The Maldives Travel Restrictions: What to Know Before Visiting

The Maldives Travel Restrictions: What to Know Before Visiting

No quarantine needed for tourists.

The Maldives travel overview

Image credit: Mike Swigunski

The Maldives reopened its borders to leisure travellers on 15 July 2020. All vaccinated and non-fully vaccinated foreign tourists are allowed to travel to Maldives. However, there are differences in accommodation availability for tourists who aren’t fully vaccinated yet. With that, here’s everything you should know about the Maldives travel restrictions. 

Vaccination status

62.2% of the Maldives population has been fully vaccinated as of 20 Sep 2021. 

The Maldives is open for tourism and recognises all vaccines approved by the World Health Organization and included in the Emergency Use Listing (EUL) or by the Maldives Food and Drug Authority. These are the following:

  • Pfizer
  • AstraZeneca
  • Moderna
  • Janssen 
  • Sinopharm
  • Sinovac
  • Sputnik V

Citizens and nationals allowed entry without quarantine

Image credit: Mike Swigunski

The Maldives welcomes everyone. In accordance with the updated Maldives travel restrictions, all foreign tourists travelling to the Maldives do not have to undergo quarantine. However, it is mandatory for all inbound tourists, whether they are fully vaccinated or not, to present a negative result of a nucleic acid (PCR) test for COVID-19 on arrival. The sample must be taken 96 hours at most before departure from the first point of embarkation. Children below the age of one are exempted from this requirement. 

While quarantine is not required, foreign travellers who have completed 14 days after being fully vaccinated must present proof of their vaccination as they will be allowed access to any accommodation on any inhabited island. Those who are not fully vaccinated may stay on select islands, to be discussed under “Arrival.”

Returning Maldivians and Work Permit Holders who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Maldives, and recovered within the past 60 days from the date of initial sample collection, are exempted from Maldives quarantine. 

Those who have completed the recommended dose/s of a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Maldives Food and Drug Authority are also exempted, provided 14 days have passed since the completion of the inoculation. All necessary approvals for returning Maldivians and Work Permit Holders must be obtained via the HAALUBELUN portal.

Travellers with quarantine requirements

Image credit: Ibrahim Mushan

Returning Maldivians and Work Permit Holders who are not fully vaccinated have a mandatory quarantine period of 14 days. They still have to provide negative PCR test results and continue with their quarantine regardless of the negative result. 

These individuals will only be released after completion of a PCR test followed by a confirmed negative result after 14 days of quarantine. 

Work Permit Holders from South Asia must undergo PCR testing within 96 hours of arrival as well as at the end of their Maldives quarantine. Read the official circular here. (Note: This circular was dated 23 July 2021, before the release of the updated circular stating the extension of PCR test validity on 28 July 2021)

Where to quarantine

Returning Maldivians and Work Permit Holders may quarantine in the following facilities:

  • Designated facilities by the Health Protection Agency (HPA). As of writing, these consist of the Beehive Hotel, White Harp, Octave Hotel, Niu Inn & Spa, and Serene Stay. Refer to this link in case the list is updated. 
  • Quarantine facilities set up by private employers, resorts (re-opened under the new normal), and government entities in accordance with HPA guidelines, allocated for the quarantine of their respective staff members. 

Vaccination + travel packages (for non-vaccinated travellers)

Maldivian Tourism Minister Abdulla Mausoom confirmed in 2021 that the Maldives will start vaccinating foreign tourists against COVID-19 when the island nation has finished vaccinating its whole population. This tourism campaign is called “3V,” meaning “Visit, Vaccinate, Vacation.”

“The main idea of tourism being open is to provide reasonably safe tourism with minimum inconvenience. So once the country gets vaccinated, then we will move on to ‘3V’ tourism,” the tourism minister told CNBC in an interview. As of writing, there are no further updates about the Maldives’ 3V campaign.

Pre-arrival required documents for travel to the Maldives

Image credit: Jailam Rashad

Foreign tourists must prepare the following documents:

  • A passport valid at least six months on entry with one blank visa page
  • Maldivian Visas are issued upon arrival. Bring the following documents: proof of sufficient funds, proof of onward/return airline tickets, proof of hotel reservation, proof of a valid yellow fever certificate, and documents showing your travel purpose
  • A negative PCR test, for which the sample was taken within a maximum of 96 hours prior to departure en route to the Maldives. This must be attached to the travel health declaration form.
  • A completed Maldives Immigration Traveller Health Declaration form that you can access here. It must be submitted online 24 hours prior to your arrival in the Maldives.

Work Permit Holders have additional requirements as stated below:

  • They must present a negative PCR test result and the completed travel health declaration, as mentioned above.
  • If not fully vaccinated, they must send an e-mail to [email protected] at least 24 hours prior to travel, requesting for quarantine. This request may be sent by the employer or employee.
  • A detailed confirmation of where the individual will complete their quarantine period. It is advised that all these documents are kept on-hand during travel.

Arrival

Image credit: Upgraded Points

All tourists will undergo non-intrusive temperature checks and screening upon arrival to the Maldives. You may also be chosen for a random testing of COVID-19 by Maldivian Health Authorities. This is for free and voluntary. 

COVID-19 testing upon arrival is not required. Only those who have COVID-19 symptoms, such as a temperature above 38 degrees celsius, coughing or sneezing, will be tested. Persons who have a history of contact with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case in the past 14 days should not travel to the Maldives.

Tourists will also find physical distancing guidelines all around the airport, as well as hand sanitation and hygiene facilities.

For tourists:

Foreign tourists must have a confirmed booking at any registered tourist facility before arriving in the Maldives. A representative from your chosen hotel or accommodation will meet you at the airport to assist you with airport transfer. There are also designated transit hotels in place. You are encouraged to download and use the national tracing app, TraceEkee, for the duration of your stay.

Those who have been inoculated with all prescribed doses of a COVID-19 vaccine will be allowed to check-in at any guesthouse of any inhabited island of their choice.  

However, those who have not been fully inoculated with a COVID-19 vaccine may stay in Tourist Guesthouses on local islands that have fulfilled the following requirements:

  • At least 60% of the Tourist Guesthouse island population eligible for vaccination have completed their COVID-19 vaccination and 14 days have passed since.
  • At least 95% of the staff in ALL tourist facilities of the Tourist Guesthouse island have completed their COVID-19 vaccination and 14 days have passed since.
  • At least 90% of the resident population of the Tourist Guesthouse island, who are 65 years old and above, have completed their COVID-19 vaccination and 14 days have passed since.
  • For updates about the list of accommodations that can permit tourist arrivals, click here

For Work Permit Holders who have not been fully vaccinated:

  • All quarantine facility expenses, including transfers, shall be borne by the Work Permit Holder or their employer.  
  • They must register in the HAALUBELUN portal within 24 hours of travel to the Maldives. 
  • They must undergo a PCR test within 96 hours of arrival to the Maldives, as well as a PCR test at the end of quarantine. All costs for testing must be shouldered by the Work Permit Holder or employer.  
  • If an individual experiences any symptoms of COVID-19 during the 14-day quarantine period, this shall be reported immediately to the HPA hotline at 1676. A PCR test shall be conducted if symptomatic. 
  • All aforementioned procedures shall also be applicable to the family members arriving with the Work Permit Holder. 
  • Read the official circular here. (Note: This circular was dated on 7 July 2021, before the release of the updated circular stating the extension of PCR test validity on 28 July 2021)

During the stay

Internal travel: what’s allowed and restricted

All tourists are required to wear face masks at the airport, during domestic travel in the Maldives, and in enclosed public spaces. You are also asked to maintain a three-feet distance between others outside of your contact bubble. Each hotel, resort, or guest house has access to medical services, a stock of PPE, and a COVID-19 safety manager to help provide guests with the proper safety procedures in each establishment. Expect to go through temperature checks in hotels and other establishments as well. 

According to the guidelines on the reopening of hotels in the Greater Male area, the staff are required to do a PCR test for COVID-19 once a month to ensure both locals and foreign visitors of a safe environment.

Foreign tourists are allowed to travel from one resort to another, from one guest house to another, from a resort to a tourist guest house and vice versa. Should you wish for inter-island travels or split stays, accomplish the following:

  • Email the Ministry of Tourism (MOT) via [email protected] to acquire the necessary approval.
  • If you have stayed for 48 hours or more in Greater Male, and want to go to a tourist guest house island or a safari, you must acquire a negative PCR test result (aside from the pre-arrival PCR test) prior to departing Greater Male. 
  • If you are coming from a safari or a tourist resort and going to Greater Male, you do not need to do a PCR test prior to travelling to Greater Male.

Safaris are not allowed to accommodate overnight and regular stays. They are only allowed to operate within the day. They are also expected to follow COVID-19 preventive measures such as wearing of face masks, social distancing, and hand sanitising for both crew and visitors.  

Dine-in services in Greater Male are available until 11.30pm every day while shops are allowed to open up to 10pm nightly.

COVID-19 testing and quarantine while in the Maldives

What if someone feels unwell or shows possible COVID-19 symptoms?

Tourists who experience the following symptoms should notify their hotel:

  • Fever
  • Cough 
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Mild vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Runny nose or sore throat

Upon coordinating with their accommodation, they will be taken into a clinic for PCR testing and isolated in their hotel room until PCR testing is done and the results obtained. All approved accommodations in the Maldives have designated isolation rooms in case of COVID-19 positive cases. 

If the PCR test is negative, the tourist is free to leave isolation but should not enter any public place such as restaurants until after 48 hours of obtaining their result. 

What if someone tests positive for COVID-19?

If the tourist tests positive, MOT will coordinate with the patient’s guest house or hotel and arrange the patient’s transfer to a new isolation facility. The patient will then be treated for a second assessment. If after this, the patient only maintains mild symptoms with no high-risk conditions, the patient will continue to be treated in the isolation facility until recovery. However, if they exhibit severe illness after the second assessment, they will be transferred for hospitalisation. 

At the same time, the HPA will conduct contact tracing to identify all of the positive case’s close contacts. These identified people will have to undergo PCR testing for COVID-19. They will be treated similarly to the first positive case if they test positive. In case they test negative, they will still be asked to quarantine in a designated facility.

All the approved accommodations in the Maldives have designated vehicle services to transport suspected COVID-19 cases. 

Return travel

The following tourists are required to undergo PCR testing prior to leaving the Maldives:

  • Those who have stayed in a tourist guest house at any point during their Maldives trip. They are required to do the test 72 hours before departing the Maldives. 
  • Those who are found to exhibit COVID-19 symptoms within the past 14 days during exit screening.
  • Resorts and hotels have in-house medical staff to collect samples for PCR testing. Some PCR test rates range from US$150 to US$300 per person. Tourists can also book their own PCR tests online from different agencies. 

For efficient contact tracing, tourists are expected to be responsible enough to notify their Maldives accommodation should they test positive for COVID-19 upon returning to their country. As the general rule of thumb among the Maldives travel restrictions, always practice good hygiene at any point during your stay, whether on arrival or departure.

Lastly, make sure to do your own research on the requirements of your country for return travel. The first step is to read about what your chosen airline may need from you, such as a PCR test, then look up quarantine and documentation requirements upon arrival to your country of origin. The Maldives is officially open for tourism but stay safe!


Featured image credit: Rayyu Maldives photographer | Unsplash

About Author

Therese Sta. Maria
Therese Sta. Maria

Therese's close friends know that if they haven’t seen her around recently, then she’s probably having an adventure with her luggage and camera in hand. Though she loves staying at home and spending lazy afternoons with friends, there are times when she has to be "away from home to feel at home," — that’s when she’s bitten by the travel bug. See her travels on Instagram @reesstamaria.

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