Monday, July 4, 2022

When will the US borders open for UK travellers?

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The US is on England’s amber list (Picture: Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg via Getty)

While the pandemic has had a profound impact on international travel, restrictions have eased in recent months for travellers from some countries.

Travellers from the US and the EU, as well as other European countries including Iceland and Switzerland, no longer have to self-isolate on arrival in England if they are fully vaccinated against Covid.

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In the UK the travel traffic light system, which has been used to categorise countries based on their Covid case rate, was scrapped on October 4, with countries ranked either ‘go’ or ‘no go.’

The UK Government has also lifted its ‘essential travel only’ advice on a further 42 countries and territories – while the ‘red list’ has been slashed to just seven countries.

Meanwhile double-jabbed individuals no longer have to take a PCR test two days after arrival, significantly reducing the cost of travel.

With other countries having welcomed in tourists over the summer holidays, it raises the question of whether the US might follow suit and open the border for UK travellers in the near future.

When in November can I travel to the USA?

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After being closed to the majority of UK travellers since March 2020, the US border is set to reopen for UK and EU visitors from November.

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A White House official confirmed that the US is is set to reopen to foreign nationals from ‘early November.’

White House pandemic coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters: ‘International travel is critical to connecting families and friends, to fuelling small and large businesses, to promoting the open exchange ideas and culture.’

‘That’s why, with science and public health as our guide, we have developed a new international air travel system that both enhances the safety of Americans here at home and enhances the safety of international air travel.’

An exact date has not been confirmed as yet.

Travellers will have to show proof of vaccine status as well as a negative test coronavirus test before boarding the plane.

Currently UK citizens can only enter the US if they have an exceptional reason – with the rule having been in place since March 16 2020.

The Foreign Office website says: ‘It is not possible for most British nationals to enter the USA if they have been in the UK, Ireland, Schengen Zone, Brazil, China, South Africa or India within the past 14 days.’

Who can visit the US?

Passengers arriving at an airport testing centre
US citizens have been advised to make sure they are fully jabbed if they do need to visit the UK (Picture: AFP)

Until an exact November date is given, only US citizens and permanent residents of the US, certain specified close family members and certain other limited categories of visa holders (UN staff and diplomats for example) are exempt from the current travel ban.

Those who do travel need to present evidence of either a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours of flying or documentation of recovery from a previous Covid infection.

Fully vaccinated passengers should take a test 3-5 days after arriving in the US, while unvaccinated travellers must take a test 3-5 days after arrival, and self-isolate for seven days.

Can US citizens visit the UK?

Passengers push their luggage past signage displaying the way to a Covid-19 test centre at Heathrow
Those who do travel to the UK from the US need to self-isolate and take two tests (Picture: Getty Images)

Fully vaccinated travellers from the US are allowed to enter England without having to self-isolate on arrival.

But despite that fact, US tourists are currently being advised not to travel to UK by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.

In July, the US placed the UK on its highest travel warning level, amid concerns over the Delta variant and rising case numbers, and it is yet to be levelled down.

Americans have been told to ‘avoid travel to the United Kingdom’ altogether – but advised to make sure they are double-vaccinated if their trip is essential.

People in the international arrivals area at Heathrow
Fully vaccinated travellers from the US will soon be allowed to enter England (Picture: PA)

Currently, the US is on the amber list, meaning arrivals from there must self-isolate for 10 days on arrival if they are not fully vaccinated, taking a Covid test on days two and eight.

If you are coming to England from the US before October 4 and have been double jabbed with a vaccine authorised by the EMA in Europe and the FDA in the USA, you do not need to quarantine, but you will need to produce evidence of a negative test taken three days before travel, and take a test two days after you arrive.

If you have come to the UK via a red list country, or have been in one in the 14 days before you travel, you will need to self-isolate for 10 days in a Government-mandated hotel.

Travel: Countries on the red list

There are currently seven countries on the red list, following an update on October 11.

  • Colombia
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Haiti
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Venezuela

MORE : ‘Essential travel only’ rules lifted for another 51 countries

MORE : Sun-starved Brits flood back to Benidorm as travel rules are eased

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