Which Countries Restrict Travel to People With HIV?

A passport that has different marking on it

Ian Mackenzie/Flickr

It was only in 2009 that the United States finally lifted its 22-year ban on travelers with HIV, a law that 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-Specific Travel & Residence Restrictions (a joint European initiative published by the International AIDS Society) reports that 49 countries are known to have some entry regulations for people living with HIV. Of these, 14 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

Aruba

Australia

Azerbaidjan

Bahrain

Bhutan

Brunei

China

Cuba

Cyprus

Dominican Republic

Ecuador

Egypt

Equatorial Guinea

Honduras

Iran

Iraq

Israel

Jordan

Kazakhstan

Kuwait

Kyrgyzstan

Lebanon

Malaysia

Marshall Islands

Mauritius

Montserrat

New Zealand

Nicaragua

Oman

Papua New Guinea

Paraguay

Qatar

Russia

Samoa

Saudi Arabia

Seychelles

Singapore

Solomon Islands

St. Kitts and Nevis

St. Vincent and Grenadines

Sudan

Suriname

Syria

Tonga

Tunisia

Turks and Caicos Islands

United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Virgin Islands

Yemen

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Article Sources

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  1. Preston J. Obama lifts a ban on entry into U.S. by H.I.V.-positive people. New York Times. October 30, 2009.

  2. The Global Database on HIV-Specific Travel & Residence Restrictions. Regulations on entry, stay and residence for plhiv. Updated 2019.

Additional Reading