The U.S. plans to reopen 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 travelers 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.
For now, (Until Nov. 8) the U.S. is open with restrictions to a list of selected visitors. Both nationals and foreigns must present a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding their flights.
October 26 – U.S. clarifies the new entry requirements for international visitors arriving from Nov. 8
The CDC has clarified the entry requirements visitors will need to meet starting Nov. 8.
Vaccine and COVID-19 test
From that date onwards, travelers must present proof of having received the full course of a WHO-approved vaccine at least 14 days prior to arrival in the U.S. and a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure to the U.S.
Warning! – Nobody will be permitted to apply for an exemption to the proof of vaccination for religious or moral motives. Only people with severe anaphylactic reactions to the components of the vaccine would be exempted.
Children under 18 traveling with vaccine-exempt adults must present a negative COVID-19 test taken only 24 hours prior to arrival in the U.S.
All passengers aged 2 or older, must present a negative COVID-19 viral test or documentation of recovery from the illness regardless of their vaccination status.
Airlines have been instructed to gather personal information from all passengers like emails, phone numbers, and U.S. addresses and retain it for 30 days in case authorities need “to follow up with travelers who have been exposed to COVID-19 variants or other pathogens.”
It will “strengthen [airlines and agencies] ability to rapidly identify and contact people in the U.S. who may have been exposed to a communicable disease, such as COVID-19,” the agency said.
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.
U.S. reopening FAQs:
Can unvaccinated FOREIGN travelers enter the U.S. with a negative COVID-19 test?
No, unvaccinated visitors can't enter the U.S. after November 8.
Can you apply for a religious exemption if you are not vaccinated?
You can’t. There are no religious exemptions for international travelers who want to bypass the COVID-19 requirements for “religious or moral convictions“, as per the CDC.
Will the U.S. accept travelers immunized with mixed vaccine brands?
International travelers will be considered fully vaccinated if they have received the full series of an FDA- or WHO-approved single-dose vaccine, such as the Johnson & Johnson shot, or “any combination of two doses of an FDA approved/authorized or WHO emergency use listed COVID-19 two-dose series,” confirmed the CDC.
Can Covaxin vaccinated travelers enter the US?
Foreign nationals can only enter the country if they have been fully immunized with a vaccine approved by the US Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization (WHO). As of now, Covaxin is not on that list.
The CDC announced the country will be accepting the following:
Moderna Pfizer/BioNTech Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) AstraZeneca, including Covishield Sinopharm (Beijing) Sinovac
Will travelers need to bring a negative COVID-19 test to enter the U.S. if they are vaccinated?
All land and air passengers 2 or older, including U.S. citizens and permanent residents, need to show a negative coronavirus test to enter the U.S.
What types of COVID-19 tests are acceptable to enter the United States?
Visitors can present either an antigen (rapid) test or a PCR test. For further information about the types of tests accepted click here.
Can unvaccinated Americans enter the U.S. with a negative COVID-19 test?
Yes, they can but rules are becoming stricter. Starting Nov. 8, unvaccinated Americans will need to take the test only 24 hours before departure and take an additional test upon arrival in the U.S.
When is the U.S. opening borders to Europe?
The U.S. will open international borders on European and some Asian visitors on Nov. 8, 2021.
What countries can enter the U.S. from Nov. 8?
Visitors from the following 36 countries will be permitted to visit the U.S. for tourism on Nov. 8.
China India Iran Brazil South Africa United Kingdom Ireland The European Schengen area: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City
When will the U.S.-Canada and Mexico land borders reopen'
U.S. will reopen both land borders with Canada and Mexico for vaccinated travelers on November 8
Can unvaccinated travelers from Canada or Mexico cross the U.S. land border?
No. unvaccinated Canadian visitors can't enter the U.S. via the land border.
Do vaccinated travelers have to present a negative COVID-19 to cross the Canadian or Mexican land borders?
No, this requirement only applies to air travel into the US.
Is travel insurance required to enter the U.S?
It is not mandatory but highly recommended. Not only because not all states have been able to effectively control the pandemic but also because of the extremely high costs of hospitalization and emergency treatments in the U.S.
United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland)
Airlines currently 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
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)