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Hawai‘i Issues New Rules for Vaccinated Travelers—What You Need to Know

By Michelle Baran

Jul 14, 2021

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Vaccinated U.S. travelers can now skip the pretravel test when heading to Hawai‘i.

Photo by Zoia Kostina/Shutterstock

Vaccinated U.S. travelers can now skip the pretravel test when heading to Hawai‘i.

As of July 8, fully vaccinated out-of-state travelers do not need to take a pretravel COVID test and are not required to quarantine.

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On July 8, Hawai‘i updated its entry requirements for domestic travelers—fully vaccinated visitors entering from anywhere in the United States can now do so without a pretravel test or quarantine.

The new protocols were implemented after Hawai‘i Governor David Ige last month unveiled the state’s plans for lifting travel restrictions based on vaccination rates—once 60 percent of Hawai‘i’s residents were fully vaccinated, U.S. residents with proof of vaccination traveling from the mainland would be able to bypass the state’s COVID-19 testing requirement. When the state reaches a 70 percent vaccination rate, all restrictions on travel will be lifted, Governor Ige announced.

While Hawai‘i has not yet reached a 60 percent vaccination rate, it is close—58.79 percent of state residents were fully vaccinated as of July 14, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Close was good enough, and thus, Governor Ige announced that July 8 would mark the launch of the state’s vaccination exception program for domestic travelers who have been inoculated in the United States or in U.S. territories.

Additionally, all restrictions for interisland travel were lifted on June 15—unless visitors are carrying out a mandatory quarantine, they can freely travel between the islands, carrying with them their vaccination exemption or pretravel testing documentation.

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Travelers to Hawai‘i must fill out the online health application on the state’s Safe Travels website at least 24 hours prior to departure, and once the form is complete they will receive a QR code via email. They can then scan the QR code from their mobile device or from a printed-out version at the airport upon arrival.

Hawai‘i’s vaccination exemption program

Domestic travelers can participate in Hawai‘i’s vaccination exception program starting on the 15th day after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or on the 15th day after their single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Vaccinated Hawai‘i-bound travelers will need to upload their vaccination certificate to Hawai‘i’s Safe Travels portal. They should also bring a hard copy of their vaccination documentation to present upon boarding and on arrival in Hawai‘i. The documents will be compared with photo identification for verification. The vaccination site or location that administered the shots must be within the United States or its territories.

Hawai‘i will also accept digital vaccine certificates from Clear and CommonPass.

To use Clear, just download the free Clear mobile app, where you can access the Health Pass feature, which allows users to upload their vaccine certification information. You can link to the Clear Health Pass through the Hawai‘i Safe Travels website. California residents can access their COVID-19 vaccination directly through the Clear app using California’s Immunization Registry, which will generate a unique QR code. Airline and airport staff will scan the QR code either upon departure and/or arrival to ensure that the entry requirements have been met.

Similarly, travelers can download the CommonPass app, enter the invitation code “HAWAII,” and then select the Hawai‘i travel option. The CommonPass app also allows users to scan or import a SMART health card QR code for vaccination status—it does not, however, accept uploads of CDC-issued vaccination cards.

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Children under five are not required to submit a COVID test or quarantine when traveling with an adult who is vaccinated or who is participating in the pretravel testing program. Children five years and older who are not vaccinated must participate in the pretravel testing program to bypass the otherwise mandatory 10-day quarantine.

For those arriving from abroad, the vaccination exemption program is currently not an option.

Hawai‘i’s pretravel testing program

Numerous airlines offer pretravel COVID testing options to Hawai‘i travelers.

Those who are not fully vaccinated can still participate in Hawai‘i’s pretravel testing program to avoid the otherwise mandatory 10-day quarantine. Unvaccinated out-of-state travelers (ages five and older) arriving in Hawaii will need to provide proof of a negative FDA-approved nucleic acid amplification test (such as a PCR test) result taken within 72 hours of boarding—travelers must have the results with them when they board. Travelers from Canada can also bypass the state’s mandatory quarantine with a negative COVID-19 test result from a lab that has partnered with Air Canada or WestJet.

The negative test result must be uploaded onto the state’s Safe Travels online platform or printed out prior to departure, and travelers need to keep a hard copy with them.

The only test results that will be accepted for domestic Hawaii arrivals will be those produced by one of these labs or clinics or offered by one of these airlines or airports:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • American Family Care
  • American Samoa Department of Health
  • Atlas Genomics
  • Capstone Clinic
  • Carbon Health
  • CityHealth Urgent Care
  • Clarity Lab Solutions
  • Color
  • Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation
  • Costco/AZOVA
  • CVS Health (only through this CVS testing portal)
  • Diagnostic Laboratory Services, Inc. (DLS Guam)
  • Discovery Health MD
  • GoHealth Urgent Care
  • Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Oakland International Airport
  • Ontario International Airport
  • Southwest Airlines
  • UC San Diego Health
  • United Airlines
  • University Medical Center of Southern Nevada
  • University of Washington Medicine
  • Vault Health
  • Walgreens
  • WestPac Labs
  • XpresCheck

The list is often updated, so be sure to check with the Hawai‘i State Department of Health for the latest.

Travelers arriving from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Tahiti can also participate in the pretravel testing program.

Without the negative test result, passengers arriving from out of state and the above countries will be subject to a 10-day quarantine.

Requirements for international arrivals in Hawai‘i

Per U.S. government restrictions, foreign nationals who have been in China, Iran, South Africa, the European Schengen area, Brazil, the United Kingdom, or Ireland in the previous 14 days will be denied entry into Hawai‘i. U.S. citizens and permanent residents are exempt.

As of January 26, a nationwide order mandated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires international arrivals to provide documentation of negative COVID-19 test results procured within three days of their departure to the United States.

Hawai‘i’s quarantine rule

The 10-day mandatory self-quarantine still applies to those who don’t procure a negative COVID-19 test result or do not provide proof of being fully vaccinated. It includes those arriving on private planes as well as commercial aircraft.

The quarantine order requires visitors and residents to proceed directly to their designated quarantine location after leaving the airport, where they are to remain for 10 days (or for the duration of their stay in Hawaii, whichever is shorter). For residents, the designated quarantine location should be their home. For visitors, designated quarantine locations would be either their hotel room or vacation lodging.

During self-quarantine, residents and visitors are not to go to any public spaces, including pools, fitness centers, and restaurants.

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All visitors and residents arriving at Hawai‘i’s airports will be asked to complete a State Travel and Health form. On that form they must include the location where they plan to stay if they are required to quarantine. Failure to comply is considered a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 or up to one year of jail time, or both.

Hawai‘i’s current COVID restrictions

The state of Hawai‘i has largely reopened. All of the state’s parks and beaches are open on all of the islands with some asking that visitors continue to respect social-distancing practices.

Face masks are not required outside but must still be worn indoors, and businesses can refuse entry or service to anyone not wearing a face mask. For specifics on individual county restrictions or regarding state and national parks, you can reference these sites:

Where to stay in Hawai‘i

Head to the remote Hana-Maui Resort on Maui’s eastern coast to get way off the grid.

The retro-chic (and pet-friendly) Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club in O‘ahu’s Waikiki is offering discounted rates to welcome guests back to the islands, take a dip in the pool, indulge in Hawaiian cuisine at the property’s Mahina & Sun’s restaurant, and listen to nightly live music. Luxury hotel Espacio, also in Waikiki, is offering 15 percent off of four-night stays.

The iconic Turtle Bay Resort on Oʻahu’s North Shore reopened on July 1 following a massive renovation that completely overhauled the 1,300-acre oceanfront property. The reimagined resort now includes 42 sleek Ocean Bungalows situated along the water, a new adults-only pool, a revamped family pool, a reinvented lobby, and a new local and farm-focused culinary program.

The historic Mauna Kea Resort, a Big Island resort that dates back to 1965 when Laurance S. Rockefeller first opened the property, reopened in November. The updated resort now consists of the original Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort.

Sensei Lānaʻi, A Four Seasons Resort offers a true wellness retreat.

The Four Seasons Hawaii collection consists of five luxury properties throughout the islands, each with a unique vibe and location. Wellness seekers should head to the Sensei Lānaʻi, A Four Seasons Resort on the quiet and isolated island of Lānaʻi, while families will have ample options for play and relaxation at Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea.

Hana-Maui Resort (formerly Travaasa Hana) on Maui’s lush eastern coast recently acquired a private 10-seat Cessna aircraft to help guests more easily access the remote 66-acre oceanfront property. Flights from Kahului, Kapalua, Lāna‘i, and Honolulu (that come with property upgrades such as a $100 spa credit) are available through a Plane to Paradise package.

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Those with their hearts set on Kaua‘i should head to one of our favorite resort residences on the Garden Isle. Timbers Kauai Ocean Club and Residences features two- to four-bedroom residences on 450 acres of the island’s south shore between Lihue and Poʻipū. Guests have access to the pool, beach, spa, fitness center, and oceanfront dining venues. Nearby is Kukui‘ula, where one- to four-bedroom cottages (many with a separate guesthouse for added privacy and space) are perfect for family get-togethers in paradise. You (or a private chef) can cook meals in your home or be served island fare at the clubhouse and in nearby Poʻipū. There are pools, a spa, a fitness center, a farm, and water activities aplenty to keep everyone in the clan as busy or relaxed as they would like to be.

And of course, for longer stays there are many great Airbnb vacation rentals throughout Hawai‘i.

This story originally appeared on March 24, 2020, and was most recently updated on July 14, 2021, to include current information.

>> Next: AFAR’s Ultimate Guide to Hawai‘i

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