US Travel Ban: US Reopening to UK and EU Travellers
The White House has announced that the US will lift COVID-19 travel restrictions to allow fully vaccinated passengers from the UK and most European Union (EU) countries to travel into the country from early November.
The move signals the end of a travel ban imposed more than 18 months ago in the early stages of the pandemic and comes after intense lobbying from Brussels and London.
In addition to the UK and the 26 Schengen countries in Europe, the easing of restrictions will also apply to Ireland, China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa and India.
Under current policy, only US citizens, their immediate families, green card holders and those with national interest exemptions (NIE) can travel into the US if they have been in the UK or EU in the previous two weeks.
Entry to the US
The White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, Jeff Zients, announced on 20 September that international travellers will require proof of full vaccination before boarding a flight and a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure. They will not be required to quarantine upon arrival.
While any arriving tourists from an approved country would be required to show proof of an approved vaccination, children not yet eligible to be inoculated will be exempt from the policy.
This new international travel system follows the science to keep Americans and international air travel safe. By requiring foreign nationals to be fully vaccinated in order to fly to the United States and in implementing additional strict safety protocols, we will protect Americans here at home and enhance the safety of international travel.
This is based on individuals rather than a country-based approach.White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients
The new policy will take effect in “early November”, Zients added, to allow airlines and travel partners time to prepare to implement the new protocols.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will issue a contact tracing order that obliges airlines to collect a phone number, email address and other information from US-bound travellers.
Zients explained: “This will enable the CDC and state and local public health officials to follow up with inbound travellers and those around them if someone has potentially been exposed to COVID-19.”
The changes will be part of a new travel system in the US, including updated rules on contact tracing and masking that will mean unvaccinated Americans will face stricter testing requirements.
The EU and UK had moved to allow vaccinated American travellers into their territories without quarantines, in an effort to boost business and tourism travel. But the EU recommended last month that some travel restrictions be reimposed on US travellers because of the spread of the Delta variant.
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