Which Countries Restrict Travel to People with HIV?

Laws Restricting Short-Term Travel of 90 Days or Less

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Photograph © Ian Mackenzie

It was only in 2009 that the United States finally lifted its 22-year ban on travelers with HIV, a law which prohibited all infected persons from obtaining tourist visas or permanent residence status. The order, initiated by George H.W. Bush in 2008, was officially signed into law by Barack Obama on October 30, 2009.

While efforts are being made to end similar laws throughout the world, the Global Database on HIV-Related Travel Restrictions (a joint European initiative published by the International AIDS Society) reports that 66 countries are known to have some entry regulations for people living with HIV.

Of these, 18 are named as having laws that can (or potentially can) affect travelers visiting for 90 days or less.

HIV Travel Restrictions in Practice

It is important to note, however, that there is often a lack of clarity about these laws, with some either not addressing HIV directly (describing only "infectious disease" concerns) or not enforcing the laws all that stringently, if at all.  As such, the assessments provided below are couched in terms that best reflect whether an action "will," "can" or "may" take place.  

Similarly, there is a lack of clarity about the import of antiretroviral drugs—whether the drugs are allowed for personal use; how much can be brought in if they are permitted; or if possession of such constitutes the right to deny entry.

For these reasons, it is advised that you always speak with the consulate or embassy of any of the listed destinations if you plan to visit.



Countries With Entry Restrictions for Both HIV-Positive Tourists and Other Visa Applicants

CountryVisitor RestrictionsResidence RestrictionsAction(s)
BhutanNo HIV test requirement for travelers staying 14 days or less. Longer stay visitors are required to have an HIV test completed six months before their arrival.Longer stay visitors are required to have an HIV test completed six months before their arrival.Denial of entry or deportation can presumably occur as a result of an HIV-negative test.
BruneiNo mandatory testing for tourists, but those known to have HIV are prohibited from entering.HIV testing is required for anyone applying for a work or study visa./sub>Expulsion if HIV is confirmed.
Equatorial GuineaVerification of yellow fever vaccination is required for all travelers (particularly important since the yellow fever vaccine should not be used in those with CD4 counts under 200 or symptomatic HIV). Confirmation of HIV-negative test may also be required.Verification of yellow fever vaccination is required for all travelers (particularly important since the yellow fever vaccine should not be used in those with CD4 counts under 200 or symptomatic HIV). Confirmation of HIV-negative test certificate may also be required.HIV-positive status can result in refusal for entry or deportation.
IranNo restriction for travelers visiting for up to three months. However, travelers from South Africa may be required to take an HIV test before entering and should contact embassy before departing.Confirmation of HIV-negative test is required for anyone applying for a work or resident visa.Visas can be denied if traveler is HIV positive.
IraqAll stays beyond 10 days requires an HIV test at a State laboratory.All stays beyond 10 days requires an HIV test at a State laboratory.HIV-positive status could result in refusal for entry or deportation (diplomats excluded).
JordanPeople with HIV may be refused entry at border control if found to have HIV, including presumably the possession of antiretrovirals.Foreigners staying for more than three months are required to provide confirmation of an HIV-negative test.People with HIV will be denied entry or deported.
KyrgystanNo HIV test is required for stays of less than 30 days. Stays over 30 days require proof of HIV status.Stays over 30 days require documentation of HIV-negative status.Denial of entry or deportation may result for persons with known HIV.
Papua New GuineaMedical documentation may be required, including an HIV test, for all travelers 16 years of age or older.Medical documentation may be required, including an HIV test, for all travelers 16 years of age or older.Entry may be denied if a traveler is HIV positive.
QatarTravelers staying longer than a month are required to take an HIV test in Qatar. No documentation from other countries accepted.Resident or work visa applicants must take an HIV test within one month of arrival at a State facility.Anyone testing positive will be denied entry or deported.
RussiaNo HIV testing required for visitors staying for less than three months. However, an HIV test is required for those applying for multiple stay visas.People applying for work and student visas must have documentation of an HIV-negative test before entering.HIV-positive persons can be denied entry or deported.
SingaporeNo HIV testing is required for visitors staying for 30 days or less. Antiretrovirals brought in for personal use must be approved by the country’s Health Science Authority (HAS). Documentation of an HIV-negative test is required for those staying longer than 30 days. Foreign certificates accepted.Documentation of an HIV-negative test is required before entry. Foreign certificates accepted.Persons with HIV can be denied entry or expelled. HIV-positive spouses of Singaporean citizens are exempt.
Solomon IslandsDocumentation of an HIV test is required for stays over 90 days.Documentation of an HIV test is required for stays over 90 days.Persons with HIV may be denied entry or deported.
SudanAn HIV-negative test documentation may be requested in order to enter, according to the law (although this may be not actively carried out in practice).Documentation of an HIV-negative test is required for stays longer than 90 days.An HIV-positive result may result in denial of entry or deportation.
SurinamePeople from Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe require a health certificate stating absence of HIV and other communicable diseases. Antiretrovirals are allowed to imported for personal use when accompanied bya doctor's prescription.People from Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe require a health certificate stating absence of HIV and other communicable diseases.Entry may be denied or deportation may occur for individuals with HIV.
TaiwanNo restrictions for visitors staying up to three months. Antiretrovirals can be brought in for personal use. However, an HIV test is required for those staying longer than 30 days and are given upon entry.An HIV test is required for those staying longer than 30 days and are given upon entry.Persons known to have HIV are denied entry, and those with residence visas who are later discovered to have HIV will be given three months to leave the country.
TunisiaNo restrictions for visitors staying up to 30 days. Antiretrovirals for personal use are allowed. However, travelers staying for longer than 30 days may be required to have an HIV test.Persons applying for a work or student visa are required to have an HIV test.Unclear
Turks and Caicos IslandsNo restrictions for visitors staying up to 30 days. However, those planning to stay for longer than 30 days are required to have an HIV test after arrival.HIV testing is required for those applying for work or residency visas.People with HIV are not allowed to work or reside on the islands. Restrictions to visitors are unclear and may not be actively enforced.
United Arab Emirates (UAE)No testing requirements for tourists, although antiretrovirals cannot be imported.HIV test required for work and resident visas, which must be performed in the UAE after arrival. Foreign HIV documentation not accepted.For those required to have an HIV test, an HIV-positive result can lead to denial of entry. Any foreigner found later to have HIV may also be deported.

Sources:

Preston, J. "Obama Lifts Ban on Entry Into U.S. by H.I.V.-Positive People." New York Times; published October 30, 2009.

The Global Database on HIV-related Travel Restrictions. "Countries with restrictions for short-term stays (<90 days)." German AIDS Federation/European AIDS Treatment Group/International AIDS Society; accessed 1.

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