The U.S. reopened borders to tourists from Europe and other countries on November 8.
This reopening has raised countless questions, including but not limited to the vaccines the U.S. will accept, the types of COVID-19 test travelers must present, what will happen with unvaccinated children traveling with vaccinated adults, and so on.
We have prepared a list of key aspects that EU and other travelers need to know before booking their trips to the U.S.
June – US Lifts Covid-19 Testing for International Travelers
Travelers to the United States are no longer required to submit a negative Covid 19 test taken within one day prior to departure.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated on Friday that this requirement would be removed beginning early Sunday morning. The health service stated that it will continue to monitor the pandemic’s progress and reevaluate the need for testing if the situation changes.
“This step is possible because of the progress we’ve made in our fight against COVID-19,” said U.S. Health Secretary Xavier Becerra.
U.S. reopening FAQs:
How safe is it to travel to the States at the moment?
As of June 15, the U.S. has recorded 87,549,563 cases and 1,036,483 the highest death toll in the world.
Is it possible to travel to U.S. for business or tourism?
Some of the current carrier flying from Europe to the U.S.
Royal Air Maroc
Alitalia, Delta Operated by Alitalia CityLiner
KLM, Delta Virgin Atlantic
Lufthansa, Air Canada 0perated by Air Canada Express – Sky Regional
Lufthansa, Air Canada operated by Air Canada Express – Jazz
Lufthansa, United operated by Mesa Airlines DBA United Express
Tap Air Portugal
US reopening borders for tourism: Update Archives
February 18 – The CDC considers lifting indoor mask-wearing mandate across the US
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director may recommend the US to lift the need to wear face coverings in indoor settings, said CDC Head Dr. Rochelle Walensky during a White House briefing.
“We want to give people a break from things like mask wearing when these metrics are better, and then have the ability to reach for them again should things worsen.”
Other countries included in the restriction are Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi.
National and residents are allowed to come back.
“As we move forward,” said the President in a statement, “we will continue to be guided by what the science and my medical team advises.”
November 21 – The U.S. makes booster shots available to all people 18 and above
With an increasing number of countries requiring passengers to provide proof of booster shots to give them access to a number of tourist venues, the U.S.’s move to make booster doses available for most citizens brings relief for international travelers.
“Based on the compelling evidence, all adults over 18 should now have equitable access to a COVID-19 booster dose,” says the CDC.
Despite the fact that more than 195 million Americans are fully vaccinated, Covid cases are on the rise in some locations as vaccine effectiveness declines over time.
The Pfizer booster dose was found to be 95 percent effective in a clinical trial involving 10,000 people aged 16 and up.
November 13 – Travelers experiencing long wait times at U.S. airports
Following the reopening on Nov. 8, large numbers of overseas travelers have begun to arrive in American airports.
Although this is wonderful news for families and the tourism sector, 21 months of closure did not seem to be enough time for American airports to prepare for such a large influx of passengers all at once.
Thousands of travelers have complained about having to wait over two hours to get through customs. Things are expected to worsen as the Christmas holidays approach.
“The expectation is that we could see wait times of up to eight hours,” said Sherry Stein, the leader (SITA).
November 5 – The U.S. to welcome EU travelers as soon as ports of entry open on Nov. 8
Beginning Monday, the United States will drop entrance restrictions for vaccinated EU and Asian travelers, putting an end to historic restrictions that have kept the country partially isolated from the rest of the world for almost 21 months.
According to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the U.S. will reopen its air and land borders as soon as ports of entry start operations on Nov. 8
That means that border crossings that are open 24 hours a day will accept international travelers from midnight, while the rest will open during regular business hours.
October 15 – U.S. Government announces the reopening date for the European Union
White House has confirmed the reopening date for international tourism, current travel curbs will be lifted on November 8. Both land and air borders will reopen to fully vaccinated travelers.
Non-vaccinated air travelers will be also able to enter but they will need to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test.
The ban on non-vaccinated travelers will still remain in place on the Mexican and Canadian land borders.
October 20 – The U.S. is set to reopen land borders with Canada and Mexico in “early November”
The U.S. land borders, which have been shut down since March 2020, will reopen to Canadian and Mexican visitors at some point in November as long as they can prove they are fully vaccinated.
“We are pleased to be taking steps to resume regular travel in a safe and sustainable manner,” Homeland Security Secretary said in a statement.
Essential travelers such as truck commercial drivers, students, and other essential personnel will have until January to present their vaccine certificates.
October 10 – U.S. Reveals the vaccines it will accept for EU travelers
There was a lot of uncertainty over which brand of vaccines the US would accept as a valid entry requirement for EU travelers, once it open its borders.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revealed the country will accept the following:
Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
AstraZeneca, including Covishield
The CDC also informed that more information will be released as soon as the travel protocols are completed.
The reopening date has not been announced yet.
October 2 – US, Canada, UK, and other G7 leaders met to discuss the future of international travel
Transport and health ministers of Canada, Germany, the U.K, the U.S, Japan, Italy, and France virtually met to discuss the future of international travel on Thursday.
Among other things, the U.S. committed to a number of principles “for a safe and sustainable reopening of travel.” These include trusting scientific evidence, accepting both digital and non-digital test and vaccine passports, protecting users’ private data, and supporting cleaner technologies for land, air, and maritime transport.
Sept. 24 – The U.S. lifts the ban on European Travel but reopening date remains unknown
This week, the U.S. announced that its long ban on European travel will end in “early November”. But so far, they haven’t provided an exact reopening date yet.
The head of the White House’s COVID-19 Response Team, Jeff Zients, said that all travelers must be fully vaccinated, no exceptions.
The CDC will order commercial airlines to collect information from U.S.-bound visitors including their phone number and email address to act as a “public health surveillance system.”
More information about the date and the requirements is expected to be revealed over the next few weeks.
September 16 – The U.S. works on a “new system for international travel” aiming to reopen borders
White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said on Wednesday the country is working on a “new system for international travel” that will include contract tracing for international visitors when the country lifts its travel ban.
The government aims to replace the current restrictions with a “safer, stronger, and sustainable” system.
The official did not reveal when the new system will be put into motion or the metrics it will use.
July 30 – Fully vaccinated Americans will be able to resume travel with the U.K. on August 2, but U.S. remains closed due to a delta variant and a surge in cases
While the U.S. continues to be closed for half of the world due to a surge in Covid cases, more countries have been adding it to the list of allowed visitors.
Effective August 2, double-vaccinated Americans and residents will be allowed to travel to the U.K. without quarantine.
There is a catch. Americans should’ve been vaccinated in the U.S. or in one EU country.
Although these travelers no longer need to quarantine, they will still be required to submit a negative PCR COVID-19 test before boarding and take another one on the second day of their stay in England.
This scheme does not apply to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland for now.
July 16 – The U.S. borders will not reopen for EU or other travelers for the time being
“It defies logic. It defies science. It defies fact,” Democratic Representative of New York, Brian Higgins told CNN, regarding the lack of transparency about the U.S. international borders reopening.
Another White official said that European Union, United Kingdom, Canadian and Mexican task groups have met with their American counterparts to discuss the aspects that would allow them to safely reopen the country.
However, another White House official told Reuters that “the Biden Administration is not in a rush to lift travel restrictions soon.”
July 9 – The U.S. can’t put a date on the international borders reopening, says government
The U.S. is unable to put a date on international travel reopening according to a White House official who spoke to Reuters on July 7.
“There are further discussions to be had before we can announce any next steps on travel reopening with any country,” said the official.
This is the second time in less than 2 weeks that a Biden’s administration official speaks about the impossibility to determine when the country will reopen for tourism.
On June 25, the US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken also told reporters they could not give an approximate date and that everything will “have to be guided by the science and by medical expertise.”
As of today, Schengen area residents who are not American citizens are only allowed if traveling under the National Interest Exception (NIE).
June 25 – U.S. to resume international tourism after September 6, said U.S. Commerce Secretary
The long-awaited reopening to EU tourists may be about to be over.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo has stated the country is actively seeking to open travel bubbles with key partners so they can resume international travel soon.
Although not a specific date was announced, Raimondo mentioned Labor Day, which is celebrated on September 6, as the potential date for free foreign travel.
“I’m hopeful that post-Labor Day we will see a nice uptick in business travel and international travel” […] “I can promise that getting business travel and international travel going again is a top priority,” said Raimondo.
June 9 – U.S. to form task groups with Canada, Mexico, the EU and the U.K. to create a strategy to safely reopen borders soon
Multiple EU countries expected President Joe Biden’s announcement about the U.S. border reopening during his visit to the U.K. for the very first G7 summit of his administration.
But instead, the White house has issued a statement informing the country will not reopen just yet.
“While we are not reopening travel today, we hope that these expert working groups will help us use our collective expertise to chart a path forward, with a goal of reopening international travel with our key partners when it is determined that it is safe to do so,” reads the statement.
For now, the U.S. will form task groups with Canada, Mexico, the EU and the U.K to find the safest way to start international travel.
May 24 – The U.S. has not decided yet whether they will reopen to Europeans or not this summer
On May 19, all E.U. members agreed to welcome back Americans from June. E.U. countries can still enforce extra testing or quarantine requirements, but in principle, all vaccinated Americans will be allowed to visit Europe for tourism again.
Unfortunately, on the other side of the Atlantic things seem to be different. Biden administration has been reportedly holding meetings and contacting tourism industry leaders but reopening decisions have not been made yet.
Last week, White House spokesman Jen Psaki stated that no changes on current travel restrictions have been planned thus far when asked if the U.S. would allow vaccinated travelers to visit America Again. (Source: Reuters)