Travel for HIV positive people has been a controversial subject. In the past, many countries had restrictions on whether people with HIV could visit.
Thankfully, many countries worldwide have lifted their HIV travel restrictions and the countries that do still have restrictions are mostly with regard to longer term stays for study, work or immigration.
The USA lifted their travel ban in 2010 under the Obama administration, so there are no longer any restrictions for HIV positive people travelling to the USA.
This article will list the countries that do have restrictions in place and then give a little guidance on what you need to know about travelling with HIV.
Countries with Restrictions in Place
HIV travel restrictions are still in place in some specific countries. These are:
- Aruba - There are no restrictions for short term tourist visits but restrictions are in place for work and residency permits.
- Australia - There are no restrictions for travellers. However, permanent residency visa applicants will be tested and considered in line with immigration regulations for all chronic health conditions that require considerable treatment expense.
- Azerbaidjan - E-visa applicants must be HIV negative in order to receive a visa.
- Bahrain - There are no restrictions in place for tourists but people seeking residence will be deported if they test positive for HIV.
- Bangladesh - There are no restrictions on entry but deportation is possible if HIV+ status becomes known to the authorities.
- Bhutan - Travellers visiting for less than 2 weeks face no restrictions but stays of longer than 2 weeks are only permitted with proof of a negative HIV test that is less than 6 months old.
- Brunei - Known cases of HIV+ people are not permitted to enter Brunei. Testing is compulsory for all student, work and residency permits and positive cases will be deported. However, testing is not carried out for short term visitors.
- China - There are no restrictions for short term travellers but work and study visas for longer than 6 months require HIV tests.
- Cuba - There are no restrictions for short term tourism but students and people wishing to stay for longer than 3 months require testing.
- Cyprus - There are no restrictions for short visits but people from non EEA countries seeking student, work or residency permits must be tested.
- Dominican Republic - There are no restrictions for tourists but work and residency visa applicants must be tested.
- Ecuador - There are no restrictions for short term tourism but long term residence applicants must test negative.
- Egypt - Tourists are not required to be tested but people wishing to gain work or residence permits must test negative for HIV.
- Equatorial Guinea - There are increasing restrictions for travellers of all time frames going to Equatorial Guinea. Currently it’s not clear what the restrictions are but it’s likely that HIV+ people will be restricted from entering.
- Honduras - No restrictions apply for tourists but restrictions apply for work permit applications.
- Iran - There are no restrictions for visitors coming to Iran for stays of up to 3 months. However longer stays and all people applying for work or residence permits must provide a negative test result.
- Iraq - All visitors staying longer than 10 days are required to be tested for HIV, with the exception of diplomats, and positive cases will likely be deported.
- Israel - The only restrictions in place for Israel appear to be for those applying for work permits.
- Jordan - HIV+ people are restricted from entering Jordan. However, no tests are required for visits of up to 30 days. People seeking work permits or residency will be subjected to a test within one month of arrival and deported if the test is positive.
- Kazakhstan - The only restriction in place for Kazakhstan is for residency applicants who must prove that they are HIV negative.
- Kuwait - No testing is required for visits of up to 90 days but for visas for longer than 90 days the applicant must be tested for HIV. Positive cases will be deported.
- Kyrgystan - No restrictions are in place for visits of less than 60 days. Stays of longer than 60 days may require a test, and all work visa applicants are required to be tested.
- Lebanon - There are no restrictions in place on arrival but migrant workers are required to pass an HIV test.
- Malaysia - No restrictions on short term visits but longer term stays require negative HIV test and deportation is likely upon a positive test.
- Marshall Islands - Tourists visits for less than 30 days face no restrictions but tests may be required for longer than 30 days.
- North Korea - There are no restrictions on entry but deportation is likely if HIV+ status becomes known to the authorities.
- Oman - No restricts for short term visits but longer term visits and work permits are subject to a negative test. Positive cases will be deported.
- Qatar - An HIV test is required for anyone wanting to stay longer than 30 days.
- Russia - No restrictions are in place for people visiting for less than 90 days. However, HIV testing is required for multi-entry visas and stays longer than 90 days. Medical certificates showing a negative test can be provided from other countries.
- Solomon Islands - HIV tests are required for people who wish to stay longer than 90 days in the Solomon Islands. Entry is likely to be denied and deportation is possible for HIV+ people.
- Suriname - The situation in Suriname is currently unclear. It appears that visitors from Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia must prove that they are HIV negative and employers will also likely request an HIV test.
- Syria - Tourist visas, including multi-entry visas valid for 6 months, do not require testing. However, work and residency permits do.
- Tunisia - The situation in Tunisia is unclear. Tourists visiting for short visits are unlikely to be restricted but work and residency permits require a health check which may result in denial in HIV+ cases.
- United Arab Emirates - The UAE does not screen tourists who plan to stay for less than 60 days, but for everyone else, screening once in the country is mandatory. Test completed outside of the UAE are not accepted and anyone found to be HIV+ will be deported.
- Yemen - Yemen restricts all HIV+ cases from entering the country. However, while testing is required for longer stays such as students, people wanting to work, refugees and immigrants, visitors staying in the country for less than 90 days are not screened.
People who are citizens of countries within the USA’s Visa Waiver Program can travel to the USA on an Electronic Travel Authorization (ESTA) instead of a visa.
Prior to 2010, HIV+ people were not eligible to travel to the USA on an ESTA. However, as the US HIV travel ban has now been lifted, HIV+ people can travel to the USA on an ESTA just like anyone else.
Of course, the US authorities will check your background and different factors might affect the acceptance of your application. But there is no reason to think that HIV could cause specific problems.
If you want to double check your eligibility, have a read through the ESTA questions here to be sure.
Or, if you’re going to be travelling for longer and applying for a visa, find out more about the questions you’ll be asked here.
Travelling with HIV
The main thing that will affect you as an HIV+ traveller is travelling with HIV medication. If you are travelling with specific medication it is strongly advised to keep in mind all of the factors regarding travelling with medication in general.
For example, travelling with a letter from your doctor explaining your medication, keeping the medication in its original packaging and making sure you keep a copy of your prescription with your name and address is usually a good place to start.
This is pretty much standard protocol for travelling to the USA with HIV medication and any other prescription medication. US customs require a doctor’s certificate in English, explaining that the drugs are required for personal use. Also, make sure you travel with your medication in your hand luggage in case your checked bags are lost or delayed.
You should also make sure that your travel insurance covers any medical treatment you may require while away from home, and that you are eligible to travel under your insurance policy as an HIV+ person.
Can I travel to the USA with HIV?
Yes, absolutely. The USA’s HIV travel ban was lifted in 2010 and there are now no restrictions on travelling to the USA with HIV.
Is HIV test required for US Visa?
No, an HIV test is no longer required for US visas.
Are HIV patients allowed to travel abroad?
Definitely. Provided you’re well enough to travel and have all the appropriate medication for the duration of your trip, and appropriate travel insurance.
What countries can you visit if you have HIV?
Almost all western countries have no restrictions for travellers with HIV. Many eastern countries do have restrictions in place. However, they are predominantly in place for longer-term visits such as student, work and residency permits.
How do you travel with HIV medication?
Make sure you have a doctor’s certificate and your prescription paperwork proving that your medication is yours and necessary for personal use. Make sure the medication is in its original packaging and that you have enough to last you should your return home be delayed.
Freedom to Travel
Currently, with the exception of a few countries on the list above, the vast majority of countries have no restrictions in place for HIV+tourists travelling for short visits.
The restrictions tend to set in once longer-term visits, study, work or residency are considered.
To conclude, double-check the restrictions for the country you want to visit, make sure you have enough medication and accompanying paperwork for the duration of your trip, and make sure you have good travel insurance!