Jamaica happens to be one of the very few countries in the world that are accepting American passports and allowing Americans in with a few conditions. Traveling during covid requires a bit of extra knowledge on what each country requires prior to entry. Before we booked our 5 night stay, I made sure to look up all the current protocols and how to go about making sure I have all of the proper documentation before we get to the airport. If you visit www.visitjamaica.com. It will detail exactly what is required and the time frame you need to keep in mind.
PCR or Anti-Body Test
First things first. Jamaica requires that Americans provide a negative test result within 10 days of arrival. The board of Tourism is very specific on where the tests can be acquired so be sure to look this up. Unfortunately you won’t be able to pop into your free rapid testing site because it’s likely it isn’t on the list of approved sites. The Visit Jamaica website details that covid tests must be done at a CLIA registered lab. It will give you this link that will allow you to put in your address to find all of the appropriate labs in your area. We decided to call around to a few of the labs because I do not currently have insurance and we needed to know the out of pocket costs. Some labs will have lower costs than others, but some of them require that you have a video visit with a doctor first prior to scheduling the test (that’s an extra copay/out of pocket cost which can add up). We went with CVS Minute Clinic, it was just up the street and $140 out of pocket. Minute Clinic does not do the rapid tests, they say to expect it to take 2-4 days or 5-7 days during a busy time (not sure what a busy time is). We tested on Sunday and got our results on Tuesday. This is not something you want to put off until the last minute because you have to present your results at the airport, but you have to make sure that you are within a 10 day window. Our test was done 8 days out just to make sure we got them back on time.
This is a self-swab test but a pharmacist will guide you through all of the motions. Fair warning – if you have never been tested before it is pretty uncomfortable. Some people say it’s no big deal and essentially it isn’t because the discomfort lasts for 30sec. I had excessive tearing as and sneezed twice during the process. You have to swab each nostril for 30 sec which literally feels like an eternity.
After you’ve gotten your PCR test you can apply for your travel authorization. It can only been done 5 days prior to your entry date. It can also be found on the visit Jamaica website. Once you input all of your information you will either be granted or denied entry. I’m not exactly sure what could cause a denial other than being symptomatic or having had exposure. Make sure you have your passport, flight number, and hotel address/name readily available because you will need all the information to fill in the form. Each member of your party has to have their own separate form filled out. Our approval was immediate, we were able to print it, save it, and a copy was sent to our email. This approval will have to be presented at the airport along with the negative test result.
While in Jamaica, tourists are required to follow a couple of rules. For the duration of our stay we will be quarantined in the “Resilient Corridor”. This is an area designated by the board of tourism and includes most of the coastline which encompasses Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, and Negril. The confinement area allows you to move between resorts as well as do excursions that are along the corridor. I’d say, this will be the best days in “quarantine” we could hope for.
Now all that’s left is for us to pack our bags and hop on the plane. Let us know if you have any questions! Leave a comment below, message us on social media, or shoot us an email.