All COVID-19 related travel restrictions have been removed for travel to the Turks and Caicos.
There is no vaccine, testing, or insurance requirement.
History of the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Turks and Caicos
Outbreak, Initial Response, and Lockdown
On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak to be a pandemic. On 21 March, then-Governor of the Turks and Caicos Nigel Dakin announced he was using emergency powers to close the borders, effective 24 March.
The first COVID-19 case in the Turks and Caicos was declared on 23 March 2020.
From 26 March, there was a nightly curfew from 8 PM to 5 AM, and then from 28 March a full ‘lockdown’ order which was in effect until 4 May.
On April 5, the Turks and Caicos recorded the first COVID-19 associated death
There was a curfew in effect from 26 March until 20 July 2020 (with a brief lifting), two days before the country reopened borders for international tourism on 22 July 2020. This would later be re-imposed on 28 August 2020, where it would largely remain until 1 December 2021.
The lockdown and border closure period was at that point the most violent in the country’s history, with a total of 8 homicides (approximately one homicide every two weeks). This violence would continue for the remainder of the year, unfortunately making 2020 as one of the most violent years on record in the Turks and Caicos, with 22 homicides.
The Turks and Caicos re-opened for tourism on 22 July 2020. In preparation for the border reopening, the Government launched TCI Assured on 20 July. TCI Assured was an online travel authorization portal, where tourists were required to upload proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, along with proof of travel insurance, in order to obtain authorization. This authorization was then shown to airline staff on check-in, and also to local immigration officials.
Requirements were later extended to include proof of vaccination.
CruisesCruises were suspended from the closing of the borders on 24 March 2020, until their return on 13 December 2021, with the arrival of the Nieuw Amsterdam at the Grand Turk Cruise Center.
On 22 July, the day of reopening, there were 86 cumulative COVID-19 cases. A month later, this had increased to 347, and by two months, the number was 668, where it mostly stabilized until mid-December 2020.
StatisticsThe final statistics were reported on 29 April 2023, with a total of 6,588 COVID-19 cases, and 38 COVID-19 related deaths.
Cumulative COVID-19 Cases in Turks and Caicos
The Turks and Caicos Government accepted the offer of the United Kingdom for doses of the vaccine in November 2020 shortly before it received regulatory approval from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the United Kingdom.
The Turks and Caicos, along with the Cayman Islands and Bermuda, were the only British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean to receive this initial batch of vaccines from the UK. This was attributed to the Turks and Caicos having the required infrastructure to maintain the vaccine (requires cooling to -70° C) and distributing it effectively.
The Turks and Caicos began vaccinating the local population against COVID-19 on 11 January 2021. Then-Governor Nigel Dakin and then-Premier Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson were among the first to receive the vaccine in an effort to encourage persons to take it.
The initial batch of 9,750 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus (COVID-19), enough to vaccinate 4,875 people (approximately 11% of the population), arrived in the country on Thursday, 7 January 2021, via the London to Providenciales British Airways flight.
Shortly after the first batch of vaccines arrived in the Turks and Caicos, the Government stated that the vaccine was not mandatory and no one would be required to take the vaccine.
However, a general reluctance by residents to receive the vaccine led to the Government mandating vaccination for the majority of residents in the islands (largely immigrants, persons without permanent status, and other non-citizens). This included immigrant children aged 12 and up, who were required to take the vaccine, or they would be deported.
The vaccine was offered free of charge to all residents in the islands.
On 12 August 2022, the last day of statistics, 32,338 people were vaccinated in the Turks and Caicos against COVID-19 (at least one dose). This was approximately 73% of the total Turks and Caicos population.
Cumulative COVID-19 Vaccinations in Turks and Caicos
On 26 January 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) required air passengers to the United States to provide a negative COVID-19 test (or proof of recovery) in order to be admitted.
Several of the major hotels and resorts in the Turks and Caicos quickly obtained rapid antigen tests and set up onsite testing venues in order to allow their guests to meet this requirement. This increased testing capacity from approximately 3,000 per month to over 40,000.
The CDC removed the testing requirement on 10 June 2022.
COVID-19 Timeline of Key Events in the Turks and Caicos
11 March 2020
WHO designates COVID-19 as a pandemic.
21 March 2020
The Governor invokes emergency powers to close the borders from 24 March.
23 March 2020
First COVID-19 case identified.
24 March 2020
Borders are closed.
26 March 2020
A nightly curfew from 8 PM to 5 AM is implemented
28 March 2020
Full lockdown was imposed on residents of the islands.
5 April 2020
First COVID-19 associated death.
4 May 2020
Lockdown partially relaxed, but curfew remains.
20 July 2020
The nightly curfew is lifted.
22 July 2020
Country reopens borders to international tourism.
28 August 2020
The curfew is re-imposed, which will largely remain (with a few liftings) until 1 December 2021.
7 January 2021
First batch of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines arrive.
8 January 2021
The Government states that the vaccine is voluntary and no one will be required to take it.
11 January 2021
Then-Governor Nigel Dakin received the first inoculation.
26 January 2021
The CDC requires that air travelers to the United States provide a negative COVID-19 test for entry (or proof of recovery).
19 February 2021
The general elections result in a loss for the incumbent Premier Hon. Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson (PDM), with the PNP led by Hon. Washington Misick gaining power.
23 March 2021
Then-Governor Dakin indicates that demand for the vaccine is faltering. 29% of the population is vaccinated with little increase.
11 April 2021
33% of the population is vaccinated.
22 April 2021
Due to a general avoidance of the vaccine, the new Government legislates that all persons on work permits and other non-permanent status will be required to take the COVID-19 vaccine, or will be deported.
14 May 2021
The Government announces that transportation drivers (such as taxis) will be required to take the vaccine or cannot operate. The quick implementation of this order means that persons currently unvaccinated do not have time to get vaccinated, and are unemployed.
6 June 2021
51% of the population is vaccinated.
31 July 2021
Continuing reluctance to the COVID-19 vaccine results in the Government mandating that immigrant children aged 12 and up be required to take the vaccine, or they will be deported.
1 September 2021
In addition to the COVID-19 negative test, the Government now requires that all visitors be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. A vaccine passport is now also required to enter bars and clubs.
1 December 2021
Proof of vaccination is no longer required to enter bars and clubs. The nightly curfew is lifted.
24 January 2022
Proof of vaccination is reintroduced to enter bars and clubs. The Government also extends this to ban unvaccinated persons from attending church services.
25 February 2022
70% of the population is vaccinated.
28 February 2022
Proof of vaccination is no longer required to enter certain premises.
1 May 2022
A COVID-19 test is no longer required for entry, along with the requirement to obtain TCI Assured authorization. All visitors must still be fully vaccinated to enter the islands.
10 June 2022
The CDC removes the requirement for a negative COVID-19 test to enter the United States.
1 April 2023
Proof of vaccination for tourists is no longer required for the TCI. All COVID-19 related restrictions have been removed.
5 May 2023
The WHO declares an end to the COVID-19 global health emergency.