The Maldives reopened borders for tourist visitors from 15th July 2020 offering once again the possibility of international travel to this island paradise. Resorts, guesthouses and tourist services are preparing to welcome back travelers from overseas with enhanced safety guidelines and precautionary measures.
Since the announcement we have received a number of messages asking about travel advice and clarity on the guidelines issued. Below we have tried to answer these questions and provide up to date date information regarding any Maldives travel restrictions.
Updated 29 June 2021
7 Months Since Reopening In The Maldives, With Ruth Franklin
In a candid and insightful interview, Ruth discusses the pre-COVID opportunities and the processes and protocols implemented to reopen for inbound travel. We discuss the future of sustainable tourism, tailor-made island experiences and guest house stays, plus the growing appeal of long-vacation travel.
IS THE MALDIVES OPEN TO TOURISTS?
The Maldives border has been open since July 15th, 2020 to everyone.
WHO CAN VISIT THE MALDIVES?
All nationalities are welcome.
Persons who have a history of contact with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 within the past 14 days and/or persons who have fever or respiratory symptoms such as cough, sore throat, shortness of breath within the past 14 days should not travel to Maldives.
The following is effective from 13th May 2021 until further notice:
The Maldives has temporarily suspended arrival tourist visa for all South Asian countries. This includes tourists from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. This also includes those with a transit time exceeding 24 hours and those who have a travel history to the above stated countries within the past 14 days. Entry for business and work visa holders arriving from all South Asia countries also suspended until further notice.
Tourist arrivals from South Asia is expected to resume from July 15 onwards. Speaking at a press conference on the 29 June 2021 it was announced that the Maldives is likely to welcome tourists from South Asia from July 15, 2021. The President said that it depends on the Covid-19 situation in the Maldives over the upcoming weeks.
WHAT SAFETY MEASURES ARE IN PLACE AT VELANA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT MALE?
The arrival hall capacity at Male International Airport has been reduced from 1000 passengers to 570. The departures terminal is reduced from 1,200 to 750 passengers.
Social distancing measures have been taken with clear visible social distance information and floor markings in passenger terminals. This includes ticketing and check-in counters, and the pre-flight inspection zone in Male International Airport international terminal and also the domestic terminal at the airport.
Tall glass sheet separators have been installed between counters.
Hygiene measures have been intensified across the airport. All seats and desks, lounge areas, ticketing and check-in counters, along with flooring and airport tarmac area are subject to regular disinfecting drills.
All passengers must wear face masks, and undergo thermal screening at the arrival terminal, while maintaining social distancing.
Hand sanitization is available at entry to the arrival or departure terminal of both Male International Airport and the Domestic airport and also before seaplane check in desks.
Tourists should maintain physical distancing at luggage belts and should wash their hands or use hand sanitizers after handling trolleys and baggage.
HOW DO I GET A MALDIVES VISA?
A free 30-day tourist visa will be granted to all tourists upon arrival in Maldives providing all entry requirements are met.
WHAT ARE THE MALDIVES ENTRY REQUIREMENTS?
Travelers must have a confirmed pre-booking in an approved tourist facility for the duration of their stay and provide emergency contact information.
Travelers must have a passport or travel document valid for a minimum 30 days from date of entry to the Maldives. ( This validity period may be a different requirement for airlines or transit countries)
A certificate showing a negative PCR test taken a maximum of 96 hours prior to flight departing from your country of origin.
The IMUGA online health declaration form must be completed within the 24 hour period prior to departure from your country of origin and must still be valid upon arrival in the Maldives. For those travelling long haul or have a lengthy transit period you may be required to complete this form more than once. The form requires your PCR certificate to be uploaded. Once fully complete a QR code will be generated and this needs to be presented at the time of your international flight check in and at Maldives Immigration. The QR code will count down a 24 hour time period.
Travelers who have a history of contact with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 within the past 14 days and/or who have fever or respiratory symptoms such as cough, sore throat, shortness of breath within the past 14 days should not travel to Maldives.
Whilst not a requirement of entry, travelers are also encouraged to download the HPA ‘Trace Ekee’ app to assist with contact tracing upon or before arrival at Male International Airport. A Maldives SIM card is required in order for the app to operate within the Maldives.
IS A PRE ARRIVAL COVID-19 TESTING CERTIFICATION REQUIRED IN THE MALDIVES?
Yes all travelers must hold a negative result for a nucleic acid test (PCR test) COVID-19 prior to entry into the Maldives even if they have received two doses of a WHO approved vaccine against COVID-19.
The sample for the PCR test must be taken not more than 96 hours prior to the scheduled time of departure from the first port of embarkation en route to Maldives.
Children below one year old are exempt from the requirement of a COVID-19 test.
If you makes a transit during the journey, the initial PCR test will be valid if the transit does not exceed 24 hours.
If you makes a transit exceeding 24 hours you must take a repeat PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of transit.
The document containing the test result should state: Name of the passenger (name as in passport) Name and address of the testing laboratory Type of test stated as PCR test Date and time of sampling Result
The PCR test result should be submitted through the online Health Declaration Form IMUGA portal within 24 hours prior to departure from your country of origin. In addition, the laboratory result should be presented in paper or electronic format during airline check-in and maybe required upon arrival in the Maldives at immigration Male International Airport as well as your Health Declaration QR code.
Note that the 24 hour period starts to countdown from receipt of QR code. therefore if you have a particularly long flight or transit period you may be required to complete the form for a second time before arrival to the Maldives. This is perfectly acceptable.
IF I WANT TO STAY LONGER THAN 30 DAYS IN THE MALDIVES CAN I EXTEND MY TOURIST VISA?
Tourist visa extensions shall be made available to all long stay tourists.
If you require a visa extension due to quarantine measures your accommodation provider will make the necessary arrangements.
We recommend that you refer to the Maldives Immigration website, your travel agent or the property where you have booked your stay to confirm the documentation required for submission.
ARE THERE ANY RESTRICTIONS TO WHERE I CAN STAY IN THE MALDIVES?
Your stay must be in a tourist establishment registered and approved by the Ministry of Tourism.
It is a mandatory requirements that you have a confirmed booking prior to travelling to the Maldives
Note Airbnb listings are not registered properties and caution should be taken if using these accommodation providers as if not listed as an approved property you may not be able to board your international flight.
Details of local island properties that have received approval from the government can be found here.
IMPORTANT UPDATE 16 June 2021 REGARDING GREATER MALE (Hulhumale, Male,Villimale)
Greater Male’ Area is under curfew from 16:00 to 04:00 from 16 June 2021.
– During the curfew hours, it is not allowed to go outside either on foot or in vehicles unless permit obtained.
– Shops, Restaurants and cafes allowed to open for deliveries and takeaway only from 16:00 to 00:00.
– Walk in to shops, restaurants and cafes allowed from 08:00 until 16:00 for permit holders only.
– Mosques are open for social distancing prayers.
– Permits are required to be outside during the hours of 08:00 to 16:00.
– Permits will only be issued to representational households.
– For guests arriving or departing to the airport, guesthouses and hotels will have permits allowing transfer vehicle to operate.
IMPORTANT UPDATE 29 June 2021 REGARDING GREATER MALE (Hulhumale, Male,Villimale)
The following easements are to be implemented in the capital city from 1st July onwards. These impact both locals and tourists. – Curfew changed from 8pm – 4am. – Cafés and restaurants can commence dine in services. – All businesses can operate during non-curfew hours. – Mosques may hold congregated prayer with social distancing. – Permits are not required during non-curfew hours.
IMPORTANT UPDATE 25 MAY 2021 REGARDING LOCAL ISLANDS UNDER MONITORING
Due to the increase in COVID-19 cases on local islands, Health Protection Agency (HPA) has announced a curfew to be placed on all the islands of Maldives that are under monitoringfrom 21:00 to 04:00. Note timings may differ in different islands dependent on its Covid-19 situation.
-During the curfew hours, it is not allowed to go outside either on foot or in vehicles unless permit obtained.
– Groups should be no more than two individuals and there is a ban on opening salons, gyms, hair salons.
– All sports and exercise activities will be temporarily suspended.
– Restaurants and cafes allowed to open only for deliveries and takeaway only.
Updated list for details of islands under monitoring can be found on the Ministry of Tourism website.
CAN I STAY ON MORE THAN ONE MALDIVES ISLAND OR ARE THERE TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS?
IMPORTANT UPDATE 23 MAY 2021
With increased cases recently on locally inhabited islands over recent days, the number of local islands that are impacted by HPA Monitoring has significantly increased. As of this morning there are 70 local islands under monitoring
Only international arrivals and departures directly to and from the airport may continue during this period.
Split stay movements are strictly prohibited during this period.
Contact tracing is only a temporary status and will usually be cleared within a few days.
From October 23, 2020 you are able to split your stay across all types of approved tourist accommodation facilities, but prior approval is required.
Tourists are not allowed to travel from a tourist guest house island to a non-tourist guest house island.
Tourists are allowed to travel between vessels, resort islands and tourist guest houses islands if the vessel, resort or tourist guest house island is not placed under monitoring by HPA and the following conditions are fulfilled:
The vessel or islands must not have reported cases of COVID-19.
If COVID-19 cases exist on the islands they should be a small number of imported isolated cases or cases which have occurred within a family or a group of people staying together.
There should be no active cases of COVID-19 among the community, workers or staff of the islands. If a case has been reported among staff or community, travel will be permitted only if no further cases are detected among staff for 28 days after the last case.
Information regarding tourist facilities that have been declared as “ongoing contact tracing” or “community spread” status by Health Protection Agency can be checked at this link.
Tourists must undergo an exit screening prior to travel from the vessel/island. This is to ensure that a symptomatic person or a person in quarantine does not exit the resort and travel.
The exit screening conducted by a health professional should ask for any history of fever or respiratory symptoms such as cough, sore throat, running nose or shortness of breath. It should be ensured that the guest is not under quarantine or isolation. Temperature should be checked to exclude fever. Any tourist who has fever or respiratory symptoms or who is in quarantine should not be allowed to travel and will require testing for COVID-19.
Following completion of the health screening an “Annex-5” form of “Public Health Interventions to prevent COVID-19 Transmission in the Tourism Sector” needs to be filled and e-mailed to the Ministry of Tourism for documentation by the accommodation provider.
Once this form is dispatched no additional approval is required.
For all split stays a form has to be submitted to the Tourism Ministry by the vessel or properties on behalf of the tourist. This is a one time declaration and can be submitted at anytime prior to tourist arrival/transfer.
Tourists who arrive and first stay at a tourist guest house or hotel in Greater Male’ area as part of a split stay, must do a PCR test before transferring to resort, guesthouse local island or safari vessel, if the duration of their stay in Greater Male’ area is planned to be longer than 48 hours. This is a mandatory requirement despite a pre arrival PCR test being completed prior to entry into the country.
IS THERE A MINIMUM STAY REQUIREMENT IN THE MALDIVES?
No there is no minimum length of stay.
ARE ALL MALDIVES RESORTS/GUESTHOUSES OPEN?
Not all properties will open in line with the opening/operational dates and you are advised to directly check operational status with the preferred tourist establishment on their websites and social media pages or through a travel operator/agent such as Secret Paradise Maldives
Guest houses and hotels located in the Greater Male area are open to transit and long stay tourists from 14 December, 2020.
WILL THERE BE COVID-19 TESTING COMPLETED UPON ARRIVAL IN THE MALDIVES?
IMPORTANT UPDATE 30 APRIL 2021
As a pro-active prevention measure , it has been decided to conduct active surveillance for COVID-19 at ports of entry and at tourist facilities. This will include random sampling and testing of passengers effective from April 30th 2021.
All samples taken will be free of charge and will be tested on a priority basis. It is advised that those pending results limit interactions with others until official results have been issued.
International travelers may utilize a negative test result for their departure purpose if it falls within the required time duration.
Travelers will not be subject to any further testing or quarantine measures upon arrival to the Maldives unless symptoms are detected or a invalid negative PCR certificate produced.
Travelers presenting symptoms of COVID-19, including, but not limited to, cough, runny nose or shortness of breath upon arrival, will be subjected to a PCR test at the traveler’s cost.
Local health authorities may conduct random testing, at no cost to travelers at Male International Airport .
The online health declaration form must be completed within the 24 hour period prior to arrival in the Maldives and requires your PCR certificate to be uploaded.
Travelers who have a history of contact with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 within the past 14 days and/or persons who have fever or respiratory symptoms such as cough, sore throat, shortness of breath within the past 14 days should not travel to Maldives.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I ARRIVE IN THE MALDIVES AND TEST POSITIVE?
If you or one member of the group you are traveling with displays symptoms, all members of the group shall be tested.
You shall bear the cost of the PCR test conducted due to showing symptoms.
In the case of a positive PCR result, the resort where you are booked to stay, shall be given the option of transferring you to their booked accommodation to isolate in their designated quarantine room or to isolate in a government run quarantine facility.
Vessels, guest houses and hotels on inhabited islands may not accept tourists who have tested positive for COVID-19 on arrival and you will therefore be isolated in a government quarantine isolation facility.
Tourist facilities shall bear responsibility for ensuring that the costs related to the transfer and accommodation of tourists who require treatment at a government managed facility are met for the period of your original booking dates and meal plan.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DISPLAY COVID-19 SYMPTOMS & TEST POSITIVE DURING MY STAY IN THE MALDIVES?
Any COVID-19 symptoms displayed by yourself or a member of your group should be immediately reported to the medical staff of the resort, guesthouse reception or senior crew member of a vessel.
If you are displaying COVID-19 symptoms you shall be isolated with immediate effect until further guidance from HPA and Ministry of Tourism is received.
Isolation may be undertaken separately from other members of your travel group.
All tourist facilities will have isolation rooms maintained and serviced as per standards set forth by HPA.
Once isolated a mandatory PCR test for COVID-19 will be undertaken as per HPA guidelines.
If your PCR test result is positive you shall remain under mandatory quarantine isolation at the property or designated quarantine isolation facility for a period of 14 days.
Your condition will be reported regularly to HPA and the Ministry of Tourism. HPA will decide on transfer for further observation and treatment should the need arise.
You will only be released from quarantine following a negative PCR result at own cost.
Note there will be expenses to be paid for any period in isolation, please check with your insurance company that you will be covered appropriately.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I COME INTO CONTACT WITH SOMEONE WHO HAS TESTED POSITIVE DURING MY STAY IN THE MALDIVES?
If you are identified through contact tracing as having been in contact with an individual who has tested positive, you will also have to undergo quarantine for 14 days.
Contact tracing will include anyone who has participated in group excursions and activities or are travelling as part of a group where an individual has been identified as positive.
Note there will be expenses to be paid for any period in isolation, please check with your insurance company that you will be covered appropriately.
WHAT WILL BE THE TRANSFER PROCEDURE BE IN THE MALDIVES?
All transfers have to be made direct to and from Male International Airport.
Airport transfers will only be allowed through pick-ups by pre-booked tourist facilities.
No public transport may be taken ie public ferry.
The wearing of masks and use of hand sanitizer shall be made compulsory before boarding transfer vessel or aircraft.
DO MALDIVES PROPERTIES HAVE TO FOLLOW SPECIFIC GUIDELINES?
All resorts, hotels, guesthouses and liveaboards will be required to comply with all relevant Maldiv