98125629 - overwater villas on the tropical lagoon, maldives islands

The Maldives is always warm and wonderful, but tourism plans have gone from hot to cold, and hot again. Now, they’ll change once more.

From abandoned draconian plans to require a minimum 14 night stay, the atoll paradise opened on July 15th to visitors from around the world, including Americans, without restriction. No test needed, no quarantine needed, just come and enjoy.

But now, in an effort to minimize risks during the unknowns of the winter season, the Maldives will require a recent negative covid-19 test before arrival, but will once again allow split stay visits.

98125629 - overwater villas on the tropical lagoon, maldives islands

Maldives Updated Covid-19 Testing Requirement

Starting for arrivals on September 10th, the Maldives will require a recent negative covid-19 test, taken within 72 hours of departure to Male International Airport. The test must be internationally valid, taken from an approved lab or rapid testing facility. The news was confirmed to GSTP exclusively by Maldivian authorities.

Emirates, a key air carrier to the Maldives already requires a covid-19 test prior to flight, which makes the restriction a formality, rather than addition frustration for travelers on the airline.

Travelers not displaying any symptoms upon arrival into the Maldives will be allowed to carry on to their resort without further restriction, provided they have a confirmed accommodation booking. Any symptomatic travelers will be taken to a testing facility, where they, and those in their group must wait until a negative result is indicated.

Island Hopping: End Of One Island, One Resort Policy

Upon arrival, visitors have needed to stick to one resort. That’s changing. The Maldives previously required all international visitors to stick to one resort, and one island, with no ability to island hop, but will now approve “split stays” between approved locations.

All visitors aiming to use the new split stay offering must submit their proposal to Maldivian Tourism at least two days prior to travel, details of which can be found on the press release.

st regis maldives
The St. Regis Maldives

Requiring a negative covid-19 test is a new step for entry into the Maldives, but not an unreasonable request, by any means. Testing will help to weed out asymptomatic but sick travelers, while increasing certainty that guests in any resort are healthy, and also that those on the plane with them are more likely not to spread the disease.

Resorts in the idyllic atolls are already looking ahead to an expected 100,000 new visitor arrivals before the end of 2020, with early booking discounts of up to 80%.

Rapid testing availability is a key concern to many travelers, and airports around the world are rushing to create easy covid-19 testing facilities, in hopes of cashing in on demand. Partnerships between pharmacies, airlines and governments are underway, including between Boots and the UAE Government to make testing easier and more affordable, at a wider variety of locations.

For now, you’ll need a negative covid-19 test to enter the Maldives from September 10th onward, and that’s probably a good thing.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. When will the Maldives be releasing the list of approved labs? And will an NHS text be enough to prove covid negativity as the text does not state the date/time the test was taken, only the date you are receiving the result?
    I am due to fly on the 10th September and I’m expecting utter chaos, as almost all tests in the UK take 48h to provide a result meaning I would need to book an appointment this Monday – eek!

  2. Urgh I also booked a trip there for Sept 12…. I still don’t see any update yet on the ministry of tourism page yet….

  3. We’re flying to Italy on 31st Oct and then to Maldives from Italy on 2nd Nov, which means if test has to have been taken within 72 hours from landing at Male we would need to have it done in Italy….sounds like a bit of a nightmare! Will have to think about how to get this all sorted closer to the time I guess…

  4. Thank you for covering this. One adjustment needed – within 72 hours from departure to Maldives, not arrival. Still trying to get confirmation if departure means origin or airport where direct flight to Male begins.

  5. Does anyone know about split stays between resorts and dive boats?
    The guidance says that you cannot go from an approved resort to a dive boat but it does not specifically say you can’t the other way around.

  6. I know am a bit early with this post but I am due to fly to the Maldives on 16th feb which is a Tuesday so would be due to get the test on Saturday and most labs are closed on a Sunday and can’t Guarantee the results will be back before we fly as most places don’t accommodate testing for Tuesday or Wednesday flights I have been on to the MOT and they are not allowing any longer than 72 hours any advice please

    1. I will be flying to Male from the UK on 16th Jan and upon checking the entry requirements, it now seems to be 96 hours before departure from the UK! So now I am not sure which is correct…. 72 or 96 hours before departure?

  7. I have work visa, stayed in Maldives more than one year, finally got ticket no symptoms of Covid-19, for departure I have to present negative test? I am visa holder and staying currently in Addu for 2 months.

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