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US entry requirements: Travel rules including Covid vaccinations and when pre-flight tests could be scrapped


The US is lagging behind other popular holiday destinations when it comes to the easing of Covid border restrictions.

Canada, Australia, South Africa, and the Netherlands all recently announced an end to pre-departure testing for fully vaccinated arrivals, while triple-jabbed holidaymakers can now travel to all of the EU, besides Poland, test-free.

However, visitors to America still face the costly and nerve-racking requirement to take a supervised antigen test before departure.

America is also one of a handful popular holiday destinations that continue mandating face masks on flights.

i reached out the US’s national tourism board to ask if there is any new information on when restrictions might be easing but they said they were unable to comment.

Here is everything you need to know about travel to the USA under the current rules.

Do I need to be vaccinated to holiday in the US?

Yes. You must be fully vaccinated to travel to the US on holiday. Your second dose should have been administered at least 14 days prior to travel.

Do I need a booster dose to be considered fully vaccinated?

No, booster doses are not required to enter the US. There is no expiry date set on first course of vaccination.

Can I use proof of recent infection to enter the US?

You can use proof of recent infection in lieu of testing but not instead of proof of vaccination.

To use proof of a recent infection in lieu of testing you must have proof of a positive test result taken in the past 90 days and a signed letter from a licensed healthcare provider or public health official that states you have been cleared for travel according to CDC’s travel guidance. The positive test result and letter together are referred to as “documentation of recovery.”

To use proof of a recent infection in lieu of full vaccination status you would need a special exemption, such as humanitarian or emergency exception. The Centres for Disease Control has a full list of exemptions on their website.

Do I need to test to travel to the US?

Yes. All travellers, regardless of vaccinations status, must test before travelling to the US. This can be either an antigen or PCR and must be overseen by a professional (video consultations are accepted) and must be taken anytime on the day of or day before departure.

Can unvaccinated children enter the US?

Children under two years old do not need to test to enter the USA. Children under the age of 18 do not need to be vaccinated to enter the country, but unvaccinated under 18s must take a test 3 to 5 days after arrival. All children, except US citizens aged under 2, must complete the same Passenger Disclosure form as adult.

Do I need a pass to enter restaurants and other public places?

Vaccine mandates for entering public places have been dropped in states and cities across the US. However, some restaurants in New York City have chosen to continue to ask that diners show proof of vaccination status before entering.

Are face masks mandatory in the US?

Wearing face mask in required in indoor areas of public transportation (including airplanes) traveling into, within, or out of the US. Face masks are also mandatory inside all US airports.

Do I need to fill out any Covid forms to travel to the US?

Yes. All arrivals must complete a Passenger Disclosure and Attestation form when travelling by air from the UK. This can be completed up to 24 hours before travel and should be done before boarding. Your airline is responsible for collecting the data and should share a link with you where you can fill out the form.

Are there any other entry requirements?

Yes, all holidaymakers must have an ESTA digital visa to enter the USA. It is valid for two years at a cost of $14 (£10.60).

Do I need to test to return to the UK?

No. The UK dropped all of its remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions on 18 March.

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