El Salvador-Baseline assesment of migration flows and mobility tracking within the context of COVID-19, #3 (December 2020-February 2021))

Cecilia Ramirez cramirez@iom.int
El Salvador
Period Covered
Dec 01 2020
Feb 28 2021
  • Event Tracking


On March 11, 2020, and due to the alarming levels of spread and severity of the COVID-19 virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a state of pandemic. On March 14, the Government of El Salvador decreed a national quarantine through the "Law of Temporary Restriction of Specific Constitutional Rights to Address the COVID-19 Pandemic" and also decreed a state of national emergency, public calamity and natural disaster throughout the country. 

In order to enter El Salvador, it is necessary to present proof of COVID-19 vaccination (either single- or double-dose, depending on the test).  Persons who have not been vaccinated must present a PCR, NAAT, or LAMP Test with negative results.​

 ​The need to obtain a negative PCR-RT test to cross different borders has been added to the other existing requirements, thus increasing the cost of regular migration (these tests cost approximately $120-$140).  In addition, scams involving false PCR-RT tests have been detected, causing many migrants to be turned back or rejected upon trying to enter El Salvador.  Despite the fact that around 90% of the people who attempt to enter the country through official border crossings have the necessary documentation for migrating regularly, the high costs implied by these new requisites have caused an increase in irregular migration.​

 ​The change of administration in the United States has created expectations in El Salvador, particularly for the family reunification of underage persons.  In addition, the Asylum Cooperation Agreements (ACA) between the United States and Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, which allowed the return of migrants from the United States, were repealed in February 2021.