Entry restrictions

Although the number of countries limiting entry to people with HIV is decreasing, many continue to enforce some sort of restrictions. In some cases, people with HIV are subject to an outright entry ban, whilst in others they are subject to limited restrictions, such as a ban on working or settling in the country.

Broadly speaking, countries will have one or more of the following restriction categories for foreign nationals with HIV:

  • No restrictions (entry permitted)
  • An entry bar (no entry, waivers may apply in some cases)
  • Short-term stay restrictions (stays of fewer than 90 days)
  • Long-term stay restrictions (stays of longer than 90 days)
  • Unclear laws
  • No information
  • Deportation of people with HIV (foreign nationals with HIV are deported).

Very few countries restrict tourists with HIV from entering (entry restrictions for short-term stays). However, if you are looking to stay for a longer period of time, to work or settle you may face greater difficulties. If you are planning a long-term visit or permanent move to another country, make sure at a very early stage in your planning that your HIV status isn’t going to be a problem.

Countries that restrict travel for people with HIV

Checking if a country has travel restrictions and getting advice about how they may affect your plans can save you a lot of time, hassle and money.

Contact the embassy or consulate

The most reliable way of finding out if a country you want to visit restricts entry to people with HIV is to call the embassy or consulate. If you do this, you may prefer not to reveal your name or the fact that you are HIV positive to them. An HIV advocacy or support agency might be willing to do this for you.

Contact an HIV organisation

HIV organisations in your home country can be a good source of help and advice. You might also consider enquiring about current entry restrictions by contacting HIV organisations in the country you are planning to visit.

You can use NAM’s e-atlas to start your search.

You can find more information about entry and residence regulations for people with HIV on UNAIDS’ website. Another website is www.hivtravel.org, provided by Deutsche AIDS-Hilfe, the European AIDS Treatment Group and the International AIDS Society, gives specific country-by-country travel restriction information, available in nine languages.

It is important to check that any information you find is still current at the time you plan to travel.

Travelling to a country that has HIV travel restrictions

If a country you want to travel to does restrict entry for the type of trip you are planning, you will need to decide if you want to take the risk of travelling. If you are stopped by customs or immigration services and they establish that you are HIV positive, they will probably refuse entry and deport you.

If you have haemophilia and are travelling with clotting factors or injecting equipment, it’s likely that customs officers will question you about your HIV status.

If you are a citizen of an EU country, or have the right to live in an EU country, then there should be no restrictions on your admittance to another EU member state. But because you receive free HIV care in the UK doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be entitled to it in the country you are visiting.

Other restrictions affecting people with HIV

Certain countries require you to have an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) against certain infections. Without a vaccination certificate you may be refused entry or placed under quarantine for a number of days.

This can pose a problem for some people with HIV. Some vaccines are unsafe for you to receive, particularly if you have a CD4 cell count under 200. See Vaccinations.

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.