If you’re planning a trip to the Caribbean to visit the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), you’ll soon need more than just a swimsuit and sunblock.
Beginning September 1, all visitors 16 and older will be required to have been vaccinated for COVID-19 at least 14 days before their arrival, TCI’s tourism board recently announced. The accepted vaccinations are from Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Comirnaty, Spikevax, and Vaxzevria.
There are, as you would expect, other requirements to enter TCI — and restrictions to follow once there. Keep reading for all of the details.
Turks and Caicos is an archipelago of 40 low-lying coral islands in the Atlantic Ocean. The British territory, which is southeast of the Bahamas, is known for its turquoise waters and white sand beaches.
The first step to enter TCI is to get vaccinated. It’s important to note that travelers will be able to use digital or a paper copy of proof of vaccination — such as handwritten cards issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Travelers will be required to present proof of vaccination through TCI Assured, a quality assurance pre-travel program and portal, prior to entering the country. You can learn more about TCI Assured and the web portal itself here.
Travelers will also need to supply other important documentation while they are using the TCI Assured portal.
First, travelers will need to have received a negative test result from a COVID-19 RT-PCR, NAA, RNA, or Antigen test administered within 3 days of travel to the islands. Children under 10 are exempt from this requirement.
They also will need proof of insurance that covers COVID-19 medical costs and full hospitalization, doctors’ visits, prescriptions, and air ambulance.
Once granted entry, no further COVID-19 tests are required and visitors can stay for 90 days. Importantly, travelers are not required to use a mobile tracking app and are not subject to daily health checks.
Visitors under the age of 16 are exempt from the vaccination requirement. However, visitors between the ages of 10 and 15 must still provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
Visitors who are not able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine due to medical reasons are also exempt from the requirement. Those individuals must provide written and signed proof from a doctor clearly stating that they are medically exempt from taking the vaccine. This documentation, which will be reviewed by the Turks and Caicos Ministry of Health, must be submitted using the online TCI Assured portal.
TCI is open for tourism but there are important COVID-19 safety restrictions. For example, masks are required in all public places until October 31.
Also, although restaurants and bars are operating at 70 percent capacity, all businesses must close at midnight until October 31. Furthermore, a curfew is in effect from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. until October 31.
Know Before You Go
The Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands Ministry of Health reports that there are now 71 active, confirmed COVID-19 cases in the territory. There have been 2,568 cases in total.
Secondly, Turks and Caicos has administered at least 49,107 doses of COVID-19 vaccines so far, Reuters reports. “Assuming every person needs two doses, that’s enough to have vaccinated about 64 percent of the country’s population,” the article notes.
Finally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a “Level 2: Moderate Level of COVID-19” notification for the Turks and Caicos Islands. It goes on to urge vaccinated travelers to “follow recommendations or requirements in the Turks and Caicos Islands, including wearing a mask and staying six feet apart from others.”
While you’re thinking about a trip to the Caribbean, be sure to read all of our Mexico and Caribbean coverage.