(Disclaimer: The following information is as of August 12, 2021, and is subject to change.)
I’ve had the opportunity to visit Hawaii twice since the islands began allowing travelers from the mainland to visit – Maui in January and Oahu in May. In that short span, a lot of things changed.
As of early August, here’s what you can expect as you plan your visit to Hawaii. These processes are often changing – ALWAYS check the Hawaii Covid Traveler Website closer to departure.
Social Practices: Masks are required in public. Bars and restaurants are open for indoor and outdoor dining at 50% capacity. Masks must be worn when not eating with 6 feet between tables. Maximum party size is 10 indoors and 25 outdoors. Beaches are open. Practice social distancing between groups.
Effective July 8, 2021, Hawaii began allowing fully vaccinated domestic travelers to skip pre-arrival testing and quarantine requirements. Travelers can upload their vaccination cards on the Hawaii Safe Travels Program site.
Pre-Arrival Vaccination and/or Testing Requirements
Hawaii instituted its Safe Travels program to facilitate secure travel to and between the islands.
Fully vaccinated travelers from the mainland (+2 weeks from final shot) are exempt from the PCR test requirement. Vaccinated travelers must upload their vaccination into the Safe Travels portal prior to travel and have their hard copy version in hand upon arrival.
Uploading Your Vaccination Record
Here’s how that works:
- If you haven’t done so already, create an account for Hawaii’s Safe Travels portal at https://travel.hawaii.gov/#/
- Got to Apply for Exemption/Exception for Quarantine and follow the website instructions. You will need a PDF or JPG copy of your Vaccination Record to upload.
- IMPORTANT: You will still need to show your original Vaccination Record upon arrival in Hawaii.
For all unvaccinated travelers, the following Pre-Arrival Testing Requirements will be in effect.
Unvaccinated travelers older than 4 years old must have a negative Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) from a certified Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) lab test results from Trusted Testing and Travel Partners 72 hours prior to the departure time of the last flight leg to Hawaii. A list of testing partners may be found here: https://hawaiicovid19.com/travel-partners/. The most popular NAAT test is a PCR test.
- Identify the testing options available to you from Hawaii’s Trusted Testing Partners. https://hawaiicovid19.com/travel-partners/. You MUST use a partner from the list.
- Schedule your testing appointment within 72 hours of the departing time of the flight that will land in Hawaii.
a. For example, if you fly direct from Denver to Maui, your test must be processed no more than 72 hours from the departure time from Denver.
b. If you connect through another mainland airport, the same approach applies. Your test must be processed within 72 hours of the flight departing that mainland airport.
- Some testing locations will schedule appointments 10 days to two weeks out from the testing date. Do not wait until a few days before to find a testing location!
- The testing facility will provide you with a printed copy of your negative test result.
Uploading Your Test Results
- Scan your individual test results into a computer and save as a PDF.
- Create your Hawaii Safe Travels Account (https://travel.hawaii.gov/#/). Separate accounts must be created for all travelers over the age of 18.
- You’ll need to create a Trip in your account, then Apply for Exemption/Exception from Quarantine.
- Upload the PDF of your test results.
All Travelers – Health Questionnaire
- All travelers over the age of 18 must also complete an online Health Questionnaire within 24 hours of the first flight departure. Minors’ information will need to be added to one of the adults’ accounts.
- Login to your Hawaii Safe Travels Account. Click on the Health Questionnaire and follow the instructions.
- Once complete, you’ll be given a QR code on the screen. I suggest screenshotting the QR code and storing it separately on your phone.
- You’ll use this QR code to clear arrivals in Hawaii (or to obtain a Pre-Clearance Wristband, if available – explained below), including the airport and all hotels and rental car agencies upon check-in.
- Check to see if your airline is offering a Pre-Clearance process to expenditure your arrival in Hawaii. If you forget or don’t see the line – don’t worry – you’ll just wait (like we did) in a line to get quarantine bypass. The line looks longer than it is because it’s so exciting to be in Hawaii. They keep the line moving as fast as they can.
- The Pre-Clearance Program enables travelers to show their QR codes at the gate of their mainland departure to receive a wristband. The wristband allows these travelers to pass through arrivals in Hawaii without having to show their QR codes again. The lines will be at the gate or sometimes nearby (Southwest flights in CA are usually not at the gate).
- The following link includes information on the participating airlines. (https://media.gohawaii.com/state-hawaii-and-airline-carriers-partner-expand-pre-clear-programs-ease-summer-travel)
- Airport personnel in the Hawaii airports will direct you through the arrival process after you landed.
- If you received a Pre-Clearance wristband, you will bypass the QR check process and head out!
- If you don’t receive a wristband, be prepared for a wait to show your code and get your clearance.
- The front desk of your hotel and rental car providers will also require you to show your QR code.
- Effective June 15th, restrictions for inter-county travel ended. Travelers will only need a single QR code upon initial arrival. No additional testing or QR codes will be necessary when traveling between islands.
Whew! Is it worth it? I certainly think so. Hawaii has been welcoming visitors for nearly six months. They are organized and efficient.
Protocols are likely to change as more and more travelers are vaccinated and cases drop. There are lots of news stories – it’s VERY important to remember that the www.gohawaii.com site contains and has links to the most up-to-date information. I check it nearly every day.
Next steps? Call me and we’ll talk about which islands you want to visit and when you want to go! I’ll be with you every step of the way.
This blog is intended to provide basic guidance and should not be interpreted as official policy and/or procedure. All travelers should validate current protocols with Hawaii state authorities, airlines, hotels, rental car agencies, and all other travel providers.