a half years later, I went off on a tirade to a friend about a taxi driver who asked if I was “going home to Japan” after dropping me off at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. “Yea,” I said, not bothering to explain that I work in Taipei as a journalist for a Taiwanese-owned English-language newspaper and was heading to Singapore for a press trip, then to Seoul to see my family before jetting to Sweden to visit my boyfriend, from which we’ll travel to Denmark and then go our separate ways.

“I feel you, sister,” my friend typed on Facebook messenger. “People always love to categorize us. You know what I say these days when people ask me that? I say I’m from earth. It fucks with people, and I can usually divert the question or tell them how it doesn’t matter where I’m from. Most people probably think I’m an asshole when I do that, but I just laugh it off.”

I’m trying to laugh it off. I’m trying to own the fact that I’m a Third Culture Kid from planet earth.

I may not have a place to call “home,” but I’ve been in love, had my heart broken, cried, laughed, got upset, and repented just as many human beings have by the time they reach 27. If I don’t mention that I’ve lived in 10 countries and traveled to numerous more, my life wouldn’t be that “extraordinary.”

I don’t know which country I’ll live in next or if I’ll move around forever and raise my kids as Third Culture Kids too. But I’m looking forward to whatever is in store for me down the road.

These experiences, these emotions, the ability to emerge from a situation and grow from it – isn’t that what makes us human, what defines us and shapes us, rather than the mere fact of where we happened to be born and raised?


The U.S. Department of State updated the Travel Advisory for Mexico on September 8, 2020. Reconsider travel to Mexico due to COVID-19. Exercise increased caution in Mexico due to crime and kidnapping. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Mexico due to COVID-19.

Last updated: [03/12/21]

Effective January 26, all airline passengers to the United States ages two years and older must provide a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within three calendar days of travel. Alternatively, travelers to the U.S. may provide documentation from a licensed health care provider of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel. Check the CDC website for additional information and Frequently Asked Questions. This requirement does not apply to travelers entering the United States by land or sea or to children under two years of age. It applies to U.S. citizens, as well as foreign nationals, regardless of vaccination status.

Country-Specific Information:

  • As of March 11, Mexico has confirmed 2,345,863 total cases of COVID-19 within its borders since the beginning of the pandemic. Mexican authorities report widespread community transmission, thousands of cases of infection, and increased numbers of patients requiring hospitalization. The Mexican Ministry of Health (Spanish) publishes daily updates on the number of cases.
  • There are no states designated “red” under the federal stoplight system between March 1 and March 14
  • The U.S. Department of State updated the Travel Advisory for Mexico on September 8. Reconsider travel to Mexico due to COVID-19. Exercise increased caution in Mexico due to crime and kidnapping. Read the entire Travel Advisory.
  • Please see the latest information about the status of consular operations including routine appointments and emergency services.

  • Are PCR and/or antigen tests available for U.S. citizens in Mexico? [Yes]
  • If so, are test results reliably available within 72 hours? [Yes]
  • CDC requirement for Negative COVID-19 test prior to air travel:
    • A negative viral COVID test or documentation of recovery is required for anyone traveling by air to the United States, including U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents age two and over, and regardless of vaccination status.
    • This order applies to all flights, including private flights and general aviation aircraft (charter flights). A negative COVID test is not currently required for travel by land border.
    • Air passengers are required to take a viral test (PCR/NAAT or antigen test for current infection) no more than three calendar days prior to their flight departure to the United States. Antibody tests are not compliant with the requirement.
    • If you are arriving to the United States via one or more connecting flights, your test must be done in the three days before the first flight in your itinerary, but only if the connecting flights were booked as a single passenger record with a final destination in the United States and each connection (layover) is no longer than 24 hours long. If your connecting flight to the United States was booked separately or a connection in your itinerary lasts longer than 24 hours, you will need to get tested within the three days before your flight that arrives in the United States.
    • CDC requires that air passengers arriving in the United States have a paper or electronic copy of their test result for review by the airline before boarding and possible review by public health officials after arrival in the United States. Passengers must provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline prior to boarding.
    • Airline personnel must verify that every passenger over age two onboard has attested to receiving a negative test result or to having recovered from COVID-19 and being cleared to travel by a licensed health professional or a public health official. In addition to presenting a negative test result or documentation of recovery (in English or Spanish), it is recommended that each passenger print and present their attestation to the airline. A parent or other authorized individual should attest on behalf of a passenger aged two to 17 years that they have received a negative test. For more guidance, please consult with your airline. To see the passenger attestation, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/pdf/attachment-a-global-passenger-disclosure-and-attestation-2021-01-12-p.pdf.
    • If an air traveler has had a positive viral test in the past three months, and have met the criteria to end isolation, he or she may travel instead with documentation of positive viral test results and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official that states the passenger has been cleared for travel. The positive test result and letter together are referred to as “documentation of recovery.”
    • Airlines are responsible for enforcing the requirement for passengers on U.S.-bound flights. Airlines will deny boarding to anyone without a negative test or documentation of recovering from COVID-19.
    • If you test positive, you must self-isolate and delay your travel. Do not travel until you have recovered completely from COVID-19.
    • If your flight is delayed before departure, you will need to be re-tested if the delay causes your test to fall outside of the three-day pre-departure testing period.
    • Please ensure that the test provider you choose will provide test results that comply with CDC guidelines (for U.S.-bound travelers) and those of your airline.
    • For U.S.-bound travelers, each state has its own testing and entry requirements. Verify what is necessary to enter the state to which you are traveling. The CDC offers testing and quarantine information on all states: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-planner/index.html
  • Testing availability in Mexico:
    • The Secretariat of Health (Salud) maintains a list of approved laboratories (Spanish only) for viral COVID-19 testing. Many local hospitals, clinics, and laboratories offer private testing for travel purposes.
    • The cost of PCR tests typically range from approximately 950 MXN to 4500 MXN, and the cost of viral antigen tests typically range from 200 MXN to 1000 MXN, depending on location and speed of results. Travelers are responsible for the costs of their own tests and any associated medical care. The Embassy and Consulates are unable to administer or pay for tests.
    • U.S. Mission Mexico has prepared a list of private testing providers. Note: This list is not comprehensive and the information within is subject to change at any time. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the entities or individuals whose names appear on this list. Inclusion on this list is in no way an endorsement by the Department or the U.S. government. Providers are listed by location, and the order in which they appear has no other significance. The information on the list is provided directly by local service providers, the Department of State is unable to vouch for this information.
    • Some airlines and international airports in Mexico offer testing on-site as a last resort for travelers – please confirm directly with your carrier for more information on availability of this service. Even if such an option is available, it is recommended to obtain your test results before arriving at the airport. At some of the indicated airports, testing on-site is only available to international passengers utilizing specific carriers, and not to all U.S.-bound travelers. If you must test on-site at an airport where it is offered, you should arrive at least three hours earlier (or follow carrier recommendations) to allow time for results. Please note testing at the airport may result in missing your flight or onward connections due to delays or if you receive a positive test result. As of February 4, international airports in the following locations confirmed the availability of on-site testing for some passengers: Acapulco, Aguascalientes, Cancun, Culiacan, Durango, Guadalajara, Guanajuato, Hermosillo, La Paz, Los Cabos, Los Mochis, Manzanillo, Mazatlan, Merida, Mexicali, Mexico City, Morelia, Nuevo Leon, Oaxaca, Puerto Vallarta, San Luis Potosi, Tampico, Tijuana, Torreon, Zacatecas, Zihuatanejo. Confirm testing availability directly with the airport or air carrier.
    • Travelers visiting Mexico should contact their tour provider or hotel for more information on local testing options.
    • You will have to pay for your test. You should contact your medical/travel insurance to find out if they will reimburse you.
  • Waivers to the testing requirement may be granted by the CDC on an extremely limited basis when extraordinary emergency travel (like an emergency medical evacuation) must occur to preserve someone’s health and safety, and testing cannot be completed before travel. There are no waivers available for individuals who test positive for COVID-19. Individuals – or air carriers seeking to allow boarding by potentially qualifying individuals – who believe they meet the criteria for a waiver should contact the U.S. Embassy by email at [email protected] Provide the information below and the U.S. Embassy will submit the request to the CDC for consideration.
    • The following information must be provided for each passenger:
      • Name (family name/surname, given name), passport number and country
      • Cell phone number including country code of passenger or head of household if family unit
      • Email address of passenger or head of household if family unit
      • U.S. destination address
      • Is U.S. destination home address?
      • Departure date
      • Flight itinerary
      • Name of submitting entity if different from passenger
      • Name of company submitting on behalf of passenger(s) (if applicable)
      • Name of point of contact submitting on behalf of passenger(s) (if applicable)
      • Phone and email address for POC submitting waiver request on behalf of passenger(s) (if applicable)
      • Purpose of travel to the U.S. (provide brief explanation of why urgent travel is needed and how travel will contribute to health and safety of passengers(s))
      • Justification for testing waiver (e.g. no testing available, impact on health and safety)
      • Documentation to support justification for test waiver, if available (e.g. medical records or orders for medical evacuation)
  • The symptoms of COVID-19 (such as fever, cough, headaches, throat pain, or constant sneezing) are very similar to other respiratory diseases. If you have mild symptoms, call your usual health care provider or the Mexican government’s hotline at 800 0044 800 or 55 5658 1111 in order to receive advice to determine whether to stay home or seek medical attention. If you or someone in your family has difficulty breathing, please go to the emergency room or call 911 immediately.
  • Individuals who were in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 and present symptoms of respiratory illness should follow the instructions above. It is advisable to remain in quarantine for 14 days to prevent spreading the disease to other people.
  • If you are experiencing fear, anxiety, or emotional isolation, please call the Mexican government’s hotline at 800 911 2000 (Spanish only) for advice and support.

COVID-19 Vaccine Information:

  • Has the government of Mexico approved a COVID-19 vaccine for use? [Yes]
    • Mexico has approved emergency use of the AstraZeneca, CanSino, Pfizer, SinoVac, and Sputnik V vaccines. The Mexican government has prioritized front-line health care workers. Once more vaccine doses become available, Mexico’s objective is to vaccinate at least 75 percent of the population 16 years and older.
    • Mexican citizens, migrants (press release), permanent, and temporary residents in Mexico are eligible to receive the vaccine. At this time, the Mexican government does not plan to offer the vaccine to tourists. Please review our English Language Instructions on how to register for the vaccine.
    • The Mexican government’s vaccine signup portal requires registrants provide their Clave Única de Registro de Población (CURP). A CURP is a unique identity code that Mexican citizens and permanent and temporary residents are issued.
    • If you don’t know your CURP, search for it on RENAPO’s web page.
    • The vaccine will not be mandatory.
    • The vaccine will be offered on a universal basis for free. Mexico will prioritize recipients by at-risk groups and age. o Subject to vaccine availability, Mexico’s vaccination campaign (Spanish only) includes five phases:
      • Phase 1: January-February 2021 – health care workers,
      • Phase 2: February-April 2021 – people 60 years old and older,
      • Phase 3: April-May 2021 – people 50 to 59,
      • Phase 4: May-June 2021 – people 40 to 49,
      • Phase 5: June 2021-March 2022 – remaining age groups.
    • People under 16 and pregnant women will not be vaccinated because clinical trials were not conducted with participants from these groups. However, these recommendations are subject to change as more data becomes available.
    • Those who have had COVID-19 and no longer have an active infection will be eligible to receive the vaccine.
    • People are not required to present proof of vaccination to attend school, travel, or engage in routine, daily activities. However, these rules are subject to change.
  • The United States government does not plan to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to private U.S. citizens overseas. Please follow host country developments and guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination.
  • You may also consider returning to the United States to receive your vaccine. For more information on how to register for the COVID-19 vaccine in your home state, visit your U.S. state’s Health Department website.
  • Information from the CDC regarding COVID-19 vaccination.

Entry and Exit Requirements:

  • Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter? [Yes]
  • The United States and Mexico entered a joint initiative March 21 restricting non-essential travel along the U.S.-Mexico land border to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Non-essential travel includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature. The restrictions are in place until at least March 21, 2021. Please see the Embassy’s fact sheet for more information.
  • Travelers entering Mexico by land from the United States may be denied admission if the purpose of their visit is considered non-essential. Travelers should carry evidence of the essential nature of their visit and evidence of their resident status in Mexico, if applicable.
  • A negative COVID-19 test is not required for entry to Mexico.
  • Effective January 26, 2021, a negative COVID-19 test, taken within the 3 calendar days prior to flight departure, or documentation of recovery from a COVID-19 infection within the last 90 days, is required for air passengers entering the United States. Please find more details below in the “COVID-19 Testing” portion of the page.
  • Are health screening procedures in place at airports and other ports of entry? [Yes]
  • Passengers and aircrew members arriving at Mexican airports may be subject to health screenings including temperature checks. Those exhibiting symptoms may be subject to additional health screening and/or quarantine.
  • Travelers entering Mexico via land may be subject to health screen including temperature checks. Travelers may experience significant delays and face the possibility of being returned to the United States or quarantined in Mexico.
  • Mexican Immigration (INM) continues to provide law enforcement and public counter services across Mexico. However, due to reduced staffing, members of the public might experience long wait times for routine services. INM recommends monitoring its website and Twitter account for information about its current operating status.
  • Per the CDC order signed January 12, 2021, a negative COVID-19 test, taken within the 3 calendar days prior to flight departure, or documentation of recovery from a COVID-19 infection within the last 90 days, is required for air passengers entering the United States on or after January 26, 2021. Please find more details on our website and refer to the CDC’s Frequently Asked Questions. This requirement does not apply to travelers entering the United States by land or sea or to children under 2 years of age. It applies to U.S. citizens as well as foreign nationals, regardless of vaccination status. More information on COVID-19 testing in Mexico may be found below in the “COVID-19 Testing” portion of the page.

Movement Restrictions:

  • Is a curfew in place? [Yes]
    • Curfews are not universal. Restrictions vary based on state and/or city. Please see the “Local Resources” section for curfew-specific information below.
  • Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel? [Yes]
      • Restrictions apply to some areas. Please see additional information on these restrictions in the “Local Resources” section below.

Quarantine Information:

  • Are U.S. citizens required to quarantine? [No]
  • The Mexican government encourages people to continue respecting social distancing measures, washing their hands, and coughing or sneezing in the inner part of the elbow to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A variety of prevention measures can be found at https://coronavirus.gob.mx/
  • For U.S. citizens who have participated in higher risk activities or think that they may have been exposed before or during a trip, the CDC encourages people to take the following extra precautions to protect others for 14 days after arrival at their destination:
  • Stay home as much as possible.
  • Avoid staying around people at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Consider getting tested for COVID-19.
  • In the United States, quarantine requirements and recommendations may vary by state. Therefore, travelers should review an individual state’s entry requirements before traveling.
  • The CDC currently recommends international travelers get tested 3-5 days after travel AND stay home (or in a comparable location such as a hotel room) for self-quarantine for seven days post-travel.

  • Are commercial flights operating? [Yes]
  • Is public transportation operating? [Yes]
    • Some states and municipalities have implemented additional transportation restrictions. Please see additional information on state specific restrictions in the “Local Resources” section below.

Fines for Non-Compliance:

  • Consequences for non-compliance are not universal. Restrictions vary based on state and/or city. Please see the “Local Resources” section for specific information on fines, penalties, or other consequences below.

Nationwide Restrictions and Resources:


Travel

Travel can increase your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. We ask all visitors to respect the wishes, public health guidelines, and capacity of our local destinations. Keep in mind that guidance may vary county by county, so it’s important to plan ahead, be prepared, and be flexible. Colorado’s Dial Dashboard provides information regarding current county-level guidelines and restrictions.

Be a responsible traveler and practice 5 Steps to Care for Coloradans.

Are You COLO-READY? A guide to responsible recreation in Colorado.

Monitor potential exposures. Enable Exposure Notifications when or before you arrive.

Things to consider

Non-essential travel is not recommended, and some kinds of travel may pose higher risks.

Find out if COVID-19 is spreading where you’re going and always check restrictions in the area to which you are traveling. View Colorado’s Dial Dashboard or contact the area’s local public health agency to get the most up-to-date information on local orders and variances.

If you or those you are traveling with are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19, consider limiting your travel.

Traveling to places where there is widespread transmission or to places where you intend to participate in large gatherings increases your chances of being exposed to COVID-19.

For any trip, consider what you will do if you become ill while you’re away. You may need to isolate or quarantine away from home if you develop symptoms or are exposed to the virus while traveling.


COVID-19 Information

Last updated: March 12, 2021

Effective January 26, all airline passengers to the United States, including U.S. citizens, ages two years and older must provide a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within three calendar days of travel. Alternatively, travelers to the U.S. may provide documentation from a licensed health care provider of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel. Travelers must also present an attestation confirming one of the two options is true. Check the CDC website for additional information and Frequently Asked Questions.

Country-Specific Information

Portugal is in a country-wide State of Emergency. The State of Emergency is divided into four levels of risks with specific measures corresponding to those levels:

Information on the specific levels of risk and restrictions for each municipality visit: https://covid19estamoson.gov.pt/renovacao-do-estado-de-emergencia/

  • The complete list of Municipalities under the new restrictions is available here: https://covid19estamoson.gov.pt/lista-de-concelhos-nivel-de-risco/

Effective March 15, 2021, the Government of Portugal will implement the following Deconfinement Measures for the entire country. For more information visit https://covid19estamoson.gov.pt/plano-desconfinamento-datas-regras/:

  • Stay Home, except for authorized travel.
  • Travel Between Municipalities is prohibited March 20-21 and March 26 – April 5

  • Schools: In-person classes open for pre-school, primary school 1 st to 4 th grade (1º ciclo), and daycare centers. ATLs and study centers open only for children and students participating in educational activities.
  • Local Trade: Non-food retail and services must close at 9.00 pm on weekdays, and at 1.00 pm on weekends and holidays. Vendors may only sell non-food products through street-facing shop doors or open-air fairs and markets, if authorized by municipal authorities.
  • Grocery Stores and Supermarkets must close at 9.00 pm during weekdays, and may remain open on weekends until 7.00 pm.
  • Restaurants, Bars and Cafes: Limited to take-away and home delivery only. Restaurants in shopping centers are closed. Take away of drinks permitted.
  • Alcoholic Beverages can only be sold until 8.00 pm in all establishments, including supermarkets.
  • Hairdressers, Manicurists,and Barbers open by appointment only.
  • Bookstores, Libraries, Gardens and Open-air Leisure Spaces open to the public.

April 5, 2021

  • Schools: In-person classes will resume for 5 th to 9 th grade as well as study centers (ATL) for students participating in educational activities.
  • Museums, Monuments, Palaces, and Galleries open to the public.
  • Stores up to 200m2 (with street entrances) open to the public.
  • Outside Open Areas of Cafés and Restaurants: limited to groups of four people.
  • Sports: Outdoor exercise limited to groups of four people. Gymnasiums open without group classes.

April 19, 2021

  • Schools: In-person classes open for Secondary Schools and Universities.
  • Cinemas, Theaters, Auditoriums, and Cultural Centers open to the public.
  • Public Services: Lojas do Cidadão open for in-person services by appointment only.
  • Stores and shopping centers open to the public.
  • Restaurants and Cafes open until 10:00 pm during weekdays and, 1:00 pm on weekends and holidays. Limited to groups of 4 inside and 6 outside.
  • Sports: Outside exercise limited to groups of six people.
  • Outdoor Events resume at reduced capacity determined by health authorities.
  • Weddings and Baptisms allowed at 25% capacity.

  • Cafés and Restaurants limited to groups of 6 inside and 10 outside.
  • Sports: All sports activities permitted including outdoor exercise and gymnasiums.
  • Events: Large outdoors and indoor events resume at reduced capacity.
  • Weddings and baptisms allowed at 50% capacity.

GENERAL RULES:

  • A general Stay at Home order is still in effect.
  • Telework whenever possible.
  • Limit Contact to only your household.
  • Travel only for essential needs.
  • Social Distance measures enforced, to include mandatory use of protective masks in closed public spaces.
  • Masks areMandatory outside when social distancing is not possible.
  • Protective masks are mandatory inside workplaces.
  • Avoid small, crowded, or unventilated indoor spaces without a protective mask.
  • Mandatory quarantine for illnesses, those under active observation, and those suspected of being infected with COVID-19.
  • Portuguese Citizens are generally prohibited from traveling outside of Portugal. For information about exceptions please see the most recent State of Emergency.
  • Expired Portuguese document validity extended until March 31, 2021. This extended validity period applies to Portuguese issued drivers’ license, citizen’s card (cartão de cidadão), residency documents and visa permits, etc. to stay or reside in Portugal. For more information and guidance on qualifying documents, visit: sef.pt
  • Please consult local restrictions for travel to Madeira and the Azores.

  • Non – compliance with telework is considered a violation with fines.
  • Failure to present a COVID-19 test at the airport upon arrival in Portugal is a violation resulting in fines from 300€ to 800€
  • Fines on individuals and businesses are doubled during the State of Emergency.
  • Portuguese authorities will enforce supervision.

  • The Azores are part of Portugal and U.S. citizens are not permitted to travel to Portugal at this time for non-essential travel. There are exceptions for dual nationals and U.S. citizens who are lawful residents of EU member states. For other travel eligibility questions, please contact Portuguese immigration authorities (SEF). Anyone arriving to the Azores, even on domestic flights from outside the Azores, must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours prior to arrival.
  • Travelers who wish to remain in the Azores for more than seven days, will be required to test again on the 6th day. Those wishing to remain in the Azores for more than two weeks must test again on the 12 th To speed the process on arrival, the Regional Government of the Azores suggests travelers complete a health questionnaire at least 72 hours before disembarking.
  • For more information please visit: Covid19Azores.

Madeira Specific:

  • The Government of Madeira decreed a MANDATORY use of protective masks in all public spaces (indoors and outdoors). Exceptions include children under 10, disable persons, participation at sporting events, and use while at the beach. All persons arriving to Madeira, to include U.S. citizens, are subject to one of the following: present a negative COVID-19 test in the last 72 hours, submit to a test upon arrival and isolate until the results are received, self-isolate for a 14-day period, or return to their point of departure.
  • Passengers on flights diverted from Madeira International Airport to Porto Santo airport due to weather conditions must stay in the airport in isolation until there is an available flight connecting to Funchal.
  • For more information click on the following link: https://www.madeira.gov.pt/Covid19/DecisoesExcecionaisCovid19

COVID-19 Testing

  • Are PCR and/or antigen tests available for U.S. citizens in Portugal? Yes
  • If so, are test results reliably available within 72 hours? Yes
  • For information on limited humanitarian exemptions to CDC’s requirement that all U.S. bound travelers present a negative COVID test, please review the following page:https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/covid-testing-required-us-entry.html. Humanitarian exemptions to this order will be granted on an extremely limited basis and will only be considered when the country of departure lacks adequate COVID-19 testing capacity. To submit information in support of an exemption, email [email protected]
  • For the nearest testing facilities and collection consult Portuguese health authorities (SNS) using the Portuguese COVID-19 Health Hotlines:
    • Mainland Portugal – (+ 351) 808 24 24 24 (Press 9 for English)
    • Azores – (+351) 808 24 60 24
    • Madeira – (+351) 800 24 24 20

COVID-19 Vaccine Information:

  • Has the government of Portugal approved a COVID-19 vaccine for use? Yes
    • According to Portugal Health Authorities guidelines and additional information on vaccination in Portugal, may be found at: Portuguese National Health Service
    • Please follow host-country developments and guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination.
    • Contact the CDC for information on U.S. COVID-19 vaccination plans.

Entry and Exit Requirements

  • Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter? No, U.S. citizens cannot travel directly from the United States to Portugal for non-essential travel (i.e. tourism).
    • Only Portuguese nationals, holders of Portuguese and EU-member residency permits, and holders of other long-term visas issued by Portuguese authorities may enter the country.
    • US citizens who are lawful residents of EU member states may enter Portugal.

PLEASE NOTE: All authorized travelers arriving from the United States must present proof of a negative COVID-19 test conducted within the last 72 hours before boarding and at the airport. Passengers without a negative test result will be subject to mandatory testing at the airport at their own expense upon arrival, in addition to a mandatory quarantine by Portuguese health authorities.

  • Additional controls on Portuguese land and river borders will be in place.
  • Crossing land borders is generally prohibited. Exceptions may include transport of international goods, workers, and circulation of emergency vehicles.
  • Rail traffic between Portugal and Spain is suspended, except for the purpose of transporting goods.
  • Transportation by river between Portugal and Spain is also suspended.

NOTE: National citizens and holders of residence permits in Portugal are allowed to enter Portugal. Although the departure of Portuguese nationals is now prohibited, foreign citizens are permitted to depart.

  • Long-term visa holders, such as students, may be permitted, but travelers should contact the nearest Portuguese Embassy or Consulate to confirm that their visa qualifies.
  • For questions on additional travel requirements, please consult your airline.

Some airlines continue to sell tickets for travel between the United States and Portugal. Please confirm your eligibility to enter or transit Portugal with the Portuguese Embassy/Consulate and/or airline and review the airline’s policy on refunds before purchasing tickets.

  • Suspension of flights, mandatory confinement, and other additional measures may occur with little or no warning.
  • S. citizens who live in the United States and wish to return should do so through the commercial flight options that currently exist. The U.S. government does not anticipate arranging repatriation flights from Portugal.
  • Travelers should be prepared for additional travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice.
  • Is a negative COVID-19 test (PCR and/or serology) required for entry? Yes

ALL TRAVELERS must present proof of a negative COVID-19 test conducted within the last 72 hours – Your airline may refuse to board you without evidence a negative COVID-19 test conducted in the last 72 hours. Passengers arriving to Portugal without these test results are subject to refusal of entry and/or mandatory testing at the cost of the passenger as well as quarantine until the results of the test. Additionally, all passengers arriving are subject to mandatory temperature checks, and may be required to undergo secondary health screening and/or COVID-19 testing.

  • Are health screening procedures in place at airports and other ports of entry? Yes

Portuguese airports in Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Ponta Delgada, Funchal and Lajes implemented a body temperature measurement requirement upon arrival. More information is available at http://www.ana.pt/en/corporate/ana/security-measures.

  • For other visa or travel eligibility questions for transit/entry, please contactPortuguese immigration authorities at (SEF)and visit their Frequently Asked Questions website.

Movement Restrictions

  • Is a curfew in place? Yes, Please click here for a list of those municipalities.
  • Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel? Yes, travel between municipalities is prohibited from March 20 – 21 and March 26 – April 5.

Quarantine Information

  • Are U.S. citizens required to quarantine? Yes, it is possible they will be required to quarantine

Under the State of Emergency, the Portuguese Government can impose obligatory quarantine for individuals infected with COVID-19 and individuals deemed by health officials to require special medical observation.

  • Passengers arriving to Portugal without a negative COVID-19 test results are subject to refusal of entry and/or mandatory testing at the cost of the passenger as well as quarantine until the results of the test.
  • All persons arriving to Madeira, to include U.S. citizens, are subject to one of the following: present a negative COVID-19 test in the last 72 hours, submit to a test upon arrival and isolate until the results are received, self-isolate for a 14-day period, or return to their point of departure.

Transportation Options

  • Are commercial flights operating? Yes
  • Is public transportation operating? Yes

Mandatory use of protective masks when using public transportation. 2/3 of passengers are allowed for Uber or taxis Fines for non-compliance

  • Failure to present a COVID-19 test at the airport upon arrival in Portugal is considered a violation. Fines range from 300€ to 800€ All individual fines (previously 100€ to 500€) and business fines (previously 10,000€) are doubled during the State of Emergency.

Consular Operations

Due to the COVID-19 situation in Portugal and for the health and safety of the public and our personnel, routine Consular services remain suspended.


Several cities and states have closed down non-essential businesses, limited bars and restaurants to takeout and delivery only, and enacted official bans on large events or gatherings of any number. Others have taken those directives a step farther by instating stay-at-home mandates (meaning residents are only allowed to leave home for essential needs and must practice social distancing en route). Some places that had instated lockdowns or stay-at-home orders are starting to gradually open up, most starting with essential businesses and still requiring masks or social distancing.

On March 19, the U.S. State Department issued a global "Level 4: Do Not Travel" advisory, discouraging all travel abroad. It also has urged that any U.S. citizens currently abroad return home now or stay in place.

The Europe travel ban remains. On March 14, President Trump expanded the previously announced ban (one that covered 26 countries within Europe's Schengen Area) to also include Ireland and the United Kingdom. The restrictions do not apply to U.S. citizens, their immediate families, and permanent residents, but rather to non-residents who have visited the following countries—Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom—in the last 14 days.

When the first part of the travel ban was announced on March 11, the White House made the following statement: "The free flow of people between the Schengen Area countries makes the task of managing the spread of the virus difficult." Initial restrictions began on at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 13, 2020, and Ireland and the United Kingdom were added shortly after that.

President Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have also agreed to close the U.S.-Canada border for non-essential travel for an indefinite amount of time.


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