Holders of US passports took a hit as a result of policies surrounding COVID-19. Not only are they banned from traveling to some countries, they have restricted access to states in their own country!

July 27, 2020

By: Bobby Casey, Managing Director GWP

US PassportI’m willing to bet the most popular wish of 2020 is “GET ME OFF THIS PLANET!”.

If eye rolling was a sport, I’d be a gold medalist after the 6 months of intense training I’ve received from this year alone.

Every bad thing, every inconvenience is prefaced by “due to COVID” these days. I’m missing the times when we just blamed George W. Bush and Barrack Obama for everything.

Sadly, this virus became incredibly political. 2020 being an election year in the US certainly fanned the flames. The mandates and executive orders are so erratic, it’s no wonder people are getting frustrated and rightly skeptical of these directives.

I’ve shared a few stories on my Facebook timeline of nonsensical policies my son and I have encountered over the past several weeks. In case you missed it, we went to a bookstore and my son sat on the floor to look through a Sci-Fi book. The clerk told him he couldn’t sit down “due to COVID19”. He could stand in that same spot and that was safe, but sitting was a health risk.

Each of the states have taken on their own interpretation of what “public health and safety” look like. The governors of both California (Gavin Newsom) and New York (Andrew Cuomo), for example, have decided to define what qualifies as “food” because only if you serve “food” can you stay open.

Governor Newsom has declared that “Buffalo Wings, fried cheese sticks, fried calamari, sandwiches and salads are not considered a ‘meal’.

Governor Cuomo appears to agree with his west coast counterpart: “More than just hors d’oeuvres, chicken wings, you had to have some substantive food. The lowest level of substantive food were sandwiches.”

Restrictions on travel seems to be another hit or miss policy between states.

For example, New York requires people from 16 different states to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Hawaii requires the same quarantine measures, and a violation is considered a misdemeanor carrying a sentence of up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

There comes a point when these mandates cross the line from inconvenience to a violation of people’s rights. Or at least that’s what some people think about the travel restrictions just between the states in the union!

Lawsuits have been filed over some of these quarantines as critics question whether travel restrictions and other public health orders violate civil liberties.

Connors, the Hawaii attorney general, said it’s clear states do have the authority.

“Under Supreme Court precedent, when we have a public health crisis, the decisions of state elected officials to exercise their police powers to keep people safe are appropriate restrictions on any constitutional rights, like the right to travel,” Connors said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a position paper endorsing state quarantine powers. “To control the spread of disease within their borders, states have laws to enforce the use of isolation and quarantine,” the federal agency said.

Not only is it difficult for Americans to travel between states, it’s nearly impossible for them to travel internationally! Recently, the Bahamas banned US travelers, but not other foreigners:

Visitors from Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union will still be permitted to visit as long as they can show proof of a negative COVID-19 RT PCR test from an accredited laboratory taken within 10 days of their arrival, as reported in the Miami Herald.

What prevents a US national from following the same terms and conditions as Canadians or people from Europe? Nothing. But the US is getting a small taste of the medicine it’s been doling out to some countries lately.

As of about a week ago, the following countries allow for unrestricted US travel:

  • Albania

  • Dominican Republic

  • Kosovo

  • Maldives

  • Mexico

  • North Macedonia

  • Serbia

  • Tunisia

  • Turkey

Here are the countries who allow US travelers, with restrictions:

  • Antigua and Barbuda : Negative Covid-19 test result within 7 days

  • Aruba : Negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours for travelers from 24 US states

  • Barbados : Negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours

  • Belize : Declaration of no Covid-19 symptoms 72 hours

  • Bermuda : Negative Covid-19 test result within 5 days + $75

  • Cambodia : Negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours + $3,000 Covid-19 deposit

  • Croatia : Negative Covid-19 test not older than 48 hours presented on arrival

  • Ecuador : Mandatory 14 day quarantine and negative Covid-19 test result within 7 days

  • Egypt : Negative Covid-19 test result within 48 hours

  • French Polynesia : Negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours

  • Jamaica : Travelers from New York, Florida, Arizona and Texas must have negative test result within 10 days

  • Rwanda : Arrival by private jet or charter only until August 1, then commercial flights will resume

  • St. Barts : Negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours

  • St. Lucia : Negative Covid-19 test result within 7 days

  • St. Maarten : (Opens August 1 — though subject to change)

  • St. Vincent and Grenadines : Covid-19 test on arrival with mandatory 24-hour quarantine while awaiting results

  • Tanzania : Covid-19 tests on arrival are possible

  • Turks and Caicos : (Opens July 22 with restrictions)

  • Ukraine : Download app, test upon arrival, 24 hours self isolation

  • United Arab Emirates : Only Dubai is open, all other Emirates are closed

  • United Kingdom : Self-isolate for 14 days

Imagine taking a vacation and being thrown into quarantine for 14 days, and then turning around and going back home. That’s basically what you would get from Ecuador. Regardless of your test results you’d be expected to quarantine for two weeks.

All other countries not listed won’t allow US travelers into their country.

Read that again. The US passport used to be a veritable ticket to freedom around the world. It opened up nearly every corner of the earth except for Cuba. Now, it can’t get you to the Bahamas. It can barely get you to New York.

It’s time to think about getting a second passport. For situations just like this one. It can’t get you off this planet, as many are understandably begging for; but it can get you to another part of the planet that might not be as bad.

Three years from now is coming no matter what you decide to do. You can either be 3 years into having a second passport, or still equivocating about whether to start.

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