Welcome to Hawai’i, almost. International travel to Hawaii opened in November 2021. This was great news to welcome our international friends to Hawaii but the travel restrictions are confusing. A Hawaii vacation should not be stressful, let us get you sorted.
Direct international travelers who start their flight in a non-U.S. state or territory and end their flight in Hawaii must present both a vaccination record and a negative COVID-19 test result (NAAT or antigen) within one day of boarding a flight to the United States.
Non-direct international travelers who stop in the contiguous USA before arriving in Hawaii are considered domestic passengers. As a domestic passenger, you must follow the Safe Travels Hawaii requirements until it expires at midnight on March 25th. To avoid the mandatory quarantine, you must present proof of vaccination or have taken a negative COVID test within 72 hours from a Trusted Travel Partner. The Safe Travels program is no longer required after March 25th, 2022.
The requirements for Hawaii all depend on what category you fall into. Below is the official flowchart from the Hawaii Department of Health for international travelers.
Let us get into the details to help answer your questions on traveling to Hawaii as an international traveler.
Table of Contents
- Hawaii Travel Requirements for International Travelers
- Hawaii Travel Requirements for Direct International Travelers
- Hawaii Travel Requirements for Non-Direct International Travelers and Domestic Travelers
- Inter-Island Travel Requirements for International Travelers
- Start Here for Your Hawaii Trip Planning
- Your 10-Day Oahu and Maui Itinerary
- Pearl Harbor Tour from Maui, Kauai, and Big Island
Hawaii Travel Requirements for International Travelers
The travel requirements for international travelers to Hawaii are frustrating. Don’t let the confusion and complexity scare you away from a holiday to Hawaii. Hawaii welcomes international travelers as it has done since the Kingdom of Hawaii was founded in 1795.
The biggest first step is understanding what type of international traveler you will be considered by the State of Hawaii. Your departure city or port prior to arriving in Hawaii sets the travel requirements.
Per the official Hawaii travel website, this is how they define your travel category.
Direct International Traveler – Aircraft begins flight in another country and ends the flight at the port of federal debarkation in Hawai‘i. Passengers are subjected to U.S. customs processing in Hawai‘i. A non-stop flight (Vancouver to Honolulu, Hawaii) or a direct flight (Manilla to Honolulu) with stops in international cities along the way but flight number or aircraft and passenger boarding pass remain the same.
Non-Direct International Traveler – Aircraft begins flight in another country and ends the flight at a port of federal debarkation not in Hawai‘i. Passengers are subjected to U.S. customs processing not in Hawai‘i. If you are leaving your international city and have a layover in an American city then this category applies.
For example, you depart from Mexico City with a layover or stop in Los Angeles, California. You clear customs in Los Angeles and then take another flight to Honolulu, Hawaii.
Domestic Travel – Aircraft begins flight in the U.S. and ends in Hawai‘i. This would be departing from Chicago, Illinois, and arriving in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Identify what category of international traveler you are from the three choices above as this will dictate if you must adhere to U.S. Federal process for international travel or the Safe Travels Hawaii process.
In summary, if you arrive in Hawaii directly from an international location, like Narita, Japan, or Vancouver, Canada then you will follow the U.S. Federal process for international travelers. No State of Hawaii travel restrictions apply.
International passengers entering the U.S. from another state or territory will be treated as domestic travelers when entering the State of Hawai‘i and will be required to participate in the Safe Travels Hawaiʻi program.
Hawaii Travel Requirements for Direct International Travelers
Non-U.S. citizens flying from an international airport to Hawaii must follow the U.S. Federal process for international travel. As a Direct International Traveler, you will be clearing customs in Hawaii hence you will follow the U.S. Federal process for COVID-19 travel requirements.
You must present both a vaccination record and a negative COVID-19 test result (NAAT or antigen) within one day of boarding a flight to Hawaii.
There is no additional State of Hawaii requirements for direct international travelers to Hawaii. Direct International Travelers do not need to complete a Safe Travels account for Hawaii entry.
The negative COVID-19 test taken within 24 hours of departure does not have to be completed by a Hawaii Trusted Travel Partners per the United State’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
As a safety measure for international travelers to Hawaii, the airlines will screen passengers prior to departure to Hawaii. If foreign passengers fail to meet both requirements (vaccine card and a negative COVID-19 test), they will not be allowed to board the flight to Hawaii.
U.S. Federal Process for International Travel
Direct International Travelers to Hawaii will follow the U.S. Federal process for international travel. Refer to the official U.S. Federal process for details. Below is a summary as of now. I recommend you confirm the information below with the U.S. Federal process prior to making decisions.
As a non-U.S. citizen and a nonimmigrant (i.e., not a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national, or a U.S. lawful permanent resident or immigrant), the following COVID-19 vaccines are accepted for entry into the U.S.
If you have been vaccinated with one of the above-listed vaccines, you must have completed your COVID-19 vaccine series at least 14 days before the day you plan to fly to the U.S. If not, you may not be eligible to board a flight to Hawaii.
How the 14 days are calculated: You are considered fully vaccinated on the 14th day after the vaccination series was completed. For example, if your last dose was anytime on October 1st, then October 15th would be the first day that you meet the 14-day requirement.
If you did complete your vaccine series more than 14 days ago then you will be allowed to board a flight to Hawaii after presenting the appropriate documents.
Acceptable proofs of COVID-19 vaccination per the CDC are as follows.
For more information on the above tables, visit Required Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination.
Here are the details on completing an acceptable COVID-19 test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19.
- You must get a viral test no more than 1 day before the flight’s departure from a foreign country and show a copy of your negative test result.
- If you had a positive viral test on a sample taken during the past 90 days, and you met the criteria to travel, you may travel instead with your positive viral test results and a signed letter from a healthcare provider or a public health official that states you have been cleared for travel according to CDC’s travel guidance. The positive test result and letter together are referred to as “documentation of recovery.”
- You will also be required to confirm that the information you present is true in the form of attestation.
- These requirements do not apply to children under 2 years of age.
For more information on which types of tests are acceptable, what information must be included on the test result, and additional FAQs, visit CDC’s webpage Requirement for Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test or Recovery from COVID-19.
U.S. Citizens Flying Directly to Hawaii from an International Location
U.S. citizens flying directly to Hawai‘i from an international destination have two options.
The first option is U.S. citizen travelers must provide proof of an up-to-date vaccination document and present a test (NAAT or antigen) taken within one day of boarding their flight to the U.S.
The second option is U.S. citizen travelers not up to date with their vaccination must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test (NAAT or antigen) result within one day of boarding flight to the U.S.
Hawaii Travel Requirements for Non-Direct International Travelers and Domestic Travelers
Most international travelers to Hawaii fall into this category as you may stop in another state or territory prior to arriving in Hawaii as part of your vacation. For European, Central, South American travelers, most will have a layover in the contiguous United States prior to arriving in Hawaii.
As you will clear customs in an American city other than Hawaii, you will follow the U.S. Federal process first. For travel to Hawaii, the State of Hawaii considers you a domestic traveler.
As a domestic traveler, you must adhere to the Hawaii Safe Travels requirements. See our Hawaii Travel Restrictions for information and videos on the Hawaii Safe Travels requirements.
The Hawaii Department of Health provides details and frequently asked questions here that will also help you with the Hawaii Safe Travels requirements.
Inter-Island Travel Requirements for International Travelers
Same as domestic travelers, there are no inter-island travel requirements. Once you arrive in Hawaii, there are no further requirements like testing or documentation to be completed to hop to another Hawaiian Island. See our article for tips and information on Hawaii island hopping once you arrive.
Our Hawaiian Island itineraries include detailed, step-by-step videos for completing the quarantine exemptions for unvaccinated and vaccinated travelers. If you are exhausted after learning and completing the U.S. Federal travel requirements for entry, then let our videos take the stress and work out of completing the Hawaii travel requirements.
Learn more about our Hawaiian Island itineraries here, they are so much better than a guidebook.
I'm the co-founder, with my wife Erica, of The Hawaii Vacation Guide. We live on Maui with our toddler Henry and our sweet but quirky dog Hattie. I have a thing for photographing pineapples and learning to surf.
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