US Travel Ban Lifting For Fully Vaccinated Travelers From UK & EU
The United States has confirmed it will be easing travel restrictions for certain foreign nationals who have received the COVID double vaccination.
From early November, fully vaccinated adult travelers from the UK, the 26 European Schengen countries, Ireland, China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa and India will no longer be subject to the travel ban.
Travelers will instead require the usual, relevant permission to travel to the US, typically with ESTA authorization or a visa, as well as proof of full vaccination before boarding a flight and a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of departure.
On announcing the news, White House pandemic coordinator Jeff Zients said: “International travel is critical to connecting families and friends, to fuelling small and large businesses, to promoting the open exchange ideas and culture.” He also referred to the US having 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 official policy document from the White House is expected to be released imminently.
The US travel ban was first put in place in early 2020 by President Trump and was upheld by the Biden Administration. The restrictions effectively suspended most general business travel, as well as tourism and leisure travel to the US for those traveling from the UK.
A number of exemptions were subsequently introduced, including a waiver to allow for essential travel deemed to be in the ‘national interest’.
Good news for employers & business travelers
Lifting the ban is extremely good news for UK employers and workers, who will be able to resume previous US-based activities such as attending business meetings, conferences and events.
It also means travel for personal reasons and tourism is allowed for the first time since before COVID. Travel for family reunions, marriages and gatherings are once again possible.
Employers and workers are advised to ensure they have the relevant permission before traveling to the US, such as applying for a work visa if necessary, to avoid issues at the border.
One further practical issue to note is that US Embassies have yet to resume full operations since the pandemic and backlogs continue across all non-emergency applications. Anyone making an application for a visa will need to factor into their travel plans the delayed processing times.
NNU Immigration are specialist US immigration attorneys based in London. For advice or guidance on a visa application, Embassy processing or for support with your US travel plans, contact us.