Expect These New Hawaii Safe Travels Rules Starting This Week

Updated 11/1/21. When Governor Ige said it was safe for visitors to resume travel starting this week, he left off some critical details. We’ve delved into it more and one thing for sure, multiple announcements of changes are imminent. Here’s what that’s about and what visitors can expect the rest of the year.

First, Ige said last week that the goal now is to reduce restrictions before the end of the year. The way Ige rolls, read that to mean that likely any big changes will be announced by year end and go into effect starting the first week of the New Year.

That is, of course, a deviation from when Ige announced at 70% vaccinated, the state would eliminate all Safe Travels protocols. He later backtracked on that, saying that with the Delta Variant, that was no longer possible.

What will happen this week?

Hawaii is the only state that requires that arriving passengers either quarantine for 10 days or have an exemption for testing or vaccination.

Hawaii will come into alignment with the new federal rules on vaccination, similar to what is being implemented for international arrivals starting November 8. It doesn’t appear viable for Hawaii to keep the current rules in place which contradict federal rules. The governor has been waiting for the final rules from the federal government, and now that those have been issued, an announcement will follow.

Several people already asked if those vaccinated could need to be tested as well. Vaccination by itself is still acceptable and we don’t see that changing. That could only happen if mandated nationally by the federal government.

Safe Travels protocol will still be required including uploading documents and completing a health questionnaire within 24 hours of travel.

Airlines join in COVID rules enforcement. What about Hawaii?

Currently, for domestic travel to Hawaii, the airlines are not required to become involved. Airlines have chosen, however, to take part in the Pre-Clear process, wherein they can validate Hawaii Safe Travels exemptions and provide Pre-Clear bracelets, so that their passengers can avoid clearance issues once they land in Hawaii.

Airlines will start validating vaccination status of international passengers, both in terms of the date and the vaccine administered. Airlines will also collect and store contact tracing information for each international arrival. The airlines are subject to a $35,000 fine per failure to comply.

Mask mandates and other change from now to January 1.

We expect that if the number of cases of COVID continues to decline, Hawaii’s indoor mask mandate will be dropped. The trigger for this next extensive set of changes, according to the governor, is an average daily number of recent cases statewide of less than 100.

Restaurant capacity may be lifted entirely. Still stuck at 50%, this is unworkable at every level. We expect that limitation to be gone as soon as we approach the under 100 per day number.

International arrivals to Hawaii.

Hawaii will probably begin accepting vaccinations which take place outside of the United States (which is not currently permitted), as well as the vaccinations that aren’t on Hawaii’s approved list. Up to now, those visitors vaccinated outside the US must comply with the Safe Travels 72 hour testing protocol in order to avoid quarantine. But that is about to change.

To put it in perspective, the US has said that international arrivals must be fully vaccinated with an FDA or WHO approved vaccine (AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer, Sinopharm and Sinovac). Airlines will, for the first time, be responsible for enforcing these rules and collecting contact information.

International arrivals need to also present a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of departure. Those tests can be an antigen-type test or a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT). Currently, Hawaii only accepts NAAT.

Only US residents who are returning from abroad can enter the country unvaccinated, but they can do so only when they provide a negative test within 24 hours of departure.

112 thoughts on “Expect These New Hawaii Safe Travels Rules Starting This Week”

  1. What a great resource. We will be travelling to Maui this month and really appreciate the latest, up to date, information.
    Thanks, Tom

  2. Hey there! So we’ve been here 3 days, and are not vaccinated. We have had no trouble getting into restaurants… using the Binax Now app and test. Its important to approach the hostess with confidence… “Here are my negative results.”

    Having a great time!! It’s so beautiful and the Aloha Spirit is alive and well… if you carry it, as well. 😊

  3. Hi.

    Will Hawaii allow pcr/antigen test ?
    I’m from France and I’m going to Hawaii on Nov. 10th. For now, Hawaii only allow test by « trusted testing partners », there are none in France. Will they change this rules on Nov 8th and allow pcr test from anywhere in the world and proof of vaccination just like the other states ?

  4. Only needing a vaccine did not work the first time this past summer….now we know that the vaccinated can carry/transmit the virus just as much as unvaccinated. Doesn’t it make better sense to test everyone?

  5. In so confused by all this I think I have everything in order but I’m not sure now
    HELP please
    I have got the vivid shot and flu shot also I’m getting the booster soon I uploaded my card to the site am I forgetting anything

    1. Hi Brandy.

      You will lastly need to complete a health questionnaire in Safe Travels within 24 hours of travel.


      1. I won’t be going back until all restrictions are lifted. What we had to go thru in Mar with $150 covid tests per person was bs and then wearing masks outside! No thanks!

        1. That is your choice Annette. My family travelled there last month and had no problems. We were happy to comply with the HST requirements, masks (inside and out) and the proof of vaccination in order to enter venues. It is really important that we are all Very Good Guests while on the islands and taking all precautions to protect the residents of Hawai’i.

      2. Hello, my sister and I are both traveling from California next week for the very first time. We are both fully vaccinated. Do we still need to test once we arrive?

  6. I’m trying to get my hunting dog BLUE ready for his trip to the islands. I kicked him out of the house a while back and won’t let him in unless he wears a flea collar. He also doesn’t get his dog bowl unless he jingles his rabies tag for me.

    He did bolt in once without his collar but I locked him in the basement.

    Now he doesn’t want to come in at all. He goes over to the neighbors, does all his hunting things for them, and eats morning and night.

    If only dogs were as smart as people.

  7. Aloha! I am traveling to Oahu on Nov 11 with non vaccinated people and wanted to know if the Covid rapid test is acceptable from Walgreens.
    Thank you for your time

  8. I could not get a QR code even though I have proof of vaccination because on my first vaccine in Riverside County, the nurses did not put the lot # on my vaccine official card.No one can seem to figure it out.The officials at the Honolulu airport agreed that my vax card was legit but couldn’t override the fact and .get a QR code .I had to quarantine or turn around.

  9. Well now that everyones vaccinated theres a new threat,Delta strain, then there’ll be a newer threat and newer threat, one after the other until all travel shall be controlled be Big Government.

  10. I have been vaccinated and have proof I am headed to Hawaii November 9, well I need to be Covid tested before I leave my home state?

    1. I just returned from Hawai’i and didn’t need a COVID test, being fully vaccinated. I did upload a copy of my vax card on the State’s safe travel website.

      1. Aloha! Does anyone know if the new Nov 8th rule requiring vaccination for international travelers coming to Hawaii also applies to U.S. Permanent Resident card holders (green card holders)? My wife is a green card holder, but cannot get vaccinated due to medical reasons.

        Mahalo in advance…

    2. No, you just need to go to the Hawaii Safe Travels website and upload your information, flight info, vaccine card (a photo of your vax card works, but bring your card with you), also, within 24 hours of your flight, you must fill out the health questionnaire on Safe Travels, you’ll receive a QR code that you must show when checking in for your flight, you can also get a pre-clear wristband that will allow you to skip the line after you land in Hawaii…ask about wristbands at check-in. Aloha!

    3. No covid test if you’re fully vaccinated just go to travel hawaii.gov and follow all the guidelines needed to get in. Just returned from Hawaii.


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