US travel rules and restrictions for people flying from UK

The US is easing travel restrictions from today (Monday).

Until 8 November 2021, it was not possible for most British nationals to enter the USA if they have been in the UK, Ireland, Schengen zone, Iran, Brazil, China, South Africa or India within the previous 14 days.

But restrictions have been lifted for those who are fully vaccinated with any COVID-19 vaccine approved for emergency use by the World Health Organisation or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

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These vaccines are:

  • AstraZeneca
  • BIBP/Sinopharm
  • Covishield
  • Janssen
  • Moderna
  • Pfizer-BioNTech
  • Sinovac vaccines

Those who have received the full series of an active (not placebo) COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca or Novavax COVID-19 vaccine trials are considered vaccinated.

And children under 18 are exempt from the vaccination requirement.

Only those with an exception or US Citizens, US Nationals, and US Lawful Permanent Residents will be able to enter the US unvaccinated.

From adventure holidays to Disney World in Florida to city breaks to the likes of New York and Los Angeles, it’s easy to see why holidaymakers are eager to visit the US.

If you’re thinking of booking a break, here’s what you need to know before you go.

Testing and facemask requirements

Fully vaccinated air passengers arriving to the US must get a COVID-19 test no more than three days before their flight departs.

On arrival to the US, fully vaccinated travellers:

  • do not have to quarantine
  • are recommended to take a viral test within three to five days of arrival in the US.

If you have recovered from a documented COVID-19 infection within the past 90 days (regardless of vaccination status):

  • you do not need to get a test three to five days after travel

Most travellers that are not fully vaccinated will need to test no more than one day before travel or present a negative result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months to the airline before boarding the flight.

Travellers who have not been fully vaccinated and are allowed to travel to the USA through an exception must:

  • take a test within three to five days after arrival in the US
  • self-quarantine for seven days after arrival in the US, even if you test negative, unless you have an exception
  • become fully vaccinated, if staying 60 days or longer, within 60 days of arrival in the USA or as soon as medically appropriate, unless you have a medical contraindication or are too young to be vaccinated.

If a child is not fully vaccinated and traveling alone or with adults who are not fully vaccinated, they will have to show proof of a negative viral test from a sample taken within one day of departure.

On arrival, children under the age of 18 who are not fully vaccinated are exempt from the quarantine requirement but must take a test three to five days after arrival and should self-isolate should any symptoms develop or if they test positive.

If you are travelling domestically within the US, individual states and territories may have their own quarantine requirements. A full list of local quarantine requirements is available on the CDC website.

You must wear a mask on aircraft, trains, buses and at airports.

If you need to book a Covid-19 test in the USA, you should check the US Department of Health and Human Services website to find a testing site.

Details on what tests are acceptable are on the CDC website.

Proving your Covid-19 status

The USA will accept the UK’s proof of COVID-19 recovery and vaccination record.

Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination and should not be used to demonstrate your vaccine status.

The CDC website lists the forms of acceptable proof of COVID-19 status.

This also includes the European Union Digital COVID Certificate.

Other accepted methods of proof include:

  • a printout of a COVID-19 vaccination record
  • a COVID-19 vaccination certificate issued at national or subnational level or by an authorized vaccine provider.
  • digital photos of a vaccination card or record
  • a downloaded vaccine record
  • a vaccination certificate from an official source (e.g. public health agency, government agency, or other authorised vaccine provider)
  • a mobile phone application without a QR code.

All forms of COVID-19 status must have a personal identifier, at a minimum including full name and date of birth, that match the information on a passenger’s passport or other travel documents.

It must also include the name of the official source issuing the record and the vaccine manufacturer and date(s) of vaccination.

Visa Holders

All current visa holders based in the USA who leave the country and then re-enter after 8 November 2021 will need to follow the new vaccine entry requirements unless they have an exception.

This includes students on F-1 and M-1 visas and those previously issued with an existing National Interest Exception.