Jamaica travel restrictions Summer 2022: What travelers need to know - Intentional Travelers (2022)

At Intentional Travelers, we believe travel can be transformational. That’s why we want to help you travel confidently, safely, and responsibly. With ever-changing travel restrictions, rules, and concerns surrounding COVID-19, our goal is to help you make informed decisions about where, when, and how to travel in this new world of ours.

This post about Jamaica travel in 2022 will be periodically updated with official Jamaica travel restrictions and guidance. Since restrictions can vary based on the traveler’s citizenship, we will focus primarily on rules affecting U.S. citizens.

At the end of the post, we share on-the-ground perspectives from local residents and travelers to Jamaica so you can get a sense of what it’s really like.

Jedd and I lived in Jamaica for two years at Peace Corps Volunteers. We’re thankful to our network of friends and former colleagues for helping us keep up to date on all the things to know about traveling to Jamaica.

Last update: August 4, 2022. Originally published: July 2020.

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Table of Contents

Is Jamaica open for travel? Can I travel to Jamaica right now?

Jamaica is open for tourism. Jamaica’s pre-travel testing requirement and mask mandate expired April 15, 2022.

Previously, travelers 12+ years old needed to provide a negative COVID-19 PCR or Antigen test result from an accredited medical laboratory, in order to check in to a flight to Jamaica. This is no longer the case as of April 2022.

Many Jamaica travel restrictions were lifted as of March 2022. Curfew is no longer implemented in Jamaica. Travel Authorization is no longer required.

Is it safe to travel to Jamaica right now?

When readers ask us about safety in Jamaica, it is usually after seeing a travel advisory from the State Department such as “Level 3 – Reconsider Travel” or “Level 4 – Do Not Travel”, or from the CDC such as “Warning Level 3 (Red) – Avoid All Non-Essential Travel.”

To answer questions about Jamaica safety in 2022, we must consider both crime risk as well as Covid risk.

In terms of health and Covid safety, Jamaican authorities have worked to keep tourism in Jamaica safe for both travelers and locals throughout the pandemic.

Following official protocols for Covid is an important part of traveling responsibly and safely. Keep in mind that the community in Jamaica is still vulnerable to infection and other consequences of rising Covid cases.

Jamaica’s healthcare system may not be to the same standards and efficiency that travelers from North America or Europe may be accustomed to. During Covid case surges, hospital capacity can be limited, and you may need to be evacuated if critical care services are required.

In terms of crime, there has been inherent risk in traveling to Jamaica for decades. Government travel advisories for crime in Jamaica are not new, including when we lived there as Peace Corps Volunteers from 2012-14.

Typically the crimes happening in tourist areas are limited to theft and robbery, which can be mitigated by being vigilant with your valuables or leaving them at home.

Violent crimes typically don’t involve tourists and can be mitigated by staying away from certain parts of the cities, not going out after dark, and avoiding participation in illegal activities.

Travel advisories are not necessarily “overblown” – crime and safety issues are always important to be aware of – but it’s not new, and it has not affected the countless majority of vacationers.

There are certainly safer countries to visit in terms of crime, especially if you hope to get outside the resort bubble or travel independent of package tours.

Although we have not visited during the pandemic ourselves, I have only seen happy reports from tourists to Jamaica lately.

(Video) What I Wish I Had Known BEFORE I Visited Jamaica!

Recommended steps for visiting Jamaica in 2022:

  1. Book a JTB licensed accommodation. See our recommendations here.

  2. Book your flight.

  3. Arrange airport pick ups through your hotel or other transportation provider.
  4. Take a pre-travel COVID-19 test if you can (no longer required by authorities).

  5. Pack a mask.

  6. Upon arriving at Jamaica airport, fill out your Immigration/Customs C5 card.
  7. Follow any protocols requested by resorts or other establishments you enter.

Quarantine rules in Jamaica: What happens if I get Covid?

Foreign travelers, regardless of vaccination status, can now enter Jamaica without quarantine.

Travelers deemed high risk (showing symptoms of Covid-19 or having traveled from or through countries with high community transmission) may be required to undergo a COVID test at the airport.

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will be isolated in a public health facility or approved hotel, at a cost, for up to 10 days.

Accompanying members of the traveling party may be required to “stay in place” at the accommodation and have a daily check in with an assigned public health official until the end of their scheduled stay.

A few resorts offer free extensions of stays for their guests who need to quarantine due to a positive test, but these are rare (AM Resorts, Riu, Ocean Coral reportedly have this service).

Travelers who test positive for Covid-19 and have a departure flight before the quarantine period ends, may be released from isolation by a medical officer according to the rules of their country of destination and the airlines.

How has the Coronavirus impacted Jamaica?

In Spring 2020, Jamaica took steps to cut off international arrivals and significantly minimized exposure to the virus. On June 15, 2020, Jamaica reopened air travel.

The country enacted strict measures to limit transmission through pre-travel testing and limited visitors to a “Resilient Corridor”. Licensed accommodations and attractions located outside the resilient corridors that are certified as COVID-19 protocol compliant could eventually also accept guests.

Jamaica saw a serious spike in cases due to the Delta variant in September 2021 where some hospitals were over capacity. Another increase in cases came from the Omicron variant in the winter.

In response to spikes in Covid case numbers, beaches and other public areas have sometimes closed and lock downs or curfews have been instated, temporarily, to curb community transmission.

Jamaica began vaccinating healthcare workers, senior citizens, and other priority groups in March 2021. So far, 23% of the population in Jamaica have been fully vaccinated.

Economically, tourism is a major industry in Jamaica and has obviously taken a hit. The economic implications may be significant, yet health and safety remain top priorities.

For the current situation in Jamaica, including: recent and total COVID-19 positive cases; recovery rate; and COVID-19 testing in Jamaica, please visit Jamaica’s Ministry of Health site for updates.

Can I travel to Jamaica in August 2022? Can I travel to Jamaica this Summer?

Yes, travel to Jamaica in August is open to most foreign travelers. Please read on for details and check back for updates, as protocols may change.

What is it like to fly to Jamaica MBJ or KIN Jamaica International Airports right now? Jamaica’s face mask policy is no longer mandatory, although wearing mask in enclosed public places is still encouraged.

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Jamaica airports are generally busy and crowds may be difficult to avoid. Check with your airlines about their mask requirements.

Upon landing in Jamaica, wait times to go through screening protocols and immigration can take over an hour, depending on the number of flights arriving at the same time. Travelers who exhibit symptoms may be tested for Covid.

Get VIP lounge service and fast-track entry at Montego Bay airport >

Do I have to quarantine when traveling to Jamaica? Only if you, or someone you’re traveling with, tests positive for COVID.

Does Jamaica check COVID-19 symptoms of incoming travelers? Arriving passengers may be screened, including a temperature check.

Passengers traveling from, or through countries where there is high community transmission, may sometimes be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival with a PCR swab test.

Does Jamaica require a proof of negative Covid 19 test result for travelers? No, as of April 15 2022, a negative pre-travel test is no longer required for Jamaica.

Does Jamaica require a proof of Coronavirus vaccine for travelers? As of March 1 2022, vaccination is not required to enter Jamaica.

Do I still need to provide a negative Covid test if I have been vaccinated? At this time, neither proof of vaccination nor negative test are required to travel to Jamaica.

Is the Jamaica resilient corridor still in effect? As of March 2022, resilient corridors no longer apply in Jamaica. The resilient corridor previously limited visitors to the North Coast (including Negril, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Portland) and Milk River to Negril on the South Coast.

Licensed accommodations and attractions located outside the resilient corridors that are certified as COVID-19 protocol compliant may now accept guests.

What are Jamaica curfew rules? Jamaica’s curfew type lock down ended as of March 18, 2022.

Is a booster shot required for travel to Jamaica? At this time, booster shots are not required in Jamaica. There is currently no expiration period set for the validity of vaccinations.

What healthcare options are available to travelers in Jamaica who get the virus?
During surges in cases, many of Jamaica’s major hospitals found themselves over capacity. In these times, healthcare services may be limited and long waits may be required.

Jamaica’s Ministry of Health & Wellness have developed protocols for when a COVID-19 case is identified. Private clinics and public hospitals are available, however, healthcare facilities may not operate at the same standards travelers are used to at home.

For travel insurance that covers Covid, check out Nomad Insurance by Safety Wing >

What Covid testing options are available for visitors? Travelers can obtain a COVID-19 test at testing labs or hotels in Jamaica.

Travelers pay at their own expense if testing is not included in their vacation package. Costs range from $60 to $100 for antigen tests and from $150 to $230 for PCR tests. The U.S. is accepting both of these test types when returning to the States.

What service businesses and restaurants are open in Jamaica? Accommodations that have received a COVID Compliant Certificate are currently allowed to accept guests. Approved attractions have also opened for tourists.

Restaurants, bars, gyms, and zoos sometimes have capacity limits. Social distancing is encouraged in all hotels, restaurants, beaches, and public places.

Are public gatherings allowed in Jamaica? Public gatherings are allowed.

Are face masks required in Jamaica? Jamaica’s face mask policy is no longer mandatory. Mask wearing in enclosed public places is still encouraged.

What are tourist transportation options in Jamaica? Public transportation is available and masking on public transit is recommended. Throughout the pandemic, visitors have been advised to travel to and from attractions through private transportation licensed under the Tourist Board Act.

(Video) Bahamas Travel Visa Updates | Traveling to the Bahamas| Bahamas Covid Travel

Book shared hotel transfer from MBJ airport here >
Book private hotel transfer from MBJ to Ocho Rios resorts here >

Will Jamaica impose new Covid restrictions? What’s next is difficult to predict. Historically, Jamaica has imposed COVID-19 restrictions when strains on the health care system might become unsustainable. Jamaica has been relatively proactive when it comes to preventive Covid measures, balanced with the need to keep their tourism industry open.

What should you pack for safely traveling in Jamaica?

😷 Face Masks – Face coverings are required in public places.
Find N95 masks at Bona Fide > or designer options at Vida >

💊 Medicine – Bring enough prescription and over-the-counter medication for your entire trip to avoid trips to the clinic.

💳 Vaccine Card Holder – Protect that paper CDC card when traveling abroad (if your country doesn’t offer a digital version).
Get a simple plastic protector > or Vegan leather clippable > or Leather passport + card combo holder >

👃 Covid self-test – The most studied rapid antigen self-test with FDA emergency authorization.NOT valid to enter countries. Use for your own peace of mind.
Order from CVS > or Walmart >

💧 Sealed water bottle – Make sure your reusable water bottle has a lid that’s not exposed to the air. We use one of each of the following:
Shop insulated water bottles with protective lid >
Shop water bottles with purification filter and protective lid >

✈️ Travel insurance that covers Covid – We’ve started using Nomad Insurance by Safety Wing for affordable evacuation, international medical, and trip coverage.

Further reading: Our Jamaica packing list essentials >

What do Jamaican locals and recent travelers say about visiting Jamaica now?

What is it like to visit Jamaica right now? It’s our goal to provide regular updates here from real people on the ground, to help potential visitors know what to expect.

The following are subjective opinions only. Official travel guidance can be found above.

June 29 2022 – Daniel James of Layer Culture, British traveler: “I visit Jamaica every year without fail and in June 2022 I visited 4 different parishes across the island. Jamaica is still very cautions of the virus even in 2022. People outside of the cities are less concerned but in general locals are weary of tourists who may be carrying the virus, especially in more populated areas.

Aside from the fact that some shops still require you have your mask on, most places are open without the need for testing or proof of a negative result. However, when using public transport, it is a good idea to still use a mask as people may feel uneasy around you and it could promote a tense situation, which as a tourist is unadvisable.”

May 17, 2022 – F.V., Jamaican citizen: “Covid has indeed been a challenge in our schools in Jamaica and for all stakeholders. Four teachers have died over the last five days. COVID is on the rise again and schools are closed for deep cleaning.”

May 2022 – C.M., returning Jamaican resident: “Arriving back in Jamaica was super smooth and super quick. No covid test etc on arrival. Things are really expensive. But thats not new.”

March 15, 2022 – Ke, American visitor: “We arrived yesterday and were shocked by the amount of people arriving at the same time!! We unfortunately were one of those who did not get Club MoBay before they were sold out but were extremely jealous of those who did! The immigration check in line was wrapped around both sides of the immigration area, all the way down the HOT and HUMID hallways. The line was about 1 to 1-1/2 hours..

Customs had our C5 that we did online, but we did fill out a paper one on the plane since it was unclear if they’d have online copy or not. We did it online two weeks prior to travel, they did have it so we did not need the paper form and customs pulled it up online, checked our passports and we were out of there! FYI- We did not print anything to show since we did not get anything to print when completing it online.

I would say every experience will be different BUT it is VERY VERY busy right now so please plan ahead and plan to arrive early to the airport and expect to spend time on arrival at MoBay.”

February 2022 –Charmaine, Jamaican citizen: “The Omicron variant has been spreading rapidly in Jamaica and in the various businesses and government facilities whole departments have been slowed because a lot of their staff were out sick. The positivity rate peaked at around 65%. At the end of January the positivity rate was around 33%.

a) The hospitals are nearing full capacity, however, it doesn’t seem to be as bad as the last peak and the numbers have come down slightly. Contact tracing is not really feasible since we have community spread.
b) Local attractions and restaurants are still open. Please note that mask wearing is compulsory and in some cases you will not be able to enter a facility without wearing one. It is also quite common to have your hands sprayed with disinfectant so if you are not comfortable with this bring your own.
c) You will encounter long lines. Most businesses tend to limit the number of people that can enter so bring comfortable shoes. You will find yourself standing around a lot.

I should mention one problem we are having here is we have a low vaccination rate so when we have surges, the hospitals fill up. This is something tourists should keep in mind. Around a week or so ago the authorities stated that you should only go to the hospital for emergency cases. I am not sure what the policy is now.

I have heard stories of visitors having to quarantine in government facilities if they test positive before their departure date. Keep in mind most hotels organize quarantining facilities on property. However, if you are in a villa and they have another group arriving right after you, they might not be able to arrange suitable facilities and you might end up in a government run facility. So check with your hotel/villa and have a backup plan in case you test positive before your departure date.”

January 2022 – MK & OS, American travelers: “We went to Jamaica for 5 days to spend New Years in Jamaica and return back to my site where I served in the Peace Corps several years ago.
We traveled to a mix of tourist and non-tourist areas in Jamaica and during both experiences, we were impressed by the level of risk mitigation strategies being implemented by Jamaican businesses. In nearly every store, restaurant, small business, we were required to use hand sanitizer (readily available at the site) and have our temperature taken prior to entry. Mask use was enforced (even outside) in the tourist areas. Curfews were pretty well enforced in tourist areas, with many businesses closing in the early evening. Much tourism in Jamaica is outdoors (beach, caves, and outdoor restaurants) so there’s plenty of opportunities for social distancing and outdoor air flow.

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In our experience, COVID-19 prevention strategies were generally being followed by locals and visitors. There are exceptions in every setting. Access to COVID-19 testing (PCR and rapid antigen) is available at multiple sites in tourist areas, from our experience in Montego Bay and Negril. Our COVID-19 test results came in much quicker (within 2 hours) compared to our USA COVID-19 tests.

Tips for seeing local attractions and food service would include: (1) consult your hotel/AirBnb hosts for trusted chartered taxi drivers who will drive you around so you don’t need to take public transportation. In our experience, our Jamaican chartered taxi drivers were incredibly respectful, always wore a mask, and rolled down all of the windows for proper ventilation. (2) Call restaurants ahead of time to book a reservation and request seating outdoors. We always ate in outdoor areas of restaurants, where there was at least 6ft (2m) of distance between tables.”

January 2022 – Bev, U.S. visitor: “We were at the Bahia Principe and it was beautiful. Doing day-before flight Covid test to fly back to US , sweating out whether you are negative and not knowing until get an email in middle of night before heading to the airport at 4:00 a.m. was a stressful situation. Sangster International was easily negotiated with no problems.
We likely won’t fly international again until the Covid rules are more flexible to get home. Some people had to go into isolation rooms and stay there for days after testing positive.”

November 21 – Charmaine, Jamaican citizen:“Masks are required if you visit public places and you will find many business places will require you to sanitize your hands. Also you will find most places will limit the intake of customers so you will find yourself standing around at times. Wear comfortable shoes! Additionally, social distancing is practiced so remember not to stand too close to anyone. At the moment I feel comfortable moving around.

The positivity rate has gone down significantly. The lowest I have heard in the past week (November 2021) is around 5% and the hospitals are no longer inundated with covid patients. However, the problem is there is a very low vaccination rate in Jamaica (25%). So I expect this to change with the upcoming Christmas holidays. I would expect the problem with the hospitals being inundated with covid patients to reemerge in January 2022. Testing is readily available, however it is a bit pricey. We have community spread so contact tracing is not really feasible.

If you are visiting the tourist area usually referred to as the resilient corridor, you are required to stay at an approved hotel and you can only go to approved attractions or restaurants. If you stay at an airbnb these rules don’t apply. Just remember that the curfew is at 9:00 pm so there is not much nightlife. The new curfew hours will be revised on December 10th.”

Late August 2021 – Diane, American tourist – “I was quarantined in Jamaica with COVID at the end of August. They did a great job with sanitizing, social distancing, and masking and I’m fully vaccinated and was really careful, but breakthrough cases can still happen. Check with the place you’re staying to find out what protocols they have in place if you do catch it, and make sure you have travel insurance. My experience was a good one as the resort where I stayed had dedicated rooms and policies in place specifically for these situations. Everyone in Jamaica is doing a great job of doing their part, and they do work hard to protect people.
I think it’s important that people are aware things can still happen and to plan appropriately to protect yourself and the native Jamaicans. Even with my experience, I am going back for 3 weeks in January. Just be smart and keep in mind your biggest risk are other tourists. The Jamaican citizens are taking this seriously. The tourism industry is how most of them make a living so they need people to continue to visit. Just be smart!”

August 27, 2021 – Debbie, American tourist –“My husband and I went back to Jamaica, where we honeymooned, to celebrate our 20 year wedding anniversary. The resort staff were amazing! Very welcoming and kind. We did not leave the resort for anything. Our resort offered free Covid tests so we can travel home.”

Aug 4, 2021 – Robyn, frequent visitor – “Jamaica has had protocols in place from the beginning. You have to wear a mask in public. At every shop or attraction you go to there is someone there to take your temperature and spray your hands with sanitizer. On the resort they serve you food and we wore our masks while up moving through the dining room. There was social distancing during the entertainment. The only activities and attractions that are open have went through trainings and strict protocols in order to be approved to open. If you listen to the US [State Department warnings], you’d never travel. I feel 100% safer in Jamaica than I ever have in the US. Go, follow protocols and have a wonderful time in the Jamaican sun.”

August 1 – Sally Anne, UK tourist – “Arrived yesterday no problems. Empty seats on plane so plenty of space. Checked antigen certificate which was done in Boots (£59) and emailed certificate within the hour. Double jab certificate shown. Arrived and bit hectic due to lots of flights arriving at the same time. Masks worn by all at the airport. Also on the flight. Took an hour to clear the airport.
Hotel is lovely and weather is great. Hotel is spotless. Sanitised suitcases on arrival and everything is constantly sanitised by the staff. Curfews on holiday weekend due to Independence Day on 6th Aug but hotels not affected.
Our self LFT would not register on NHS app so we got one from the hotel nurse for 40US$. You need fit to fly test 72 hours before flight back to UK. Tests bought in UK have to show video of you doing the test and internet can be bad here.
Worth everything to be here chilling out on the beach.”

July 2021 – James Arnett, tourist – “Just returned to the US from Montego Bay on Friday night. Had a very good time. Stayed at the Royal Decameron Montego Beach for 6 nights. Just a few things, was able to get a COVID test at the Royal Decameron Cornwall. Scanned the barcode from the reception desk and made appt. Did cost $40, I heard some hotel provide for free. Good luck.”

Shelly C., USA (April 2021)“I just got back from Trelawny this past Monday. Jamaica is following COVID policy strictly! Everywhere you go mask on, temperature check and hand sanitizer is squirted in your hand! Even when you enter into the bathroom the attendant will tell you to hand sanitize! Dunn’s River Falls the security guard got on one of our group members for taking his mask off too soon before we started the climb! I loved everything about our trip! Would go there again!”

Linda M., USA (March 2021)“My husband and I vacationed in Negril, Jamaica at the end of March. Travelers are both welcomed and encouraged. Even though Jamaica has established “safe corridors”, the beach economy is suffering and they miss the tourism.
We were able to be rapid tested directly across from our resort in Negril on the beach side. Our hotel paid for the testing and it was very efficient. We had results within a few hours.
Everything is open to tourists. It is definitely quieter than usual, but we did everything we normally do while in Negril.”

Recent traveler, USA (January 2021)“[Regarding lines and wait times at MBJ customs], it is pretty much hit or miss as it always has been. There may be fewer flights but they still seem to be scheduled in bunches unless your flight is delayed, etc. Our flight should have been fairly safe spacing but we ended up arriving with three other flights. Still very busy on exit.”

Tania of Chat Jamaican. Permanent resident (July 2020)“For now, we are safe in Jamaica where COVID-19 is concerned, and I adhere to the guidelines such as wearing mask and keeping my social distancing. All businesses have put in place sanitization areas and you cannot enter a business or work without wearing a mask. Also, recently our lovely beaches and rivers were open. They are monitored by the Ministry of Health and the local police to ensure that protocols put in place such as social distancing are followed. I still travel over the island and the days are beautiful, warm and welcoming.
There has been an increase in flights from United States to Jamaica. The hotels have prepared their action plans and have identified facilities and areas at the hotel for persons that are tested positive for COVID 19. Places are ensuring that they are doing constant sanitization especially the hands of visitors to their establishment. Surroundings are kept clean and the safety and health of the people comes first in Jamaica.”

S., Permanent resident, Kingston (June 2020) – “People were initially very concerned about Covid-19 but generally I’d say we’ve relaxed quite a bit. The entire country is under curfew and there are strict social distancing and wearing of masks regulations that are being implemented. Tourism has opened back up. Hotel workers who had been laid off are finally back in jobs so that’s great. I think we all anticipate a spike after the summer is done…”

Even if you choose not to go to Jamaica right now, you can still get started planning your Jamaica trip for the future.

Check out our other Jamaica travel resources:
Jamaican Culture 101
What to pack for Jamaica

How to Get Around Jamaica

If you have questions or updates about travel to Jamaica during the Coronavirus crisis or post-pandemic, please let us know in the comments below.

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Disclaimer:
Please note, travel restrictions change frequently. Readers must take responsibility for verifying information through official sources like the State Department and CDC, in respect to their specific situations. No responsibility can be accepted by Intentional Travelers for action or inaction as a result of information provided through IntentionalTravelers.com. Any information provided here is issued as general information only.

Michelle C

Michelle and her husband quit their traditional jobs in 2011 to serve as Peace Corps Volunteers. They have been location-independent digital nomads since 2014, running a freelance web services business while they explore new places. She is author of the book, An Intentional Travelers Guide to Unconventional Budget Accommodations: Creative Ways to Save Money on Transformational Travel. Her writing has also been featured on International Living, Transitions Abroad, Small Planet Studio, The Art of Non-Conformity, and more.

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