So you’ve decided to swing out to the Big Island for some fun in the sun…and perhaps to take a closer look at your future home! It’s a great call—but are you familiar with all the latest changes to the Safe Travels program for incoming travelers to the State of Hawai’i?
To be sure, it can be difficult to keep up with it all, especially for non-residents looking to spend some time in paradise in the new year. Today I’d like to share the current information on Safe Travels to help you understand the requirements and pave the way towards your next island getaway. Let’s get to it!
To begin with, the State of Hawai’i groups incoming passengers into three categories:
- Direct international (from outside the U.S. into Hawai’i)
- Non-Direct International (from outside the U.S. into somewhere on the mainland and then into Hawai’i)
- Domestic (originating from somewhere else in the U.S.)
Direct international travelers flying directly to Hawai’i do not need to take any actions with the Safe Travels program, though they still must meet all CDC guidelines and requirements in order to travel. As of November 8th, all unvaccinated international travelers are no longer allowed to do so, with few exceptions—see the CDC’s website for more information. As of this writing, fully vaccinated travelers from most countries (with a few exceptions) are able to travel to the United States, including Hawai’i and Alaska.
Both non-direct international and domestic arrivals must register with the Safe Travels program and choose their method of entry into Hawai’i:
- Completing a mandatory 10-day quarantine, or
- Applying for one of three possible exceptions to the mandatory quarantine;
- via the Pre-Travel Testing Program
- via the Vaccine Exemption Program
- via the Safe Travels Health Pass Partners
All travelers subject to the mandatory 10-day quarantine must present a qualified address in which to complete their time, as well as follow all rules and regulations for doing so (which includes not leaving the premises and being subject to random checks by the state!). Failure to do so can result in both monetary and legal penalties, which you may have unfortunately seen in the news over the past year.
According to the state website, travelers wishing to use the Pre-Travel Testing Program to bypass quarantine “must have a negative result from a test taken from a Trusted Testing and Travel Partner no more than 72 hours BEFORE beginning the final leg of their trip. Anyone without a negative test result or U.S. vaccination PRIOR to departure must quarantine upon arrival. The State of Hawai‘i will also accept test results that are digitally validated by Digital Health Pass Partners.
For those wishing to apply for exception via the Vaccine Exemption Program, “travelers are considered fully vaccinated on the 14th day for vaccines that require two shots or for vaccines that require only one shot. Travelers must still create an account in Safe Travels Hawai‘i, enter their trip details, upload their vaccination documentation, sign the legal attestations, and within 24 hours of departing to Hawai‘i, complete the online health questionnaire.
“Travelers will need one of the following vaccination records as proof of vaccination:
- A CDC COVID-19 vaccination card (preferred)
- VAMS (Vaccine Administration Management System) printout or certificate
- DOD DD Form 2766C.
- A SMART Health Card with your vaccine record (which can be uploaded via a Digital Health Pass Partner: AZOVA, CLEAR, and CommonPass)
- Proof of vaccination (source document) provided by a medical provider or authorized COVID-19 vaccination administrator.”
Make sure to upload your documentation to the Safe Travels website, as well as bringing your originals with you on the trip!
Finally, for travelers looking to take advantage of the Health Pass Partners program, they will need to connect their health pass credentials to the Safe Travels website. It’s good to note that each health pass partner maintains their own limitations for vaccine validations, so check with your provider directly with any questions or concerns.
Thus, all direct, non-international travelers will need to engage in some way with the Safe Travels website, and make sure to read up on all the requirements before you leave! Much of the information is time-sensitive—such as the health questionnaire check-in to be completed before arrival—and the ongoing variations of Covid-19 will require you to keep careful track of any changes to the rules and regulations set forth by the state.
For more information and to get started on your registration, visit the official State of Hawai’i website for Safe Travels and Covid-19.