The governor of Hawaii announced that the state will drop testing requirements for fully vaccinated visitors to the state on July 8. By that date, Governor Ige said the state anticipates that 60 percent of local residents will be vaccinated.
At the moment, anyone traveling to Hawaii who was not vaccinated in Hawaii itself must present a recent negative COVID-19 test in order to avoid quarantining upon arrival. The only exception has been for travelers who were fully vaccinated in Hawaii. After July 8, vaccines from all other US states will be accepted as well. Note that you will still need to enroll in the Hawaii Safe Travels program, described below.
All inter-island travel restrictions ended this month as well — meaning no additional tests will be required once you have arrived in Hawaii with your negative covid test.
The governor also reiterated that once 70 percent of Hawaii residents are vaccinated, all covid-related travel and gathering restrictions will be dropped — barring unforeseen developments with variants. Read on for more on how to join the program and get yourself to paradise.
Who will be able to travel to Hawaii without a COVID-19 pre-test
As of July 8, travelers who have been fully vaccinated in any US state will be able to travel to Hawaii without pre-travel testing. Travelers will be considered fully vaccinated on the fifteenth day after their second Moderna or Pfizer dose, or 15 days after one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Until then, only vaccinations that took place in Hawaii, which are easier for state authorities to verify, will exempt travelers from the pre-testing requirement. Anyone else traveling from the mainland US — or from another CDC-approved country — who wishes to travel to the Hawaiian islands and avoid a 10-day quarantine must receive a negative result on a COVID-19 test completed within 72 hours before travel.
After July 8, unvaccinated travelers will still have to pre-test to avoid quarantine upon arrival. Hawaii only accepts PCR test results from an approved list of laboratories, pharmacies, and multiple airlines that fly to Hawaii. If your test result is not from one of those providers, it will not be accepted.
For unvaccinated travelers arriving from outside Hawaii directly into Maui or the Island of Hawaii, that negative PCR pre-travel test must be complemented by a rapid test conducted upon landing. As in the mainland United States, foreign nationals from CDC-restricted countries are not permitted to enter Hawaii at this time.
What is the Hawaii Safe Travels program?
Hawaii launched the Safe Travels program to keep track of travelers and their health status. If you want to fly to Hawaii, you should create an account in Hawaii’s Safe Travels online portal. Then, fill out a travel questionnaire, including all minors as additional travelers on the same account. You do not need to upload a photo of yourself.
Vaccinated travelers will upload proof of vaccination onto their Hawaii Safe Travels account and enter their vaccine’s lot numbers and the dates of each vaccine. They should also bring their CDC vaccination card with them. Don’t even think of messing with those CDC cards, as that would be a felony.
Unvaccinated travelers will still need to take a pre-travel COVID-19 test. That test should take place 72 hours before your last leg of travel into Hawaii. Once you have your negative COVID-19 test results, log back into your Safe Travels account and upload your test results. Once Hawaii has verified those results, your account will show you as having a negative COVID-19 test result. Considering that tourists elsewhere have falsified test results, the verification process makes sense.
Twenty-four hours before you are set to travel, you’ll receive a health questionnaire. Log into your Safe Travels account to answer a few questions about how you are feeling now, any fevers, and so on. If your answers are satisfactory, you’ll receive a personal QR code. Print it out or send it to your phone, as it will ease the travel process.
Note: Be sure that the name on your CDC card or on the results of your COVID-19 test matches the name on your travel identification and your Safe Travels profile.
If you choose not to create a profile in the Hawaii Safe Travels program, you can still fly to the island — assuming you aren’t sick — but you will have to quarantine for 10 days on arrival and receive daily check-ins from health authorities. If you break that quarantine, you could be fined as much as $5,000 or even wind up in jail.
If you are asked to quarantine, you will have to specify the hotel or motel where you are quarantining, and you will not be permitted to self-isolate in a vacation rental. You will also not be able to rent a car until your quarantine period has ended.
What if I am partially vaccinated or have or recovered from COVID?
If you are only partially vaccinated, you will still need to present a negative COVID-19 test to avoid quarantine. Also, you may not receive your second vaccination in Hawaii. Vaccinations being made available on the islands are for Hawaii state residents only.
If you have had COVID-19: You may travel to the islands without a negative test, but with a positive molecular test that was taken no more than 90 days and no less than 11 days before departure. (The 90-day outer window is to ensure you still have antibodies that make you immune, while the 11-day window reflects the time it takes until you’re no longer contagious.) In addition, you need a letter from a medical provider indicating that you are now symptom-free and may travel, as per the regulations from the state of Hawaii.
What happens when I arrive?
In addition to getting the green light to travel through the Safe Travels program, you will have to show your photo identification and a QR code — either on your phone or printed on paper. You might as well have the QR code on your mobile as you should have it charged and ready for use. Officials at the airport may want to verify that they can reach you and may place a test call to your phone.
Once you have arrived in Hawaii with your your proof of vaccination or negative PCR test, or after having completed quarantine, you can now travel freely between islands. Also, while masks are still required indoors for anyone over five years of age, face coverings are no longer required outdoors — although they are recommended if you are in a large gathering.
Also, as of July 8, social gatherings of 25 people indoors and 75 people outdoors will be allowed, and restaurants will be able to seat guests up to 75 percent capacity.
Can I travel to every Hawaiian island?
Oahu — After July 8, travelers landing in Honolulu (either from outside the state of Hawaii or from another island) who have been fully vaccinated will not need to pre-test. Other travelers will continue needing a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before flight time to avoid quarantine.
Maui — Travelers to Maui must have a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before traveling there from the mainland. In addition, any travelers aged six and up who arrive from outside the Hawaiian islands must also take a rapid antigen test — provided at the airport free of charge — upon arrival. Exempt from this rapid test are travelers who provide proof of vaccination from any US state. After July 8, these vaccinated travelers will also not need to pre-test.
Kauai — Vistors to Kauai may skip quarantine if they have received a negative COVID-19 test from an approved provider within 72 hours of arrival or, after July 8, if they are fully vaccinated. If travelers arrive in Kauai with a rapid or PCR, FDA-approved COVID-19 tests — but one that is not approved by the Hawaii Safe Travels program — they have the option to quarantine in a “resort bubble” for three days until they receive another negative test result.
Once the resort verifies the negative test result, visitors are free to leave the resort and roam the island. For a list of participating resorts, visit Kauai’s COVID-19 information page. Note that anyone arriving without a test at all may not participate in the resort bubble option. For a list of participating resorts, visit Kauai’s COVID-19 information page.
Island of Hawaii — Travelers to the Big Island from outside the state must have a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before traveling there — or, after July 8, proof of full vaccination. In addition, one-quarter of arriving passengers will be randomly selected to receive a free rapid COVID-19 antigen test upon arrival. Those with proof of full vaccination completed will not need to complete the on-arrival rapid test.
Lanai — There are no direct flights to Lanai from the mainland. Since inter-island travel restrictions have been lifted, flights from Honolulu and Maui to Lanai City have resumed.
A version of this article was previously published on November 6, 2020, and was updated on June 28, 2021, with more information.
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